Saturday, September 16, 2006

Stiff Competition

Last night I watched most of a programme about Stiff records on BBC3 (or was it 4?). What struck me was how much talent there was on the label and how it was all about the music rather than the image. Yes the image was important, but the image meant something entirely different then to what it does now. Musicians were in it because they wanted to (and were driven to) make music and the image was secondary to that. And far from the modern music image which is all about sculpted body shapes and having a stylist choose your outfits for you. The image for bands in the eighties was about individuality, often it was slightly rumpled, geeky, grungy - but that was to show that what meant most to them was the music.

Half of those artists that were signed to Stiff would probably not get a sniff of a record contract now because they would not be deemed as being attractive enough. What a loss that would have been - Elvis Costello, Ian Dury, Graham Parker to name but a few. Yes 70s and 80s fashions were terrible but what always strikes me is how ordinary some of the musicians looked, and girls like Bananarama who seemed glamorous then would be dubbed fat by todays standards. Even Madonnas early years have been dubbed her chubby period. What is the world coming to? Yes we are an overweight society but isn't that compounded by teens being expected to live up to airbrushed unrealistic goals whilst being fed supersized portions of food and drink at every turn?

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