I wish I could find a clip of this live performance I heard last night on the radio. It was called Not Happy by the punk band The Black Sheep, but was a live performance for the Beeb, so you’ll have to make do with some words.
It is an odd thing that though I missed punk when it was happening, I seem to be enjoying it more as I understand the DIY fervour that drove it. Or maybe it’s just a refreshing change from much of the bland pop mush that is around now.
Anyhow, the song amounted to a lot of noise, with the title shouted over it. At first it seemed really ordinary, but then the drumming became more frantic, all sorts of odd noises appeared, and a few other band members joined in mumbling or shouting the words.
At the end of it, the audience was divided, really really divided: about half seemed to be threatening to stop listening t o 6 music, the rest wanted to hear more. I surprised myself at how it made me smile to the point where I was almost laughing out loud. I loved it. The fact that they seemed to be having so much fun, messing about like kids while shouting two simple words. Words that should have made me annoyed or… or whatever, but I found it really joyful.
It reminded me of something I saw in a park some years ago, with a mature woman pushing a pushchair with a pre-school girl skipping alongside her, chanting ‘I love you granny, I love you granny’ over and over, in different pitches, at different speeds, with the woman clearly worn out, replying, ‘I know dear, yes dear’ and so on.
The little girl was experimenting with speech but to her put upon gran, it was just hard work, but the child was in such high spirits she couldn’t tell her off.
Since I can’t share Black Sheep with you, here’s the genius that is still John Lydon nee Rotten, with PIL, Rise:
Who else would use old women beating carpets as a source of percussion? Brilliant!