Features

1
Jul 13

I was a teenage dark elf priestess

FT18 comments • 4,379 views

This article by Laurie Penny on the pervasiveness and persuasiveness of the manic pixie dream girl trope is really good.

I’m the same age as Laurie Penny, so was plagued by the same cultural stuff as her- I don’t know if it’s just egocentrism for my own timeline but I feel like the 90s marked a real rise of the manic pixie. Britpop had a fair chunk of them, they appeared as outsider girls in offbeat, dry comedies. How quirky! Wow! A lady with a guitar and a fringe perhaps she is supah speshul and liking her will be a meaningful growth experience for me. Level up!

And that’s reductive of ladies with guitars and fringes, of course. Because they’re real, awesome people. But that’s not my reductivism, it’s the eighty millionth interview with Brody Dalle when in 2012 people are still fascinated by the idea of a woman in a rock band as something unusual or somehow defiantly implausible. Jesus wept.

One of the things I intensely dislike about some sorts of indie music is the way it creates this easy vision of crush-girl. Somethingsomething about her hair and how she probably won’t look at you but somethingsomething thought maybe she was deeper and more meaningful than the other girls [nb: that’s because that’s how a crush works, boys with guitars] and the worst thing about these basic, rolled-up character tropes is that they come with some implication that because manic pixie dream girls are special, all other girls, all these other people with their real people things are less. All those annoying real things are faded into a muddy background blur against the special, shiny limitedness of the trope.

28
Jun 13

Friday Poll Special – The Great Britpop Sorting Hat!

FT215 comments • 8,666 views

We are now firmly into the BRITPOP YEARS on Popular, oh yes, so it’s time to consider its musical legacy in the only language we truly understand, viz. a ticky-box poll.

We have selected 32 bands who someone, somewhere, might possibly have once described as Britpop. Tick all the ones you like and by science we will be able to finally, once and for all, define terms like “Britpop D-List” and “second divison Britpop”. Isn’t that a noble endeavour? I thought so.

Which of these Britpop bands were Any Good At All?

  • Pulp 70%
  • Blur 64%
  • Kenickie 53%
  • Suede 52%
  • Supergrass 48%
  • Elastica 47%
  • Super Furry Animals 44%
  • Ash 43%
  • The Divine Comedy 39%
  • Oasis 35%
  • Boo Radleys 30%
  • Lush 30%
  • Bluetones 28%
  • Catatonia 25%
  • Mansun 24%
  • Sleeper 24%
  • Black Grape 23%
  • Lightning Seeds 21%
  • Gene 21%
  • Longpigs 19%
  • Echobelly 18%
  • Shed Seven 16%
  • Space 14%
  • Ocean Colour Scene 14%
  • WELLER 14%
  • Kula Shaker 13%
  • Cast 11%
  • Menswear 11%
  • My Life Story 11%
  • Marion 8%
  • Seahorses 8%
  • Northern Uproar 3%

Total Voters: 1,496

Poll closes: No Expiry

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9
Jan 13

Pokémon X And Why

FT///3 comments • 2,083 views

GET UR FROAK ON

While most of my online acquaintances were geeking out today at the thought of a new David Bowie album, our house was far more excited by the announcement of new Pokémon games – Pokémon X and Pokémon Y, the first on Nintendo’s 3DS console(1). The announcement was made by the President of Nintendo himself, in a style not far off the Queen at Christmas.

pokemonxystarters

The announcement makes Pokémon creators Game Freak look canny – widely criticised for releasing this year’s games, Black 2 and White 2, on the older DS machine, the rapid follow-up of X and Y shows they’ve been simply holding off until they’ve got a game ready (and a high enough user base to make it worthwhile)(2). After all, if these games make their ship date it will end up that the gap between console release and first Pokémon game is pretty much identical for the DS as 3DS.

So, good business. But good games? The reviews for X and Y are likely to be very similar to the last few Pokémon games, because X and Y themselves are likely to be similar. In fact you could write them now: global franchise, remarkable longevity, but will these be the last, finally they’ve included ____ but a change to ____ is long overdue.

21
May 12

SAINT ETIENNE – “Popular”

FT153 comments • 8,472 views

Huge weepy thanks to Bob, Pete and Sarah for immortalising us in song. And thanks to commenters past and present for making it worth immortalising.

10
Jan 12

The Freaky Trigger Reader’s Poll 2011: #10-#1

FT//35 comments • 2,480 views

Hi, I’m Lauryn Hill circa my breakthrough role in Sister Act 2: Back In The Habit, and it is a real pleasure to be able to present to you the top ten FreakyTrigger tracks of the year. When my mother told me I couldn’t join the choir run by a fake nun, I got really surly and pouted a lot – which some of you may recognise from my recent career. Later in the film I stepped up to the plate and delivered this inspirational, hip as 1993 could ever be, version of Joyful Joyful. But enough of my career highlights, back to the FreakyTrigger top ten of 2011.

Its a real privilege to reveal to you that this top ten is entirely female, so much so that I might be inspired, much like Whoopi Goldberg inspired me in Sister Act 2: Back In The Habit to make a comeback and win next year. I’ve got a soup tureen full of Grammy’s you know.

5
May 11

BRYAN ADAMS – “(Everything I Do) I Do It For You”

Popular147 comments • 11,368 views

#667, 13th July 1991

Sixteen Listens For Sixteen Weeks: An Everything I Do Liveblog

This song got to number one for 16 weeks, so I decided to play it 16 times in a row, writing as I went.

Play 1: And we’re off. I’ve honestly hardly heard this in the last twenty years so I don’t anticipate the full horror will strike me for a few plays. In case anyone doesn’t know why I’m doing this, “Everything I Do” – a soundtrack hit from Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves – holds the record for the longest consecutive run at Number One in the UK singles chart. At least one other record has come close, a few have threatened to, but this is still the champ. Sixteen weeks. Almost four months.

The record is – oh look, you know this, but anyway – it’s a power ballad, slower in fact than I remember. Very weighty. It levels up repeatedly, reaches a climax about two-thirds of the way through, then we have a lingering solo (which I didn’t remember at all and have really no desire to hear another fifteen times), a reprise of the pre-chorus and chorus, and that’s your lot.

Play 2: So on first go that wasn’t so bad! I was 18 when this song was around and I dare say a great deal less amenable to ballads in general and romantic ballads in particular. The song got to number one just after I’d left school – I was spending the summer listening to Bob Dylan and picking fruit for a pittance. “Sad Eyed Lady Of The Lowlands” – now there, I thought, was a love song. I suspect “Everything I Do” might have a rather wider appeal. (Ah – the solo again – now I’m noticing little moans from Bry on it, dear me.) Anyway I hardly noticed this being number one for its first few weeks and certainly bore it no ill will.

29
Oct 10

SINEAD O’CONNOR – “Nothing Compares 2 U”

FT + Popular167 comments • 9,586 views

#641, 3rd February 1990

Sinead O’Connor is one of the finest song interpreters not just because she thinks hard about the material and the feelings locked in it, but because she’s so good at placing songs into a situation. A great example of this is her version of “Chiquitita”, warm and homely where ABBA’s is melodramatic, replacing its theatrical flourishes with a cosy tick-tock rhythm like a parlour clock. In the video she makes you, the viewer-as-Chiquitita, a cup of tea and settles down for a chat, and it’s perfect: that’s exactly what her version feels like.

9
Jul 10

The FT Top 25 Pubs of the 00s No 1: Glasshouse Stores

FT + Pumpkin Publog10 comments • 2,853 views

So we get a winner, down on Brewer Street in Soho, the Glasshouse Stores was voted the number one pub of the noughties by those of us who voted. A nice pub sure, but so much better than the others? To find out why it scored so highly I thought I would canvas a number of opinions – feel free to add your own at the bottom.

Tom Says:
My memory may be cheating me but I think the first time we ended up in the Glasshouse Stores it was due to a power cut a pub or two along. Marvellous serendipity if so, and appropriate: an accidental pub becoming a shrine to the unintended social consequences of setting up an online community. This is the top pub of the 00s and is tied firmly to the 00s: I can quite imagine never visiting it again, which isn’t something I can say about several others. The regular ILX meet-ups we held there are mostly a thing of the past, for the happy reason that participants basically stopped being “message board posters” and started being simply ‘friends’. What that misses out is the random element, of course – the sense on entering a get-together that you never quite knew who would turn up. Sometimes new faces, occasionally unwelcome ones – the internet meet-up pitches itself halfway between the cosy drink with mates and the party.

17
Jun 10

Which Decade Is Tops For Pops? The Results, Decade By Decade.

Which Decade Is Tops For Pops13 comments • 1,391 views

Finally, the moment of ABSOLUTE POP TRUTH is upon us! And my goodness, what a nail-biter of a contest this has been. Halfway through the voting, two decades broke decisively ahead of the pack, establishing a lead that proved impossible to catch up with. Although one of them looked to have the edge, its rival chased it hard, making up crucial lost ground in the closing stages and ensuring a RIVETING PHOTO-FINISH. Oh yes.

Meanwhile, the bottom four decades enjoyed a right old ding-dong, jostling each other furiously and never bowing out of the fight. The gap between the lower four was every bit as close as the gap between the upper two, making this year’s “Which Decade” our CLOSEST! CONTEST! EVER!

Shall we proceed? Yes, perhaps we should. Lord knows, you’ve waited long enough.

NOTE: For extra at-a-glance clarity, I have designated the 20 top scoring records as HITS, the middle 20 as MAYBES, and the 20 lowest as MISSES.

Sixth place: The Seventies.
Cumulative average score: 32.31 points.
Share of the vote: 15.39%

 

HITS:
Norman Greenbaum – Spirit In The Sky. 4.84 points, first place.
Christie – Yellow River. 4.12 points, 2nd place.

MAYBES:
Creedence Clearwater Revival – Travellin’ Band. 3.68 points, 3rd place.
The Moody Blues – Question. 3.41 points, joint 3rd place.
MISSES:
Dana – All Kinds Of Everything. 2.92 points, joint last place.
The Hollies – I Can’t Tell The Bottom From The Top. 2.90 points, 4th place.
Frijid Pink – House Of The Rising Sun. 2.80 points, 4th place.
The Move – Brontosaurus. 2.73 points, 5th place.
Tom Jones – Daughter Of Darkness. 2.70 points, last place.
England World Cup Squad – Back Home. 2.21 points, last place.

8
Jun 10

Pop World Cup 2010: The Final! Nigeria vs Germany

FT/24 comments • 5,668 views

Here we are, at last.

Here we stand at the summit of Pop Football achievement, looking back at 63 matches: some wonderful, some perplexing, some illuminating, very few boring. We’ve heard so much pop, enjoyed so many marvellous moments, and we have 30 losing managers to thank for all their research and taste.

Never mind all that, though. Here at the summit we can also look forward, forward to the Big One. Two teams remain, two managers giving it one last best shot each.  Matt DC’s Nigeria have powered through round after round; a drawn game in a tough group mars an otherwise-100% record, but they accelerated through the knockout stages and stand confident and consistent in the biggest game of all. Andrew W’s Germany have plotted an altogether mazier path to today; second to Ghana in their group, they found some form in beating the USA in the round of 16, then enjoyed winning two of the closest games in the tournament.

This match and this Championship close at midnight on Monday 14th June