Paul Morley Reviews The Next Big Thing

Written by Dr Jon

Saturday, 23 July 2011

image for Paul Morley Reviews The Next Big Thing
So many records, just the one Paul Morley.

It is morning. Escalating terrace of blank cloud. I put on the CD.

How many times have I done this?

How many times have my thoughts, in my head, run as a backdrop to the music that I listen to?

Is my life a Godard film, soundtracked by the sounds I have heard since I started listening to music, me, in the grim 70's?

If I could hold myself up, and look at my own thoughts, would I think more or less of them? I, me, my thoughts?

A voice breaks the mood.

"Jesus Christ Paul, you've burnt the sodding toast, again." My wife.

"You are a waste of fucking skin, you really are."

An office, a chair, a thin young man. I am interviewing him. I am talking to him. My interview with him is happening.

So many times before, I have spoken questions to them, and they have listened, and I have formed thoughts, and my thoughts have appeared on paper, and airwaves, and, increasingly, the television, which I do a lot. More than people think. But perhaps not enough. For me.

My thoughts and my questions, framing the events, and me, speaking them, talking. Being there, with my ideas and my experiences.

Pause. Movement. My attention sought.

"Are you all right, Mr Morley?" He searches my face, looking for an answer, waiting for me to speak. As Lydon did, as Marr did, as Squires?

"It's just you've just been sat staring at your own reflection in that window for thirty minutes and I don't know if you realise we're still here."

A gig, industrial grinding of soundcheck, wanton sound and crowd.

I've been to them all, I see myself standing, remember myself thinking, my reactions. I think of myself, me, at those gigs, which I was at, talking. Talking of what I know, of what I've seen, what I know in myself.

The music of 40 years, but it is me, I who am there always, standing in the music as myself, my reactions as events unfold, informing me of who I am, what I think?

An enquiry.

"Are you actually going to order a drink or what?"

He is a barman.

"Only there is a bit of a queue building up, cocker."

"And I think you might be in the wrong place. This is a Yate's Wine Lodge, and that over there is Karaoke night."

I am typing, my words moving down the screen as my thoughts that I have in my head are moving up, concrete to stillness, a monotype of logographs.

My words have formed the pictures, framed the music. Or is it I, through my words, who am the story, my presence, my knowing, telling the story of all, my meaning, where I was, where I am, where I will be?

The telephone is ringing. An editor.

"Paul, the review" he has seen my words, known my work, I have communicated, he has seen. "like we discussed before, can you at least try to put in the name of the band, the name of the album and whether you fucking liked it or not? Jesus."

Click. Terse respect, not to damage the stillness of my contemplation.


Me. I, myself, me. Me myself and I. My way, my town, I did it my way. Stand by me, me and Bobby McGhee.

Knowing me, knowing you.


Number 98,262 in a series that will go on for ever.

The story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

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