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It’s not rubbish – it’s just you don’t like it

March 30, 2010

I posted this on The Word Magazine blog enraged at people (as we used to say in local newspapers) ‘slamming’ The Clash’s ‘London Calling’ and Captain Beefheart’s Trout Mask Replica’. I love the first and don’t care for the latter but respect most equally for their enduring appeal to people.
I now think that most attacks on popular canonical works in most art forms are almost pointless. Re-appraisals, particularly by those who don’t like them, tend to be sarcastic, catty and nit picking where simply the words: ‘I don’t like it,’ would suffice.
I stand by the core of this post: just because you don’t like it doesn’t make it shit.

‘Amid the welter of re-appraisals of classic albums as ‘not very good’ or ‘total abortions’ that have become de riguer around these parts in recent days, I was reminded by something the oul fella said to me nearly 25 years ago.
As he was praising Ralph McTell to hilt in a bid to get me to expand my horizons from whatever narrow passing indie trend I was into at time, he was met with a volley of abuse about the Tickle on the Tum hitmaker.
His reply was perfect: “Just because you don’t like it doesn’t mean it’s rubbish.” And, much though I hated to agree with him then as now, he was right.
On any scale of success, either sales or critical/ fan approval, ‘London Calling’ and ‘Trout Mask Replica’ among others, are great albums. They live beyond their times because they have an enduring appeal which allows them to transcend the contemporary.
Just because you don’t care for them doesn’t make them bad.
And anyway, the reappraisal of the ‘canon’ in any art form almost inevitably leads to diametrically opposed verdicts than those originally given. And, it’s almost always pointless posturing.’

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