Welcome to Tap Don't Talk, a conversational feature which pits 405 writers Rob Wilson and Mike Clark against each other to shoot the shit about current affairs in the world of music. This is more casual, personal and comprehensive than a typical in-depth feature, firing up ideas about a certain topic that might not all fit into a normal article but are still worth discussing. This is by no means a conversation limited to just us though, feel free to add your two cents in the comments section below or call us names on Twitter if you want - Rob is @robinamicrowave, Mike is @Pixleh and, of course, there's @The405. Enjoy!

Mike Clark: I didn't watch the BRIT Awards this year, mainly because I don't give a shit about them, but also because Bayern Munich were turning over Arsenal which is a worthy way of spending one's time. Still, from what I can glean from the response, it seems that the music press were so starved of anything interesting to write about the BRITs that they had to fashion some sort of 'controversy' out of very little. This year, the 'big' talking point was Alex Turner's speech following the Arctic Monkeys winning Best Album - if you somehow haven't seen it yet, you can watch the speech in its entirety here. Oddly enough, beyond the people rushing to call Turner a knob, the speech has genuinely divided people, captured the imagination and sparked heated debate. The video has been well shared through social media, along with the picture of Turner holding the statue aloft like a Tron themed dildo that he's planning to aggressively flog himself with afterwards. There have been various thinkpieces (I would really recommend reading that article, by the way) and the NME has obviously latched onto this and aggressively branded him some sort of Rock n' Roll Ubermensch, which is the most pathetically 'NME' thing they could have done. Honestly, I don't really care about this all that much, and I think the speech itself was fairly tongue-in-cheek, but this has really riled you up, Rob, and you wanted to discuss it, so I'll let you take over.

Rob Wilson: That's right, it really has. Not only was it the award for Best Album, the speech also coincided with Arctic Monkeys winning both Best British Band and Best Album awards for a third time. They're the first band in history to do that. It's a commendable accolade all four of them should be proud of. Only, it seemed just one person was proud of that: Alex Turner. The pinnacle of pinheadism, the boss of being a bonehead, also the lead singer of Arctic Monkeys. Only you'd be forgiven for confusing them with Alex Turner & His Monkeys with the way Turner strutted around the place, the world his bedroom mirror, and took the acclaim on his own shoulders. An award won by the band, but accepted by a man whose journey between his own arse cheeks has now escalated violently into an endless odyssey. A speech that could have been used to stand up for an entire genre - a genre that thousands of people everywhere fear is dying - became a pretentious parody of an American rocker, and the microphone he was holding transformed into a hairbrush. A truly dark moment.

Mike: I guess this depends on how much stock you place in awards ceremonies in general, especially myopic industry ones like the BRITs. Personally, I don't care for them at all; I used to when the BRIT Awards 2002 compilation CD was my prized possession, but I guess I've gotten more cynical about these industry shindigs as I've learned more about them and the fact they exist to sell albums rather than reward music. And, perhaps worse, they're not really all that fun to watch. As far as the Arctic Monkeys are concerned, I really doubt that they actually had much interest in the ceremony. It's a massive corporate circus that they were probably forced to attend by their label, and I imagine they were all pissed at that point anyway. Turner's speech was affected and incredibly over the top about an attitude that is, in the minds of many, totally irrelevant; I found it hard to take seriously and I'm surprised that so many people (*cough* NME *cough*) took it at face value. Sure, he looked like a prick doing it, but that's hardly out of character.

Rob: I was watching the Arsenal game too, so I also missed the ceremony itself. I actually found out about Turner's speech after the game as a result of the Twitter hysteria that seems to follow any live televised event. I watched the interview a couple of hours later with the presumption that it wasn't going to be anywhere near as bad as my Twitter feed said it was. And I was right, it wasn't as bad as that - it was worse. But since the speech, and after the initial reaction, I've noticed that a few people (*cough* NME *cough*) have actually taken the speech as a huge message to the rest of the industry that "rock 'n' roll isn't going away", or something. Now, while I think Turner was making a slightly decent point about "rock 'n' roll not going away", I can't help but recall that, for a "rock 'n' roll", album, AM lacked any sort of life or attitude because some seriously plastic production and repetitive guitar riffs.

Mike: Exactly, it was a fucking chore. I suppose if we were to take Turner's speech at face value, then it's a great irony that he made one of the least exciting rock albums of 2013, and it would further speak to his delusion. Anyway, perhaps the most annoying thing about all this is that I don't even really like the band that much anymore, but their presence is totally unavoidable even if I'm usually quite good at ignoring things. I used to love them when they first came out and informed my taste in music, but they took a shine to the interminably dull with the past couple of albums (with the exception of a couple of good songs) and I moved on. Sad, I guess, but I'm not going to get too weepy about it, there are other great bands out there. Still, it's interesting that this has come up shortly after the last Tap Don't Talk was published, where we essentially moaned about the state of mainstream British rock for ages. One of the topics that came up was the current lack of character and personality, but, to play devil's advocate, Turner is at least trying to inject some of that into the mainstream, however insincere and affected it seems. He's at least getting people to talk on a large scale, which is largely absent in the current milieu, outside of people laughing at Kasabian writing about horse meat.

Rob: I'd like to know whether there was a free bar at the BRIT Awards the other night. I'm always fairly sceptical when something happens in front of a camera, and Turner's speech, coupled with Adele's middle-finger, justifies that totally. I could be totally wrong on this, but, in general, it seems that Arctic Monkeys are the only current band that people give an actual shit about on a large scale. I understand that musical landscapes change all the time, but there's nothing at all on the scale of chart battles like Oasis and Blur, there's no particular movement like the British invasion or the emergence of punk in the 1970, and the fact that Arctic Monkeys' AM was the most "exciting" British rock album of last year says more about the state of British rock music than it does the album. Turner's point about rock 'n' roll never dying was made even more ridiculous because it took some hip hop, modern pop and R&B influences to make it relevant again in today's charts.

Mike: Well, two things: 1) he was probably talking about rock 'n' roll as the grandiose mentality it was, which is somewhat archaic and unsustainable at this point, rather than a genre (which was half the joke, I think); 2) but if he was talking about the genre, then rock 'n' roll was entirely predicated on rhythm & blues, country and jazz music. It's never really been its own autonomous "thing" and pilfering aspects other genres is part of the rock 'n' roll handbook. If anything, that's why it 'never dies' in the minds of people like Turner.

Rob: I'd agree that the genre's origins lie in those genres, but I'm sure I read somewhere that Aaliyah was a huge influence on AM. Is that the "rock 'n' roll" Alex Turner was referring to last week? I mean, fair play for introducing new genres to your work, but you can't bring in a load of influences and then completely forget them when you're accepting an award for the album you brought them in for.

Mike: But, as I said, that sort of "who gives a fuck" appropriation is part of rock 'n' roll's entire ethos. Look at Led Zeppelin. Look at The Rolling Stones. Look at The Beatles and George Harrison, Sitar Hero. Look at Jimi Hendrix or The Clash or Public Image Limited or David Bowie or The Talking Heads or Prince. Genre isn't static, it evolves with the times as more sounds are explored and get accepted by the mainstream.

Rob: I agree absolutely. I'm really not disagreeing in any way whatsoever. But I feel as though, when Alex Turner was making his speech, he wasn't implying that rock 'n' roll would never die because the world of music is such a fluid and flexible world of wonderful mixtures - he spoke as though rock music was a stand-alone beacon in a world of "sludge", as he described it. It's absolutely fine that AM was propped up by influences from hip hop, R&B and the like - I love it when bands branch out in an attempt to recreate their sound, even if I'm not always a fan of the results. But when he was making his speech, Alex Turner seemed to look upwards and address some higher authority that there was "nothing they could do" about rock 'n' roll's "cyclical" rise. He said that rock music would "rise out of the swamp" and break through the aforementioned "sludge" - I just had a feeling that he was taking a jibe at other genres, genres that perhaps helped AM become the success it was. You know, taking the easy stab at Justin Bieber or Miley Cyrus in the way Jake Bugg loves doing when he tries to start fights with One Direction. It felt like he was ignoring the influences which have made rock music such a wonderful and widespread genre.

Mike: If we must stick with the genre, then that's a problem with rock music as an institution, not just Alex Turner. I mean, there are plenty of people that'll tell you that rock 'n' roll originated in the southern United States with African Americans, but was taken and popularised by white folk. There are also plenty of other academics that'll say that idea is apocryphal, but that whole argument is incredibly nuanced and we can't get into it now. Still, my point is that idea of taking something and not really acknowledging it is one of the foundations of the inherent excess of rock 'n' roll - you can't have a go at Alex Turner not subverting that norm while pissed at the fucking BRIT Awards of all places. Now, forgive me, but I can't help but think that your previous relationship with Arctic Monkeys has somewhat coloured your opinion here. Would you say that's fair?

Rob: I could just as easily have a go at Led Zep for stealing work from Sonny Boy Williamson ('Bring It On Home') and not crediting him, but the discussion was about Alex Turner so I never really thought to bring them up. Having said that, it's absolutely fair to suggest that my previous relationship with Arctic Monkeys has somewhat coloured my opinion. I grew up on Arctic Monkeys from just before they really went massive, and I stuck by them when they released Humbug and a load of people got arsey with them because I believed they'd come back stronger. But as time went on, I stopped defending them to people and started side with the people criticising them. I think, as Alex Turner has grown up and become more famous, he's tried harder and harder to come across as someone who really "gets" rock. Only it all seems to have reached a point now where he's behaving like a parody of someone who "gets" rock and it's just sad to see one of my childhood icons make a fool out of himself. Every time I walk out of my bedroom door, I have to look at this poster and wonder what went wrong. I just miss the old Alex Turner.

Mike: So, would you say that: just because he wrote a couple of jams, he thinks it's alright to act like a dickhead? (I'm so, so sorry)

Rob: Well, as terrible as the pun is, it's absolutely true. A paraphrased version of his own lyrics have come back to bite him. But this actually leads me on to another point about British rock music all together that we touched on last time. I do not believe that there are any genuine working class figures in rock music that people can attach themselves to and worship in the way I did with Alex Turner. You do have Jake Bugg, who has a huge fanbase and something to say about One Direction every time a microphone is within arm's length - but I don't believe for a second that his words and opinions are truly his. He's perfectly modelled for an audience who needed someone like him to say those things to them. His image has been moulded over decades of other artists that came along, did a similar thing and have now gone away again. If Jake Bugg is the flagship music icon for this generation of new teenagers then we can forget rock music ever happened in 2014. I understand that the Sex Pistols' opinions were given a bit of spice and management, but they were the head of a movement to challenge the "real" establishment: royalty, the government. Jake Bugg just seems to think writing 3-chord songs shoves a knife through the throat of Harry Styles when it really fucking doesn't. There's not one mainstream British band with a real message. Alex Turner tried to the other night, and if you take his words from that speech and put them on paper, I actually think he makes a fantastic point about the "cyclical nature of the universe" and music. He just made it really badly. I'll put the question to you, Mike: are there any bands in the mainstream British rock industry who you look at and think "Wow, yeah, wish I could see them live and quote their every sentence?"

Mike: I guess they are, but they're not really making music now. Pulp came into my mind first because they're one my favourite bands (and I have seen them live and quoted their every sentence) but they've been around since the 80s and haven't released an album for over a decade, so that's sort of a problem. There's obviously Radiohead and Blur as well, but they're hardly fresh and exciting. There seems to be a drought of new and distinct rock 'n' roll voices in the mainstream, but I think we need to have a bit of perspective about this. The rock 'n' roll lifestyle just isn't as relevant now, and if Turner was being sincere the other day, then the fact that people interpreted it as tongue-in-cheek is proof of that. It's just not what people are interested in now, and that's fine. There's plenty of other great stuff around. And to get more personal: we're both 19, we've sort of outgrown that phase in our lives when we can give ourselves entirely to one band. For one we've got actual shit to do in our lives compared to when Arctic Monkeys first burst onto the scene when we were 11/12; we have broader musical palates and have more knowledge too. So if 12 year olds are falling in love with Jake Bugg's music now I won't begrudge them that, and I'm sure that cynical 19 year olds thought that Arctic Monkeys were just as contrived as we think Jake Bugg is. And, as always, anything lacking in the mainstream is always made up in alternative spheres. I mean, Ty Segall is virtually matching the British rock industry on his own.

Rob: I would like to agree, but I know plenty of people my age who are currently huge on Bastille, Two Door Cinema Club, Jake Bugg, Kasabian, Reverend and the Makers, Mumford & Sons and Tom Odell. I sit there and wonder what they see in these people, but that simply comes down to taste and I can live with that. But the one thing that strikes me about all of those acts I named is that none of them are particularly arsed about anything, other than Jake Bugg's one man crusade to destroy One Direction - but I've gone over that. None of those artists actually stand for anything or attempt to drive something with their music. They just sell accessible pop music that makes lots of people happy, and that's fine, but music - especially rock music - is supposed to make you feel more than happy. It's supposed to make you angry about something, or grab you by the balls, but absolutely zero of those artists do that at the moment. Biffy Clyro and Muse give it a bloody good go, but they're both on that wrong side of stadium rock now so any energy has been lost in reverb and, in Muse's case, fucking bad brostep.

Mike: To get at that point: when the last Tap Don't Talk went up, there was a big comment thread on one of The 405's tweets promoting it. It was mainly populated by loads of people whose work I admire, which was weird, and they mentioned a lot of interesting points that we didn't consider. I think that's mainly because we're part of the generation that suffers the same affliction as these newer artists and we find it difficult to look outside ourselves. I suppose the thrust of this affliction is that we're always entertained. We always have something to click or play or watch or read which culls creativity as much as it can inspire it. I mean, when you have nothing to do, you have to come up with something and that's where ideas come from. That's when you start doodling in your jotter, or start humming a melody or write something. Necessity is the mother of invention and all that. I guess this affects the industry in two ways: 1) the people that perhaps would have made something that truly stood for something have been lost in the Twitter vortex; and 2) you could argue that the newer artists now established in the mainstream mostly grew up in an era when in which felt that they didn't have much time to experiment and learn and grown when because they were working hard on making a career in music among everything else they felt they had to do. Then again, that's all in reference to rock music, so let's not forget there are mainstream and independent artists that still do stand for something. You've got megastars like Beyoncé, Lady Gaga and Kayne West; then there's the likes of of Janelle Monae, Solange and so on ad infinitum. There's so much to get excited about, and they all of which make idiosyncratic, interesting music and, really, that's what matters. That's what we should be spending our time discussing, rather than mourning the fact that a load of jumped-up white guys with guitars have lost their control of the music industry.