The GardenDespatches from The Satyrs’ Forest

Posts tagged as “music”

Stuff i watched recently, Junely edition

A montage of the undermentioned films

Dawn of the Dead (1978)

Hyped up to me as one of the best horror films in history, i’m convinced it’s actually an incredible comedy. There is so much Gremlins energy oozing out of this whole film; every scene, you can just imagine George Romero sitting back and going “…can i, like, put that in a movie?” and then putting that in a movie. A zombie gets pied in the face. 8/10.

Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)

Mad Max: Fury Road is not the greatest film ever made, but it feels like the greatest film ever made while you’re watching it. I’ve never seen a film edited like this: a two-hour-long sugar rush where every shot is overcranked till it breaks and nothing ever stops moving. 9/10, with one point added solely because of the guy in the post-apocalyptic convoy whose job it is to play the guitar.

La La Land (2016)

It’s fine. Ryan Gosling’s great as always, but something about this failed to grab me in the way it clearly has so many other people. 5/10.

Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)

Stepdad’s pick, in honour of Donald Sutherland’s death. Great stuff, with a fascinating eerie soundscape, creepily good practical effects, and, hang on, is that Jeff Goldblum? 7/10.

Doctor Who: “The Legend of Ruby Sunday”/“Empire of Death” (2024)

Well, that sure was a Russell T. Davies Doctor Who finale, wasn’t it? Part one’s always great, and then, as always, he can’t write an ending for the life of him.

Now the season’s over, it’s clear that it needed more room to breathe. Eight episodes of forty minutes just isn’t enough for a show to do both monster-of-the-week and a longer arc; with two episodes taken up by the finale, two Doctor-lite episodes, and one where she’s unconscious for half of it, we’ve barely gotten to know the relationship between Ruby and the Doctor, which is a shame, because what we do get is brilliant! They play off each other so well, and i wish we could have seen more of them together.

The Bikeriders (2024)

Seen on a whim. A nice little drama about a motorbike club, starring Elvis and Jodie Comer, who’s doing a… fascinating… Midwestern-type accent. 6/10.

Roadgames (1980)

“It’s like Rear Window, but on a lorry.” This scrappy Australian flick delivers just what it says on the tin, with an early turn by Jamie Lee Curtis as a hitchhiker who gets picked up in the second half. 6/10.

🎵️ Brat (2024)

I’m out of touch with music these days, but listening to Charli XCX’s pulse-pounding new hyperpop record, i can’t help but think this is what pop music must sound like in the next universe over. I was sleep-deprived after staying up for election night and that definitely helped the vibe… 8/10.

I had a religious experience yesterday

Viewers are kindly forewarned that this video contains flashing lights.

I had a religious experience yesterday.

It’s a common metaphor. A playful exaggeration of what happens when something goes beyond a mere dopamine hit and passes into complete shamanic bliss.

If most of the people in the crowd there with me had said that, they wouldn’t have meant it literally. They’re atheists. Christians. Muslims. “Spiritual, but not religious”. Either they see no point in all this God-bothering, or their spiritual needs are well accounted for.

As for your correspondent? Well, loud, boisterious ecstasy is exactly the type of old-time religion i’m after. Hundreds of sweating, screaming, beautiful humans, swimming in the sea of each other, without a care in the world, freed, just for a moment, from the stresses of their mundane daily life1 — and all led by a charismatic preacher front man. What else could you call such a thing?

When you’re a shy bairn who follows a dead religion, you take what you can get.


Also… about halfway through the show, the band put up a big caption on the side screens saying “guest starring Harry Styles”2 (greeted with rapturous applause). They then proceeded to bring out Lewis “iwa­geddi­canna­usti­bei­sum­wun­yu­luuuuuuh” Capaldi instead (greeted with considerably less rapturous applause), and have him sing the absolute holy grail of 1975 concerts: “Antichrist”, a song from their very first EP which the band have steadfastly refused to ever play live. Masterful trolling.

The 2022 Satyrs’ Forest Horny Awards™

Will Smith slapping Chris Rock, but they both have ram’s horns crudely drawn on

Welcome, one and all, to the 2798th annual Horny Awards! Every year since humans figured out how to count them, the Satyrs’ Forest has presented hand-made, custom trophies to the best works of the year that was. It’s an astoundingly long-lasting tradition, and definitely not something i made up just now.

2022 was one of the years ever. Things, i’m told, occurred. People were born; people were taxed; people died. King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard released several albums. It will go down in the history books as “the year between 2021 and 2023”. On with our show.

Film

The Laurel Wreath Award for Annual Achievement in Film

Our first category marks all the wonderful movies that were made in this past year — which is quite a lot, so my apologies to all those films who i either didn’t mention or didn’t have time to see!

There can only be one winner, but i’ll start off with a lightning round of honourable mentions. Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis was like being locked inside a room with an insane person for two and a half hours, and i loved every ridiculous, extravagant, kinetic minute of it. Tom George’s See How They Run and Rian Johnson’s Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery were brilliant and funny throwback mysteries which really needed more time and appreciation in the cinema. And i dearly hope David Letich’s Bullet Train becomes the new Fast and Furious2Bullet2Train! Bullet Train 3: This Time it’s a Plane! Bullet ISS! The possibilities are endless.

An especially honourable mention goes to Luca Guadagnino’s Bones and All, a tender horror romance which almost made it to the main list before i realised that i hadn’t actually all that much to say on it. It’s a metaphor for something, i tell ya hwat…

It could have done with less of the hot-dog fingers, but anyone who would leave our first “official” runner-up off of their year-end list is a heartless bastard. On paper, Everything Everywhere All at Once is a recipe for everything everywhere to go totally wrong: a riff on The Matrix with a tenth of the budget, directors whose last work was a movie where Daniel Radcliffe farts a lot, and a sense of humour firmly dated to Reddit circa 2012. Yet it pulls it off.

This is a movie where people beat each other up with dildos, where a hallway of people literally explodes into colour and light, and where the equivalent of the Death Star is an everything bagel. It is also one of the only movies to have made me bawl like a baby in the cinema. Everything Everywhere is an anti-cynical, anti-nihilistic manifesto for our time. Yes, nothing matters! and yes, you might not write the next great American novel or paint a masterpiece! but the world has so much joy and beauty, so many minuscule details that you pass by every day, so for goodness’ sake, even if you’re just doing laundry and taxes, take your time to enjoy the little things in life.

I need to go hug my mum.

Blockbusters aren’t what they used to be, are they? Ever since Endgame, Marvel have been running on autopilot, releasing a steady stream of snarky CGI sludge made more out of obligation than passion. They don’t even work as escapism anymore — the fantastical isn’t fantastic when every billion-dollar release is set in a world of superheroes and sci-fi.

Like Everything Everywhere, our other runner-up is a prime example of a movie that just shouldn’t work. It’s a sequel to a 40-year-old film so mediocre i turned it off halfway through, made as a cynical cash-grab recruitment ad for the navy, with a topic and plot designed to appeal exclusively to Your Dad.1 Yet, through sheer dumb luck, Paramount hit the jackpot on Top Gun: Maverick.

Obviously, Tom Cruise is an absolute charisma magnet and the best part of every movie he’s ever been in. But that seductive Scientologist smile only goes so far (just look at The Mummy), and that’s where our director comes in. Joseph Kosinski doesn’t have a particularly long track record; it would be easy to mistake him for a typical director-for-hire. His dialogue scenes don’t stand out from the pack, and he’s not particularly creative with the camera, but that doesn’t matter. What he excels at is spectacle.

2010’s Tron: Legacy is a profoundly middling film in terms of its plot and characters, but it gained a cult following thanks to the delicious combination of Daft Punk’s killer score with Mr Kosinski’s brilliant visuals and action. He took that computerised world of bits and bytes and gave it stakes, weight, and a sense of scale, where a Marvel hack would have told the VFX guy to just press render and go with whatever comes out.

So you take a director whose most known work is a spectacular CG effects-fest and a lead actor famous for his insistence on doing all of his own stunts, and what do you get? The best blockbuster film of the decade, that’s what. The original Top Gun’s plane scenes drag and drag with no real purpose; in Maverick, every flight has something at stake, with non-stop action — but the film still knows when to pull back and take a breather to give its characters heart. My icy, cynical heart knew that i was being manipulated every step of the way, knew that every pull of the strings was planned out in advance, knew that this film was made for money and nothing else… but i’ll be damned if i didn’t start crying at that Val Kilmer cameo.

Go and see Top Gun: Maverick on the biggest screen you can, whether that’s a 1080p computer monitor or an Imax cinema. You won’t regret it.

Our two runners-up were films that i would recommend to anyone, anywhere, of any age, and at any time. They have something for everyone. First place, on the other hand…

If you believe the lame-stream media, our winning film was the result of arthouse horror hero Robert Eggers being given a blank check by Universal to make a big period action movie. This is false. It was created by scientists in a lab in Durham to appeal to me and me specifically. (You can tell because i was the only person who actually went out and watched it.)

Based on the Norse legend behind Shakespeare’s Hamlet, The Northman is an epic following Large Scandinavian Man as the viking Amleth, son of a deposed king, on his journey to avenge his father with the power of Odin and testosterone2 on his side.

When i call Amleth a viking, i do not mean that all-too-common sanitised Hollywood depiction of a 20th-century Christian in pagan clothing. No; his society and its ways are portrayed as they were, warts and all, regardless of what the audience might feel about it. The vikings of this film keep slaves, burn down houses, consult witches (memorably played by Anya Taylor-Joy, Willem Dafoe, and Björk, in decreasing order of screentime), mock Jesus, and pray to Gods as a fact of life. (The film never particularly demeans them for the latter three, which i found a welcome reprieve from paganism’s usual relegation to the villains of horror schlock.) The only concession to modern mores is the absence of polygamy, because splashing people with period blood and cutting off heads is okay but good heavens a second wife?????

Mr Eggers and his crew schlepped all the way to Iceland for filming and made good bloody use of it. Whether its long shots are focused on nature’s rolling fields and bursting volcanoes or humanity’s flame-lit funerals and grimy oarsmen, the result is consistently one of the most beautiful things of the year.

It’s not for everyone. It’s long, and those just there for the action will find themselves asking when they’re going to get to the fireworks factory. It’s gory. It’s grim. But it’s definitely for me.

The Zoetrope Award for Classic Cinema

Hey, did you like the Matrix sequels? Do you want to watch a three-hour-long film where every character is played by the same six actors? No? Well, too bad, because the best film i watched in 2022 that wasn’t released that year was the Wachowski sisters’3 Cloud Atlas.4

There was a point, about 60% of the way through this three-hour-long movie, where i started to wonder if it was all worth it. I’d seen Tom Hanks attempting a Cockney accent, Hugo Weaving in unconvincing Asian prosthetics, and a lot of people saying “tru-tru” a lot of times. Surely it was impossible to tie this all together into a satisfying conclusion.

I started having flashbacks to The Matrix Resurrections, an endlessly creative film plagued by its own self-obsessions and Lana Wachowski’s inability to not put the first thing that came into her head into the script. Was this going to be the same? Are the sisters trapped in an endless cycle of almost-but-not-quite?

And then there was a point, about 90% of the way through, where i started crying. They’d squared the circle, tied all six stories up into a neat bow; an epic told on the scale of centuries, where actors cross boundaries of time, nationality, race, and gender; a film that would be their magnum opus were it not for the long shadow of The Matrix. I don’t know how they did it, but they did — and thus nudged their record of hits against misses slightly to the positive side.

The Pebbledash Dildo Award for Cinematic Disappointment

2022 was a good year for bad movies. Moonfall was the peak of so-bad-it’s-good Emmerichian excess. Morbius morbed all across the internet. And the usual Marvel schlock was even shlockier than usual. But nobody thought those films would be any good anyway — it’s hard to be disappointed when you don’t have any expectations in the first place.

So, by God, was i disappointed in Nope. From Jordan Peele, critics’ favourite rising star, this sci-fi Hollywood horror brims with so many creative ideas and metaphors that they all boil over and don’t go anywhere. I can only imagine that a quarter of the script got sucked up into a UFO and they decided to just keep shooting. There are so many great ideas in this film, and it’s a darned shame they wound up such an anticlimax.

The Comfy Sofa Award for Peak Television

I don’t actually watch much television; i’ve always found it hard to get invested for the “long haul”. Ben Stiller’s Severance, made for Apple’s floundering streaming service, is a slow burner, the sort of thing i despise — but its slowness is methodical, carefully drip-feeding you bits of information whilst never wasting its time on fluff and filler.

It’s strange. It’s puzzling. It’s brilliant. And the final episode is some of the best TV i’ve ever seen. If i could, i’d sever myself — just to watch it all over again.

Music

The Golden Lyre Award for Excellence in New Music

It’s The 1975.

Well, no point in dragging that out. They may not be the best band in the world, but they are my favourite band in the world; their eclectic pop-rock sensibilities are what got me into music, and i’ll always appreciate them for that.

This isn’t just a sentimental pick. Being Funny in a Foreign Language sees the band trim away the fat and bloat of their previous works and hold back on the eclectic experimentation of the Music for Cars era, settling on a distilled, refined version of the sound that defined their first record. There are no bloated instrumentals, no experimental noodlings; just, as their international tour proudly suggests, The 1975 At Their Very Best.

No album came close to blowing them out of the water — because i’m a soppish fanboy — but to whet your appetite, here are some more of my favourite songs of 2022. (In no particular order.)

The Hurdy-Gurdy Award for Enduring Musical Resonance

It was with some trepidation that i typed the word “Pagan” into RateYourMusic’s charts function, knowing the reputation that explicitly religious music has. The words “Christian rock” have always been accented with a sneer, and the most well-known Pagan musician of the modern age is an unrepentant church-burning neo-nazi.

Right at the top, after i’d filtered out all of the metal (apologies, metalheads; it just isn’t my bag), sat XTC’s Apple Venus Volume One. You won’t find it on streaming — frontman Andy Partridge has few kind words for the likes of Spotify — but i made do with a pirate Youtube playlist until i tracked down a physical copy at the shops.

Apple Venus is the group’s penultimate album, and even knowing nothing about them, I could tell. It drips with aching sincerity, the kind that dips into corny pastiche, in that particular way that only happens when a band who have spent their whole career dripping with snark and cynicism realise that they’re getting too old for this shit.

And that’s all i wrote.

Some other favourite old songs i discovered this year:

The Sad Trombone Award for Most Disappointing Music

I’ve been getting into post-rock recently, and there are a few albums which seem to be near and dear to fans’ hearts. Sigur Rós’ Ágætis byrjun, a surprisingly accessible masterclass. Godspeed You Blank Emperor’s Lift Your Skinny Fists, the best soundtrack for a movie that never existed. Talk Talk’s Spirit of Eden, a bit too jazzy for my tastes. A few more that i’ve yet to listen to.

Then there’s The Earth Is Not a Cold Dead Place.

Explosions in the Sky’s third album is widely beloved. It tops lists with the big guns. It often shows up on genre “starter pack” lists. There is a teensy, tiny problem with this: it’s shite.

Well, alright, i thought, two tracks in. Maybe it picks up by the end? Everyone is raving about that closing track, “Your Hand in Mine” — and then that was shite too!

This is music for a car commercial. It is the Imagine Dragons of post-rock. It’s the sort of music a TV network might play as inspirational backing for their Paralympic coverage. It is sappy, insipid, and uninspired dross of the purest and vilest sort, and it boggles the mind to think how it ever got the reputation it now has. See me after class.

The electronic arts

The King’s Dice Award for Interactive Entertainment

Just one game found its home amongst my digital shelves this years, and i have yet to find the opportunity to complete it. Lucas Pope’s Return of the Obra Dinn wins by acclimation — so far it’s stylish, intriguing, and fun to solve, but again, i’ve not finished it! We’ll see if it sticks the landing.

The Broken Link Award for Best Use of Hypertext

Homestuck isn’t very good. It has an undeniably appealing cast of characters and charmingly naïve art — you don’t get millions of fans without doing something right — that are sadly weighed down by its author’s baffling decision, faced with all the sprawling multi-media possibilities of the web, to tell its story entirely in walls of unreadable monospaced text.

Wired Sound for Wired People isn’t my thing. It has undeniably mastered a medium: its flickering pink pixels and eerie soundscapes build an unmistakable mix of intrigue and unease, beckoning you to follow it down the rabbit hole. But it lacks a message to go with it — there’s no story to speak of, just a collage of strange and trippy scenes.

So what if someone were to combine the best bits of both, and undo their shortcomings? Idiosyncratic, eerie audiovisuals, with relatable dramatis personæ, and a compelling story which uses the power of hypertext to its fullest?

Enter Corru.observer. Linked to me by someone whose homepage i’d complimented — with no other comment than that it was a friend’s “personal site” — Corru puts you in the seat of an archæologist(?) some decades(?) in the future(?), trying to piece together the memories of an alie… i’ll let you find out the rest. There’s only an “episode” and a half out right now, and i can’t wait to see where it goes.

The Fred Figglehorn Memorial Award for Online Video

2022 was not short of epically un-short videos. Internet Historian put together a fully animated retelling of the story of Floyd Collins, a 1920s farmer who found himself stuck upside down in a treacherously narrow cave. It clocks in at an hour and ten minutes. Kevin from Defunctland’s weirdly emotional investigation into the Disney Channel theme runs an hour and a half. Stuart Brown’s Xcom retrospective? 1:40.

But in the age of Tiktok and Vine, it pays to be succinct. Our winner by no means reaches the six-second nirvana of those two platforms, but at 25 minutes, it would fit comfortably into a half-hour broadcast slot on telly — not bad on a site increasingly dominated by 7-hour videos about people watching sitcoms for children.

That winner is Michael Stevens’s video on the origin of selfies. In it brief runtime, it answers every question i never knew i had about the selfie, while spinning in a number of fascinating tangents and eyebrow-raising questions (in the typical Vsauce house style). It even got me to renovate the gallery just to add that photo by Anastasia. Cheese!

The real world

The Spruce Panflute Award for Outdoor Splendour

I perused many places during my walks out and about this year, but none so consistently provided me with so many new sights as the Ouseburn, a small but mighty stream which winds its way in the east of Newcastle from suburbs to leafy woods to industry to hipster vegan cafés. Every time i thought i’d seen it all, the Ouseburn revealed a new cranny, some quirky establishment or warp in the city’s fabric, something different to explore.

Dusk falls on the river Tyne as all five bridges which span it are seen in the background
This is what we in the industry refer to as “the money shot”.

The Crackling Heath Award for Indoor Wonder

Affleck’s Palace is the beating heart of Mancunian counterculture; a labyrinthine maze of shops which across their three floors sell everything from rose ice cream to bath bombs to incense to Hatsune Miku–themed fizzy drinks… and i can’t tell you any more than that, because i haven’t finished my post about it yet!

Really, though — Affleck’s has it all and more, and i’ll be sure to stop by next time i go down south.

The Hubert J. Farnsworth Award for Good News, Everyone!

Day in, day out, we are flooded with the latest news of disasters and terrors from around the globe. It gets the views, it gets the hits, and it gets the clicks; it’s no wonder journos love to accentuate the negative.

The Hubert J. Farnsworth Award is an antidote to doom and gloom, honouring the best thing that happened in 2022. It was a late entry, but it could hardly be anything other than…

…The National Ignition Facility, the U.S. government lab who reported that, for the first time, they’d gotten more energy out than they put in via fusion power. There are hiccups, of course; the facility’s magnets guzzled dozens of times more power than the reactor itself. But every stepping stone has its imperfections, and this is the first great step to a truly prosperous future — where energy is too cheap to meter, where power is so abundant that there will be hardly a grain of economic sense in the idea of tapping any more of Gæa’s precious little black gold.

Happy belated new year, everyone. And as always — may it be better than the last!

A jolly good show: tidbits from Manchester

Hello. I’ve been to Manchester. I thought i might tell you about it. Wait no come back i promise this isn't just showing you my holiday ph

The last time i went to that wonderful southern city, i was hardly ten years old, and hadn’t much of a chance to explore — a mistake i was itching to rectify this go around. Over the next few days i’ll be sharing some of the things i saw, heard, and third verb goes here.


First things first, our trip’s raison d’être: Sigur Rós were on a world tour, and though they might not have been schlepping up to Newcastle, i sure as hell wasn’t going to miss the chance to see them.

A case with some tea and incense strewn about, branded "Flotholt: Sigur Rós × Fischersund"

Sigur Rós are a post-rock band, and their gig made clear that it’s with a strong emphasis on the “post-”. It was an all-seated audience, with vanishingly little banter from the band (one has to imagine they’re not 100% confident in their English), excepting a brief pantomime bit at the end of „Andvari”. No complaints from me, though: a laid-back, almost classical atmosphere quite befits their ætheral soundscapes. I mean, could you imagine people going wild in the pit to „Vaka”?

As „Popplagið” came to a close and everyone shuffled out the venue’s doors, i noticed a curious item at the merch table: an officially licensed Sigur Rós tea and incense kit. What a world we live in. (I didn’t buy it — there was only one left, and i probably wouldn’t be the one to make the most use out of it.)


A Google Earth render of the skyline of Manchester, containing a modest few tall buildings
MAN WAS NOT MEANT TO LIVE LIKE THIS

As an official, Lisa Nandy–certified resident of a Town™, i was left slightly dumbstruck and intimidated by the dense forest of tall buildings that is Manchester’s city centre. Sure, it’s not like i’m a stranger to the idea of a city, but of the two big cities i have most haunted over the years , Newcastle only has a stumpy luxury apartment and a few council houses strewn about the suburbs, while Amsterdam’s skyscraper district is sectioned off behind the other side of a ring road, far from the centre of town.

But Manchester? Nay — Manchester is England’s second city, and they’ll show it any way they like! Dozens upon dozens of architectural phalli jut up from the ground in all directions, a veritable orgy of capital. I pray thee, have we as a species learnt nothing from the tales of Icarus and the Tower of Babel? Nothing‽ This is hubris writ large, i tell you!

Or, you know, something like that. Their green spaces don’t even have cows.


They both serve the same purpose, really, but i just want to rub in that where we up north has a fully-fledged metro, Manchester merely has to do with trams. Sure, ours might be delayed every five minutes, and theirs might be uber-reliable and extend throughout the urban area, but who’s really winning?


Montage of portraits of Emmeline Pankhurst and the brothers Gallagher
(I don’t actually know or care which Gallagher is which. Apologies.)

Manchester has no shortage of iconic residents — Morrissey, Danny Boyle, Burgess, Wanksy — but Mancunians have taken it upon themselves to idolise two people above all else. Everywhere you look, there are statues, plaques, and posters in their memory.

The first is Emmeline Pankhurst. An early leader of the suffragette movement, she and her allies often used violent tactics to get their way, from breaking windows all the way up to arson. You can see why the left-wing, industrial city, birthplace of the labour movement, would be proud to honour her.

The other is Noel Gallagher.

Naturally.

A lush cover of “Running up that Hill”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e20W7aj5cxM

Look. Reader, you’re probably sick to death of “Running up that Hill”1 at this point — it’s been everywhere for weeks. But i’m not, because it’s a bloody great song and i neither listen to pop radio nor watch Stranger Things, so here’s a brilliant, luscious cover by the inexplicably non-Australian band2 the Wombats.

(P.S. — I still can’t remember that post idea i had the other day, no matter how many bike rides to the same place i run… was it a religious thing? Some meta-internet naff? Was i going to get political? If someone has access to my brain’s Recycle Bin folder, please tell me.)

A crackpot theory about the song “Creep”

Alright, hear me out: Radiohead’s “Creep” is about gender dysphoria.

This is a crackpot theory, of course — none of the members of the band have ever even suggested that they might be transgendered, and if they did Jonny might have something to say about it. But it just makes sliiightly too much sense.

The chorus is about ostracisation from society, and the feeling that one doesn’t belong in spaces of one’s gender (take the whole bathroom debacle). There are more thematic hints in the first two stanzas — “You’re just like an angel / Your skin makes me cry” — but the real smoking gun is the third verse:

I don’t care if it hurts
I wanna have control
I want a perfect body
I want a perfect soul

Do I even need to spell it out? “Creep” is the trans anthem of the 1990s and noöne will ever convince me otherwise.

Chvrches at City Hall

I swear this is fair dealing.

I went to see everyone’s favourite synth-pop act Chvrches a few nights back, and i must say they put on a hell of a show. Even at the City Hall — quite a stuffy venue by most standards — the crowd went absolutely mental for “Clearest Blue” at the end! (I barely know what came over me.)

Great staging, too — i counted three costume changes throughout the night, including a delectably bloody “FINAL GIRL” shirt for the encore. (Their latest album has a horror-movie gimmick crafted entirely to let them swap remixes1 with John Carpenter — not that i’m complaining.)

Now imagine the same distorted whingeing and generic melody for half an hour straight.

The opening act were an Ozzie band called HighSchool who, being brutally honest, should go back to PrimarySchool. They’re one of those acts that basically only know how to write one song over and over, and it’s alright at first, but by take number five of the same sludge you’re praying for it to end, you know? (See also the inexplicably successful 1975 cover band Pale Waves.)

9/10, would stand in line for several hours again.

Leaked: 10 Downing Street’s playlist

One of the more surprising results of the recent investigation into Big Boris’s lockdown conduct was the unearthing of a playlist used to motivate employees during their completely ordinary work events. Highlights include:

  • Miley Cyrus - Regular Work Event in the U.S.A.,
  • Vengaboys - We Like to Engage in Normal Work Proceedings,
  • Cyndi Lauper - Girls Just Want to Become Civil Servants,
  • Arctic Monkeys - I Bet You Look Productive in the Office,
  • Avicii - Waiting For The Results Of The Independent Investigation And Report Conducted By Sue Gray,
  • Walk the Moon - Dance then Shut Up, and, of course,
  • Shaggy - It Wasn’t Me

This list of songs, no doubt, absolves the government of any kind of wrongdoing.

Playlist suggestions wanted

Spurred on by a brief shower thought, i’ve tried my hand at making a playlist “for the bad days”: songs (mostly rock) with big, soaring crescendos that feel like an out-of-body experience. Your “Bitter Sweet Symphonies”, your „Hoppípollas”, your “‘Heroes’-es” — the songs that make you have faith in humanity, and make you not want to jump out of a thirtieth-storey window so badly.

I’ve been asking around for suggestions on the usual (Discord) channels, and have got some cracking songs in return — so, do any of you want to try your hands at it? I’d love to hear your ideas. :-)

Here’s the current set of songs on the playlist, to give you an idea of the general “vibes” — exceptional examples are highlighted in bold.

  • The 1975, “I Always Wanna Die (Sometimes)”
  • Bleachers, “Rollercoaster”
  • Arcade Fire, “My Body Is a Cage” (thx, Pike)
  • David Bowie, “‘Heroes’”
  • Kate Bush, “Cloudbusting”
  • Coldplay, “Viva La Vida”
  • Daft Punk, “Giorgio by Moroder”
  • Elbow, “One Day Like This”
  • Sam Fender, “The Dying Light”
  • Fun; “Some Nights”
  • Keane, “Somewhere Only We Know”
  • LCD Soundsystem, “Dance Yrself Clean”
  • The Naked and Famous, “Higher”
  • Oasis, “Don’t Look Back in Anger”
  • Oasis, “Champagne Supernova”
  • Radiohead, “All I Need”
  • Radiohead, “Videotape” (live at Bonnaroo)
  • Porter Robinson, “Unfold”
  • Sigur Rós, „Hoppípolla”
  • Snow Patrol, “Chasing Cars”
  • Suede, “Life is Golden” (thx, Pike)
  • Tame Impala, “Let It Happen”
  • The Verve, “Bitter Sweet Symphony”
  • The War on Drugs, “I Don’t Live Here Anymore”
  • The White Stripes, “Seven Nation Army”
  • The Who, “Baba O’Riley”