Nobody likes a showoff: Jack Doherty lived on a diet of Prog Rock for a week


Prog rock is overblown.

Prog rock is technical.

Prog rock makes me sick.

I’ve always hated prog rock. And I’ve always felt like I should. Those BBC 4 punk documentaries tell me it’s the cool thing to do. And I’ve always wanted to be cool.

Recently, I’ve started to think that I should listen to some of music’s silliest genre, if only to justify my hatred. Who knows, I might get converted. Maybe the one thing missing from my musical palette is a good old-fashioned lute interlude.

So, in an unanticipated burst of spontaneity, I grabbed my cape, pulled up a beanbag chair and delved into the nonsense, one concept album at a time.

I regretted it instantly. As the first notes burst out from a famous Yes album, my worst fears were realised – prog rock sleeps with solos. Flute solos, synth solos, guitar solos, covering every inch of your eardrum like a cancer you just can’t kick.

I ploughed on, searching for some respite. I chucked on ‘In the Court of the Crimson King’, the prog album for people who don’t like prog albums. Surely it would be my lifeboat; an album to stop me drowning into the syrupy hell. It wasn’t. So I drowned. Apparently jazz music dressed as prog isn’t particularly buoyant.

‘Dark Side Of The Moon’ faired no better. Did you know there’s a track on there featuring a hundred ticking clocks with alarms that then ring all at once? As a song. The ticking of clocks. I’m not making this up.

I’m not sure how, but things got worse from here. I was pummelled further and further into a daze. A daze of wizardry, chord progressions and mythology. Not the type of daze I enjoy at all.

After hearing some dullness by a guy called Tull I passed out. But even sleep couldn’t save me. Peter Gabriel was stood waiting in the dreamland, flower mask on his face, SNES controller in his hand. He challenged me to a game of Mortal Kombat, and of course, I accepted. I’ve always been more of a Street Fighter man, but Peter didn’t have Street Fighter, so Mortal Kombat would have to do.

He decided to be Raiden, obvious choice. Never has a computer game character embodied the traits of a musical genre more than Raiden, with his overblown fighting moves and frustratingly long electric attacks. I opted for Scorpion. If anyone could destroy prog rock, he could.

In a matter of seconds it was over. Scorpion 1 – Prog Rock 0.

Peter Gabriel chucked his controller at his surprisingly mediocre television set and started to weep, uncontrollably. He was a broken man. It might have only been a dream, but it was glorious.

I woke up from this heaven with an indescribable pain in my belly. I jumped up from the sticky beanbag and scurried towards the bathroom. As I passed the dining room I realised that I wasn’t going to make it. It had to come out now. So I keeled over and emptied the contents of my stomach onto the cheap vinyl floor. It felt good. I’d have to mop up some half digested pasties, but that didn’t matter. The prog had gone. Everything was right with the world again.

Prog rock makes me sick.


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