Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Obscene and Disgusting, 1919 style

As I set out to research 125 years of popular music history, from 1890 to 2015, one thing quickly became apparent. New kinds of pop, and the behaviour they induce, are always greeted by parents, politicians and other adults as the most disgusting exhibition since . . . well, since the last one.

To demonstrate the point: in December 1918, a London pantomime production incorporated a freshly written song called 'Stick Around for the New Jazz Band'. It included the line: 'All the time we wine and dine, hear that new jazz band, it's fine'. The Daily Mirror described this couplet as 'emphatically vicious', because it would encourage young children to imagine that they wanted to drink alcohol.

A few weeks later, no less a personage than the Archbishop of Paris was appalled to discover that - so soon after the end of the Great War - the pleasure-seeking young people of Paris were meeting in public places to dance to jazz music. Worse still, the dances in which they were indulging were 'foreign'. The Archbishop complained that they 'so violate good taste and modesty, that no Christian man or woman can conscientiously indulge in them'.

And there was much worse to come in the years ahead . . .

No comments:

Post a Comment