It appears to be fashionable among pro-war and anti-war types alike to write lists of what one likes about the US. Presumably in the former case this is to convince people of American greatness; in the latter case, to remind people that you’re not a shrieking Septic-hating fanatic.
Alan Johnson‘s list goes too far, however: "I love the ridiculousness of the fact that one square mile of Manhattan has produced more great music in the last thirty years than the entire European continent"
What? I mean, what? How can anyone with even vestigal levels of hearing and sanity possibly make that claim? I assume he doesn’t count the UK and Ireland as part of Europe here, otherwise he actually needs to be imprisoned indefinitely without trial for his own safety and the safety of those around him.
But even if you only look at the mainland, his claim is flamboyantly mentalist. Yes, New York managed to produce Patti Smith, Blondie and Television in the punk boom at the tail-end of the 1970s, and we’ll be enternally grateful for that. But what’s it produced recently – The Strokes? Compared with continental Europe’s utter mastery at innovative electronic music, New York’s scene of derivative rock and up-its-own-arse jazz pales into insignificance.