My flatmate Fiona created a new musical genre recently. It's called Chugadelica and basically consists of any music that is reasonably well-put together, that chugs along at a medium pace from start to finish and that never really does anything exciting all the way through the song. Examples of the genre might include the complete works of Travis, Oasis and Coldplay, for instance. Inoffensive, bland but not so bland it never becomes an earworm, mildly pleasurable but nothing to get excessively excited about.
When I first heard punk, I heard music that deliberately offended, either lyrically or musically. It was often deliberately offensive to the ear. But it was undoubtedly exciting; and it made you at least sit up and take notice. Unlike a lot of contemporary rock/pop music which is perfectly tuned for the market, it wasn't trying to impress you with its musicianship or pluck your heartstrings with its sentiments. Its motto was, Fuck Art Let's Dance.
There's quite a lot of British poetry that reminds me of Chugadelica. It's not bad poetry, let me be clear about this. Bad poetry abounds too, but it can easily be spotted; obvious rhymes, de-dum rhythms and a plethora of cliches. Like playing Chopsticks on a piano. No-one would give it a second glance. But the OK stuff, the chugadelic stuff, is given awards, is published in magazines and is generally well-represented in the anthologies.
The thing about the really interesting music is that it never was found in the usual venues. Those of us who preferred the noisy blast of punk and the fractured funk of post-punk, who would rather listen to the Fall to the musical conservatism of Phil Collins (grandfather of Chugadelica) and Mike & the Mechanics, had to turn to John Peel's show to hear anything worth listening to.
It's the same with really interesting poetry. It's almost never found in the Poetry Review or other organs of Chugadelic poetry; but it is to be found in alternative magazines and publishers, among reading series and poetry nights where literally anything goes, and it's out there ready to be discovered.
Fuck Art. Let's Poet!
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