The new rules of growing old gracefully

Nick Cave 2009 New York City David Shankbone

I was reminded an old post I made here, back when I could write. It’s not that I’ve forgotten how to do it, or magically been zapped by some wicked witch, but I’ve just run out of time and enthusiasm. I wonder if that’s what happens to everyone in the end. When was the last good Metallica album you heard? Isn’t the best recent Ministry album a pale copy of Psalm 69? I might hope for a good new NIN album, but we’ll likely get a dull slab of corporate dad-rock with some tinkly bits.

What happened to us all?

We got old. Rock ‘n’ roll comes with a deadline, and when you reach it, time to die or move on. You’re not supposed to still be there at 50.  Continue reading

You couldn’t make it up! Joss Whedon’s Shakespeare rocks (and 5 other unexpected movies)

Much Ado About Nothing Whedon poster

Well, OK, then! Joss Whedon (of all people) has adapted Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing – and contrary to most reasonable expectations, the critics say it’s pretty good.

Really? Well, here goes:  Continue reading

Top 50 songs of 2012: 40-31


In no particular order …

40. Conor Maynard – Can’t Say No

The pared-down bass riff weaves as indelible a spell as Azealia’s 212. Conor Maynard’s Timberlake-esque confection was one of the pop treats of the year.

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First impressions: Madonna – MDNA

Written for Collapse Board

Madonna reminds me of the creepy old goth who used to hang out at the club hitting on the teenage girls – she’s just too old for this. She might be aiming for Samantha from SATC but she’s hitting Baby Jane. Put some clothes on, love, I hear Wallis has a sale on.

What does her appearance have to do with it? Madonna’s image has always served as 3D cover art: Ray Of Light‘s classy earth mother look reflected the grown-up sound of her most accomplished album. Her quirky bustier in the Vogue video personifies the wry kitsch of the music. The ill-judged leggings she’s been sporting in recent years … well, let’s not go there, shall we? Her image is a personification of her music, and that is undignified and faintly embarrassing.

Oh f***ing crap, is that dubstep on Gang Bang? Repeat after me: you are not 18. I feel like banging my head against this desk. When she sings, “I said drive, bitch/And while you’re at it, die, bitch” I feel like banging her head against this desk. The lyrics to each song are as trite and crass as Ray Of Light‘s were (sometimes) self-aware and insightful. I’m A Sinner makes my eyes water, but when I’m Addicted starts, I forget that she’s a dodgy old strumpet and start tapping my foot. Because it’s good. Really good. I’ll even forgive that she’s singing “MDNA” over and over. I’ll forgive the cheesy 90s synths and just lose myself in the moment.  Continue reading

Producers that make (or break) the band

New on Collapse Board

Band-members are like the ingredients of a cake: get it wrong, and the result is bland or sickly. It’s about getting people together who make each other feel comfortable, who can inspire the audience, and who can deflate the ego of an overindulgent songwriter. The producer is the mould. If you pour cake mix onto a baking tray, you’ll end up with a flat, sticky mess. Some producers are like old-fashioned round cake tins, providing a strong but subtle structure that simply allows the flavours to emerge. Others make fancy shapes, so vibrant and daring that its cakeness comes second to its art-form. Like the line-up, the right producer for your band is the one that fits your personal dynamic, and brings out the best in what you, uniquely, have to offer.

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#trendingtopics – Music Shuffle

From Facebook:
Time for another one of these.
Write down the first 25 random songs that come up on your MP3 player, iPod etc. I used set to My Library station.
No cheating!
No editing!

I thought I’d give it a go, using, just to see what would happen. I found it interesting because it was forcing me to listen to things that I hadn’t heard in a while or given a particularly fair listen, and playing things out of the context of how I usually hear them. There’s some good songs here …

1. Foetus – Verklemmt

Bit of a no-brainer for me, considering how much I’ve been listening to this lately. I find the video hard-going (made by Alex Winter from Bill & Ted, it’s got literally thousands of cuts), but it’s a great song from the album GASH.


2. The Kinks – Dead End Street

Ah, I never tire of this song. I used to play it a lot when I was unemployed and starving-broke, living in a miserable bedsit in one of the rougher parts of South London.


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Awesome Compilation I Just Found

I just found this home-burnt compilation that I made about 10 years ago. I made it for a friend but kept an extra copy for myself. Some great tracks here …

1. Madonna – Drowned World/Substitute For Love


2. Portishead – Numb


3. Massive Attack – Teardrop


4. Plexiq – RubberSoul

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