Bp just keeps on serving it up. Last night we went to see Frenchies Jack of Heart (bestockinged frontman, marvellous) and The Magnetix (knackered, falling over, wonderful) play on a boat on the Danube, tethered under the Erzsébet híd. The word on the street is – natch – all in Hungarian, so our gig intelligence was rather less sophisticated: a poster on the toilet door at Joe’s favourite bar.

Joe’s notes the innate suitability of the Frenchies and garage here, and I think he’s dead on. Garage rock French-style replaces US-UK blokishness with a playful element of high camp. As a teenager, flummoxed by the ineffability of taste, I leant heavily on the descriptors masculine and feminine to explain why I like, say, Blur over Oasis and I think this kind of gendering, crude as it is, still stands.

The gig also QED’d the thoughts on music and cultural difference (a pretty grand title for thoughts liberally sprinkled over beer at Szimpla, but nonetheless) we’ve been having during our time here. The reason for the inexorability of the UK pop industry overseas is only partially Anglophone pop imperialism; it must also be something to do with how UK pop introjects British culture’s self consciousness and fashions it into irony or longing or scathing, with examples too obvious to illustrate.

Oh, okay, like him here (any excuse):


Anyway, teenagers from Paris and Kiev and Florence and Johannesburg and Osaka &c &c &c are all sweet on UK pop exports because they’re drawn to those elements, that worldview, that are being pubescently produced in them but aren’t so readily available from pop at home in cultures that aren’t eternally afflicted with the awkward dance. I think that’s why Brits abroad find European pop (obvious shite – Sash!, The Finger Song – aside) such a shocker: it’s done straight, there’s something missing. And Brits simonising their own weirdness, well, that’s not a British trait at all, is it?

Jack of Heart and The Magnetix are currently on what looks like a thoroughly gruelling European tour. You can catch them in Belgrade tonight or follow pictorally here. A bazillion props to organisers RNR 666 – my first gig in Budapest was utterly marvellous.

Author: jenniferhodgson

Writer, editor, researcher

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