I was lucky enough to see Paul Weller in his latest incarnation on Saturday night. His rise in The Jam and longevity in general, as a musician, artist, and taste maker, is well-earned. What I have always loved about the punk movement is the way it broke free of the dynamics of the music industry at that time (1970s), when Colonels and Kings “made” and “broke” bands and sounds by manipulating the public’s perception of what it should listen to by buying airtime and buying off DJs.
Punk was messy, but it was egalitarian, and possessed the patina of sweat and excreta that was undeniably real, and hand made—Wabi-Sabi, if you will. Perhaps Paul Weller and his mates, Malcolm, and Vivienne were the original western practitioners of Wabi Sabi—re-branded as DIY. If so, I am more than happy to follow in their footsteps, knowing that the time, patience, and integrity I try to imbue my art with is real, and not predicated on a marketing genius’ “vision” of what the public wants.
And yes, Paul and the band were wonderful, glorious, messy, sweaty, and had 4 encores, ending, appropriately, “A Town Called Malice,” a thoroughgoing rejection of Thatcherism, which, you may argue, hastened the demise of “old” England and the rise of a more monochrome, disney-fied version we know today.