Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Plastic Sheet Blues (or how I learnt to stop worrying and love the hair-straighteners).

Question from Brendy Robb on Tumblr. (Tumblr Reblog).

Hey guys, hope you’re having a nice long weekend.
Just listening to “back 2 skool” at work and realised that one of the lines is “who pissed on a girl on the back of the tour bus?”
What’s the story behind it?
This was sent via web form from your Bandzoogle site
Hey man!

A few years back there was a big did he / didn’t he kerfuffle about Oli Sykes from Bring Me The Horizon and their crew ALLEGEDLY pissing on a girl in the tourbus and / or hitting her with a bottle. I think it turned out he didn’t actually do it at all. The whole story was doing the rounds on the internet and it became very tawdry. There were people who clearly had no idea what had happened weighing in and bitching about it. It was just very unseemly. On Punktastic.com in the forums and I remember at the time thinking that this was about as far removed from what attracted to me about punk as I’d ever witnessed. One example of these wonderful pieces of prose is HERE.

People have mentioned to me that they perceive this line as a ‘diss’ to BMTH. I’m sorry it seems like that because that band is very good and have done some great stuff for British heavy rock and also been instrumental in helping loads of bands. I have no problem with them, and I really enjoyed Suicide Season and it’s companion remix album. The line wasn’t about them, so much as the mentality of the tabloid-style speculation on ‘piss-gate’ and the whole circus around it. Back in 2007 things were happening in punk and rock in the UK that I was finding hard to accept; a move away from the lefty ideals I loved like equality, DIY and the punk gigs being ‘safe spaces’ to a vibe more reminiscent psuedo right-wing of ‘rock n roll’ of the 80s. I loved Gallows, but I hated the way the magazines portrayed them covered in fake blood, like that was what signified punk. Maybe I was sore because bands like Five Knuckle, Capdown, Freaks Union and the bands I loved from the years before basically didn’t look quite enough like what the music magazines wanted a punk band to look like. And I saw it happening and there was a clear shift in fanbase and the emergence of a new crowd of younger kids that really didn’t give two squirts of piss for the aspects of punk rock that I loved. To me punk rock was about not giving a shit about who was the prom queen, who was in FHM that month and who was the hardest lad like at school. Not repackaging it all with added tattoos and piercings. All the endearing things about the culture of punk rock to me had just been ignored. That’s what the song’s about and to me, it fitted in with the whole imagery of the album… city-centre rock clubs full of selfish, boorish, preening little peacocks who don’t care about anything but themselves.

I remember SB6 playing this party in London and backstage was this young hardcore ‘crew’ doing coke and calling each other ‘nigga’ and I was like ‘is this what this music has become?’ Us and YM@6 were kept very busy trying to avoid them and I said ‘it’s like being back at school’ and the idea for the song was born.
And, while writing the song, this little episode of people squabbling online about whether or not Oli had pissed on this girl (who ended up looking like a fool too when all the conjecture was over) was just another ‘what the fuck am I doing here?’ moments. What has this music turned into when we’re arguing about this?

I guess over the last few years I’ve come to accept that things move on and it’s all rock n roll at the end of the day. I’m probably not as precious as I was then. The good bands from that time are still together and doing great things and the UK’s rock scene has had a massive shot in the arm from the success of those bands. The lyrics to ‘Back 2 Skool’ still stand up though I think, you only have to go to one of the trendier rock festivals of the last few years to feel that ‘school’ vibe… the cocks of the walk with the prettiest girls on their arms sneering at everyone who hasn’t got the right trainers, the smell of greasy chips in the air and the dim threat of violence ready to go off at any given moment.

"Back 2 Skool"

Who is the kid with the coolest trainers on?
Who’s getting ripped cos they got the label wrong?
Who said that he said that she was a slag
because she kissed with the boy on the bike and tongues’ll wag?
Who’s keeping up with the kid that got the tag?

I’m waiting for the bell again.
Well but you’re not it, yeah but you want it, tick and you got it.
Running to keep up again.
Well but you’re not it, yeah but you want it, tick and you got it.
Catch them once.

Now I’m singing the sound of all these songs upon the radio,
and now I’m laughing aloud at how the kids can be so cruel
and now I’m stifling down my screams
and shattered dreams to make the team,
I guess I’m back at school.

Who read the part of the picture book
where they swear they don’t care what you wear or how you look?
Down in the playground they’re dressed like lady muck.
Who pissed on the girl in the back of the tour bus?
Back in the disco they sing to the chorus!

It’s gonna be a party, what you gonna wear?
Everyone’ll be there, life just isn’t fair.

Sent out with the boys and the girls in the big wide world
and well I took a look and found my way underground.
And soon I knew you never leave the playground.
Catch them once. Catch them twice.
Catch them three times. Never gonna get them in the end.