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Saturday, December 11, 2004

Woe, woe, wah, waah...

Woe, woe, wah, wa-aah,
Rock and roll cain't ne-ver da-aah...

If there's one thing that gets my goat - one thing? kidding, right? - okay, rephrase: amongst the many things that get my goat are celebrities or otherwise who wring their hands about "selling-out", who worry about "keeping it reeeeeaaaaal!", or the self-appointed moral judiciary who accuse them of it. It reeks of phoney on the one hand, small-town reverse-snobbery on the other, and bullshit on both. Wa-wa-feching-waaaa.

Used to work for a company whose travel guy took delight in finagling outrageous deals for gumbies like me who had to travel on company business: especially if we were going someplace new, or at some godawful time of year like right now, close to christmas. Which is how, first time I ever visited Los Angeles, I flew Virgin Upper Class there and back, and lived two weeks at the Ritz-Carlton in Pasadena. And a limo drove me to and from LAX as part of the deal. I was wholly unprepared for this - working-class laddie out of his depth in a foreign land within a foreign land - never flown on a Jumbo before, never been offered a massage on a plane before, never got drunk in the company of old-money ladies who threw parties for the entire hotel staff before. Never even brought a jacket, let alone a tie, so the maitre-d had to fit me up with one before I could eat. I sure felt a little uncomfortable first couple of days, but I quickly got over that. Talk about selling-out your roots? That was me. I loved it. I figured, how often is this going to happen? How likely is it I'll ever find myself here again? It's an adventure, for feck's sake, an escape from everyday torpored reality: probably once-in-a-lifetime, but who the hell wants to say that? Worse, who the hell wants - no, needs - their life to stay the same forever, won't admit of any kind of change? Not me. It doesn't matter what you do, who you are, anything out of the ordinary is a sell-out to someone. Somebody you don't even know.

Bob Dylan "sold-out" one time (first time, surely?) way, way back in the mid-sixties when he played the Newport Festival with an electric band! Oh, my good Gawd, did the arse not fall out of the world over that? Sold out his folksie fans, who demanded he recant, go back to acoustic where he belonged! Jeez, imagine if he'd listened? There'd have never been a Rolling Thunder tour or a Hard Rain? What would they think of Mickey the drummer, who nowadays does cheesy commercials for Paul's Italian Villa? Nobody sells-out like those who make commercials, right? Who knew that cool Billy Crudup can choose his acting roles to suit himself because he makes all his money voicing commercials? Sell-out? Really? What came first? Priceless.

So I don't want to hear it, cringe when I do. If life somehow puts a limo at your door, then sprawl yourself across the back seat and laugh your ass off at the irony, even if it comes back every day. If you're gonna be a rock star, or a blog star, then be a goddamned rock star. Don't moan about selling-out until you're soaked in corporate bribes and changing The Law to suit. Or unless you're the Scottish Rugby Union and you tore-down the terracing and re-built the national stadium, but made the new seats too expensive for us real fans. I'll never forgive them. Sell-out bastards.


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