The Jam Generation

Dass Pop in GB wichtiger ist als anderswo, beweist aufs Neue der Begriff „Jam Generation“. In Deutschland steht ein Auto für eine maßgebliche Altersgruppe (Generation Golf), in Großbritannien eine Band.
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Die Jam Generation, benannt nach Paul Wellers Band, fasst die Generation Anfang 40 zusammen, darunter einige junge Politiker, die jetzt an die Macht drängen: Oppositionsführer David Cameron von den Tories, Liberalen-Chef Nick Clegg oder Außenminister David Miliband, Labours Hoffnungsträger.
Ich dränge zwar nicht an die Macht, bin aber auch lieber Jam als Golf – und kann sogar entsprechende Inititiationserlebnisse anführen: meine ersten Reisen nach England in den frühen Achtzigern, als The Jam in den Charts waren. Das Town Twinning, die Städtepartnerschaft zwischen meiner idyllischen Heimatstadt Oberhausen und dem ebenso pittoresken Middlesbrough, erlaubte mir damals zwei Besuche in Nordengland. Hier der Erfahrungsbericht mit Jam-Bezug, Ausschnitt eines Essays, der bald in einem Sammelband über englische Identität erscheint („Imagined Nation. England after Britain“, herausgegeben von Mark Perryman):

„England was the land of football, ‘Das Mutterland des Fußballs’ as the Germans say, avoiding the more familiar term ‘ Vaterland’ (Fatherland) in this particular case. But for me, England was also the motherland of pop. When Manuel, the Spanish waiter in Fawlty Towers, says: ‘I speak English well, I learned it from a book’, then I add: ‘and I learned it from pop songs.’ I taped them from the radio on my cassette player – one of my favourite stations being British Forces Broadcasting Service – and tried to make sense of the lyrics even before I went to grammar school at the age of ten to learn proper English. And I wrote down the titles in the idiosyncratic Pop Pidgin spelling that I and my cousin Michael had developed. ‘Stand by me’ became ‘Stan Barney’. For every English word, there is still a song I remember. Whenever ‘Holidays’ are mentioned I can only think of the Sex Pistols track ‘Holidays in the Sun’ while Johnny Rotten snarls his way through the lyrics in my head.
Now I was there, finally. And what a paradise it was! The mothers of the families we stayed with knew as much about the pop charts as their kids. At the same time, my parents at home listened to instrumental muzak by the likes of James Last or Richard Clayderman. I was particularly fond of Madness in those days. It impressed me that their singer Suggs was as much into football as he was into singing. The songs from the British charts from those days are still in my head: of course the likes of The Jam’s ‘Going Underground’, but also ‘Turning Japanese’ by an obscure band called The Vapors, who everybody else has forgotten except me, or even more bizarrely ‘Together we are Beautiful’ by one hit wonder Fern Kinney.“

Vielleicht wäre „The Madness Generation“ am Ende doch passender?

Autor: Markus Hesselmann

Tagesspiegel-Korrespondent Markus Hesselmann über Britisches, Allzubritisches aus der Metropole des Pop, des Fußballs, der Kunst und der Politik.