REAL LIFE ROCK TOP TEN

A MONTHLY COLUMN

by Greil Marcus

(1) Frank Fairfield, “Darling Corey” / “I’ve Always Been a Rambler” (Tompkins Square 7" / myspace.com/frankfairfield). A young Californian who sings and plays as someone who’s crawled out of the Virginia mountains carrying familiar songs that in his hands sound forgotten: broken lines, a dissonant drone, the fiddle or the banjo all percussion, every rising moment louder than the one before it.

(2) There’ll Always Be an England: Sex Pistols Live from Brixton Academy with The Knowledge of London: A Sex Pistols Psychogeography, directed by Julien Temple (Rhino/Freemantle DVD). At the show, from 2007, there seems to be almost as much footage of the audience as of the band, and what’s odd, if you’ve been anywhere recently where fame is on the stage, is that you see almost no one holding up a cell-phone camera, taking a picture of an event instead of living it out, even if a thirtieth-anniversary show is a picture of another show before it is anything else. Instead, people are shouting, jumping up and down, shoving, and most of all singing their heads off. Johnny Rotten, Steve Jones, Paul Cook, and Glen Matlock (“You’re a lucky cunt,” Rotten says near the end, “because this is the best band in the world”) find moments they might not have found before. The old British tourist song “Beside the Seaside” is sung in full as a lead-in to “Holidays in the Sun”; in the fiercest passages of “God Save the Queen” and “Bodies” a true dada vortex opens up as words lose their meanings and seem capable of generating entirely new ones.

We hope you enjoy this excerpt.

To read the full piece, please visit our store to purchase a copy of the magazine.

Greil Marcus is currently the Winton Chair Fellow at the University of Minnesota.

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