mark sinker

14
May 18

other jacksons in your house

Hidden Landscapes18 comments • 1,771 views

… or how when we made Morrissey we made him bad

[This post originally went up at my PATREON: subscribers get to read posts and hear podcasts early — and help offset costs and time and help me do more of this kind of thing]

panic | hang the DJA bitter office quarrel — the so-called the ‘HipHop Wars’ — had been making life at the NME miserable from some time. At issue was the current and future direction of the paper — how to give the readers what they wanted to read, week on week, while staying abreast of music’s future trends — so when the Smiths released ‘Panic’ in late 1986, it crystallised everything. “Hang the DJ!” sang Morrissey: “Burn down the disco!” Those who cared for black music at all — future and past — were appalled: to them it was very clear who this talk of burning and hanging was aimed at. His supporters scrambled for a less ugly reading: not that kind of DJ! Not those discos! Much was made of Steve Wright following a news report about Chernobyl with a Wham! song. Concluding statement for the defence: He’s not anti black musicians, he’s anti bland music — and that goes for us all, surely?

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8
May 18

HIDDEN LANDSCAPES: THE PODCAST

Hidden Landscapes2 comments • 343 views

Five episodes are now up: Hazel Southwell and Mark Sinker talking through the story of the UK music press from two very different angles (bcz I am old and she is not), to help start the conversation around my upcoming book.

pod 1: the pilot!
pod 2: uh merry memories of the nme!
pod 3: the ins and outs of PUNK ROCK
pod 4: underground overground what’s in between
pod 5: how do you cope when it’s not even pop

If you’re enjoying it, please subscribe to our PATREON, to help cover soundcloud costs and admin, and help us put aside the (roughly) fortnightly time to make it as good as we’d like it! Also please point people in our direction if you think they’d enjoy it. I’m also blogging there every week: essays now up on MORRISSEY and why his bigotry wasn’t seen sooner and challenged harder in the 80s, on the late TOM WOLFE, and how the music press ran with his ideas, and how JOHN LENNON AND YOKO ONO‘s interaction with the radical political press of the early 70s fed into the end of rock and the start of post-punk, and so on and so forth…

Plus here is the book’s COVER courtesy SAVAGE PENCIL — due out Octoberish (UK and US)!

hiddenlandscape-web

7
Apr 18

eagle-god turned trickster gremlin

FT1 comment • 1,587 views

This was originally published in The Wire in 1999, in their EPIPHANIES section. RIP Cecil T 1929-2018

It began in 1977, at second-hand: I knew before I heard a note of it that I’d love Cecil Taylor’s music. In a jazz encyclopaedia I’d already read of a pianist “zipping and unzipping the keyboard” — but first contact came from a sideways leap out of bent chartpop. Across Bowie’s Aladdin Sane, Mike Garson’s cocktail piano clichés mutate towards cancerous splinters, which rock reviewer Charles Shaar Murray approvingly compared to Taylor. I needed to know more.

Photograph @ Charles Rotmil, 1960s

Photograph @ Charles Rotmil, 1960s

With other princes of the Utterly Out — Ornette, Coltrane, Beefheart — I was, I confess it, puzzled by how tame they seemed against the buzz of advance promo. But Cecil — on Black Lion/Freedom’s 1975 Silent Tongues, his 1974 Montreux Festival solo performance — did not disappoint. Perversely, far more subsequent time was spent addressing Coleman and the good Captain, battling to discover ways to hear their sound as deranged delight, learning tolerance for the well-meant overreactions of enthusiasts. And so my response to these others to this day sometimes seems suspect, post-fabricated out of a need to be wowed, or to seem weird; the pianoman, by contrast, I always knew I could trust, to swoop in, connect instantly, and transfigure. With Cecil, no need to fake it.

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24
Dec 17

THE FREAKY TRIGGER ADVENT CALENDAR OF XMAS SANDWICHES – Dec 23 & 24: IN CONCLUSION

FT + WOBS SANGER ADVENT CALENDARPost a comment • 134 views

Twas the night before xmas and all through the hut, we/the eaters were judging what works in a buttie

flaming-pudding• Bacon is bad not good in this particular context
• Even if cranberry is not your thing, BBQ sauce is probably worse

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23
Dec 17

TFTACOXS – Dec 21: miscellaneous M&S remnants (and you can’t have miscellany without M and indeed S)

FT + WOBS SANGER ADVENT CALENDARPost a comment • 110 views

turkey-sausage-roll M&SThe dirty lunchable secret is that M&S — while good at snacks in general — are quite bad at sandwiches and have been for a long time. They aren’t awful: this I know bcz I’ve eaten 1 x metric fvcktonne in my years on this earth. But they’re not worth going a long way out of your way for.

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TFTACOXS – December 20: the pret xmas vegetarian miracle

FT + WOBS SANGER ADVENT CALENDARPost a comment • 104 views

pret veg(posted for magnus who lost his password):
Pret have invented the finest Christmas vegetarian sandwich. Ever. Of all the turning points in world history, the introduction of this sandwich is surely going to be one of the best remembered – a miraculous innovation that, like penicillin and handrails, simply made things better.

I remember the moment I discovered it. It seemed impertinent if anything – a cheese and pickle sandwich in the Christmas range didn’t fit my all-too-narrow view of the festive menu. But there it was, and Pret and Christmas have pleased before, so I tried it.

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18
Dec 17

TFTACOXS – December 17: Subway Deluxe Feast

FT + WOBS SANGER ADVENT CALENDARPost a comment • 164 views

Feastmas(posted for Dani who doesn’t have a password yet): Subway Deluxe Feast. Subpar. There, done. What? You want more? Sheesh. It’s a bit tricky to review any Subway sandwich as my fully-customisable sandwich isn’t necessarily your fully-customisable sandwich and that’s OK. Except if you choose to add sweetcorn, because that’s clearly wrong. So, if at the end of this review you wish to dash out and try one for yourself, for comparative purposes this is how my particular “sub” was constructed:

• Hearty Italian bread
• No cheese
• Several off-white chunks the menu calls “butter marinated turkey breast.”
• Two rashers of bacon that were somehow both soggy and crisp
• Standard salad offerings minus sweetcorn and jalepeno
• Cranberry sauce.

The only thing, in my mind, that sets this apart from the usual Subway offerings and makes it “festive” is the addition of the cranberry sauce. This cranberry sauce weirdly smells like BBQ sauce. Maybe the lady at my local Subway branch, conveniently located in the reception of the hospital I work at (and therefore providing a palatable alternative to stealing patient dinners) got mixed up between the two DESPITE the recent switch to clearly labeled and coloured dispensers. It looks red though, so I am going to assume it’s just an overly-sweetened version of cranberry sauce.

Without a clearly defined cranberry sauce tang I am not sure this should be called a Christmas sandwich. This sandwich should heavily feature next time one of the national shite-rags publishes a story on their website that is essentially a rehash of an AMA on Reddit. “Subway employee reveals what you should NEVER order.” This, this is what you shouldn’t order. You’ve been warned.

6
Dec 17

THE FREAKY TRIGGER ADVENT CALENDAR OF XMAS SANDWICHES – December 6: the CO-OP and the Strange Problem of the Pigs and their Blankets (Relative Location of)

WOBS SANGER ADVENT CALENDAR6 comments • 220 views

co op pigs under blanketsI like the co op. I like the idea of the Co-operative movement, I like how much better as a bank the Co-op has been than my previous high street experience, I like how when everything went pear-shaped for it financially it was caused by a vicar with crisps on his nips aka the Crystal Methodist snorting ket & coke off of a hooker’s arse (subs/lawyers please check). Actually this last thing was probably bad and also very extremely unrelated. But I do like the co-op-that-is-a-chainstore’s xmas fare.

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4
Dec 17

THE FREAKY TRIGGER ADVENT CALENDAR OF XMAS SANDWICHES – December 3: The Cranberry Question

FT + WOBS SANGER ADVENT CALENDAR8 comments • 161 views

Over in an unsatisfactory place, my esteemed FT colleague The Barnet Ape — who claims he does not eat xmas sandwiches and has therefore declined to contribute to this calendar — opines as follows:

cranberry-sauceAdvent Calendar Of Christmas Horror Day 3: Cranberry Sauce

“This might just be me, but I don’t need jam on my dinner. Yes, turkey is a dry meat, and yes sometimes a bit of sweetness can perk up a dish, but there isn’t any call for it with Turkey. Nothing is enhanced by this overwhelming sweetness. And that’s fine, this has never been a huge issue in the past because it is a sauce, it is not compulsory and so the Ocean Spray can stay away.

“Except it isn’t optional in “Festive Foods”. A Christmas Sandwich is basically Christmas dinner between bread, and the cranberry sauce is seen to be obligatory. Is there a turkey based Xmas sandwich that doesn’t have a smear (thick, cheap layer) of the red terror? Can I have a Christmas sandwich with gravy instead? And by the way, aren’t cranberries supposed to be a bit tart? This is basically diabetes in red clothes.”

signed yr pal Peter Baran

In the comments to this very wrong stance, various cranks, crackpots and cackling menks er other fine people offer support and agreement: arguing for example that breadsauce is the only acceptable turkey-moisturiser, that the admixture of sweet and savoury must always be policed, that mint sauce on lamb is also bad ect ect. It is pointed out that chutney is a counter-example to the main underlying thesis — a hostility to jam on your dinner — but then the wrong conclusion is once again drawn. If anything the problem with most current xmas sandwiches is BACON: there is often too much and it makes the whole affair nastily salty. (I’m looking at you M&S — tho I am not yet blogging you.)

“Is there a turkey based Xmas sandwich that doesn’t have a smear (thick, cheap layer) of the red terror? Can I have a Christmas sandwich with gravy instead?”

obviously this^^^ is a question worth asking — we shd pursue it in the upcoming days! Do any festive sangers have gravy? But cranberry is good not bad. it is not really a moisteriser and it is by no means new (it was probably inherited from the days when a fancy xmas was goosed-based — you need something nicely tart and acidic to cut through the goosefat). also sweet and savoury on the same plate is classic pre-modern pagan cuisine (and the wobs sanger is nothing if not a pagan strand of our cultural life). if we’re going to insist on unwonted xmas-feast changes, end Fanny Cradock’s satanic reign and bring back goose!! GOOSE!!

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1
Dec 17

THE FREAKY TRIGGER ADVENT CALENDAR OF XMAS* SANDWICHES — 1 Dec: the Pret Classic

FT + WOBS SANGER ADVENT CALENDARPost a comment • 131 views

pretxmas
We dispatched our lunch-facing elves far and wide across the face of the wrapped-food (with coffee) sector, to report who does what best on an opening-a-new-little-door-every-day basis. And by the finest of all invented traditions, the xmas season begins with the first sighting (and eating) of the FESTIVE PRET SANGER aka the CHRISTMAS LUNCH, truly the anchor of the form.

Here is my report in full: “Travelled all the way to Angel to attempt this (and for another reason) but they had run out so I had a Jambon Beurre instead.” For all its virtues, Hackney has no Pret and that’s where I’m working from at the moment so I don’t pass one every day the way I did in previous years. No Free-Range Turkey Crumbly Pork Stuffing Crispy Onions Spinach Port & Orange Cranberry Sauce Mayo Seasoning for me (yet): no “thick slices of norfolk free-range turkey breast on malted bread with a dollop of slightly tart port & orange cranberry sauce […] served with pret’s herby stuffing — made with beautifully seasoned minced pork, streaky bacon and apricots[,] topped with crispy onions and fresh baby spinach…

My elf-disgrace is your opportunity: FT readers now have 23 days to jump into comments. Should fresh baby spinach even have become a trimming? Does the current C.Lunch deviate in quality from those of earlier years (such as that pictured, from 2016). Who will comfort Herbie Stuffing?

(sukrat’s correct opinion, theoretical mode: the spinach is good not bad, in a structural as well as a gustatory sense, it holds everything together, like the cellophane in an old-school shirt collar)

*for xmas read wobs throughout obv

UPDATE FROM SOMEONE WHO ACTUALLY HAS TASTED THIS THING (courtesy magnus): “Crunchy stuffing and cranberry go hella together, but they only come up in combination during sporadic bites, and otherwise the overall impression was eating a standard, decent but not especially festive turkey sandwich. In fact the main outcome was yearning for the brie and plum pickle Wobs sandwich of 2006, complete with a mild crunch of pine nuts. How I miss that sandwich…”