Tuesday, March 29, 2011

J’aime Bruce Springsteen

It is 1989 and I am at school. Our French teacher – a real French Mademoiselle, with all that entails (worshipped resentfully by the boys, loathed by the girls) – requires us to say, en français, the name of our favourite act from the world of le musique pop.

So far every single member of the class has repeated the same phrase : “J’aime INXS.” I have watched them all say it, one by one, with growing disbelief. They cannot all ‘aime’ INXS, surely? What I am witnessing, I begin to realise, is the true ovine cowardice of modishness. I will come swiftly to despise it. Later, I will also come to despise kneejerk anti-modishness – i.e. the rejection of cultural items simply because they happen to be a la mode - which is itself a pose and a form of modishness.

When Mlle points to me, I declare that J’aime Bruce Springsteen. This is the simple truth, yet it is greeted with cruel sniggers from the INXS ‘fans’. I am not humiliated. From that moment, I swore loyalty to The Boss, by which I mean, I swore loyalty to myself. Ayn Rand would have been proud. Now I am a Daddy and I don’t need to be cool and my daughter sings “Woah woah woah woah Badlands!” from her car seat. I turn approvingly. “Let’s go,” I say, as I join the main road. “It’s a town full of losers and we’re pulling out of here to win….”


The Spine said...

When I was at school, it was considered the height of naff to like Bruce Springsteen. Thankfully, I never did like Springsteen to I avoided any mocking.

Oddly enough, now that I'm older and wiser, I still think it's the height of naff to like Bruce Springsteen, though if I'm drunk enough, I might admit to have enjoyed the Seeger Sessions. But that's about it...

Brit said...

I recently concluded (yesterday in fact) that 'Backstreets' is the best song ever made.

He comes and goes, naff and trendwise, as all those with longevity must: Dylan, Bowie, Morrissey etc. The general pattern is that the nadir was in the 80s, but The Boss definitely had his in the early 90s before Ghost of Tom Joad.

I suppose the thing you've got to look at is: where is Springsteen now? Headlining Glasto. Where is Michael Hutchence? Not even a cool death.

worm said...

have zero interest in Bruce Springsteen the man, but 'born to run' is definately one of the greatest pop songs ever I reckon (whether you like it or not, it's a high octane mix of all the correct ingredients)

Banished To A Pompous Land said...

I have forwarded to my wife who will no doubt approve of Brit juniors reaction.

Banished Jr is more of a Morrisey fan, although he also has a soft spot for more obscure Elvis Costello numbers, singing Hoover Factory lustilly from the back seat.

Banished To A Pompous Land said...

From Mrs Banished (who isnt banished at all but is a native) I quote

"Nice article..shi**y comments after… Springsteen is ALWAYS the height of cool and someone needs to tell WORM that Born in the USA is not even CLOSE to Springsteen’s best song.. cretin!"

Sorry Worm but it seems BRUUUUUUUUUUCE provokes some strong emotions. I've never understood it myself.

Brit said...

Quite right, Mrs Banished. To be fair to Worm he did say "Born to Run"... but yes, only the uninitiated think one of the 'Born's is the Boss's best.

The Spine said...

'Shi**y comments'?

I'm beginning to think I didn't go far enough.

How about this: Springsteen is for men who like to wear redneck shirts and torn jeans whilst clenching an oily rag clenched their buttocks whilst choking a 'bud' as they pick out something soft and luxurious from the latest IKEA catalogue.

I think that's my problem with him. He tries to be blue collar but I'm never convinced by it.

Brit said...

Does that describe Mrs Banished, do you think?

He was blue collar. But of course this post is not about the Boss, it's about not worrying about people saying things like that.

Banished To A Pompous Land said...

So it was Brit, so it was.

But BROOOOCE seems to have that effect on people.

If only Mademoiselle had asked "Nommez votre arrangeur préféré de fleur?" or what ever 'whos your fave flower arranger?' is en français.

David said...

I have two comments.

First comment.

The screen door slams
Mary's dress waves
Like a vision she dances across the porch
As the radio plays.

David said...

Second comment.

There's a famous story about Billy Joel singing along to the car radio, and his daughter going, "Daaaaad. Stop it."

David said...

That is all.

Brit said...

David - I'll see your Thunder Road and raise you a Backstreets, which begins One soft infested summer me and Terry become friends and includes the following in the middle:

...Sometimes it seemed you could hear the whole damn city crying,
Blame it on the lies that killed us,
Blame it on the truth that ran us down,
You can blame it all on me, Terry, it don't matter to me now,
Wen the breakdown hit at midnight there was nothing left to say,
But I hated him and I hated you when you went away.

Top that!

Susan said...

Back in the day, we were only allowed to 'aime' French stars - like Johnny Hallyday or Jacques Higelin.

Both now rather ancient, Higelin has the most beautifully aged face, whereas Hallyday has gone down the plastic route and looks like a Vulcan.

worm said...

Somebody out there thinks my favourite song is 'Born in The USA'.

Brit said...

I know I don't need to point this out to discerning readers of TofE, but 'Born in the USA' is not a tubthumping jingoistic anthem, as is widely believed by ignoramuses, but a searing indictment of the treatment of Vietnam veterans.

With a rockin' tune.

David said...

Yeah, Born in the USA is a good reminder of how little the lyrics matter in pop.