When I was a teenager, and visiting Scotland, my friend Stuart and I dissected the remains of Industrial and postwar Scotland as it appeared around Bathgate. We dug through old paperwork in a broken farmhouse, climbed stairs that hadn't seend feet in 20 years and destroyed (through misadventure) a wall that had been built before Churchill had walked on the planet. We had our hands in the guts of living and dead history. You'd have thought I was going to be an anthropologist or archaeologist of some stripe the way I immersed myself in the past. Arms deep as it were.
We squatted in those fields and with our rough tribe of peers we listened to music and some of us got high and drunk in the remains of the British Empire. Not the grand houses or castles, but the forgotten entrails of industrial estates and disused farms.
I watched kids lose themselves in what may have been the former grounds of their Grandfather's employer. They didn't see the irony of their idle decay among the decay of their country. They faced a future of service jobs and had no idea that the only thing that they would ever produce in Britain again was culture. This was before the REAL worldwide rise of Brit Pop in the 90s. These guys are Mothers and Fathers now, last I heard Stuart was a surfer. Still exploring the reaches of the British Empire.
Now you ask yourself, what does this have to do with Music?
Well, British Music exists solely as a reflection of the Music that has come before, all Music in Britain is measured by it's predecessor. This is true in the case of "Kasabian" as it is in the case of "The Beatles". All British culture is just "how is this better than this other thing that came before", which is probably an outgrowth of the fact that the British isles are filled to the brim with the remains of the past. One can hardly walk in one direction for more than an hour without stumbling over some piece of history older than the houses on your block.
It's no wonder the kids squat in fields filled with relics, it's fairly unavoidable.
I haven't been home in over a decade, I don't know if those fields are gone or developed. I apparently left Scotland for the last time just before a huge development boom, when the people were still hard and the CCTV cameras hadn't overpopulated the towns. So I don't know how things are now, maybe they have cleaned up the Past and moved on.
It's just a story after all.
Originally posted on nitemayr.vox.com