Posts from 8th August 2000

8
Aug 00

THE CLASH – White Man (In Hammersmith Palais)

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THE CLASH – White Man (In Hammersmith Palais)

I don’t like the Clash very much. You can probably guess why: Strummer’s prolier-than-thou bark, all that keep-it-real stuff, their very incarnation of the no/sell-out discourse that keeps on keeping music down. And on the most basic level of all, I just don’t think their tunes are very good.

So their best single is infuriatingly naive (“turning rebellion into money”? But that’s all pop music has ever been!), absurdly posturing (“I’m the 3 AM drug-prowling wolf”), hammily unconvincing (Strummer’s instant-cringe laugh after “Burton suits”), and for one verse only completely on point. Strummer’s general irritation at how his band’s been sucked into the fashion churn and looks like being supplanted by the “new groups” suddenly switches to the disgusted realisation that in a world which had toppled authority, fashion infects everything, as simply the only sensible way of doing things. So he writes the most cutting lines of his career – “If Adolf Hitler flew in today / They’d send a limousine anyway” – and of course it doesn’t work. It was the punks who’d started wearing swastikas in ’76, after all.

Elizabeth Wurtzel explains why she loves Britney Spears

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Elizabeth Wurtzel explains why she loves Britney Spears: As sure as night follows day I’m going to link to this predictably unsatisfying piece on Britney. I’ve never read anything by Wurtzel which hasn’t stated the obvious, though usually more stylishly than here. From the first-paragraph mention of some tedious artbore friend of hers, you know you’re in for a lame read, and so it proves. Wurtzel wants to write about Britney-the-icon, but Britney doesn’t work as an icon of anything much, she’s just someone who’s selling lots of records. Wurtzel, after much nudge-wink discussion of Britneysex, admits this and talks about her navel ring instead.

now, tom, i think

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now, tom, i think the truth about “busby berkeley dreams” lies somewhere between your two interpretations. robin is correct in saying that it’s a beautiful song about “a simple and uncritical faith in the concept of love”, and to a degree i’d say i’d agree with you in that the protagonist is a slightly disturbed fellow. however, i don’t think “frightening” is the proper word: i think merritt perfectly captures a frame of mind that all who’ve loved and lost have found themselves in before. the singer is a proud fellow who tries to be tough in his resistance to ending the relationship but in the end he breaks down, and when he does, a lifetime full of dreams and heartaches comes spilling out in the chorus. he asks, “do you think it’s dangerous to have busby berkeley dreams?” yes, it is, but loving is dangerous too: you risk heartbreak with both, but in the end, you hope it’s worth it.

WARRING FACTIONS – IHM LYRIC WATCH 4

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WARRING FACTIONS – IHM LYRIC WATCH 4

Of course, along with my own attempts at peace making in the bitter Middle Eastern conflict, Mr Philip Oakey of the Human League tried his damnedest to point out the ironic contradictions of life in Beirut, in his song “The Lebanon”:

“And where there used to be some shops
Is where the snipers sometimes hide
He left his home the week before
He thought he’d be like the police
But now he finds he is at war
“Weren’t we supposed to keep the peace?”

Phil, where is your long-deserved Nobel Prize, mate?