Paul Morley

I wrote this just after reading P-A-U-L M-O-R-L-E-Y ‘s book in P.B. (pre-blog) 2003:
P
P is for pop. It’s also for poseur, pretentious and prat – all titles Paul Morley would hold his hand up to and be proud of.
A
A is for alternative music and ambient. It’s also for alphabet. ABC is good for writer’s block. A is for Autobahn which is German for motorway as well as a long playing record by a German robotic electronic rock band called Kraftwerk who in Morley’s (but not my) opinion changed the face of pop/rock forever.
U
U is for underground music and the universe. This is a book that refers in part to both of these U’s.
L
L is for lists. Lots of lists. This book is a list. “Music is a list of sounds and rhythms”. List makes up the first four letters of the word listen. L is also for Lucier. Alvin to his friends. Composer, if that is the right word, of the experimental voice recording ‘I am sitting in a room’ . L is for la la la la la la la la which is the key refrain to ‘Can’t get you out of my head’ by Kylie Minogue.
M
M is for memory. Because Morley cannot exactly remember if he has actually heard ‘I am sitting in a room’ by Alvin Lucier. As Brian Eno said of John Cage’s 4’33 of silence: “you don’t really need to hear it, you just need to know that somebody thought of it”. M is for music obviously and this is a book about music by a critic who loves alternative, underground music as much as he loves pop. M is for Minogue, Kylie to her friends and fans and for Morley the essence of pop. With ‘Can’t get you out of my head’ she produced a comeback and fame “even bigger and shapelier than the original fame”. Metal machine music is another favourite – Kraftwerk before Reed. M is for minimalism.
O
O is for obsessive because to say Paul Morley loves music is too weak. He obsesses. He obsesses at length – 359 pages to be precise.
R
R is for robots. R is for repetition. R is for repetition. Robots might dance to Kraftwerk. Kraftwerk might be robots. They may be rock stars. They may be driving in a supercool car in front of Kylie heading towards pop in the shape of a city
L
L is for more lists.
E
E is for electronic music. E is for Eno who is not a musician but who makes electronic music. He probably also makes lots of lists.
Y
Y for yes which a positive way to finish this particular list which is vaguely about a positive and occasionally witty occasionally frustrating occasionally tedious book which sets out to be and largely succeeds in being a new way to perceive what it is about music that makes the male of the species in particular become all obsessive and precious enough to want to list all the things he loves about it. Y is also for the second letter of Kylie who was once a female soap star and now a brand who prompted Paul Morley to come out of retirement as perhaps the greatest rock writer ever (in his opinion but not mine). Y is for young – which only comes once in a lifetime

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