S is for….”Shot By Both Sides” by Magazine. There aren’t many lyrics which change the way you think. There aren’t any lyrics which changed the way I think. But there are a few which summed something up better than I could ever hope to.

It helps of course if you have that tightrope riff at your heels, Magazine’s flat-out greatest service to pop, reeling up its scale, popping your ears with vertigo and ecstasy. But even so, “I wormed my way into the heart of the crowd / I was shocked to find out what was allowed” are probably the truest things alternative music has let itself utter. Rock critics, heed them: repeat them every time you want to use words like “mass” or “sheep” or “herd”; consider them every time you pout and preen yourselves for being so averse to the ‘mainstream’. The widest part of the river is, after all, generally the deepest.