Fans of rock music have been lazily shoved into some weird categories. For example, we’re all meant to be obsessed with science fiction, wizardry and sorcery.
Or, if you’ve watched Rush’s excellent documentary “Beyond the Lighted Stage,” the band’s own followers proudly proclaim themselves to be geeks.
Well, I’m not a geek and my lack of interest in sci-fi is so pure, I haven’t watched an episode of Doctor Who since I was a kid. Neither have I read Lord Of The Rings or anything else written by JR Tolkien.
But like many fans of the rock genre, I consider myself to be outside the mainstream of entertainment.
I probably stopped listening to Radio One in the mid-80s and preferred The Old Grey Whistle Test, Rock Goes To College and The Tube to Top of the Pops.
I’ve never watched the X-Factor, nor British Talent and apart from following Big Brother in its early years, have kept firmly away from reality TV.
Where I probably differ from a lot of you out there is my antipathy towards stand-up comedians. Or, to be more specific, their audiences.
Don’t get me wrong, I like a laugh and would count Blackadder, The Office, Men Behaving Badly and Fawlty Towers among my favourite programmes of all time.
And whenever I’ve seen Peter Kay interviewed, he strikes me as a thoroughly decent and highly amusing individual.
But stick him on stage, with just a mic for accompaniment – or any other comic for that matter – and I’m totally switched off.
I had the misfortune to watch Live At The Apollo last weekend (serves me right for staying in on a Saturday night!) and the Scouse comedian only had to breathe to illicit mass hysteria from those present.
Why is it audiences have to laugh at every flamin’ sentence uttered by the man on stage as if it’s the funniest thing they’ve ever heard? If a gag is side-splittingly funny, then by all means have a chortle but come on someone saying “I took the dog out for a walk the other day and I don’t know who was walking who,” hardly deserves an outbreak of raucous mirth!
Anyway, while I acknowlege I’m probably in the minority in disliking this 21st century phenomena just as I am in find The King’s Speech hugely soporific, are there common denominators running through the lives of rock fans?
Do all of us drink real ale? How many still espouse the hippy lifestyle? Long hair? Beards? Sandals? Honestly, I haven’t got a clue of the percentages.
At school. I recall it was lads in the top streams who tended to prefer prog rock and metal to punk and pop though by the time I reached Uni, some of the brightest people I’ve ever met swore by The Clash, Ultravox and even bloody Culture Club.
So let’s dismiss any socio-economic conclusions.
Similarly, had Newcastle University 2nd XI football team music was required in the dressing room, pre-match to spur us on, I’m sure Orchestral Manoevres In The Dark, Earth Wind And Fire and Martha and the Muffins would have got as many votes as AC/DC, Led Zeppelin or Bruce Springsteen.
Someone with similar musical tastes to me once claimed that we were more likely to have learnt a musical instrument and be more interested in the finer points of music than others but his argument collapsed completely when Beethoven, Mozart, classical music and its followers were thrown into the mix.
If there is a thread, something that unites us as followers of the rock genre, it is this. We tend to be more devoted, more committed and remain more faithful to the bands of our youth than our pop cousins.
I’m sure any survey would reveal, many of us have kept our LPs and a large proportion of us still visit record shops and buy CDS rather than download our music.
I would imagine we attend more live gigs than is average, buy more music magazines than most and read more literature about our favourite bands than is typical.
And, most of all, we take great pride in the fact we haven’t a clue who last won the X-Factor.