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A Cynic Writes...

Backlash Fever

Article from Music Technology, March 1993


Not for the first time in recent months, the name Peter Gabriel was taken in considerable vain the other night. The occasion? Some routine music business nonsense. The culprit? Some routine music business nonentity. The reason? Nothing more than a moderate attack of Backlash Fever - a habit-forming indulgence common in mass media pondlife steeped in celebrity culture overload. The current text for the trend-conscious vilifies Gabriel's musical antixenophobia for unpalatable worthiness and piety, and generally reduces World music to some vegetarian caricature. The (World)-weary cry, as ever, is "hypocrisy!".

Now, don't get me wrong. I hate everything, too. Especially early Genesis albums. But the reason Backlash Fever is such a destructive force in the field of creative endeavour is because it represents prejudice. Not good old-fashioned, over-the-garden-fence, whispering prejudice; but blind, unthinking, pusillanimous, herd-instinct prejudice of the kind that distinguishes the finest brains in the Stretford End on a Saturday afternoon. And this sits rather uncomfortably with the air of all-round smartness with which victims of Backlash Fever normally parade their symptoms.

But the target always has to be moving - never too easy or too established. Backlashers get bored easily, and a reverse process may take place which can even make the unhip hip - witness Abba. In the meantime, countless highly talented individuals must endure repeated mud baths when their turn comes around. The point is this: narrow-mindedness is not the exclusive preserve of those who used to be referred to as 'squares'. Digging The Dirt, indeed.

(Brian Aspirin is unwell)



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Publisher: Music Technology - Music Maker Publications (UK), Future Publishing.

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Music Technology - Mar 1993

Opinion by Hip O'Crit

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