Tuesday, August 19, 2008


E’s definition of a ‘ponce‘: “A posh, effeminate man; one who prances about; a silly, self important individual; one who wears frills and pantaloons; eyeliner boys; modern day minstrels; unicorn fanciers.”

So I’m riding to work the other day and “Jolly Roger” by Adam Ant comes on the old ipod, a song I haven’t heard since the early 80’s. It’s a modern post-punk sea shanty of a song and about halfway through I found myself cringing and the hairs on the back on my neck standing straight up.

God, did I really used to listen to this? Yes, I have to admit I did. And, by God, I probably even sung along with it with conviction and vigor, the windows rolled down and the song blasting from my 1983 Chevy Bel-Aire for every one to hear it’s wretchedness. Looking back I may as well have shouted “Hey everyone, look at me! I’m a gay pirate!” at the top of my lungs. No wonder I went date-less that year.

Now don’t get me wrong, I still like a lot of the early Adam And The Ants stuff. They released some really decent pop songs during their short existence. But Jolly Roger is just the very definition of “Ponce-Rock”. Even though it was probably done with tongue firmly planted in cheek it’s still an awful song.

Marc Bolan is another one. Before he released Electric Warrior, Marc Bolan and his merry crew of cohorts were cosmic pixie-elves and wrote and performed songs that were about as fey as they come. One need only gaze upon the titles of his first four albums to understand this truism: “My People Were Fair And Had Sky In Their Hair…But Now They’re Content To Wear Stars” from 1968; “Prophets, Seers and Sages The Angels Of The Ages”, also from 1968; 1969’s “Unicorn”, and “A Beard Of Stars” from 1970. He was able to turn things around, musically speaking, but his lyrics would continue in this cosmic vein until his death in 1977.

Ponce-rock is making a bit of a comeback these days with folks like Devendra Banhart proudly carrying the torch, but I’ve bashed poor DB enough as of late, and he’s too easy a target anyway. One can only hope that his devoted followers will eventually wash the glitter out of their beards, wipe off their half moon water soluble tattoos and come to the realization that there are better artists to invest their time in than a silly man with a badly tuned acoustic guitar wearing eyeliner and a gold lame strapless gown.

Oops, I said I wouldn’t pick on him, didn’t I?

See what I did?

I said I wouldn’t but I did it anyway!

Oh well…

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