Category Archives: rock music

Rock ‘music’ is nihilistic and savage

It is not from snobbery that Dalrymple dislikes Western rock ‘music’. As he points out, he likes popular music from many other parts of the world,

most of which strikes me as less intrinsically savage, less nihilistic and uncivilised, more refined in emotion and attitude towards the world, than Anglo-American rock ‘music’.

Popular ‘music’ in the West seems to Dalrymple

the one genre in which sentimentality is not only acceptable, but positively beneficial.

Rock ‘music’ is a cultural disaster

It was as if Dalrymple had gone round Pakistan impugning the character of the Prophet

Rock ‘music’, writes Dalrymple,

is the nearest to being sacrosanct of anything that we now have in the Western world. If you suggest that its ubiquity is anything less than a cultural triumph—that, on the contrary, it is a cultural disaster—you will soon be the object of execration the like of which you will never have experienced.

He reflects that he once wrote an article for literary magazine in which he made the point that

a rock ‘concert’ is like a fascist rally of libertinism.

This was too transgressive for the magazine, whose staff threatened to resign en masse if the article appeared. Dalrymple had touched a raw nerve. He observes:

The eagerness of young people to abandon their individuality at rock ‘concerts’ by uniting themselves in an hysterical quasi-communion with thousands of others, making gestures not very different from fascist salutes in response to a carefully staged event, brings Nuremberg inevitably to mind. I have always detested (and feared) such manifestations of individual submission to mass conduct, whether it be in football crowds, political rallies, prayers in unison or rock ‘concerts’. It is the voluntary abrogation of human freedom and therefore of responsibility; it is the beginning, though not the end, of brutality.

Disgusted of Bridgnorth

screen-shot-2016-12-24-at-09-30-40Everywhere must be Streatham

The problem with freedom in Britain, writes Dalrymple, is that

once people exercise it, execrable taste becomes predominant and civilisation suffers.

Strolling outside the National Gallery, Dalrymple has to

run the gauntlet of the English at play. Not a single one dressed with self-respect. They chewed the gum with which the paving stones were mottled. Several had set up loudspeakers, down which they relayed their attempt at rock music. They obviously dreamed of celebrity, that ambition of the talentless. Most looked unwashed, raddled by drugs and malnutrition. What a cacophony, a descent into a circle of Hell!

Must, he asks,

freedom and equality mean that everywhere is reduced to the aesthetic level of Streatham? Is it fascist not to want to be aesthetically and auditorily disgusted everywhere?

Flughafen Gatwick: Gott helfe mir!

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A man’s got to eat

Hier esse ich, ich kann nicht anders

Dalrymple passes through Gatwick Airport, which, he explains,

is just south of London, and is the place from which the enormously fat people of that area start out on their summer holidays.

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Early-morning repast

Different rock music

comes at you from every angle, jangling your nerves. If we must have inescapable sound, I should much prefer it to be the speeches of Kim Il-sung because they are easier to screen out of one’s ears. Announcements of special offers for fragrances exclusive to Gatwick compete with requests that passenger X go to gate 539 to join his flight to some fishing-village-on-the-Mediterranean–turned–giant-nightclub-and-drug-distribution-centre.

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Preferable to rock-music drivel

The only silent people are

the behemoths of South London grazing on their early-morning hamburgers. If Luther were alive today and a South Londoner, he would pin not ‘Here I stand, I can do no other’ to the doors of the Wittenberg Schlosskirche but ‘Here I eat, I can do no other.’

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Torturous compulsory rock music

Dalrymple writes:

If someone were to tell me that, for the rest of my life, I could listen only to rock music, I should pray for a swift death.

The dictatorship of libertinism

Screen Shot 2016-01-02 at 17.34.55The life’s work of Ian ‘Lemmy’ Kilmister, who has died aged 70, was, writes Dalrymple,

a phænomenon of sociological and social-psychological significance, at least in the Western world.

Lemmy was to the end a rebellious adolescent, emerging as

a senile rebel who could never bear to leave his adolescence behind, proud of his degeneracy unto death. In this, he was an authentic representative of modern psychological development: a short period of precocity followed by a long one of arrested development.

Lemmy is quoted as saying:

I founded the filthiest rock group in the world.

There is in these words, says Dalrymple,

an undoubted tone of self-congratulation. He had done something not just filthy, but superlatively filthy, and therefore, according to his own inverted scale of values, outstandingly meritorious.

Lemmy once said:

If one day we come to live near you, that will be the end of your lawn.

In other words,

ugliness will be my beauty, and furthermore I will impose it on you.

Interviewed once in a place where smoking was prohibited, Lemmy is quoted as saying:

I’ll need another reason not to smoke than that it’s forbidden.

Thus

he was the sole authority as to when, where, and whether to smoke. Others counted for nothing.

When, writes Dalrymple,

one acts a part for long enough, it ceases to be a mere act and one becomes what one pretends to be. The result of careers such as Mr Kilmister’s is to encourage a culture or subculture, almost unique in my experience, lacking all beauty, value, virtue, charm, or refinement. Its apotheosis would be the dictatorship of libertinism in which personal whim would play the part of the supposed word of God.

Suppression of rock music in public places

Screen Shot 2015-12-03 at 07.55.25Such a step, writes Dalrymple,

while very tempting, is not the solution. What is required is the elevation of public taste.

This, he says, with characteristic understatement,

might take some time.

When Dalrymple suggested that the prison where he works

Screen Shot 2015-12-03 at 07.47.07should echo to the sound of Gregorian chant,

the prison officers

thought it was a joke.

Rock music, Dalrymple points out,

exerts a brutalising effect, and if it is not the sole cause of many of the unpleasantnesses of modern life, it aggravates them.

It has become

insidiously pervasive in our urban environment. It is like a poisonous gas that a malign authority pumps into our atmosphere, whose doleful effect, and probably purpose, is to destroy our capacity to converse, to concentrate, to reflect. It agitates us, keeps us constantly on the move, makes us impulsive and lacking in judgement.

Sadly, resistance has been feeble.

Defenders and advocates of high culture have been diffident about their claims, and reluctant to resist the relentless advance of a debased popular culture.

Dalrymple, honorary president of the Society for the Suppression of Rock Music, is pessimistic, saying that despite the best of intentions, the society will have

the same practical effect as the Society for the Suppression of Vice, namely nil.

The Society for the Suppression of Humbug

T.H. Jones, The Reign of Humbug (1825)

T.H. Jones, The Reign of Humbug (1825)

Dalrymple is honorary president of the newly formed organisation, which he conceived and which has won the backing of large numbers of right-thinking people. He notes, however, that despite the very best of intentions, the SSH‘s prospects do not appear especially bright in view of certain historical precedents he points to, for instance the

evident failure in the early 19th century of the Society for the Suppression of Vice, vice having prospered ever since.

Another movement spearheaded by Dalrymple, the SSRM (Society for the Suppression of Rock Music) has not, it must be said, had much success either.

These people are savages

Screen Shot 2015-07-25 at 01.17.16That is what a Martian would conclude, writes Dalrymple, if he were to descend to Earth and were to find himself in the British Isles, and were then played British popular music.

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Dalrymple Public and Reserve Gardens Regulations

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The Dalrympian Eden

The following are strictly prohibited in the gardens:

  • chewing-gum
  • canned drinks
  • jeans
  • basketball
  • skateboards
  • baseball caps*
  • tattoos
  • piercings
  • pasteurised cheese
  • coffee in plastic containers
  • the wearing of suits without ties
  • televisual apparatus, however portable or compact
  • mobile-telephonic apparatus, or any kind of associated prosthesis
  • littering
  • burqa (except for young Englishwomen on Friday and Saturday nights; they will not be admitted to the gardens unless clad in one — the garment has certain advantages)
  • celebrity magazines
  • audible use of the word chair for chairman
  • conversations about association football
  • headphones (the tish-ter-tish that emanates from the user’s supposedly private little world is highly irritating)
  • conversations about the Olympic Games
  • ‘rock’ or other forms of popular so-called music, also the nodding of heads in time to the ‘music’ in the manner of the fatuous nodding dogs in the back windows of cars
  • eating, especially the consumption of ‘fast food’

Thank you for your co-operation.

* Baseball caps, Dalrymple points out, ‘have the effect of making the intelligent look average and the average moronic. Can anyone look intelligent or dignified in a baseball cap?’ They are ‘inelegant at best and hideous at worst’. People wear them in restaurants, ‘which is uncouth and crass, and is a habit that I would like to see suppressed with the full vigour of the law.’