Gratuitous Snob Gags

I don't hate acoustic guitars. I just hate putting any appreciable effort into my banner pics.

Look: it’s time I just came right out and admitted it. I’ve tried to deny it for far too long, and to be honest, it’s getting to be a pain. Because whenever I’m out for drinks with friends, it feels like I’m living a lie – pretending to be something I’m not. It’s wearing on me, and I need to lift this weight off my shoulders. It’s time for me to stand up, tall and proud, punch the air with the enthusiasm of an American sports fan who just saw the nachos guy walking in his direction, and proclaim to the world, without a hint of shame, that, yes: I am a snob. And I don’t care if you hate me for it. I now know how it feels to be a Frasier Crane-esque wine connoisseur, as your demanding standards come to be bugbear; a thorn in your side, precluding you from gleaning enjoyment from the same simple pleasures as everyone else. I am, in my own special way, a martyr. A goddamn martyr.

You see, I’ve had enough. Between the global storm of hysteric, hyperbolic hypochondria surrounding Bird Flu, Swine Flu, Beaver Flu and BloodsHawk Fever, we somehow ignored the symptoms of “Guitar Guy In The Bar”  (GGiB) fever until it was too late. You all know the kind, even if you’re not aware of it: the cheery, likable 20-something year old guy in the corner of every bar you’re likely to set foot in on a Friday or Saturday night. He’s probably got some designer facial hair, and artfully toussled hair. Pristine acoustic guitar in his arms, he’ll affect a friendly demeanour, and play through every song the people in the casually-listening audience want to hear in the background as they drink themselves stupid. He’s a popular guy.

And he’s an utter twat.

Yeah, like this c**t.

I’ll make no bones about it: I like my music to be – or least contain some trace of – art. It’s why groups like Westlife and, I dunno, whatever the modern day equivalent of Atomic Kitten is, make me want to rip my own neck apart, tear out my carotid artery, and use it to strangle Louis Walsh until his stupid pudgy face explodes in a shower of tears and surgically-tightened skin. It’s the same reason I can listen to stuff like Marc Ribot and the Anunnaki without writing them off as needlessly obtuse, pretentious nonsense: because there’s an effort to create something substantial and unique underneath the weird noises.

This is why GGiB whips up a fury inside my delicate body. His four or five chords serve no purpose other than to fill the otherwise empty heads of most of the revellers present.  He doesn’t try to express himself, nor does he particularly try to impress others. There’s no attempt at creating anything worthwhile when he plays guitar and sings his pop songs. In fact, beyond attempting to create worthwhile music of his own, he doesn’t even seem to play particularly inspired or creative music – just whatever is either chart-worthy, or chant-worthy, neither of which comes as particularly high praise in my book. As long as he can get a few dozen drunken kids singing “Mr. Brightside” with him, he seems to feel fulfilled. He’s a glorified jukebox.

No, scratch that. He’s a downgrade from a jukebox: at least a jukebox would have the decency not to homogenise every song into a meaningless lump of strummy-chummy indie-pop. He’s a glorified Auto-tune machine, mercilessly cutting and murdering songs until they fit his remit of jangling chords and warbled words. He’s the kind of monster that would take “Everybody’s Talkin'” and turn it into a happy song. (He probably isn’t even aware that it’s a Fred Neil song, rather than Harry Nilsson.) It’s almost like he makes a concerted effort to strip each song of any hint of individuality, until he’s left playing the exact same song again and again with different lyrics. Except he’s not playing it for laughs – at least, not intentionally.

GGiB is a disease coursing through the body of modern music, killing the brain, the heart, the soul of the industry. I think of 1970’s California, or 1990’s Seattle, and the creativity that must have been coursing out of every corner bar on every street, in every city, in every county. Imagine walking into a bar and seeing a young Neil Young, or Tom Waits; Andy Wood before he died, or Chris Cornell back when he had functioning brain. And now think about the last GGiB you saw, with his Killers and Kings of Leon covers, and his hideous attempts at authenticity courtesy of some fashionable folk songs, all sung in the exact same tone. It’s not music – it’s background noise.

Go buy these. It's how bar-room music can be AMAZING.

Okay, I know I’m in the minority here – that’s why I’m the snob, and most other people are the proles. Most people go to bars to get drunk and stuff – the GGiB is just there to fill whatever silence remains behind the white noise of bar-room chatter. That he doesn’t play anything especially challenging – to himself, or to his audience – might even be considered a good thing by many. Some might even go so far as to say that I’m being a horrible stick-in-the-mud, and I should just enjoy singing along to some mildly entertaining Ocean Colour Scene song from 1996. But this is handily solved by the fact that I’m completely right about this: Guitar Guy in the Bar is evil, and eradicating him from our shores will improve everyone’s lives by 900%.

Next on my list of futile rants: why cheese shouldn’t exist.

Burn in hell, lactose Lucifer!


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