Letter: Talking 'bout his generation

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The Independent Online
Sir: Middle-class, middle-aged, opinionated tosh is the only way to describe Bryan Appleyard's 'Comics in a sterile landscape' (15 December), which masquerades as an intellectual critique on Newman and Baddiel and modern youth culture in general.

Newman and Baddiel are undeniably successful comedians. For whatever reason, they make millions of people laugh. This is the point of comedians. They may not be 'classic' and their success may well be short-lived, but they are funny. To say that everything they do is funny would, however, be untrue. Like most sketch shows, there is a good deal of hit and miss, although the same can be said of many comedy classics, including Monty Python's Flying Circus.

The main thrust of Mr Appleyard's article is the derision of modern youth culture as worthless. It is evidently his belief that the youth culture of the Sixties and early Seventies was uniquely important - which no doubt it was, and is, to him and those of his generation. To support this he cites Bob Dylan as a 'fully accredited genius'. According to whom? Certainly not to any youth culture since. Most likely according to the generation to which Dylan was important, now grown up into critics who are given space to air their out-dated opinions.

Mr Appleyard also implies the importance of the Rolling Stones, seemingly only as a result of their ability to be 'still around'. This is only as a result of their original audience being still around and having grown old with them. The Rolling Stones have been profoundly unimportant to any subsequent youth culture other than as part of an amalgam of influences which the Stones themselves were part of, drawing as they did from black American rhythm and blues.

Mr Appleyard makes the mistake of believing that the culture so important to him in his youth and such an essential part of his own and his peers' personal make- up is as important to subsequent generations, if not more so. This illustrates once again that the generation gap does still exist and the majority of people still cling to the music and culture of their youth in the mistaken belief that it is far more important than anything before or since.

The increasing commercialisation of culture is, however, a worrying aspect of modern entertainment, which sells pre-packaged, sanitised 'products' for the sake of one thing only - profit. This is not to say that the underground has ceased to exist. It is alive and well and freely available to those who can be bothered to look.

Yours faithfully,

STUART DAVIES

West Langton, Leicestershire

15 December

(Photograph omitted)

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