So there was no great exploitation of “situationism” over the Jubilee weekend then, or certainly nothing that captured my attention (aside from the advertised notion that the Queen, like so many of the rest of us, eats Mexican).
It doesn’t seem like 35 years since the Sex Pistols “revolutionised” pop music to me. It is not that it feels like a shorter time span. It is more that it feels like that revolution in pop never happened. It certainly didn’t stick. The return to middle of the road pop was almost instant. I was discussing the subject with my resident music expert, and he pointed out that it was so much simpler to make an immediate impact in media terms in those days. One appearance on the Today show with Bill Grundy could catapult you to instant proper fame/notoriety.
Nowadays there is still the instant route to mass fandom via X Factor for packaged pop, but the non-mainstream has much less opportunity to get mass exposure easily. We are less easily shocked perhaps than in the 1970s, but also and more crucially, we are all watching different stuff, and barely keeping our attention on one thing for more than about 5 minutes before we move on. (Speaking of 20th century icons, Wharhol couldn’t have been more right with his prediction of 15 minutes of Fame for everyone).
Bands and Brands suffer the same dilemma – to become famous and loved by enough people to drive business success is harder than ever before. It is media planners I would contend who have access to the understanding of data and of consumers and of media channels to create the journey to success.
The torturous path to public attention now means that some artists who write songs which could be huge hits don’t get to have huge hits because not enough people get to hear them. For example here’s Ed Harcourt’s Church of No Religion. Have a listen to this. My resident pop expert tells me that, if ColdPlay had released it, it would have been number one in 38 countries. See if you agree.