Created: Saturday, 20 November 2004 Written by William Whitmont
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Engaged in their disturbance the masters of twang send out dissonance not only of their chords but also between the races. The sand culture; enabling the wealthy and newly liberated middle class of the 50s to dawdle daily on the beach, gave birth to an explosion of lifestyle choices for the children of these vagabond workers. Has the sun been used before; in this way; in a statement by these people that these waters that lap on our shores, surrounding our nation, they are surely ours. Ours by right. Ours by the taking. Once alighted from the beachfront the nubile young things needed to celebrate their newfound dominance of the coast with some music. Unlike their fellow black countrymen, or maybe because of them and their powerful beats, the whiteys on the beach wanted music that had treble and no fundamental rhythm. They grabbed the guitars and more still pounded the skins. Once, after a bottle of gin and a few cigarettes, the masters of this new ‘surf’ music created it. Crashing chords over twanging strings, relentless drumming on snares and occasional tom-tom tomming. Clothing accessories were optional down to the sunglasses.

Some of the smarter ones grabbed a bottle and began to slide. This relentless hegemony of white, pale, middle class, surfing, hipless teenagers. They’d stand on the beach at the end of the day in their thousands and stomp the sand with their feet to the beat of the The Surfin’ KKK and No Jim Crow Here. Above their heads rustled the wind and the clouds; their parents secure in the knowledge that their offspring would continue the grand guignol of anglo-saxon dreams: home, hearth, and no black dicks in their young daughters.

Was it Mao who said: “America I damn you with your faint heart and witless morals”.
Listen to the surfin’ twang and realize how right he was.

Bill Whitmont
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