Tuesday, 29 December 2009

How angry about Day of the Triffids is too angry about Day of the Triffids?

I think the watershed moment for me and every single film and TV programme ever came in the year 2004, when as a skint young buck living in Canada, I ended up watching all the 'making of' extras on Deb's copy of The Two Towers at least three times. It sort of shattered the magic of cinema for me, seeing as how it made me realise that films these days consist not of fluid action, but millions of two second long close ups, filmed at opposite ends of New Zealand, in different years, in front of blue screens, then arbitrarily pasted together into a masterpiece by gore-obsessed beardmeister Peter Jackson.

Anyway, ever since then my joy at the celluloid medium has been haemorrhaging at a rate of knots. Whatever happened to that innocent little boy who used to slump pissed in front of Big Brother at 5am and be thoroughly entertained by watching some boring people sleep? HE DIED.

So yeah, people who don't watch TV and make a point of saying they don't watch TV are the most hateful people on the planet, so I take no pleasure in suggesting that I might be done with the medium, but I watched two innocuous shows with my parents last night and they left me in a seething rage, and not the good kind.

First some programme about how people of the past coped with climate change, presented by Tony Robinson. It was beautifully shot, and clearly everyone involved had got a nice holiday out of the deal, but SERIOUSLY: the show starts with Robinson talking about this ancient Peruvian empire that had somehow profited from drought in the past: he simply refuses to tell us why for 20 fucking minutes, he's just killing time, reiterating the same thing, and I point this out, angrily, and my dad has the TEMERITY to not really mind, he's quite enjoying it. And don't get me started on the ten second establishing shot where Baldric has to stand in a church graveyard at night just so that he can say '... the Black Death' while some portentous strings play in the background. Then I watched Day of the Triffids and I hated every single thing about it. I think I swore in front of my parents for possibly the first time ever as a result of the fact that I thought a sci-fi show about giant killer plants didn't plausible explain why everyone on the planet had gone blind. Seriously, it took me about an hour to calm down afterwards.

Admittedly these were but two programmes but I don't think being taken to these summits of rage by TV that is meant to divert and entertain is really very good for me. Maybe I can get some of my license fee back.

Sunday, 27 December 2009

Lo! A player on which you can listen to my favourite songs of 2009

Er, yeah, I was meant to have done this for DiS about three weeks ago... OH WELL BETTER LATE THAN NEVER. Anyway, look, it should play and everything. Um and they're probably not exactly my favourite tracks of the year, more kind of favoured strays on records that weren't 100% amazing. Though some of them aren't. Oh well, you get the picture. Possibly. In any case, my favourite of the year is the Land of Kush one, m'kay?

The magic of 2009 by MrLukowski

Not many celebrities of prior eras embarassingly adopted went for 'that Nineties look'...

...John Lydon, bless 'im, was one of them. Probably all of them.

Saturday, 26 December 2009

A letter from Vic Chesnutt

Back in May, I did a feature on Constellation Records for what turned out to be the last ever edition of Plan B mag. One of the people I interviewed (by email) was Vic Chesnutt, an artist I guess I'd always been a fan of by association more than I was actually a straightforward devotee of the music; Kristin Hersh and Michael Stipe were huge fans, he was signed to Constellation... anyway, he was clearly a remarkable man, but he did get his answers in late and I never used them, and now he's dead under horrible circumstances, for which there is the full story here and a very moving tribute from Kristin here.

Anyway, I feel a bit weird just having said answers lying in a dusty corner of my inbox, unused, like I'm hoarding a microscopic portion of his soul or something, so I'm going to delete the mail but put the contents up here, as it feels equally wrong to erase them forever. Er. Yes. A 'normal' blog will be along soon, I think... um, but yeah, I'm not sure if I've really put this up to be read, or just so it exists outside of my responsibility... Anyway, it's here now.

Vic Chesnutt

to me
show details 10 May
i lost your email
if i missed the deadline i apologize
i hope i didn’t

On 5/1/09 1:38 PM, "Andrzej Lukowski" <lukowski@gmail.com> wrote:

Hi Vic

This is Andrzej from Plan B - sure Ian has explained this all to you, but we're doing a big piece on Constellation records, its past and its present, and it would be super great to get your input as I guess somebody pretty emblematic of the changing face of the label.

Here's a list of questions - I understand that you'd rather not answer by email, if we can set up a time early next week to go over this then that'd be great. Questions pasted below and attached.



1. So first off, when did you first become aware of Constellation? Was post-rock (for wont of a better term) something that you were into as it happened? Care to name a favourite Constellation band?

jem cohen was my entree into constellation. he showed me his godspeed cd, it was beautiful, he said he would give it to me of course but it was too precious, so i taped it on cassette and i used to rock that thing so loud in my studio when i needed inspiration. years later on their last tour, i saw godspeed maybe on their last tour, wow, it was unforgettable.

2. And then who made overtures to who vis a vis your signing to the label? It’s a ways to go, I’m assuming somebody must have lured you there? Who did you know already..?

when jem cohen produced my album at hotel2tango north star deserter we thought it was for new west records, but instead, they dropped me so that we could keep it in they family, my new found montreal family.

3. Had you heard of Hotel2Tango already?

hotel2tango is famous outside of constellation, yes, i knew of it, well. and i’d heard tales from jem.

4. How was recording North Star Deserter there? You got some pretty good Constellation collaborators, there...

it was magical. i was scared because i didn’t know any of these people except guy picciotto. but the whole constellation reputation from cohen had me terrified. i didn’t think i was up to the task. but immediately from the time howard bilerman, the engineer from hotel2tango picked me up from the airport i felt welcome and inspired and among comrades.

5. Obviously it’s early-ish days yet, but how does Constellation seem to be different to others labels you’ve been with? Do you feel they understand your needs better?

constellation is the best thing that ever happened to me.

6. I don’t need to point out that as an American whose work is located in the folk idiom, you’re rather an anomaly at Constellation... what’s your take on that? A conversation along the lines of ‘this isn’t what we usually do’ must have taken part at some point?

i don’t think about that, at all, really, with a good hunk of the heart of constellation characters surrounding me in the band, it feels like the only place for these albums.

7. It strikes me that community is probably quite key to Constellation... do you feel removed from that at all? Or not? Would it be journalistic wishful thinking if you could draw some amazing parallel between it and the early Eighties Athens scene?

well, constellation crew seems a lot more put together than the wild early 80’s athens scene.

8. Are you friends with Carla Bozulich at all? I guess you’re in a similar boat as ‘veteran’ US recording artists who’ve found their way to Constellation...

i know carla, of course. she’s amazing. but i haven’t thought about the constellation thing with us.

9. How do you politics stack up with the label’s politics? Are you as left leaning? Is it an issue?

oh yeah, i’m a lefty, alright. and we talk politics.

10. I gather there’s a new album due September... what can we expect? Was it done at Hotel2Tango again? Who were the personnel?

yes, we recorded at the new hotel2tango and it is silver mt zion sans sophie, guy picciotto, and
two-thirds of the witchies, single lp length. i can’t give away anymore details.

Thursday, 24 December 2009

Mental blockages partly swept under carpet thx

Hello there, the internet. It has been quite some time (er, apart from those other blogs I put up, but I started this one earlier and wrote something long and a bit pompous and decided to just strip it down, like)... I suppose there are a variety of reasons, most to do with lack of free time of late, but at the core of it is the thing I was kind of alluding to a couple of blogs back, namely that I've felt mentally blocked writing about certain things here, mostly because I didn't want to jinx stuff. Anyway brief pubic announcement, already probably know to everybody who reads this thing, and then we shall move on.

1. After a somewhat nail-biting wait, I got the job of Fringe Theatre Editor at Time Out. Which probably either sounds really impressive (if you're unsure about what Fringe Theatre technically is) or awful (if you know), but is actually somewhere in between.

2. I have a girlfriend. Called Rachael. It has now been over two months, so I suppose it 'counts'.

3. Um, I had a bit of a falling out with my ex-housemates and it was all a bit blah for a while and I thought I wasn't going to find anywhere good to live, but then I did and now I live in a large house in Clapton and it's all good.

4. Still hanging in the air is my ballsing up of the medical portion of my Canada application, had to wait a fucking age to get my GP notes transferred to London from some obscure corner of Leeds, the elusive yay or nay OUGHT to come soon, but it's now taken so long I can see the 'hilarious' scenario occurring wherein it's taken so long that I get kicked off, as they've sent me a couple of notes saying they need the information ASAP. Not really in my hands. Anyway, if I did get it, I think I'd still like to go, but probably delay by a year, at least to be in the UK for various weddings and give the Time Out job a better crack of the whip...

Yes, right, that's the self-indulgent clearing of the blockage blog, is what that is.

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Grumble grumble time travel

I watched Terminator Salvation this afternoon. I could have gone to an art gallery or done some writing or weeded the garden or seen a friend or read a book. I could have done a lot of things. But I watched Terminator Salvation.

As I expected, I basically quite enjoyed it, just as I basically quite enjoyed the last film in the franchise (watched it twice on one - admittedly poorly catered for by entertainment - flight). Batman and Robin excepted, I tend to basically quite enjoy inferior sequels, just so long as the heart's in the right place and the budget is solid enough.

Anyway, accepting it was basically just a remake of the third Matrix film, I thought it was okay. BUT I HAVE SEVERAL QUESTIONS, none of which will make any sense to you whatsoever if you haven't seen said film, but I'm going to write them here anyway because it'll make me feel better.

1. Okay, Skynet/the Terminators are attempting to wipe out the human race on grounds of it being a kind of 'us-or-them' scenario. It's a fair point, and it's a high priority. Still: assuming they win, what the fuck are they actually going to DO? I mean, they've churned out millions of death dealing uber machines all united by a single intelligence; is that FUN? They seem to have absolutely zero hobbies bar killing the increasingly scant number of humans on the planet. Even if they do have something else to be getting on with, then presumably the gargantuan number of robots awful at doing anything other than blowing shit up is going to lead to major unemployment problems. What are they going to do? MELT THEM DOWN INTO TROWELS?

2. So there's this dude Marcus, who Skynet has brought back as an experimental infiltrator clone or something, the logic being he'll lure John Conner out to get killed. This is total crap; Marcus is under no programming or control whatsoever - all he really succeeds in doing is saving John's life on various occasions. The logic possibly being that this assists him in walking into the 'trap' of a dangerous mission during which the machines intend to kill him, but, um, yeah, duh...

3. John is totally freaked out at Marcus, the part human Terminator with a (literal and metaphorical) heart. Fair enough Marcus is actually quite a bit more human than the Arnie-brand model, but still... John, did you not see this coming? When you were 13 you spent a magical summer hanging out with a robot that looked like a human and sort of learnt to feel things, being chased by a blob of mercury that could look like a variety of humans, and exhibited a pretty nifty emotional range. Being all like "oh god, this is insane, I can't believe they did this, it changes everything" is a bit histrionic.

4. John sits there listening to his mum's cassette tapes detailing how one should wage a war against robots. Okay, she was pretty tasty in a fight, BUT, I mean she was never actually in a war, she just managed to kill two measly robots; the first time she cried like a girl; the second John was there anyway and she needed another bastard hard robot to help her. She spouts all this guff about the psychology of Skynet when she BASICALLY HAS NO IDEA.

5. Everyone's very sanguine about the fact that time machines are liable to be developed in the next couple of years, y'know?

Saturday, 31 October 2009

Self-appointed media commentators are the worst human beings on the planet

So yeah, the London Lite looks set to close. I don't know if it's really Schadenfreude when you're sort of glad of an event like this (on the grounds it's not a very good paper and you don't think Londoners should read it now the laughably superior Evening Standard is free) but feel a bit guilty/hypocritical because you used to do stuff for them and the money really helped. I don't know, I mean, they didn't really seem to do news at all (not really) so I don't think it's particularly offensive to anybody involved to say 'the news was shit', but arts-wise I suppose a blow to arts journalism is a blow to arts journalism, no matter how small, and I guess while the articles were on the slender side (and seemed to mostly be music/film/comedy) then the writers were perfectly decent. So in conclusion, it was pretty shit, but I feel bad for the arts journalists.

What an obnoxious thing to say.


The worst blog post you will find anywhere on the internet

I had a dream last night: ABOUT THIS BLOG. Oh god, sub-consciousness based guilt. Anyway, in it I wrote something that was particularly uncontroversial and somebody from the internet said I was a horrible person underneath.

Then realising this was basically a bit of a shit dream, my sub consciousness decided it'd give me more or less the same one again, only it involved other (i.e. more interesting) people. There was a measure of full frontal tech drama, as the blog in this dream didn't allow comments, and the poster was a trusted friend who'd hacked the blog to be a bit mean.

If anybody would like me to knock up a film treatment for this then why the fuck not, I'm game, let's do it.

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

A soul-baring blog about why this isn't a soul-baring blog

(Please note: term soul-baring is relative)

Though I sometimes idly worry about the fact that living a broadly student lifestyle age 28 is probably less enviable than doing so at 23 or 24, I suppose the revelation (or perhaps if I'm being honest, confirmation) that my blog filtered through into the outside world enough for me to get into a small amount of trouble when discussing my departure from Metro was one of those things that made me grow up a small amount. If that's not too presumptuous a way of describing the fact that I finally received empirical proof that shoving words into a forum freely accessible by several billion people might result in some of said words being noticed. Anyway, the last month has been full of things - well, moderately full of things - that I'd probably have written about on condition of anonymity, but won't, mostly because I don't really want to cause offence/hassle, or, at least, don't want to deal with the consequences. I even thought twice about putting up that bloody George Pringle thing. If this was an anonymous blog then probably I'd talk about a couple of them, but then, why would I write an anonymous blog? My problems are too diffuse and trivial to warrant any sort of whistle blowing insider affair, and I'm not filled enough with either malice or any sort of drive to fill this thing with either a unified aesthetic or overarching purpose to really justify an assumed identity.

This blog is basically gutless, and yet still I'm doing it. Not entirely sure why. Clearly it's a performative act, or else I'd just keep a bloody diary. That said, my handwriting is shit and I'm an obsessive redrafter; I do keep diaries when I travel, but a day to day one would never really prove that satisfactory. Maybe it's just the normalisation of blogs means they seem a better place to fritter away some of these words than just shoving them a file on my desktop; the fact is I don't REALLY expect anybody to read this, I'm just aware of the danger of the wrong person doing so.

I'm saying this because I want to refocus the blog a bit, make it more cultural and musical-musing-ish. Okay, I'll be in serious danger of making myself look like a self-proclaimed 'expert', but fuck it, it might restore a bit of focus to this thing.

Basically, it's all the Guide's fault for starting to write about adverts. THAT USED TO BE MY THING YOU SHITS.

Saturday, 26 September 2009

I’m going to be honest: achieving my 10:10 target is going to be quite easy

Ah, 2009. A year that commenced with me receiving a look of approval from Laura McDermott as she observed how impressive the lack of flying my epic backpacking trip was *supposed* to involve.

A year that reached something like its two-third mark with vague disappointment in those same eyes as I ruefully totted up how many flights I’d actually taken. Okay, my carbon footprint is considerably less than, say, Al Gore’s, but still, I’ve been appalling this year, my head quite shamelessly turned by a sickening four foreign press trips, my lo-flight backpacking escapade spiralling wildly out of control thanks to the impressive meshing of both my inefficiency and that of the Chinese. Anyway, sat here on what ought to be my last flight of the year, I apologise profusely to Mother Nature, and for the sake of all those people in posterity keen to know what weapons-grade levels of frivolity we doomed idiots in 2009 achieved, I hereby submit my thoughts and feelings on every flight I got in 2009. I was originally going to rate them out of five using images of Jimbo from Jimbo and the Jet Set, but then I realised I couldn't in any way be arsed to do the cut out. I leave you with the credit sequence. Those cows used to freak the fuck out of me.

Reykjavik Keflavik to London Stansted 02.01.09

Hugely delayed return leg of awesome New Year’s trip to lovely lovely Iceland. Would have appreciated the lie-in had we known how many millions of hours delayed our stupid am flight was going to be, but we didn’t find ourselves un-amused as we went ker-razy with our lunch vouchers and totally broke into the apology booze when we finally got into the air. If I’d actually had to be back in time for anything in particular then might have been annoyed, but on reflection this arguably wins flight of the year. FOUR JIMBOS.

London Stansted to Talinn 12.01.09

Hellish. This can mostly be put down to the fact that I’d got wasted to mark the commencement of my travels, gone straight to the airport with Powell at, like, 4am, knocked back another pint, passed out on the plane and then woke up about 30 minutes from landing to about the closest I’ve ever come to having a panic attack. While this can largely be attributed to hangover, lack of sleep etc, I do maintain EasyJet have the most cramped of all short-haul jets, though possibly this is down to the happy-go-lucky approach to reclining exhibited by the overwhelming majority of its cheapskate customers. ONE JIMBO.

Qingdao to Seoul Incheon 24.02.09

Mixed. On the one hand it was now dawning to me that my eco-friendly world tour was going to essentially be responsible for the extinction of several undiscovered species of animal, the ghosts of which would proceed to stare at me every time I went to sleep with accusing, adorable eyes. Also I ended up speaking to a really unpleasant Dutch guy who proceeded to irritate me more by the fact he had a hugely worthwhile job developing an entirely solar-powered boat, a fact that seemed cruelly designed to rub in my failure. On the other hand I’d made it out of China, and also there was free beer. THREE JIMBOS.

Seoul to Jeju 27.02.09

Jeju to Seoul 05.03.09

Hmm. The flights were less than £20 a pop, and South Korea is set up so epically impractically for anybody wishing to approach the southern island by water that I’m not sure I feel that guilty about these. They served mandarin juice, which was nice. THREE JIMBOS.

Seoul Incheon to Beijing Capital 06.03.09

While it seems silly that there was no direct flight to Hong Kong, they did show The Simpsons film in English, which was nice at the time. THREE JIMBOS.

Beijing Capital to Hong Kong 06.03.09

Hmm. I’d asked for ‘Asian Vegetarian’ as my food option, but they gave me cucumber sandwiches. I hate cucumber sandwiches. Also after the glory of TV on the first leg, this had none, plus I’d finished racist epic Gone With The Wind. Dangerously bored. TWO JIMBOS.

Hong Kong to London Heathrow 13.03.09

Was really looking forward to this – films, wine, joy of seeing friends at end of it. Had possibly built it up a bit too much/was too worried about being in a fit state to be sociable at the end – sat in cramped seat while drinking cheap wine and watching a shit film isn’t wonderful. Also I had an epic sleeping pill fail and merely pretended to be asleep as I’d informed the nice old couple next to me that sleeping pills worked without fail, and I wouldn’t want to loose face in front of some elderly folks who I’d never see again. Still, they were a nice old couple, who I actually liked (normally I absolutely despise nice old couples) and y’know, it was okay and I managed to be reasonably sociable at the end (even if it basically seemed to be an almighty drunken conversation about marriage). THREE JIMBOS.

London Stansted to Reykjavik Keflavik 08.04.09

I suppose it is irrational to hold a grudge against an airline for only having flights that preclude you from going out to the pub with Icelandic friends, but there you go, eh? TWO JIMBOS.

Reykjavik City to Isafjordur 09.04.09

Definitely the ricketiest flight I’ve ever been on, though maybe the horror stories were a bit exaggerated. Considering it only takes six hours to drive this exact same route this possibly loses out on the eco-fromt. But still, would be a bit sour to give less than THREE JIMBOS.

Reykjavik Keflavik to London Stansted 12.04.09

While the flight was fairly unremarkable, the fact Anna from Icelandic Music Export simply phoned the airport and had the plane held to accommodate the fact we arrived five minutes after it was supposed to have taken off... well that was just deliughtful. FOUR JIMBOS.

London Gatwick to Basel 03.07.09

Okay, I shouldn’t blame the airline for the fact I missed the morning flight when it largely boils down to the fact I got wasted the night before. HOWEVER a) I’d have made the flight if it wasn’t for a stupid police roadblock – GATWICK IS CLEARLY A HIVE OF DEGENERATE SCUM b) Basel is the stupidest airport in the world, straddling, as it does, two seemingly hostile countries. Also c) I demand to blame somebody else other than me. ONE JIMBO.

Basel to London Gatwick 07.07.09

Much improved, though there’s not much romance to shorthaul really, is there? Anyway, ended in small victory when I remembered how the Gatwick Express was a horrible con and bought the half price, ten minutes longer alternative far to London town. Well done me. THREE JIMBOS.

London Stansted to Katowice 06.08.09

I’d somehow managed to avoid getting a Ryanair flight all year, but finally it happened. Appalling cunts. Playing their godawful ‘this flight was on time music’ so bloody smugly. I mean. It’s the airline equivalent of ‘I went to the toilet and didn’t shit myself’, isn’t it? ISN’T IT? By the by, you would be surprised how busy the Katowice flight is. TWO JIMBOS.

Katowice to Frankfurt 10.08.09

Frankfurt to Edinburgh 10.08.09

Oh hai KLM! There is nothing more magical than drinks and snacks on short-haul. NOTHING. (Apart from 92-year-old-ladies in the year 1971). Well done to KLM for harking back to the golden age of airtravel. FOUR JIMBOS.

London Stansted to Eindhoven 18.09.09

Oh fuck you Ryanair, like 6.55am is a reasonable time. Most frustrating thing about this flight is how very short it is – something like 45 minutes, all of which I slept for. There is nothing for persuading you how awful you’ve been to the planet like a pisstakingly short flight. TWO JIMBOS.

Eindhoven to London Stansted 21.09.09

As above, really, possibly compounded by the fact there is NOTHING TO DO IN HOLLAND (that’s an exaggerated statement and one we shall not engage with). Still the flight was at a more reasonable time, and I was amused to note that they were selling those electronic cigarettes on board. Nobody bought them. THREE JIMBOS.

In conclusion: I got 18 flights this year and am a right shit and deserve to burn for all eternity, except not, 'coz I'll do ten per sent less next year, and that'll be my bit to save the planet.

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

A 92-year-old woman in the year 1971

So I went to see Mark Ravenhill's A Life in Three Acts (Part Two) last night, which okay, a sort of pseudo documentary type thing about the life of drag performer Bette Bourne, divided into three parts that happen over three nights. Can see why it went down well at Edinburgh, through was a bit baffled as to why it remained split into three in London, as Part Two was a svelte 45 minutes long, which seems kind of a rip. Though there were two for one cocktails and I did end up sat next to Ian McKellen (endearingly annoyed about price of the programme and the fact Cosmopolitans weren't included in the two for one), so I suppose that was added bang for buck (or 'the full gay' as I suppose it isn't very appropriate to call it). THAT IS NOT THE POINT THOUGH.

So at one point Bette Bourne reminisced about somebody who lived in the same commune as him being visited by his 92-year-old mother, and this was back in 1971. Now, this seems really fucking unlikely - we saw a photo of the son at the time, and he looked thirties tops, so unless his mother had a really, really amazingly weirdly, freakishly good womb then I sincerely doubt this is correct.


Ninety-two is unusually old, but there must have been a fair few of them around in 1971. That's just crazy. To still be a teenager in the reign of Victoria. To be thirtysomething when WWI broke out. To watch Hitler on the news as you shuffle into middle age. To spend your sixties being blitzed, to spend the Fifties watching the birth of rock and roll, to still be around for Dylan and the Stones and the Beatles' best years, to still be kicking and breathing and having progeny on the planet as the civil rights movement rages around you, the world still in such palpable transit at the end of your live. For radiation to be discovered when you were 13, for atomic bombs to be dropped when you were 65. To live from Oscar Wilde to the Jackson 5. I mean, what a fucking interesting span of time to be alive.

Obviously it's dumb to romanticise it - two world wars for starters, while it'd be profoundly unlikely that she'd really have spent her seventies and eighties and nineties grooving to that funky music. But it just really struck me, that bridging of 'now' and such a deep, deep 'then'. I dunno, I can't help but see there being something utterly enviable about that... we worry so much about the world changing for good these days, and, y'know, obviously many of those outcomes involve some sort of global cataclysm. Which is not good. But if I hit 92 and the world had changed half so much - even for the 'worse' (such a relative concept - fall of the British Empire was 'bad' I suppose, though again, that thing about global cataclysm) - I hope I'd be able to see something magical in that.

Sunday, 13 September 2009

Ah, censorship, my old adversary, blah blah blah, etc etc etc

I realise that the meagure number of people who read this thing have zero interest in casting their eyes over more of my bloody music writing (which if anything they probably come here to hide from). But anyway, I wrote this review of George Pringle's new album for DiS, only it got pulled for weird scenester political reasons I had no foreknowledge of that were broken to me, um, well, with an invigorating lack of politeness. Anyway, I spent about an hour making some sort of absurd personal tragedy out of it and pondering giving it to another website, but then I realised I really couldn't be bothered with the fuss and didn't especially care. But I did take the time to write the stupid thing, so I hereby shuffle it under the metaphorical carpet that is this storied blog. But um, yeah, if you don't read my stuff normally it would be weird if you felt any obligation to peruse this one. I'M JUST PUTTING IT HERE.

George Pringle - Salon des Refusés

It would be fair to say that George Pringle has proven a divisive figure over the course of her short, bogged down career and it does not take a sociology degree to see why. Sure, a mixture of buzzing analogue primitivism and self-obsessed, irony-heavy monologues was never going to be everybody’s cup of tea. But without getting involved in any bullshit over classism, there’s no debate that the woman is pathologically posh, speaking in a sort of cartoonish strain of RP and insisting on calling herself a ‘diseuse’. Combine that with her Knightley-esque looks and Enid Blyton first name, and you’re left with the peculiar impression of a minor member of the aristocracy turning her hands to DIY electronica, a kind of Victoria Aitken vibe.

That this is at least part affected - Salon des Refusés' torturous gestation comes from Pringle being flat broke - is hard to bring to mind when confronted with the actual music.

But in any case, Salon des Refusés is here now, and while at times you are faced with what amounts to a debutante saying clever things over a laptop, to dismiss it as such would do little justice to the neon-streaked claustrophobia of a profoundly atmospheric record.

Tongue in cheek as it may or may not be, the diseuse tag isn’t astoundingly accurate. The word means ‘performer of monologues’, but those cut-glass spoken word segments are just a facet of what she does. So yes, album highlight ‘Physical Education (Part 1)’ does begin with her sketching out a fantasy scenario in which a boy who ignored her at school offers belated validation with the words ”you’re so cool George Pringle”. But that’s scarcely a minute of the track, which then proceeds to erupt into cold ecstasy, a hymnal buzz of syths crawling upwards as she sings the words ”cheap thrills; carved your name into my desk” over and over, interpolated with the hook line from Donna Summer’s ‘I Feel Love’. It is thrilling, but there’s also something a bit tragic about the juxtaposition of a sad little daydream with an anthem so utterly transcendent. Something Pringle is aware of: at the's music headiest, most climactic throb, she mutters a forlorn little“shit”, as if rueful that her 24-year-old self is so reduced.

Difficulty in empathising may be another problem people have with Pringle: these are sad, lonely songs about isolation and psychic disintegration, suburban entrapment depicted in sickly, Lynchian shades. But it can be a little hard to swallow coming from so plummy a voice. ‘Carte Postale’ is the closest she comes to asking you to feel sorry for her; but when she assume fractionally posher tones to bitterly mock the sender of the titular missive, holidaying in Buenos Aires, it’s kind of hard to get onside. Yet belatedly it happens, the story becoming more vulnerable, a gentle tide of early Belle & Sebastian-style backing beckoning you hither.

The thing to remember is that Pringle is a musician, and a good one at that; not technically adept, but a deft textural manipulator of GarageBand and her own limited vocal gifts. Sure, a warm Lancastrian burr would probably have saved her a lot of grief, but her hauteur suits the nerve-jarring music - ‘We Could Have Been Heroes’ seasick jabbering and savage drone; ‘LCD I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down’s freezing pulse; 'Fellini For Prime Minister's nightmare stumble.

It all reaches musical and thematic climax over ‘Bonjour Tristesse’s ten churning minutes. The song commences with a muffled Pringle delicately singing the mantra ”my heart was meant to dance” over a nauseating, grimy bed, a bed that echoes and intensifies as the singer begins to unravel, declaring in less steady tones ”I’ve got no friends, I dance alone”. Around the halfway point words drop out entirely, leaving the song to mutate into an eerie cousin to New Order’s ‘In A Lonely Place’.

Symphonic, sad and unhinged, it’s the apex of an album that steadily ratchets up the atmosphere, squeezing and constricting until... it sort of loses its way. The final four songs are okay, but rather bathetic after the heights surmounted by ‘Bonjour Tristesse’. The entirely sung ‘Pop Hit’ is Pringle’s stab at convention, and sounds disconcertingly like second album Long Blondes; ‘One Night In Koko’ feels like a needless reprise of earlier tracks, while ‘S.W.10’ plays at being the nursery rhyme closer, but sabotages itself by being a little too busy, electronically speaking.

It’s a shame, perhaps for Pringle as much as anyone, as if you’re going to make music this divisive, you could really do with making your debut a bulletproof statement of intent. But ifSalon des Refusés isn’t quite that convincing statement, it’s two thirds of one. And to give Pringle her dues - that's about two thirds better than any other diseuse on the gig circuit right now.

Monday, 7 September 2009

Ah, September, my old adversary. So good of you to join me.

So I bet you got all excited when I did three blogs in about three days and you thought 'oh wow, he's going to become just like that Richard Herring, except with a less interesting life to try and make sound a bit depressing'.

No fear, I shall remain as feebly undiligent as ever. Anyway, it has been a funny old month, since last we talked, oh diary mine, and here are some reasons why.

Metro Life R.I.P.-ed

I suppose you could argue that my former Metro colleagues at least managed nine months more usefulness than me and Zof did; nonetheless, the complete elimination of all regional-specific arts coverage in Metro is pretty horrible. Thirty-odd people losing their jobs is never the nicest thing, especially when many are friends, especially when none of them saw it coming, especially when so many of them had laid down roots in regional cities - in many cases purchased houses - for jobs that are now gone, with no regional equivalents.

I pretty much have to assume that if I can make a semi go of it post Metro then they'll all do better/actively take work away from me; at least the comments on this here Guardian article would suggest it was not unappreciated (though I suspect quite a lot are from staff, actually...).

I think maybe in retrospect the most depressing thing of all, though, is that Metro Life arguably looks like a weirdly implausible endeavour. Metro as a whole may be a notch or two above the afternoon freesheets and the actual gutter press, but it's hardly a forward thinking, leftfield publication. Metro Life really was, if possibly only by necessity of not filling the allotted space with Jim Davidson's latest tour or whatever, and I suppose maintaining quality regional arts coverage never seemed obviously in line with anything the paper as a whole was trying to achieve. On those grounds I suppose you could argue that it was nice it ran and was financed for the best part of a decade, though, er, that's absolutely no consolation to anyone, obviously.

Anyway, it's a big shame for the obvious reasons. I suspect if I hadn't got taken in by the Birmingham edition shortly after I'd got back from Canada I'd have either ended up some sort of intolerable hipster or - even worse - blundered into a non-arts related area of the media and become some cunt in a suit. It became quite stultifying towards the end, and I do think my writing suffered as a result of being part of that machine, but it taught me a lot of stuff, I met a lot of wonderful people, and I guess now it's gone there's little question of the fact that it was A Good Thing rather than A Bad Thing. Sigh.

I went to Poland again

For the OFF Festival. You can read my review-cum-guilty trip at blatantly only being asked because I had a Polish name on DiS, if you can be arsed. It was fun; certainly I didn't balls anything up in a missing-the-entire-first-day-because-I-got-drunk style, and the atmosphere was great, people I met were lovely. Admittedly my chronic lameness at meaningful networking did mean that despite meeting the MD and editor of Filter magazine and pretty much everybody of any import at Sub Pop, I have nothing to show for it career-wise beyond some light liver damage (the Filter guys can drink), but that, my friends, is how I do. I stay warm under a bushel of integrity. Or at least ineptitude.

I did one drunken night end up pulling the lead singer of the above Polish indie band, though. That was a bit odd. I get the impression she's actually kind of famous-ish; certainly her escalating embarrassment every time she saw me afterwards would suggest something like that. Um, though I guess it's kind of par for course. I'm not really sure why I'm telling you this. I mean, obviously I'm boasting on some level, though as you don't know who the band are and don't really know that much about then, then we are in essence all just taking my word for it. Anyway, good festival, I would recommend it as part of a trip to the parts, so I would.

I went to Edinburgh for a month or thereabouts

An August without the Fringe had seemed like so awful an idea (again, thanks Metro for allowing me to chow down on the intoxicating teat of reviewing up there for three years) that I launched a limp, disorganised, but ultimately successful pestering campaign against the wonderful Caroline McGinn, theatre editor at Time Out, in which I basically said they could more or less have me for slave labour if only I could wield the Time Out name and go see a bunch of theatre. Obviously that was only half of the battle: it's not like they were going to put me up.

Enter Andy Field, who very kindly offered me floorspace in what has politely been referred to as The Flat From Hell, and sort of was, but the mere fact of its existence was unquestionably Very Awesome.

So essentially the combination in my taking a naive shoot for the moon in getting in touch with one of the country's more respected theatre critics, having a friend with a flat for artists that was horrible enough for not all the artists to bother staying, plus having the last financial vestiges of the luxury to not actually have a job to go to have all combined to mean that I have somehow ended up on the Time Out freelance theatre review team. This is probably the single proudest moment of my journalistic career, and has been received with a utter indifference by music friends, and a kind of gentle amusement by theatre ones. In all likelihood I'm going to continue dropping the phrase 'Time Out theatre critic' into conversation until either a) somebody shrieks at me "nobody fucking cares!", b) somebody shrieks at me "you lucked out you twat, what do you really know about theatre anyway?" or c) all my ex-girlfriends come round and tell me that I've done well and the only reason we split up was that I was too good in bed.

But it is a really great thing to have achieved, personally, having both that legitimacy in a world I've always admired hugely, no feeling entirely tied to the posturing and double bluffing and false importance and real importance and blah blah blah of music journalism, and more prosaically, being able to 'afford' to go to the theatre. Christ, this is turning into some sort of awful self-help blog. Wot a khunt.

Edinburgh was great, you can read my various thoughts on stuff here, if you get the chance I'd particularly recommend you see Uninvited Guests' 'Love Letters Straight From Your Heart', either of Belt Up's productions ('The Tartuffe' and 'The Trial'), Melanie Wilson's 'Iris Brunette' and Nic Green's 'Trilogy'.

As ever, the best thing was being in a tangential way involved with the Forest Fringe. It really is inspiration, and if Andy basically turns into a work stressed monster for its duration, the ends do justify the means, and to be honest I never really liked the fellow much.

The three week divide was unexpectedly enforced a little more by the changing casts in people; Mickey and a relaxed Andy for the first week, Powell for the second, Tams for the third, Arike right at the end... sort of gave everything a different tone and kind of mentally divided the festival into more manageable portions. Plenty of awesome constants and overlaps, mind - Deborah Pearson is teh awesomes, as are Tinned Fingers, H Plewis, and generally all who saile within the Forest. Oh, and I was only joking about Andy. Sort of. A bit. Don't hit me Andy.

Music that was good awaited my return

After grumping obnoxiously about music and music journalism, I got home to discover choice morsels by Atlas Sound, Fuck Buttons, HEALTH... AND MORE!!! had arrived at the old Lukowski homestead in my absence. So that was good. Stuff's good.

I'm going to try and get a job

Not, like, a proper one, but the festival season is done with, I'm bored of being skint, I sort of feel that in my various current freelance gigs I've racked up something to at least be proud-ish of - I think a nice part time job to take me out of the house and into fractional monthly profit could only be a good thing. Obviously I do say this as a friend of Ward, a man steadily coming up to his year unemployment anniversary, but I suspect I don't quite have his, uh, high standards.

Right. That was fucking long and self-indulgent, wasn't it? To be honest I only really wanted to say that thing about pulling that musician, the rest was just a disguise to make it look casual, like.

Monday, 3 August 2009

Yeah, I guess I was present when musical history happened

Er, very minor musical history. I was reading something about Final Fantasy and on a whim decided to see if I could find his version of Arcade Fire's 'No Cars Go' online, as it was pretty much the highlight of his AMAZING Louisiana gig getting on for three years ago.

A relatively cursory YouTube search suggests this is the only instance of him playing it in the presence of a camera. So let's just say he only did it once, and I was there, and you weren't, you feckless lazemonger. Er, apart from Holly, she was there.

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

The wrong way to buy deodorant

So am in a hurry: I have to get across town for a gig. But I need some deodorant, as I have run out. I pop into a newsagent. For environmental reasons/some Byzantine hangover from trying to impress Deb/hatred of the smell of Lynx set to fundamental acknowledgement of the fact I'd probably end up buying Lynz, I use roll on, not spray on.

So anyway, options are slender. There are three female roll-ons, one male.

I know what I should do.

But I am paralyzed.

There is nothing on the packaging of the male deodorant that says what it smells of. It just says 'male'.

I stare at it angrily.

I am going to be manipulated into the purchase of this for no reason other than I am male and it says 'male'.

I mean, should I be standing up to something here? I mean, really? REALLY? This is all I base my notional olfactory signature on? That it says 'male' and I am male? Why don't I just pick up one of the female ones? I'm a vegetarian and I eat meat flavoured crisps in the knowledge it's all basically a load of bullshit, why can't I buy a female deodorant? AM I AN IDIOT?

Then I start to think about how when I got to Boots or Superdrug or whatever, then I DO have choice, and that choice is not really a choice. Africa or Inca? I mean, the Incas likely didn't smell great, in Africa deodorant is a luxury - there's no suggestion that the name is going to convey anything. I just opt for whatever name I like the most. So in many ways opting to buy something that doesn't offer any choice and can't even be arsed to apply a fancy and entirely spurious name is me opting out of a system. Maybe.

Or maybe I have now stood in a shop for at least two minutes trying to formulate a discourse justifying why it is okay for me to buy this particular brand of inexpensive hygiene product.

Yes, that is it. I buy the deodorant. But I am not happy.

Monday, 27 July 2009

Google search: "Oasis are legends"

Oasis are legends in their own mind. Yeah, of course, the first two albums were rather great...but not that great. Good pleasant indie stompers, eh? (www.drownedinsound.com)

who does'nt noel gallagher slag off! he's an arsehole,needs to learn to shut his gob one day!! fair enuff,oasis are legends and have been around for ages (www.nme.com)

last nite was the best gig ever oasis are legends and will never die. live forever. Mike [Visitor] (www.nme.com)

its true oasis, it sold the least for a reason... it wasnt poppy and mainstream which is a damn good thing. OASIS are legends (blogcritics.org)

So are Papa Roach with a mint new song! woooooooo :D btw Oasis are legends! :D (www.cybergadgies.com)

ive sang it on karaoke is astonishing. my favourite song by far. oasis are legends to promote this song and ill hail their every movement for doing so (www.everyhype.com)

Greenday are a fuckin joke. Oasis are legends unlike those wannabe punk cunts. stuartyboy121285 (www.youtube.com)

Oasis are legends! Noel gallagher is one of the greatest song writers alive he is totally awsum!!! Posted by: Holly (www.q4music.com)

I love this song! Oasis are legends! (www.myspace.com)

Oasis are Legends , they shouldnt need to jump round and try keep a crowd happy (www.facebook.com)

north south divide **** it oasis are legends and southern **** will nick your gals what ever the divide. (uk.eurosport.yahoo.com)

It's great to get an endorsement like that off someone like Liam because he's pretty credible and Oasis are legends (www.dailymail.co.uk)

Shiners09: oasis are legends...that bloke deserves to have his face kicked in for nearly pushin noel off the stage. (www.noelgallagher.co.uk)

Noel Gallagher is the greatest man ever and deserves to be knighted. Oasis are legends. (www.myspace.com)

I hope it's a self titled album. Because I think it will blow people away more than even this one! Oasis are legends (www.amazon.com)

Oasis are legends. I still listen to Whats the Story regularly years after first buying it. (www.ents24.com)

OASIS are legends and they deserved the lifetime outstanding contribution award cause they are that damn good! you gotta roll with it (www.scotsman.com)

Oasis are legends and deserve every bit of fame and money they have. (www.brifta.gs)

oasis are legends wether you hate them or not. they have made influential albums, theyre album was second to the beatles lonely hearts club in top 10 albums (www.prefixmag.com)

You have a good time in Slane? Aw what a class day..didn't want it to end! Oasis are legends! hey!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (www.kingsofleon.com)

Oasis are legends, and I have been following them for years now - and Snow Patrol! Their tunes are the soundtrack to some amazing memories near and far (www.goodhopefm.co.za)

Oasis rules, get with it, America, but i think we have now, Oasis are legends, the most rocking, craziest band ever...they rule!!!!!!!!!!!! (www.amazon.com)

dazmein: i guess you like bands like the saturdays you knob noel and oasis are legends. (www.noelgallagher.com)

Oasis are legends, arctic monkeys, hard-fi, Kaiser chiefs, Kasabian, Keane, the killers, the kooks, snow patrol, maroon 5, take that (www.bebo.com)

ah lucky u id say it was unreal..i shud have went to that concert myself oasis are legends. (www.bebo.com)

Swine Flu Fail


I mean, it's not like everyone was exactly petrified by the thing in the first place. Sure there were people dying in Mexico a bit, but really... I mean REALLY... the original Spanish Influenza outbreak seems to generally be regarded as a sort of interesting bit of trivia - did you KNOW more people died of it than did in the Great War? Yeah? FUCKING PUSSIES WHO COULDN'T EVEN BE ARSED TO DIE IN A FUTILE POCKET OF CARTRIDGE-SODDEN FRENCH MUD - and this is like, well a) it's flu, pah, rubbish, just a cold for people causing a scene and b) it's got 'swine' in the title, it's not like some sort of alien death pox that causes flesh eating larvae the size of dogs to spew forth from one's eyeballs. Unless you're so blithely coddled as to believe physical violence and cancer are literally the only things capable of killing you, then you will have essentially sussed this is a cold with bells on. Oh, and also let's not forget how UTTERLY shit Bird Flu was, the Millennium Bug of global pandemics. I mean. More money must have actually been spend working out it existed than actually having to treat anyone. Rubbish.

Anyway, then there was a sort of lull, where we worried about MPs' expenses, and then it finally made it over here, and, like, fuck, if anything it's actually less effectual than expected. I was out with Flea the other night and her housemate had Swine Flu and I was about 80 per cent joking when I said 'I'm not going to touch you, I'm going to get Swine Flu'. There was hugging. Did I get it? NO. Has she even come down with it? Nope. Fuck, I can't even exploit it for journalistic purposes - some lucky bastard at The Times has definitely had it and written about it, probably plenty of others besides.

If this was a film half the population of the country would be DEAD by now, dead and dead with an appropriate amount of drama, DEAD and twitching suspiciously as they prepared to reanimate as something awful and of alarm to the other half of the country. As it is it's just rubbish, the only story is 'death still possible, as it turns out', a nation of people completely unbothered by regular influenza getting half-heartedly worried about the odds of them getting poorly mildly increasing.

I'm beginning to worry that I'm not going to see the Apocalypse. That'd piss me off.

Sunday, 12 July 2009

Friday nights with Ward and Lukowski

So on Wednesday my friend Flea (not THAT Flea) takes me to this bar in Soho. It is awesome, like a sort of shabby member's club down some anonymous steps. Even pretty cheap for Soho. I spend the next 48 hours telling people how good it is.

Come Friday me and Ward happen to be drinking in Soho, like the two cocks of the walk that we are.

Ward suggests we get some tinnies in and throw them at the people on the plinth in Trafalgar Square. This was, in retrospect, the right suggestion. But I, filled with piss and vinegar and the desire to share this new bar with the world, insist we head to a place I envisage to become a regular town centre haunt.

The following is more a paraphrase than a transcript, but is basically accurate.

Ward comes back from bar. He is angry, but then he is always angry

Ward: Fucking bar woman. Fuck fuck fuck. I fucking watched her make our drinks and she didn't fucking put any fucking spirits in them. So said so and asked her to taste them and she just got really angry with me and said she was pregnant, so I didn't fucking pay for them. Fuck fuck.
Me: Oh. Well I'll just go over and order again.
Ward: Fuck. Okay. Fuck.

I walk to the bar, and rather foolishly make EXACTLY the same order

Barwoman: [brightly] Oh, actually I have some of those pre-made! [pulls out what are obviously the drinks from before]
Me: Oh, I think I'd rather you made me some new ones if that's okay.
Barwoman: You're with HIM, aren't you?
Me: Um, no, I really don't know what you're talking about, is it okay if I get some new ones.

The barwoman sulkily makes them, this time adding spirits

Me: Thankyou!

The barwoman slams my change down, furiously. I rejoin Mark. He is scribbling notes on pieces of paper saying something like 'this place is shit'

Ward: [sipping his drink] This is fucking weak.
Me: Oh, it's okay. At least we got served.

The manager walks over, looks at Ward's notes, grabs our drinks and furiously tells us to get out, more or less hauling Ward bodily with the aid of a rather apologetic bouncer. I sort of vaguely try to reason with them/get my drink back, but the manager has worked himself up into one of those irrational rages where he simply won't engage. Which seems to more or less be the hiring policy of this place

Me: Fuck.
Bouncer: I'm really sorry.
Ward: [On phone] Hello, police? Yeah, I've been assualted.
Me: Hmm.
Ward: Right. I've called the fucking police, they can't fucking do that.
Me: Yeah, they're kind of dicks. Though the bouncer is quite apologetic.
Ward: Can you punch me in the back?
Me: Sure [punches Ward in back]. Why?
Ward: Need bruises for when the police arrive.
Me: Um.

Time elapses. The manager comes out and sort of growls at us from a distance at one point. Mark calls the police back

Ward: [on phone] Yeah, alright, well I'll be coming into Stoke Newington police station tomorrow to make a complaint.

We head home, bar duly ruined


Me - MW: So how was the police station?
MW - me: Just about to head over there...
Me - MW: Brilliant! Can't believe you're honestly going to do this!
MW - me: Yeah, I feel like chickening out but they were so unjustifiably cuntish
MW - me: Massive waste of time. You can't make a complaint unless you file for assault, which I'm not going to do. Oh well.
MW - me: Predicatbly the barbecue I was going to has been cancelled. Where are you and McD? I'm ready to kill some braincells.

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Why lesbians are a menace

So anyways, the last stage of my application to live amongst the people of Canada required me to send in photos of my immediate family as well as several of me. I also had to write the name, date of birth and I think maybe passport number of each member on the back of said photos.

Got sent the form for the medical I have to have done as part of the process. This excited me as I thought it wouldn't turn up until September.

Yeah, so turns out it has Helena (my sister)'s photo on it instead of mine. Initially I came up with a faintly insane plan to... well, not brazen it out, but just include a note or something explaining it wasn't my fault and was thus perfectly acceptable, but I sighingly sent the Canadian Consulate an email, reasonably certain they'd take the stipulated month to get back to me, but actually they responded within 24 hours and say they're sending me the correct form. Erm. Yeah. I mean, Hel is pretty boyish looking, but should I be reassured by this pretty epic fail on behalf of the people processing my future?

I think the answer is 'yes', actually - before I was dealing with a faceless, ruthless bureaucratic machine; now I'm dealing with people so offhand that they barely even look at the diocummentary evidence I'd so carefully assembled. This could be easier than I thought.

Speaking of which: I have no idea what's going on exactly, but I have to take a medical and pay my visa processing fee... I would GUESS this means that maybe my documentary evidence passed muster and that I might be okay pending a clean bill of health. I would guess that, but I have no confirmation that's what it is and certainly don't feel the elation of having done it, but, er, well, I've probably advanced a step closer to something or other. I actually even have a feel from something a friend said to me that I have to go over within a year of the medical, which would be weird if true, like I'd started some sort of countdown... hmm.

In other news, I saw The Pixies last night, at a sort of semi-industry do. Bit weird to have something like that handed to you just on a plate, but I can't deny the fundamental awesomeness, and the atmosphere was good, band having fun, crowd not yakking away... SO GOOD.

Thursday, 4 June 2009

Shameless rehash #1: I get all righteous about the world's most indie scandal

Still not entirely sure about shoving my work onto this blog, but as this is basically just an opinion piece of the like I would have potentially written anyway, I'll allow it.


I didn’t go to Primavera Sound last weekend. Too skint. And although I’ve masochistically perused the geyser-like spumes of adoration on the DiS thread about the festival (er, I actually started said thread), I’ve haven't read any actual reviews, either.

All I really know for a fact is that sometime after 2am last Friday morning, a young musician by the name of Nathan Williams – aka Wavves – had something of an episode, going loco on the middle sized Pitchfork stage, chucking shoes, fighting his drummer, baiting the good people of Catalunya, and generally putting on a kinda crappy show.

Or, to put that into perspective, a really really obscure indie musician played a bad gig in the small hours of the morning, at a festival that must have boasted at least a hundred bands with greater expectations on their shoulders.

And it became news. Within the online music community/blogosphere it became BIG news. Pitchfork overlord Ryan Schreiber twittered about the brouhaha as it happened, following it up the next day with a scathing seven paragraph breakdown of the set, which thus far stands as his only editorial on the festival.

Around the same time, the hapless Williams posted a distressed online apology in which he owned up to being not well and taking a somewhat inadvisable cocktail of drugs prior to his performance. In an utterly futile gesture the note was taken down shortly thereafter, but you can never retract these things from the web, and soon the bit about the drugs had merrily combusted with the most powerful indie journalist in the world's denunciation, and boom – instant scandal.


Video: Wavves: live at Primavera Sound


All the major music websites, DiS not excepted, ran with the story, many running further editorial content. NME took it perhaps the furthest, with a strident blog in which William’s antics were compared to those of Lemmy, Steve Tyler, Sly Stone, The Who’s Keith Moon, Pete Doherty, the dude from Creed and even Elvis.

I shall say it in the clearest tones: why the fuck is this news? I’m not even the first to compare the manner the online community received it to the whole is she/isn’t she a mental farrago that was playing out with Susan Boyle at the same time – those plaudits go to The Idolator. But unlike Susan Boyle or Elvis, Nathan Williams isn’t famous. The odds of his presence on the bill influencing anybody’s decision to attend Primavera are virtually nil, while it’s notable that the subsequent cancellation of his European tour – ie, the thing that would actually upset more actual Wavves fans – was by and large only mentioned as a footnote, the 'main event' having happened. And the event was nothing. Obscure musician plays poor show. Fairly humdrum drugs involved. Woo.

But news it became, and I think the worrying parallel ‘tween music websites and the tabloids – and it IS only music websites, you will not find a word about poor Nathan's antics in the print press – is that both can be whipped into hysteria over nothing, and whipped easily. Yeah, you could easily say this has been going on for decades, but think of the trajectory of this thing: Ryan Schreiber twitters. He follows up with an article. Everybody else follows suit.

Now it’s not unreasonable that Schreiber – a man whose website is broadly responsible for Wavves’ small measure of success – would be interested in events onstage. But the fact it’s spread into a cross-web clusterfuck – generally reported entirely seriously as if it was Big News – feels, I dunno, not right. Twitter reports become instant headlines. NME.com – surely the worst offender - hysterically pounces on even the slightest whiff of music-related news, notably in its classic ‘(x) to split!’ stories, wherein the actual article inevitably reveals the touring keyboardist has gone back to their dayjob. DiS’s combination of low manpower and DEFINITELY NOT A COP-OUT irony in our news coverage somewhat shields us from this world, but we’re far from exempt.

So here is the discussion: should the indie online press – who I’d imagine to a person consider themselves morally above the gossip pages, tabloid rags and freesheets that cover equivalent events to the Wavves meltdown in the ‘real world’ – feel any sort of responsibility to keep perspective and balance in their reportage of such matters? Or is it just a harmless bit of fun? Or good online business? Are we basically Pitchfork's bitches, unable to pass a story they deem to be big news? Or have I wildly missed the mark in suggesting the incident – barely commented on in the actual Primavera thread – wasn’t a big deal? We’re all familiar with the build ‘em up, knock ‘em down cycle, but is it in any way fair that Nathan Williams is going to be saddled with a rep for years - if not his entire career – because Ryan Schreiber sent a couple of tweets as something to do?

It was Wavves ferchrissake. Wavves!