I was going to rant on about Rupert Murdoch and his control of the UK media and how his influence is a stain on modern society, but then I realised it had already been covered in this great article by Henry Porter and Will Hutton in the Guardian.
Therefore I thounght I would blog on something else close to my heart which is music and especially that of a grunge/experimental genre. Before anyone mentions it, I don’t just like plaid shirts and cardigans looking like something dragged out the cupboard of Kurt Cobain, the truth is I love the music with a passion.
So I was delighted when recently had the pleasure of being introduced to a new band called BackSeat HeartBeats, the bassist Gemma played a gig for me in a previous rip roaring grunge band, so I was expecting great things and this band really delivers them. The BackSeat HeartBeats throw me into a world of Kevin Shields, in a guitar battle with Thurston Moore with both competing to come out on top in each song, it almost feel like a Jedi sword fight between guitar heroes. The undercurrents of Hints of Jesus Mary Chain flow through the songs, giving them a great melody before you are hit with broadside of distortion and string bending highly reminiscent of Sonic Youth circa Sister. The vocals rarely rise above the pounding guitars although this is no band thing; they carry a hint of mystery and danger which fits perfectly with their sound. In my opinion this is a band for anyone who wants a ride on the experimental grunge express the problem is you may not want to get off.
Personally I am aboard the BackSeat Heatbeat express with my ticket in hand, a flannel shirt, a slightly dodgy haircut and another recession on the horizon, feels like 1989, except for the fact I am not 5 years old.
The BackSeat HeartBeats have a fabulous new website and are playing dates in London during the next few weeks, make sure you go and check them out.
I was intrigued to read the Guardian’s piece on ‘why young people get a bad press’ the reasons are fairly clear in my eyes. We live in a culture where scandal sells, sex sells, violence sells, sad facts but true. To report a young person doing something negative is the easy option and one many journalists take. For an example just look at the bestselling book ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’ a great book but it has all of the above mentioned qualities in abundance.
In his Guardian article Ally Fogg rightly points out people like to reinforce their pre held cognitive biases. Nothing re-affirms this better than the yearly debacle of A-level and GCSE announcements.
Year on year results are improving, instead of congratulating the students, teachers, the record investment in education by the Labour government and young people understanding the value of academic application at the young age. Yet we too often hear people jumping on the, it was easier in my day bandwagon. One of my favourite headlines was the GCSE results are now worthless as a measure of a school’s success. I am sure a young person reading this would feel their 11 years hard work in the education system was worth it.
I am lucky to be a trustee for the Young Achievers Trust a great charity that recognises the outstanding impact young people have on their community. The young people who get nominated for to receive one of our awards I believe represent most young people in the UK. The 99% campaign recently launched to tackle negative stereotyping of young people shows that under 1% of people under 20 in London are involved with crime.
So the next time you see a bunch of young people acting in a negative way, remember they are the minority. Think about the young people you know personally and how they conduct their lives. I reckon you could in for a pleasant surprise.