A Country For Old Men

Share on facebook

I would say that on the whole, me and Mr S (the guitarist from my group), see eye-to-eye on most matters: we have a fairly similar political outlook, we share similar views on society and also religion. However, of late we’ve had a number of discussions on music and specifically musicians that I perceive as living off past glories and all of a sudden, a note of discord is struck within our overall harmonious relationship.


I’m fully aware that most people will disagree with me on this, but I’m starting to see the Polish music scene as a kind of retirement home for bands and musicians that have said all they had to say but simply refuse to ‘take a bow’. Mr S is of the opinion that once a musician has achieved a certain position in ‘the industry’, it is only natural for them to capitalise on their success, continuing to sell CDs, concerts and merchandising as these areas of course represent their major source of income. I’m not criticising the fact that bands are still active (if they feel that they still have something to say, something to contribute then that’s ok), however, how many of them really do actually have something to say both lyrically and musically? I also have the impression that the Marylas and Munieks are more often than not treated with cotton gloves by the media, rather than seeing their recent output slammed for being both plodding and derivative, they are held up as symbols of a golden age in music rather than symbols of precisely what is preventing Poland from achieving another future golden age. Much like in certain societies where grandparents are shown respect and reverence, irrespective of whether they are a kind-hearted soul or a bigoted xenophobe whereas the youth have to accept their inferior position in the family’s pecking order, such is the case in the Polish music industry.

But of course, maybe this is what the masses want at the moment - heroes of days when they were young and effervescent producing moribund soundtracks of now, my only question is: how can Poland as a country really strive to develop itself culturally when the soundtrack of now is a 1980s revival? It’s no wonder to me that young Poles choose not to “buy Polish” as Polish music still hasn’t woken itself from it’s 1980s dream. Of course the Cockers, Knopflers and – let’s be honest - most Polish artists should not be thrown onto the scrap heap, however if people are really interested in cultural development, the media and record labels alike should refrain from giving them the preferential and deferential treatment that they have so far enjoyed. Of course, the ‘survivors’ could follow the example of Ingmar Bergman - believing that he had said all he had to say in his films he chose not to become a parody of himself and just walked away from filmmaking. Maybe some Polish artists ought to consider doing likewise, I certainly would.