Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Scene That Celebrates Itself

In the good old days (aka pre-Pitchfork) the music press was the home for the neologistic. Bored NME, Melody Maker, Record Mirror (and especially) Sounds hacks would listen to the godawful six records that had been sent them that week and give the scene a new name. Dance music probably destroyed the scene-makers, as it reinvented (or at least renamed) itself so often that you'd have 2-steppers and hyperdubbers never even crossing the floor to say hello, never mind dancing to the tinily bit different records that self-defined them. Best of all those silly made up scene names was The Scene That Celebrates Itself, which was basically a way of taking the p*** out of the po-faced.

I'm more than pleased that such bored journalistic name calling has found its way into the literary firmament, and post-blog awards, post-something else, the self proclaimed Beatoff Generation (Hashtag, natch, #beatoff) has coalesced around Common bar in the Northern Quarter, and other (un)seemly drinking establishments. (Yes, The Castle, I mean you.) A new wave of blog-writers who are not sure if what they write if fiction, or friction (nod there to Joe Stretch), and with the ADD attention span of a wire-haired teen high on vodka redbull cocktails, the #beatoff writers are not so much a scene as a movement. They are not so much a movement as a scene. Such is the complexity. Bloggers (Fat Roland, Lady Levenshulme, Words N Fixtures, Who the Fudge is Benjamin Fudge?), online zine editors (330 Words, B&N Magazine). In years to come people may (or may not) say, "Hmmm, never heard of them," or "whose round is it?" but for now hail the new revolutionaries, the hashtag heretics, the irreverent sons and daughters of Bez, Ren and Stimpy and Black Books, I give you the...#beatoff generation. Much more information from scenester Fat Roland is here.

(And next time you invent a drunken literary movement , make sure it's a night when I'm out!)

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