The Keys to the Conveniences
Popsters pitching products is not a new phenomenon. As soon as Homo Erectus began chucking rocks against echoing cave walls, there probably were primitive endorsement deals involved. Brands are a tribal phenomenon and brands are Tribes, but one would hope that art can transcend the same simplest dumb lizard instincts of eat/shit/fuck/follow/breed/buy/die that the tribal impulses are a part of. Maybe its just the dying gothic embers of Romance within me that hopes the Chauvet Caves are not a giant advert for Ooga-Buggas Fermented Deer Scat Party Paste.At least the relationship between pop ploppers and brands is becoming more toxic for both. Well into the naughties there was a working mutual parasite thing going on - Robbie Williams sold more of his product, and people Asked for More Pepsi Max Maybe. Or not. Because the real great admen of even the 50s realised that slebs and endorsements are more powerful than a Plutonium Lava Lamp, and tend to outshine whatever you're shilling. It's as lazy a way for brands to get attention as a gaggle of Viagra powered teenagers waltzing down high street naked, covered in diamonds. And about as good a use of money.It also betrays a lack of confidence and power. If you can be bought, or are buying someone, it is a deep reflection of weakness. One of the greatest works of Post War Modernist Literature that is ignored in favour of far whiter, less interesting fare is Iceberg Slim's epic poem of self hatred and deluded macho powerlessness, Pimp. Ignore the inevitably crass covers and silly introductions by Irvine Welsh or other exploiters, and eat it up.Both parties are damaged in this transaction of desperation. Neil Young sang This Note's For You and the likes of Apple spend less than nothing on sleb and sports endorsements - why dilute their brands? While in until recently you could sort of get away with it, in our digital age a real artist or even smart plastic popette is more interested in their own name and fans than a quick cheque from a brand in need of some fast publicity.The most egregious example this weak is BlackBerry's announcement of Alicia Keys as some kind of "Creative Director". Somehow one suspects that a faded mall r an b croonista married to some oaf calling himself "Swizz Beatz" (which sounds like a urinal cake brand), who once opined that gangsta rap is some kind of CIA sponsored race conspiracy, is not exactly Dieter Rams when it comes to design.What the tardy Canadian gadgeteers thought they would get out of this pretty but vacant examplar of the Pretentious Mainstream is unclear. Even the gutta press ended up confused at the link. The sad remains of Polaroid, just a rentable brand name you can licence to put on anything from embarrassing "digital photo frames" to weak ass batteries and Xbox cleaning wipes, appointed Lady Gagbag as a Creative Director a couple years back. This is a rare case where one half of the parasitic relationship overwhelmed the other to the point of full irrelevance.In the end, anyone that does not play or create just for you is just an ad scheme more insulting and dumb than a blow up doll made of chewing gum and dog spit. Reject and resist with all your might, or else just a shrug.And shrugging is one reaction that would be a totally irrational response to our bumper new in this Saturday.We've got a fat stash of Rock/Alt Rock/Jazz/FreeJazz!/HipHop/Soul and more. And here's some detail:Chico Freeman, Art Blakey, Albert Ayler, David Murray, Ornette Coleman, Tony Williams, Lester Bowie, Funkadelic, Randy Brown, Betty Davis, Esther Philips, Skyy, Herbie Mann, Shirley Brown, Lurkers, Ruts, Lee Hazlewood, John Cale, Gallon Drunk, Stereolab, Sly & Robbie Taxi, Mighty Diamonds, Nicodemus, Misty in Roots, Matumbi, Black Uhuru. And as always, much mucho more. See you there.