Post 46: Iggy Pop on Edward Gibbon

Iggy Pop has recently been presenting a show on BBC Radio 6. He’s actually been doing this for a few months now, but I listen to the radio so little nowadays that I’ve only noticed this week. He’s got a very eclectic taste in music (in a good way) and his shows are well worth listening to. The most recent at time of writing – “Here Come The Germans” – has a great mix of classic krautrock like La Dusseldorf, more recent stuff like Rammstein and older tunes from Bertolt Brecht. There’s even some Wagner in there. They can be found, on the BBC website at http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b03yblbx. He is also soon to deliver the John Peel Lecture

Anyway … I also happened to stumble upon a short piece of writing by Iggy on the importance of Edward Gibbon to his life and outlook. It’s short and pretty succinct, but well worth spending thirty seconds or so reading. The point that particularly resonated with me was number 2:

“I learn much about the way our society really works, because the system-origins – military, religious, political, colonial, agricultural, financial – are all there to be scrutinized in their infancy. I have gained perspective.”

It’s one of the things I enjoy most about history (not just Rome, but it does stand out as shining examples of this), the way one can see the modern world built up on what had been before – slowly adding complexity, correcting the mistakes, often making more mistakes in the process. As well as his show on BBC, Iggy is soon to deliver John Peel Lecture on the concept of free music in a capitalist society. I’m not sure if he’ll take much from Gibbon on that one, but I am sure that it’ll be an interesting talk nonetheless.

I’ll leave this post with his final comment: one that would be a good tagline for a history blog,

“I urge anyone who wants life on earth to really come alive for them to enjoy the beautiful ancestral ancient world.”

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Post 43: Rip It Up and Start Again by Simon Reynolds

Post Punk 1978-1984

Does this count as history? I was born shortly after this book finishes, so I’m inclined to go with ‘yes’ on that. And as another blog on wordpress says If It Happened Yesterday, It’s History. Simon Reynolds, previously the author of Energy Flash (a history of Rave) and the inventor of the term Post-Rock, takes us on a fast and very entertaining trip through new music from the first stirrings of Public Image Limited in the late seventies to the downfall of Frankie Goes To Hollywood in the mid eighties.

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Post 39: How Jamaica Conquered The World

On first sight, How Jamaica Conquered The World did not sound particularly promising. No offence to Jamaica, but I’d never had any real interest in their history. It’s to podcaster Roifield Brown’s credit then that he has managed to make such a fascinating and unique podcast that it can win over skeptics like me.

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Post 30: Land Observations – The Grand Tour

I’ve been unsure for a while whether to post on Land Observations or not. It’s certainly history related but it wasn’t obvious what I could really add about it when some of my favourite music writers (and the artist himself) have already covered the topic so well. I also feel a bit pretentious and amateurish writing about music, though I’m sure everyone starts out that way. There’s a huge amount of music writing out there: some good, some not so good. In my opinion, some of the best music journalism in recent years has come from the website The Quietus, and it is there that I first read about and heard Land Observations. Funnily enough, it’s also there that inspired me to finally write this post – having just saw an article on their new album (linked at the bottom of this post).

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