i still think the siouxie writing isn't as bad as you make it out to be. first of all, just bc a couple acts appear to exist in the same cultural space doesn't mean everyone is listening to them both or knows who they are. jonathan's existing in a time before widespread mtv (cable was SO expensive back then), siouxie was v much a niche goth act, and just bc we now associate joy division and siouxie with the same kind of countercultural people doesn't mean their fanbases ACTUALLY overlapped (1/2)
(con’t) as much as you seem to think. acts like that got attention and fame in magazines but not always the same ones, and fanzines were much more specialized. jonathan probably encountered her albums at records stores, etc., but how much do you pay attention to the records you’re not interested in, you know? especially if you’re a 16-year-old. and considering it’s an overwhelming situation for him to be in, and he’s distracted by nancy, that interaction always rang true (and truly awkward) to me. (2/2)
i love this ask tbh and there are some great pts, but i disagree on some of this. for instance, siouxsie wasn’t a niche goth act–she had more chart success both in the uk and even cracked american charts with spellbound and cities in dust slightly before/around the same time as these other bands. i think arguably jonathan might be more into u.s. college rock (rem, maybe ult the pixies?) than it appears in s1, but to take the uk post punk/new wave side, once the show mentions that jonathan likes the smiths and is deep into joy division, it should mean he at least knows siouxsie, the cure, 1984 onwards depeche mode, echo and the bunnymen, killing joke, maybe the chameleons, etc. so i def think it’s bad writing; the only excuse you can make is he gets awk and completely blanks, but what it feels like is they go for the stupid kiss joke instead of character continuity.
as to how he’s getting that music, idk, the music history side of this i’ve read/heard, is the british now so-called ‘classic alternative’ bands (not the duran duran/‘new romantic’ side that was coming to the u.s. via MTV), were coming into the u.s. via radio stations like KROQ, WLIR, plus college radio, and then also building an american audience via touring. there’s a GREAT podcast ep that focuses exactly on this (it’s a bit of history of joy division/new order, the cure, depeche, the smiths in the uk, but specifically it’s on how they enter into the u.s. and become a huge part of u.s. 80s “alternative” music, but then end up cracking the us market so much, that by the late 80s, they’re chart topping and landing a bizarre level of commercial success).
but back to jonathan in indiana in the 80s–idk, my guess is to know those british bands, he’d need 1) access to a really solid record store (side note: ST totally should have given us a scene of him in a record store but prob never will smh), 2) prob access to a good college radio station. i doubt NME and melody maker are available to him in indiana, and i’m not sure if there were us equivalents at the time, but those mags were def covering all those bands at once. i get the pt about the same cultural space, as definitely these bands are v diff from one another, and often defy any labels/genres thrown at them, but my understanding is a lot of it wasn’t just retroactively applied, like, here’s a 1983 rolling stone article discussing a “second british invasion,” that part did seem to be recognized at the time, and there was a kind of grouping.