How NOT to write about music – 158. Slum Of Legs


Here’s the deal. Other pundits will give you more considered, nuanced takes on Brighton’s Slum Of Legs – whose debut self-titled album has just been released, four or five years later than some of us might have hoped. They will use words like “post punk jags” and “indie pop froth” and draw comparisons to names such as Mary Timony, The Ex and… oh just go and read the bloody thing, why don’t you? That’s all fine and good. That’s what decent critics do. Contemporise, extemporise, cheer lead. Shake those fluffy pom-poms. Look serious. Make relevant contextual (social, political, cultural) connections so the reader can understand without listening.

Me? I just say, have a fucking listen.

Me? I say, have a listen.

Critics do what critics must. I long ago gave up such trappings.

Me? Slum Of Legs inspired me to plagiarise a much-loved children’s book.

I view myself as a fangirl, camping out for days before the event in the hope of touching the hem of the anointed garment, throwing away marriages and happiness in a futile quest to put across my adoration for music.

Case study one.

I’m gone. Solid. Stuck here, thinking. Stuck here, thinking that Tamsin can articulate loneliness and hope and the thrill of the dance floor much better than I ever could. Stuck here, entertained thoroughly by all the shenanigans going on on stage. Stuck like glue. Stuck here. Of course it is sadder not to dance at all than to dance alone. Of course we all – kindred souls us; the trans folk, the gentile hipsters, the students, the old and weary – are stuck on the edge of a dance floor, not allowed in except for brief brilliant bursts of crimson. Of course my head is bobbing. Stuck, caught in a trance. Paralysed. Doll-like. The difference between Slum Of Legs and most anyone else is that if Slum Of Legs don’t get me, they’d tell me to my face. (Not Brisbane at all, then.)

Check the title of the blog entry again. I agree, with the benefit of years of isolation. that it is open to misinterpretation. At the time, all I wanted was to communicate was my passion for the music. And that was it. As I wrote in July 2015, “For 35 brief minutes I have found my home again. I leave just as Tamsin is pulling down the keyboard-player on top of her, and catch my bus with two minutes to spare”.

NOTE: the pull quote above is referring to the song in the YouTube clip.

Let the other critics do what critics must: validate, disseminate,  converse, add layers of understanding and enjoyment. It has been five years now, and I am still not quite ready to listen to the new Slum Of Legs album. Let me savour the anticipation (“Anticipation is so much better” – Delta 5) for a bit longer. Please. I will get back in contact when I have: some moments are too important to rush.

Me? I cannot do any of that. Right now, I want to savour the memory of when I saw Slum Of Legs perform for the first time – a mere month after our return from Brisbane – and felt that yes, there may be a place for me here after all. Let me savour the memory of a time when I had a home and friends and I was in love with Brighton and music and Slum Of Legs once more.

I walked down to the venue, savouring the warm summer evening. I caught the bus back home, with two minutes to spare.

I had a home.

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