Behind the Lines

When one posts a Phil Collins video, one is on shaky ground. However, music from your childhood sticks in your memory like week-old pesto to a fridge wall. And this is a day to scrape off some of that green gunk.

My clueless 13 year-old self received a double album on cassette (Face Value/Hello, I Must be Going) as a birthday present, and not knowing any better, I decided I quite liked it.

I soon learned to keep such opinions to myself: and to day, this double cassette remains the only Collins in my collection. I soon found other monstrosities to obsess over (who remembers Arrested Development?).

And I still think my favourite Phil Collins song is this one: it features the horns from Earth Wind and Fire, and is really a Genesis song, so there.

David Mitchell on Buying Stuff…

David Mitchell is one of the funniest people in Britain today – and very smart with it. His TV projects (Peep Show, Mitchell and Webb) and his now-established role as default panellist for radio and TV panel games (HIGNFY, News Quiz, Would I Lie to You?) have helped to build a comic persona very English in its essentials: self-concious and awkward, but possessing a logic of argument that never fails to reveal the absurdity of whatever he’s dealing with.

Generally, Mitchell’s Observer column is just funny: occasionally it contains some much deeper insights. This week, his column describes why his records collection contains just two titles (Phil Collins But Seriously… and Susan Boyle‘s new album), and he posits a piercing summation of why we buy things:

These purchases… aren’t about taste, they’re about identity. We flatter ourselves that we buy things based on our judgment of quality and price, but that’s a secondary factor. Fundamentally we buy the sort of things that feel appropriate, based on the class we come from, the groups we aspire to be part of, or the opinions we find attractive.

Our purchases are tribal, neo-religious signifiers.

And, for those who haven’t seen it, possibly the best Mitchell and Webb sketch, ever, which deals with tribal signifiers in its own way. (Warning: contains Nazis):