Or – “What the fuck happened to my attention span?”. 2001 was the year when I gave records less space than ever to ‘grow on me’. After spending the mid-90s learning to appreciate all kinds of out there shit, and after spending the late-90s convinced that a disposability ethic was the only sane response to our pop times, I found myself this year wanting to have my cake and eat it, i.e. I want an album that makes me say YEAH on listen 1 and I’m still getting things out of on listen 20. In other words, this was the year when I went all conventional.

Some of this is down to the fact that lots of the ‘mainstream’ records I bought this year utterly satisfied me, while lots of the ones I bought last year pissed me off. So I was spending so much time listening to Basement Jaxx that I had no time to check out Jan Jelinek. Some of it is down to moving out of London and living alone: in a time-poor situation re. visits to the capital, shopping in Rough Trade loses out to sitting with friends in pubs. So if it wasn’t in Oxford HMV it probably wouldn’t end up in my stack.

So why is this the Wire problem (magazine, that is)? Well looking at The Wire – not so much their Top 50 records cos it looks to me like they’ve shifted mainstream too, but the rest of the mag – it’s talking a musical language I still (just) know how to speak but which doesn’t any more speak to me. I feel guilty that I’ve not heard Fennesz, or the new Le Tigre, but guiltier that I’ve not really had the urge to. And worse, those Wire-endorsed records I have heard this year I’ve ended up mostly not liking. Cannibal Ox, for instance – “The F Word” was a splinter in my heart all right, but a lot of the rest ended up feeling like looking at ice scuptures wearing just your underpants – yeah it’s impressive, but bloody hell it’s cold and uncomfortable too.

“But that’s the point!”. Yes, I know, that’s why I feel bad. But maybe I shouldn’t feel bad. I spent 2001 in an unsympathetic workplace with headphones on, or sitting on my own in a mostly unfurnished house. I’d nobody to blame but myself for being there, but since there I was, I reserved the right to turn up the colour a bit on my pop life. (Mind you, Cannibal Ox still gets a Top-10 POSSIBLY).