Key word in his writeup is Tumult, also Serendipity, "unexpected stuff you were unlikely to find side-by-side anywhere else on such a scale." My word would be Encounter, and my question would be, "Encounter what?" On the three panels I've heard from the streams, I thought that (the so-far-unread-by-me) Paul Morley was especially slamming. Defended the Pistols' and the Damned's sartorial showbiz tendencies by saying they were the types — as opposed to bloated '70s superstars — who were actually embodying the glamorous cape of Little Richard (I think it was fellow panelist Barney Hoskyns' sneering at the Clash's cut-offs that moved Morley to rise in defense of the secret glamour of the boy punks). Looking at my sketchy notes, I see Morley saying that the writing then was ideological life or death, believed it could be experimental, that it represented extraordinary times. He repeated the word “Momentum." I get the image of a gigantic boulder rumbling from past to future, a rolling body of work "that you can try to copy or distort or change into something else."
You might ask, how is that different from what we've got now every day on the Internet? The answer could be, "It isn't," but maybe there was a smarter tumult then, and in any event it would've had its own flavors of surprise and so might surprise you — or is likely to surprise me, anyway, given that sitting here in America I never really absorbed these people in depth (Simon Frith being the major exception). I'll say sourly that my current rockwrite/musicwrite world has become adept at sidestepping the Encounter, and sure doesn't feel like Momentum, or a tumult of experiment. And U.S. rockcrit has always sucked at follow-through, from the early '60s get-go. My understanding is that these are going to be all new essays (sprinkled through with conference excerpts), from people old as me who will be new to me nonetheless. We'll see what I encounter, if hidden in the prose is a cape of glamour.
(In the meantime, any suggestions as to where to start with Morley?)
I AM ALL OF IT, I HAVE WRITTEN A BOOK MYSELF, I AM A WRITER.
*Lots of it was streamed, and I've just checked and the streams still flow. I've linked them here, where I commented on the commentary, too.