Black Sheep Boy: Scott (1967), Scott 2 (1968)

[A version of this text appeared in No Regrets: Writings on Scott Walker, edited by Rob Young, London: The Wire, 2012]

Black Sheep Boy

Nina Power

Scott (1967)

Scott 2 (1968)

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What is the opposite of love? Cowardice? Loneliness? Hate? Should music ‘about’ love and its opposite (whatever that is) be lush, excessive, all-consuming, or should it be restrained, hurt, withdrawn? The romantic fascination, or rather the fascination with romance, that reached its zenith in the 1960s with pop’s fixation on the boy band, was effervescent, uncontrollable. Female fandom, although not exactly without historical precursors, revealed the short circuit that exists between culture and desire, visual pleasure and ecstatic forms of identification. The boy band became the focus of myriad modes of projection, bolstered by the groups’ identikit outfits and assumed unities. The Walker Brothers were comprised neither of anyone originally named Walker, nor were they related to one another, but these facts are not important: what mattered was whether the assumed unity could hold, whether there was enough at stake in the game to want to continue playing it.

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[Warning: epically long, includes discussions of mental health and addiction issues, discussion of harmful behaviour, discussion of sex/gender]

I had decided not to respond to the ‘Open Letter’ addressed to me following the youtube stream I participated in with Justin Murphy and DC Miller on 28th Feb (which you can watch here if you want to see 1hr 30 of three people sitting in my office late at night drinking coffee and talking about feminism, free speech and paganism/Catholicism etc.), but I’m still getting messages asking me about it and people are expressing concern for me, both politically and personally, so here goes.

It is tempting in these sorts of situations to opt for a ‘never explain, never apologise’ tactic, to trust that people will make up their own minds, that they will investigate claims, especially anonymous, outlandish and extreme claims, about a person, that they will check the sources, trust their instincts and even if they decide that something has gone wrong, or a mistake has been made, or that a line has been crossed, they will do so on the basis of their own thinking.

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