Posts from February 2003

Feb 03

I’ve just realised what my problem with Justin Timberlake’s “Cry Me A River” is

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I’ve just realised what my problem with Justin Timberlake’s “Cry Me A River” is. After all the insideous funky beat is one of the most joyous things in the charts at the moment, and Justin knows how to go falsetto for effect. The problem isn’t even his odd robotic dancing that made him look really lonely on the Top Of The Pops stage last week. It’s the very title of the song. Its a case that merely by quoting the other “Cry Me A River”, just its title, sums it up tome. It is a ‘use your own metaphor’ thing. This song in no other way references the original, and has a pretty different take on the whole river crying deal. The song would be nigh on perfect if it was called “Weep Me A Waterfall” or “Sob Me A Sea”. Even “Osmose Out An Ocean” would nag me in quite the same way.

Feb 03

A quick perusal of Steve’s guide to our trip to

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A quick perusal of Steve’s guide to our trip to Brussels will unearth the odd reference to that old favourite subject of the Publog. The Pub Nutter. Over the case of our bar slouch (not pubs, not crawling) we came across three of this breed. All different, all with one thing in common. Us. You see I have come increasingly to the opinion that, at the lowest end of the scale, I definitiely am a pub nutter catalyst. However, I get the terrible feeling that I might actually be a pub nutter full stop.

Not straight away, just after a few beers I get garoulous and will talk to you. And not necessarily about ordinary things like how long you have been waiting at the bar. No I could quite easily launch into an in depth conversation about my tricky work-life at Deptford Sewage Treatment Plant, or the pressures of being an EU Beef Inspector. After having a long chatr with the “First Fackin Pank in Brussels” it became clear that whilst he was an honest, exuberant drunkard I am more twisted. I am a pub nutter.

(The toothless fellow at Lop Lop was no pub nutter, rather a proper Pub Loonie – whilst the American was merely a pub bore. Spotters tips coming…)

Talk of Spice Girls reunion is nonsense.

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Talk of Spice Girls reunion is nonsense. Well they say careless talk costs lives but this is a bit harsh. There I was, down the pub the other day, trying to work out exactly when we would see the reunion tour* – and some spokesperson for a non-existent group tells me that it is nonsense. In actually fact the five living Spice Girls met for a social occasion round at Posh’s house (we can call her Posh again when it is in a Spice Girls context). I’m not discounting a singsong round the old joanna, but the official news is no greatest hits album, no reunion tour. Makes you wonder how well the SPices would do if they did reform. They would need an absolutely top-hole single behind them, but this certainly has never been a problem before. What would the world do with a reconstituted Spice Girls? Set tATu against them in some sort of all female wrestling-pop wet dream? Or welcome them back with open arms telling them that if Kylie can make a comeback, so can they.

*For the record, exactly when Mel C’s next single goes tits-up was agreed answer.

Once upon a time

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Once upon a time four publogger went to Brussels and drank lots of lovely beer. This is their story. Thought i’d put it there rather than here as it is rather long, and i haven’t updated my bl*g for almost nine months innit…

Feb 03

“Guy With ‘Opinionated Personal Website’ Has Problem With Professional Music Writing”

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“Guy With ‘Opinionated Personal Website’ Has Problem With Professional Music Writing”
No one really bothered to talk about the Pazz & Jop poll itself on NYLPM, with good reason, I guess: even Der Dean seems to lament the bleedin’ obviousness of this years winners, the kind of list that one can reply with – no matter where you stand on its contents – a resigned shrug. The ILM debate on the subject has lapsed into a regulars argument which I’m too busy/dense to bothering unpacking (although I can guess it has little to do with P&J at this point.) My problem with the list is that I don’t believe it was such an “obvious” year for music at all; if anything Pazz & Jop’s polled (at least the dissatisfied contingent, yrs truly included) failed to convince their peers (and by extension – obviously – their readers) about the specialness of the lower placing entries.

One of the “odd” side effects of this years list I’ve noticed is the amount of ire it seems to be drawing from the non-respondent contingent, esp those with blogs. Frankly, I agree – more or less – with Simon Reynolds: I don’t know why anyone who isn’t involved in the “industry” to one degree or another would give a flying fuck about what basically equals a meeting of the Royal Water Buffalos Lodge with a Dean Martin roast for those “in the know.” I care, of course, because I am involved, and I have loved the components of the list since I was in high school (geeky listmaking, the clash between the personalities of the individuals with the Master List, the unexpected upsets…basically a ghetto-ized version of the Oscars for those of us who still hold delusions about the glamour of criticism.) (Oh Pauline, whither next?)

The Blog Xplosion, however, means that their are more Music Writers than ever before (there were 1300 people polled in P&J this year…I have no idea what 2001’s stats were but I’d imagine it was markedly less. And 1300 is still a far cry from early early days of, like, 24 people.) Many of these writers enjoy the freedom of expression and low bar of entry blogging and webzines enjoy, while harboring a resentment towards the idea of Music Writing itself (exclusionary, pretentious, whatevah.) So naturally the idea of P&J – a big, semi-prestigious, semi-pretentious list-poll summarizing the entire year, an idea originally born out of gentle mocking humor or the same type of mainstream subversion which powers the bloggers or even sincerity (imagine that) that got out of the hands of its creators until it grew and grew to become something else entirely – feeds right into that resentment. And yet, and yet. Again, I’d have no idea why they’d care. Except that more and more people who have made their names in blogging or on music related webboards or the like are ending up in P&J (cough, cough), which confuses the sense of self-righteousness: this is beneath (above?) contempt but why am I/this blogger/guy who writes fro webzine A not included?? (It’s not quite sour grapes, but its certainly a cake and eating it too thing.)

The problem is that, as always with anything that matters, the mountain ain’t comin to Mohammed. Those included in the poll from the “blog community”?; I have some harsh news for you all: they asked to be included, in some cases fought for it. They are the Greatest Heroes of All, because their arguing for the value of blogging and internet-based criticism against some spurious standard of “professional” music writing has allowed – perhaps for the first time – all the internet writers you Want to See In Print (your results may vary) to actually get in there. But you still have to try. Not to come over all dad (but the weblog community seems to need a swift kick in the solipsism every now and again): get off your asses and do something about your complaints. Or quit fucking whining.

Feb 03

Wolf Eyes – “Dead Hills Pt. 2”

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Apparently a whole generation of latch-keyers reared on the NES, skateboard vids, and 7 Seconds albums are discovering the joys of rudimentary, home-cobbled electronics, raining cold gray slush – Residents chirrups, Whitehouse grind, Masonna shrieks, Neubauten bongo oil cans – on an unsuspecting hardcore underground. It’s a measure of hardcore’s insularity as a genre that “noise” is the New! Now! Over To You! order of the day because “noise” as a genre doesn’t change much: because it can encompass Everything it usually ends up encompassing nothing but its own cannibalized guts. So the same repeat motifs — vid games in meltdown, metal on metal scrape, feedback blare, strangulated vocalese, abused FX pedals — wash alleviatory and unchecked over the unwashed. (The last 30 years of ‘avant’ anything have traded on the rather hackneyed notion that experimental = drifty, and Noise does nothing disruptive here, reinforcing its own widdle womb. An ocean made of razor wire or brillo pads is still an ocean.) As always, the best noise acts attack their material with a bloodyminded humor; Wolf Eyes (the lastest cause celeb in a milieu where 500 cassettes sold makes you a star) render early Swans in negative, flipping and reversing their plod so that the heft of the guitar chunk-a-chunk becomes a swarm of addled texture blips, leaving only the agonizing pace and groaning humanoid yelps. It’s hilarious (if tiring), and says only one thing about (my/your/their) life: steaming rectal intubation with intolerable hot enema now.

British Image No.1

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Live Forever

Pop music has always been an audiovisual medium, but documentary movies about pop have been rare, and successful ones rarer still. Two problems confront the film-maker wanting to do more than simply record a performance. The most interesting pop subjects are often rich and jaded or inarticulate, and pop criticism seems particularly prone to nostalgia or easy, uncritical myth-making. Live Forever, John Dowey’s entertaining documentary about the rise and fall of Britpop, avoids the first pitfall but never quite escapes the second.


Feb 03

Patsy Montana- I want to be a Cowboy Sweetheart.

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Patsy Montana- I want to be a Cowboy Sweetheart.

It hasn’t been camped up or reclaimed by anybody and not really known as well as it should be, considering it was the first song written by a woman to sell a million copies. Its not ironic and its not desperate, the song is about how she wants an equal, one who can work side by side to bring food to the table.

The yodel is a rebel yell, an indication that her talent and skill sustains her, but does not make her warm on a cold night on the prairie, and the soft voices in the middle verses tell us that she can be as calm as we need her to be.

I’m playing this today, because really, only country assuages a broken heart, and its my first valentines in almost a decade with out a boy and like Patsy, I want a cowboy sweetheart.

Ahem. The counsel for the defence says…

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Ahem. The counsel for the defence says: I would have loved to be sitting close enough to the ashtray in order to use it. Or indeed to have been sitting at all in a very crowded pub on a Saturday night in the centre of town. It is far more antisocial to lean across people deeply engaged in conversation, waving a still-burning fag stub mere inches from their faces, in order to put it out than it is to put it out on the pub carpet which is clearly a special type of carpet designed to withstand the onslaught of fag butts / beer stains / mud from working men’s hobnailed boots / unidentifiable marks. It is also far more antisocial to insist on putting assorted detritus from your pockets / pub snacking into the ashtray which 99.9% of non smokers insist on doing. OI! It’s an ASHtray, not a crisp packet tray or a bus ticket tray. If I had been able to get near the flipping thing no doubt it would have been overflowing with pork scratching packets. Grumble grumble woe is me…

C90 Go: Number 7

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The Ultimate Fop-Pop Explosion

When I hit the astroturf I knew it was serious. By the time I got to Battersea the next morning, my ankle resembled the Graf Zeppelin and each gear change felt like an angle grinder slicing through my leg. Only another 400 or so miles to Paris. I left A’s Beetle in a side street, hopped to a bus stop and headed straight for casualty, where a brusque Indian doctor told me what I already knew – no weight on it for two weeks, chew these and collect a pair of crutches from reception.