Going by his prominence at the BBC, and the time and space afforded to him by the broadsheets, it’s a fair argument that John Harris is now the leading music critic in the UK. This is a curious rise without trace, as there isn’t a single person in this planet who holds his opinions on music in any affection. Indeed, most heads classify him down either as “that gobshite responsible for Noelrock” or “your man who have the first 5/5 review Q Magazine had done in a decade to a Semisonic album”. And it wasn’t even the one with “Closing Time
No, his fame is linked to his extra-curricular activities: writing big-ass books about late 90s zeitgeists, showing his Moomin features on Newsnight Review, acting as weedcarrier for the practical left of the Labour Party. It’s a very 21st century style of importance, importance gained via celebrity rather than actions. John Harris is effectively the first music academic borne for the reality TV generation. Unfortunately, his writing is less “Victorious business strategy in The Apprentice season finale” and more “Pissed skank vomiting down her bikini top on Rock of Love”.
He’s written a piece for the BBC website
. Just to clarify: that means that if you’re in the UK right now and pay a television licence, you have employed John Harris to write about “the golden age of infinite music”. I’d rather he came round to bleed my radiators and sort out my broken wardrobe rail, but whatever.
The real point here is that Harris has written a thousand word piece that doesn’t have any insight, analysis, or conclusion. The article runs as follows:
• Generic opening statement
• Strawman building
• PERSONAL ANECDOTE
• PERSONAL ANECDOTE
• Generic closing statement
• Invoice enclosed
For such a vague piece, though, there’s so many problems. John Harris is 40-years-old, and has made a full-time living from writing about music since 1991. Why has he not heard “Metal Machine Music” in that time? Why is his knowledge of music that, again, he has been paid a good wage for 18 years to build up, easily lapped up by a 16-year-old boy, regardless of whether or not Hype Machine has changed anything? When were this mystical far off days when it was really hard to find Smiths and Pavement and Funkadelic albums in stores? Were there really not kids earnestly exploring every single Dinosaur Jr release back in 1992? Has Chain With No Name been wiped from history?
Seriously, Harris: stop writing and stick to consoling The Groke
. Bitch is getting lonely out there.