Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Seven Ages of Self-Serving Bullshit

The BBC receives wraps for the quality of its programs, many of them very worthy and authoritative. Here comes a kick in the arse.

Australian TV is currently screening a BBC production, “The Seven Ages of Rock”, chronicling the history of rock and roll over the past 50 years. Chief researcher and a frequent on-screen commentator is British writer Charles Shaar-Murray, who does know a thing about the subject, and it’s fleshed out with a generous number of interviews with principals. Unlike a recent documentary exploding so-called myths around the Rolling Stones that aired here recently, it features actual music from the bands it mentions. It’s also infuriatingly shallow and obsessed with the British take on things.

Yes, the Brits took rock and roll from the Americans and sent it back to them for a good part of the ‘60s and ‘70s, but if they’ve foisted this sack of shit onto the same market they deserve to be nuked. Any claim to balance are contextual correctness is laughable. The first episode covered the birth of rock and roll, and while I’m no mop top fan it was implausible that the Beatles wouldn’t rate a mention in connection with the British Invasion.

Did African Americans have anything to do with rock and roll’s origins via the blues? Evidently not. Inexplicably, it was also like Elvis Presley had never existed. Am I missing something?

NY punk is solely under-represented in any British exploration of punk’s beginnings on both sides of the Atlantic and while I carry no torch for the un-killable dinosaur that is Heavy Metal, how in Jimmy Page’s name can you plough through an entire episode devoted to that genre without the name Led Zeppelin cropping up? Effusive talking head Shaar-Murray went to ground for that program - and who could blame him?

From the cursory choice of opening theme music (The Damned's "New Rose" gets a look-in - the band does not) to the smug and self-satisfied summation at the end of each episode, The Seven Ages is a crock.


Earl said...

Agreed. I rarely watch such shows, tho I made a point of watching the punk episode. A bizarre lack of context and it annoys me that we cut to CSM or Jon Savage in the midst of a clip - Sex Pistols on Granada TV, f'rinstance, never seen that before, why can't we see the whole clip and get a voiceover or cornerbox?

smauge said...

I watched the punk episode too. I'm still waiting for the Saints to get mentioned...

Bruce said...

I don't know anyone who didn't watch and I don't know anyone who wasn't frothing at the mouth with rage at the omissions.