fah diddly qua quaaargh!

I’m writing about Adam and the Ants all week, at Hendrik’s excellent One Week One Band tumblr — a pleasure and an honour. I won’t quite say this is really actually what I became a music-writer to undertake, delayed by 30 years, except surely this is what I became a music-writer to undertake, and I only had to wait 30 years to find a way.

8 thoughts on “fah diddly qua quaaargh!”

  1. The sense I got, sifting through the shifting sands of Antanalysis this week, is that Adam’s place in Punk history (odd as it may seem to refer to Punk as history) had been largely overlooked by me, until now. Pre-TOTP Adam is fascinating, perhaps more fascinating than than the man with the huge dressing up chest. What was overlooked was the painful downfall and coming to terms with bipolar disorder, long before Stephen Fry could take ownership of it ie. make a documentary about it. Adam’s euphoric, manic highs and crushing lows were played out in gossip columns by an unsympathetic press. The vanity-as-manifesto Imperial Phase made the downfall seem terribly tragic, and perhaps would have clouded the issues you raised regarding politics, the tribal fandoms of the early ’80s and the divisions within the rockcrit sphere. All of these issues have the potential for a series of discussions that unpick the threads of that richly patterned cloak which obscured what that decade really represented. What I was getting a sense of, behind all that you had written this week, was you laying down some markers, as you navigated the labyrinth, perhaps so that you could find a way out. Adam was the conduit for the things that you really wanted to discuss. Given the choice I’ll wager this could have been One Month One Band, and each new entry could have been the most scientific, forensic, microscopic dissection of a Decade since the latter volumes of Churchill’s biography, with Mr S. Goddard esq as our very own Winston, (back to bipolar disorder again). Anyway, back to the sense I got, that there is potential for a fascinating book in there. I enjoyed this week immensely.

  2. I’ve loved this. It occurs to me that Tom Vague is in the story you’re telling (Dorset Ants zine (kindasorta) > one of the most visible / accessible sources of situ-chatter to people like me in the mid-80s) or maybe has the story happen to him?

    Just a thought.

    1. Thx both, delighted you enjoyed it.

      SL: yr right, SG’s condition is the one thing I should have discussed, if only in passing, that I didn’t. I had indeed planned to, and had some notes — they’d have kicked in when I discussed the word “symptom”, which you can see being set up: the politico-cultural usage vs the medical usage, if you like. Time caught up with me, that discussion was put in ice, and at the close, in the flurry of “things I forgot” I forgot to remember to mention this thing I forgot, which was stupid. Because it’s important, as you say. (Though probably also a topic NOT to be taken entirely on the fly… )

      Hi Tim: yes, TV is probably seriously important, come to think of it. If I did do an actual-real book based on all this, I would certainly seek out all that material. (I have a little of it.) A book would contain more goth than you can shake a stake at, though, oh Finder-General, or am I wrong?

      1. You’re right that the book (write the book!) would have a lot of goth in it. There is, however no quantity of goth so large that I could not shake a stick at it.

  3. This weeks posts have been a pleasure to read. I’ve always thought that some of the qualities that Adam channeled were re-imagined /appropriated/stolen by Prince – who played London at the height of Ant-mania. The regency outfits and preening performed ‘sexuality’ appeared in the Controversy/1999/Purple Rain era, for example.

  4. I have just gorged on this in one sitting and feel a bit swimmy now (although that might be the lemsip), but as a tiny tiny antperson in ’81 he was definitely the first Proper Popstar for me.

    Seeing him live in June was a very odd experience, mainly due to how amazingly weird so many of the Actual Top Ten Hits were/are and how slightly broken he (still) seemed, bless his white sox…

    But YES! Write more like this!

  5. The first time I’ve seen your writing in a ‘roughly formed’ way. Don’t take that as a diss, I really enjoyed it and hope to leads to other avenues of enquiry and further inroads into what you’ve talked about – great to see you attach the ants to questions of copyright, African pop, and make it about you so much, and as much, as the music.

    Have you seen ‘The Leopard’ btw – again, like ‘Cinderella’ it has a terrific ball as its centrepiece but more of “one class replacing another yet nothing basically changing”, which is that film’s central theme (it may also be “Cinderella’s” central theme, must check on this).

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