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Tuesday, April 29, 2003
  Would any of you like to read something about a song by the Clash? No? Look away now.

The song most often in my head at the moment is Rebel Waltz, off 'Sandinista!' (nb exclamation mark = part of album title, not genuine expression of surprise/delight). It sounds really spacey and vast, but the individual sounds are all little ticks and bells and twinkles. (The Beta Band are big Clash fans.) Plus it has some great sentimental lyrics, best of all "as we danced came the news that the war was not won..." The song is about a gang of rustic partisans prematurely celebrating victory against the invading forces. It's manipulative and fake and I guess Pogues-ian, if that makes sense, in the way it romanticises the idea of the common man fighting for a cause. (cf Spanish Bombs and, er, If You Tolerate This...)

So I get to thinking about the central problem with the Clash: their obsession with image and myth and rhetoric, to the exclusion of a genuine engagement with the actual world around them. They're so in love with the idea of the outlaw, the classic archetype of misunderstood masculinity. So many, many songs about running from the police - about gangsters and murderers - about going to war - about being a revolutionary. But none of it is true! They did none of these things. It's romance and sentimentality of the most condescending, middle-class art-student variety. How to listen to a song like Rebel Waltz, whose impact depends on its emotional pull, in the knowledge that the situation and experience it describes are entirely simulated? Does this fakeness matter? Is it fair to dismiss the Clash for this reason, because there's nothing real in their songs, and it's all just manipulative sentiment and pretend-radicalism?

This isn't satisfactory. I don't think the Clash's brand of romanticism is worthless unless you're looking for some kind of pure punk idealism/nihilism. I think the solution I'm moving towards is to take the Clash with a huge pinch of salt. They're not revolutionaries, they're not even proper punks, they're just your classic four-lads-against-the-world-in-their-leather-jackets rock band. 'London Calling' has more in common with the Rolling Stones that it does with the Sex Pistols. So that's the way i'm going to listen to them, and hopefully the thought of the Clash sitting in the studio, on coke, singing about dancing round the campfire in an imagined revolutionary past, won't bother me anymore.

Ps: Impossible to let this go without a dig at the Manics. Even though they're ridiculous for exactly the same reasons the Clash are, they are not excused, for two reasons: a) because they copied their entire schtick from the Clash, and how lame is being a second-hand version of a band who never meant it in the first place? and b) because they're shite.

Monday, April 14, 2003
  Y'All Motherfuckers Don't Even Know - Hail 2 Tha Champs!!!

Friday, April 11, 2003
  On the congruence between Golf catalogues and the fetishisation of war - An essay.

The latest edition of the 'American Golf Discount' brochure and the US state department document on the Agenda for post-war Iraq bear striking similarities.
Most significantly, the golf brochure eschews the traditional inclusion of prices in its presentation of various items of highly desirable golf equipment. Similarly the state department have glossy beautifully lit sentences indicating the availability of democracy, health care and self-determination; equally similarly they are guarded about revealing the cost. The underlying message of both revelatory systems seems to demand that if you have to ask how much this costs, you either don't appreciate its value, or you can't afford it. 
  please feel free to comment on the new logo.

Just as long as none of the comments are critical or require me to do any work. 
Wednesday, April 09, 2003
  Interviewer: [takes out a cigarette, notices Morrissey is staring at him] you don't mind if I smoke do you?

Morrissey: I don't mind if you do. As long as you don't light that cigarette. 
Tuesday, April 08, 2003
  My brother was visited by the police last week because for the past few weekends he has parked his car on the roadside outside my house (the house has a driveway and parking space, but happened to be full). They were doing anti-terrorism checks because of the proximity to the CAA centre. So basically I live in a high risk area for terrorist attacks! Hurrah! 
  This thing is getting all empty and neglected, yo. We need a resolution. Let's ponder:

"Why live in the world/When you can live in your head?" - Pulp, Monday Morning

"It gots to be accepted/That what? That life is hectic" - Wu-Tang Clan, C.R.E.A.M.

"Standing in the shower thinking/about what makes a man/an outlaw or a leader/I'm thinking about power/the ways a man could use it/or be destroyed by it/the water hits my neck/and I'm pissing on myself" - Jane's Addiction, Standing In The Shower...Thinking

"Watch new blood on the 18 inch screen/The corpse is a new personality/Guerilla war struggle is a new entertainment" - Gang Of Four, 5.45

"You're going mad/Perhaps you always were/But when things was good you just didn't care/This is called irony/When you most need to get up you got no energy" - The Streets, Stay Positive

"Work It Harder Make It Better/Do It Faster Makes Us Stronger/More Than Ever Hour After/Hour Work Is Never Over" - Daft Punk, Harder Better Faster Stronger

Let's think: it's not what's in them that matters, it's what's in between them? Or underneath them? Behind them? Where?

Friday, April 04, 2003
  Hold on there. This is getting way too intellectual.

(in ineluctable order)

1) Pete AND Phil
2) Ru
3) There is no 3. 
  A plane just flew over head, stubby wings and its undercarriage awaiting retraction. Across the hallway is the dining room, there's a large cardboard box propped ridiculously on a chair, I am told in order to stop the cats scratching at the corrugated card and damaging the piece of cheap assembly furniture within. Because the box is so tall, and occupies almost half of the open doorway from my perspective, just over the top of it I can see the blue, purple, red and yellow heads of the flowers on the semi-distant window sill, but no stems. 
Thursday, April 03, 2003
  "Every time you think of molecules, remember that they are always moving. Sometimes they speed up, and sometimes they slow down. But they never stop." 
  An extract from "A Book of Real Science" by Mae Freeman, date of publication unknown...

"When you want to, you can turn your rocket around. You can go back to Earth again. It will feel good to breathe air that does not come from a tank. How nice it will be when gravity keeps everything where it belongs. And the sky will seem brighter to you than ever before."

Plausibly a forward thinking description of the joys of ending a period of space travel, but what else could it be referring to? Remove references to rockets, and send your answers on a postcard. 
  This isn't a good idea. The fact that we spend this much time online is neither healthy nor productive, and I refuse to get drawn in.

That said


(in epidemiological order)

Let go - Avril Lavigne
Angels with dirty faces - Sugarbabes
Get rich or die tryin' - 50cent
Justified - Justin Timberlake
History - Michael Jackson
The Eminem show - Eminem

...breaks down upon discovering the poverty of talent in the UK album charts

Suggestions welcome for the next instalment:

(in meteorological order)

1) Gay Search
2) Homo Erotic (he may not exist yet, but one day, someone is going to be born who is funny enough to name their child that)
3) Barry Davies
4) William Hague

(in tender order)

1) Gay Search. He just has that look about him.
2) David Ginola
3) Alain de Botton
4) Richard Whiteley
5) Bernard Butler

Any suggestions for the other five are welcome.
Wednesday, April 02, 2003
  Come friendly bombs...
Interesting huh?
Well let me tell you a story, not a pretty story, or even a funny story. In fact only a moving story if you are the Eastern European crone involved (though she may be an amalgam of an unknown quantity of Eastern European crones...) Anyway it is said that when a child dies, their soul resides in a hole in the ground during the period of mourning. If the mother cries too much, the hole fills with the water of her tears, and the soul 'drowns' (folklore isn't all that hot on such inconsistencies). Anyway, a salutary lesson to any Eastern Europeans out there on the verge of bereavement. 
  nick hornby has written a book called 31 Songs. in it he proves that he hates music and fears change. i don't, i love both, but in a mournful tribute to the loss of his soul, i will now indulge in one of the all-time most celebrated pastimes of music fans, that hornby himself in fact celebrated in his equally change-fearing and music-hating book, High Fidelity. Right. The Lists:

Top 10 All-Time Best Albums Ever That I Have Listened To This Week So Far (in cryptographical order)

- Gang Of Four - Entertainment!
- D'Angelo - Voodoo
- Outkast - ATLiens
- Prince - Sign O' The Times
- The Roots - Phrenology
- Stevie Wonder - Innervisions
- Gorky's Zygotic Mynci - Barafundle
- The Slits - Cut
- P.i.L. - Metal Box
- Neil Young - Harvest

Wonderful. And here is the Top 10 All-Time Best Singles Ever That Are In The Top 40 This Week (in phantasmagorical order)

- t.A.T.u - All The Things She Said
- Justin Timberlake - Cry Me A River
- N*E*R*D - Provider/Lapdance
- Missy Elliott feat. Ludacris - Gossip Folks
- Snoop Dogg feat. Pharrell - Beautiful
- 50 Cent - In Da Club
- Mis-Teeq - Scandalous
- Richard X vs. Liberty X - Being Nobody
- Junior Senior - Move Your Feet
- Scooter - Weekend

That's all for now. We'd better think about making this thing interesting, hey? 
  Its not pretentious until its got a haiku

Not yet cold still light
Hydrogen fusing with glee
Grass grows while gas burns 
  this is, you know, exciting. I can hardly contain my exc... 
  Truth = 1000* people saying slightly different things at the same time.

*(NB the actual figure is probably higher)

Consider, if you will:
  Thank you boys, thank you....
Its often said that if timetravel were possible, complex ethical questions would arise. Would you go back in time and prevent the rise of Hitler? More pertinent I feel though, is that if Robin Williams knew then that Ethan Hawke would become such a pretentious twat, would he have been morally justifiable in kicking the little shit off his desk in the last scene of 'Dead Poets Society', and hopefully watching his mis-shaped skull shatter on the floor below?
  If I could drive, I'd want to drive around America until I picked up a vanishing hitchhiker. I think there is one in Chicago somewhere. 
Tuesday, April 01, 2003
  Well for once it didn't start with a kiss... Perhaps a stupid idea, but we'll see what happens. 


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