Saturday, September 29, 2007

Poets Going Pop

When I first heard that Paul Muldoon (poet, role model, old enough to be my dad) had started playing guitar and writing lyrics for a band called Rackett, I was horrified. For some reason, it really got to me. If I gave my brains a good rack, I could probably remember when exactly I found out - a couple of years ago, I think. I'm over it now, though I've not become a fan of his 'three-car garage rock' outfit. (For one thing, I don't like the lazy boast of wealth that fuels the 'three-car garage rock' gag.) I met someone this summer who had been to one of Rackett's few gigs. What did she make of it? Well, she thought the lyrics were good.

Just this afternoon I've been reading about the rock'n'roll adventures of Simon Armitage (poet, role model, almost old enough to be my dad). And my reaction to his band, The Scaremongers, is pretty much the polar opposite of the way I felt about Rackett. The new sounds from New Jersey, and the very concept of Muldoon's combo, made my stomach turn; The Scaremongers, and their story-so-far, make my heart beat faster. Not that their record is so wonderful, although it's certainly worth a listen, and I am quite taken by Armitage's northern croon.

I have a few ideas as to why I feel so differently about these two middle-aged poets dabbling in indie-rock, and enacting a teenage dream or two to the accompaniment of some measure of self-deprecation. But I shan't bore you with them right now, partly because they have so much to do with my own teenage dreams, and so could quickly get embarrassing. I just hope that my enthusiasm for The Scaremongers holds up: with Rackett, the journey from distress to indifference was a short one. Indifference is a miserable place to end up. In the meantime, I'm looking forward enormously to the debut LP from Huddersfield's finest!

(Having said all that, I do really enjoy Muldoon's delivery of the lyrics - and the lyrics themsleves - to Rackett's song 'The Sideman' .)

1 comment:

Craig Smith said...

Hi Jon

Thanks for the kind words.
While I'm sure Armitage and I are probably going through individual mid-life crises, and while we know in our hearts we're too old to be doing this kind of thing, we are having a great time doing it and it's a wonderful excuse to team up with each other.
We'd like to think we're making something of which we can be proud, and we're desperately keen not to make anything that could be embarassing. We're working on the theory that Armitage's renown in poetry circles is good for exactly one play in this matter, and after that the listener's patience and attention will understandably be at a premium, and we will live or die on the music itself, which is as it should be. We've got a studio booked for the middle of November to put out another Double A-Side, and I think that's the point people will either lose patience with us - at which time Armitage's reputation takes a serious hit - or decide we're a proper band, regardless of whether they like us or not.
Thanks for writing about us.
Craig Smith
The Scaremongers