Somehow I picture a mafia-style Italian dinner meeting at a long rectangular table. The dons in attendance, as opposed to those husky stereotypes in gangster movies, are all dangerously thin, skull-faced, exquisitely dressed and coifed Englanders. At the head of the table is the Thin White Duke himself. At his left and right, Ian McCulloch and John Lydon. Rounding out the sides of the table are: a conspicuously empty seat with a placecard reading “Ian Curtis”, Johnny Marr, Morrissey (leaning away from each other, and staring with lids lowered), Paul Weller, Pete Shelley, Brian Eno, Robert Smith, Martin Rossiter, Jarvis Cocker, Brett Anderson, Damon Albarn, and Thom Yorke.
On a satellite fed plasma monitor on the wall I can see a similar table with Lou Reed at the head, flanked by David Byrne, Iggy Pop, Frank Black, Mark Mothersbaugh, Perry Farrell, Jonathan Richman, Thurston Moore, and Paul Westerberg.
Surrounding both tables, flitting about in tuxedos and serving Gauloises and Silk Cut cigarettes from sterling silver trays are equally emaciated men who resemble members of the bands Interpol, Franz Ferdinand, and The Rapture.
At the end opposite Mr. Stardust, a quartet of young sunken-cheeked men wearing RAF uniforms are grouped closely together, shoulder to shoulder, waiting for the reason they have been summoned. They are Yan, Hamilton, Noble, and Wood, or in other words, British Sea Power.
The former Mr. Jones starts to speak. “Well chaps, we of the secret society of art rock have called you here to offer you charter membership. We simply have to make sure that a number of criteria are met, right?” The foursome remains silent. Bowie continues, “You certainly have the look right. Remember to smoke lots of fags, have ultra-hyper metabolisms, and a good sense of history.”
Ian and Robert say nearly simultaneously, “Your hair’s too short, mates.” To which most everyone else at the table answers, “Sod off.”
“Excuse me gents,” Yan modestly interrupts, “I think we’ve got what you’re looking for. I can vary between punkish yelps and crooning swagger with ease. Noble’s guitars are fierce, jangly, and driving. My brother Hamilton’s bass is a combination of Peter Hook and Les Pattinson, and Wood’s the most kickarse drummer I’ve ever heard. I make references to Fyodor Dostoevksy, Charles Lindbergh, the Trojan Horse, Liberace, and Casio electric pianos. We’re cocky as all get out, have assorted birds and women dressed as Russian peasants on stage, and we have a great video where we all inhabit famous British statues and monuments and bring them to life. We’re not art, we’re not punk, we’re not pop, and yet we are all of these things and more. We are the past, the present, and the future all rolled into one damn good looking package and we really don’t give a bloody hell what you wankers think.”
The room remains silent. Iggy starts laughing via satellite. “I like these guys,” he says, snorting. John Lydon starts to muse over changing his name back to Rotten. Paul Weller and Morrissey look at each other across the table and both wonder how the other got so damn soft. Finally, Bowie gets a glint in one eye, the one with the oversize pupil, slowly starts to smile and whispers, “Well done, lads, well done.”
Joy Division- Unknown Pleasures
David Bowie- Aladdin Sane
Franz Ferdinand- Franz Ferdinand