What did awful people do before the internet? Robin Williams’ daughter, Zelda, has written this on her Instagram account:
I will be leaving this account for a but while I heal and decide if I'll be deleting it or not. In this difficult time, please try to be respectful of the accounts of myself, my family and my friends. Mining our accounts for photos of dad, or judging me on the number of them is cruel and unnecessary.
The question is whether the Internet created these people by providing anonymity and celebrating a lulz culture, or whether they always existed but had nothing to do with the curdled thoughts that rattled around their empty heads. Perhaps both. Doesn’t matter. It makes you want a separate internet just for the decent.
There's a Gawker story about the matter, but, well, it's a bit difficult to see a Gawker site getting het up over trolls. Better to read her own words, here.
AD OF THE DAY This is a nice restorative pick-you-up: a TV dad who’s not a stupid oaf!
MUSIC There was a schism, and it was deep, and two camps faced each other across the great divide:
In any case, Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s The Sex Pistols came out two days after my 11th birthday and that confusion ended. Instantly. If you were all “punk rock,” then you had no time for progrock bands. You hated them. They were all totally unredeemably bleep. (All of them, except for maybe King Crimson. Robert Fripp, now he was cool.)
Perhaps if you were eleven they were bleep. (Note: "bleep" not in the original.) Sure, progressive rock was reviled by the punks, but it was reviled by everyone who liked other genres. The only thing anyone could agree on was that progrock was a bloated corpse of a dinosaur in a tar pit on a planet with 10X gravity, and oh by the way jazz-rock was worse. (Phil Collins, the drummer for Genesis, brought the Force into balance by drumming for a progressive jazz-rock group, but that’s another story.)
That’s where “New Wave” came in. Same idea - strip it down, tighten it up, and for heaven’s sake dump the strings. Squeeze, Elvis Costello, Nick Lowe, dozens more. The work holds up. Sid Vicious does not.
Anyway. New Wave influenced prog-rock, in a way; when BeBop Deluxe came out with “Drastic Plastic” in 1979, you could tell that Bill Nelson had decided less is more, and went for a stripped-down, straight-ahead sound. No more vast overlaid guitar symphonies. The very idea of the Heroic Guitar Solo seemed outdated.
This was the stuff in the margins. The main attraction on the radio was still latter-period disco and California studio rock. Punk and New Wave were co-opted and watered down soon enough - the Romantic’s “What I Like About You” was clean and fresh, but it was as much of a Kinks-era throwback as a New Wave template; the Kings’ awful “Switchin’ to Glide” was a signal that the popular version of New Wave was going to be confuse “simplicity” with stupidity. Add Loverboy, and the rise of Hair Metal ensured that bro-friendly head-bobbing RAWK was going to rule, not smart nervy works by good songwriters.
(Note: in the mid-80s, the radio stations played “Everybody’s Working for the Weekend” at 5 PM on Friday, and yes, I turned it up to 11.)
ANYWAY. In the comments for the article - which is about learning to appreciate progressive rock, by the way - there’s the proggiest comment ever:
I was never vocally opposed to prog back then, but I never particularly liked Yes, something about Jon Anderson's vocals annoyed me. Other than Crimson I tended to like non-UK prog bands: Magma, Goblin, Zappa (face it, he was 'prog': what other rock band was stealing from Stravinsky in 1967?) Arguably even Can was prog, since two members studied with Stockhausen.
Yeah, and it showed. Magma! Good Lord, Magma? They sang in an invented language about some incomprehensible sci-fi story. If they’d been big and mainstream, the inevitable response wouldn’t have been Punk, boiling up from the clubs. It would have been disco. Because it was fun and had one objective: happy dancing.
Nothing since then has been about happy dancing, but that’s another rambling entry.