"Smells Like Teen Spirit - it's no Dagenham Dave, is it?", I recently mused on Twitter. And while that may have been a deliberately provocative throwaway joke, it's also actually somewhat on the true side. For while the deceptively lazy 1995 half-hit in its own bizarre way encapsulates everything I have ever liked about the ideologically-challenged quiff-led erstwhile Smith (and, in fairness, everything that a lot of other people dislike about him), it also in a similarly bizarre way nails exactly what a reasonably well-adjusted youngster from the other side of the Atlantic with a liking for expensive trainers could never quite hope to find in the shampoo-averse caterwaulings of Kurt Cobain (1967-1993) and company.
Not convinced? Well, here's ten reasons why Dagenham Dave is better than Smells Like Teen Spirit:
- Whereas Nirvana have inspired a frankly terrifying volume of column inches' worth of sub-Quietus Cultural Despairers wailing "O TEMPORA O MORES O RED HOUSE PAINTERS" and launching into diatribes about how we failed to heed the message of when Juliana Hatfield was that rubbish ghost in My So Called Life and everything that's going on in the world now is all our fault (especially if you liked Blur), Dagenham Dave only ever inspired Mark Lamarr telling an anecdote about overhearing a bloke sat on a doorstep saying "he's well out of order... I mean, I'm from Dagenham, and my name's Dave...".
- In place of a heavily compressed and distorted guitar solo that inspired million upon million of teenage boys to adopt it as their 'trying out guitars in a music shop' showstopper of choice, Dagenham Dave has an hilariously lackadaisical weedy synth solo that could only feasibly inspire anyone to try and remember how the theme from Simon And The Witch went.
- The video avoids heavy-handed 'symbolism' with cheerleaders and mop buckets in favour of TV's Gripper Stebson doing some Moz-observed comedy business.
- Saying "a denial" sixteen times may well be a profound statement about something or other, but just going "Dagenham Dave/Dagenham Dave/oh Dave from Dagenham/Dagenham Dagenham Dave" is trying to get up people's noses for the sake of it.
- "On the window screen" is a more gloriously pointless distortion of the English language than mispronouncing "albino".
- Smells Like Teen Spirit may well be a clarion call to take up arms against something or other where nobody's actually sure what it is that came from the depths of a tortured yet artistically brilliant soul, but Dagenham Dave was an aimless satire of dull blokey blokes who'd done nothing outwardly obviously wrong written at the height of worries over an impending court case relating to a petty dispute over tedious details of a contract from years earlier. One of these may be slightly more easy to relate to than the other.
- "I would say more/but you get the general idea" is quite simply the best way to end a song ever. And that includes Footloose.
- On a more serious note, regardless of the rights and wrongs of the incident (well, incidents) that actually caused it, Morrissey was ostracised by the music press at that point in a way that Kurt Cobain never, ever was - again, something that it's actually slightly easier for some people to relate to - and the flippant throwawayness of Dagenham Dave could be interpreted as a massive two fingers to certain individuals who had long since given up judging his music on its own merits. Erm, possibly.
- Oh hang on, I said ten reasons, didn't I? Well, I would say more...