Saturday, January 23, 2016

Prog On!

I can't remember when I resolved not to buy any magazine, no matter how attractive, unless I'd completely finished the issue of the particular publication I might have previously purchased, but I'm very glad indeed I had the good sense to do so. The result has been a reduction in the number of said publications about the place (or, rather, places, counting Maison KL) and, more significantly, the annihilation of the debilitating guilt I used to experience at not having read what I should and accumulating impossible amounts to have to read in the future. I felt no pressure at all to read the October 2015 issue of Prog magazine (the one with the image of Peter Gabriel's 'melted' face on the cover, from the third solo album) despite having it lying around since the November of last year, and found myself thoroughly enjoying a very relaxed perusal yesterday and today, which took in the whole thing, cover to cover.

Prog is the only magazine devoted to music I read with any regularity these days. There's an abundance of music related material available on-line covering all sorts of genres such that it's really unnecessary to buy anything in hard copy at all, but I feel a curious kind of loyalty to the much-abused genre covered in the pages of Prog, and it's fascinating to pick up on the remarkable range of current practitioners amongst a younger demographic than one might have thought likely. It also hosts one two good writers, such as the estimable Sid Smith of Crimso-related fame, and ex-snooker luminary Steve Davis (believe it or not!.)

But having said that, most of the writing featured manifests the usual faults of music-related journalism. Almost every writer is keen to sound clever; almost every writer employs over-inflated language and imagery; almost every writer seems to think it obligatory to make comparisons to other bands you've never heard of, or place music within genres that don't mean much to the likes of me. What is 'post-rock' anyway? The curious thing is that I don't find this as irritating as I once used to, but have come almost to relish the niceties of it all. As long as some real enthusiasm shines through and you get at least a sense of the sort of thing that someone's busy creating (for precious little reward, as far as I can see) what does it matter?

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