How NOT to write about music – 116. Coldplay


A new Coldplay album has been announced. It’s a double. Twice the amount of flatulence and cack for all concerned. The only reasonable response to such a morale-sapping, life-emulsifying event is, I feel, to make a list. A list of:


Here’s the rub. Usually, when people write such lists they detail such ridiculous scenarios about how they would rather “poke my eyes out with red-hot pokers…” or “have a threesome with David Cameron and a greased piglet…” or “listen to a continuous 24-hour tape-loop of Boris Johnston proroguing Parliament…”, always ending with the phrase “… than listen to the new Coldplay album”.

This is patently absurd.

I most assuredly would NOT prefer to poke my eyes out with red-hot pokers, listen to a 24-hour tape loop of Boris Johnston proroguing Parliament, have a threesome with David Cameron and a greased piglet, nor would I rather watch the entire run of Breaking Bad, clean up all the dog shit from a weekend on Hampstead Heath, go on a dinner date with Jeremy Clarkson, punch ears in my earlobes and attach myself to a Morris Dancer’s bashing stick, get some form of incurable disease or lead a pro-Brexit rally rather than listen to the new Coldplay album. Let’s get a sense of perspective here.

Here are 10 things I would actually rather do than listen to the new Coldplay album.

  1. Listen to the new Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds’ album
  2. Go for a walk
  3. Listen to the new Lana Del Rey album
  4. Have a bath
  5. Listen to the new Kim Gordon album
  6. Get a haircut
  7. Listen to the new Beyoncé album
  8. Have a chat with Howard Monk
  9. Listen to the new Angel Olsen album
  10. Go to sleep


How NOT to write about music – 108. Angel Olsen

Angel Olsen

She’s overwrought.

She’s emotionally distressed. No, no no. Quit yr fuckin’ gender stereotyping.

She’s an actor, channeling whatever passions need to be channeled to make her point, drive the feeling home. Sumptuous. Driven.

She is heartbroken.

She is alone, seeking solace and exhaustion. No, no no. Quit it.

She is a performer, making great use of dynamics and interludes and dynamics and emphasis.

She is lost in reverie.

She is lost in the moment, caught in space. QUIT!

She is useless, helpless.

She is an artist, drawing upon a myriad of musical traditions and iconography, well in command and understanding the significance of certain musical palettes and textures, associations and interpretations.

She has a voice.

She does not hold back (but she does).

She does not hold back (but she does).


This is a wonderful song for those of us who never fell out of love with Julie Christie. Does it bother me that the song YouTube auto-follows this is by Coldplay? It cuts across my reverie like a cold burst of mundane reality. Yes of course, but no of course not. There are some emotions and desires and feelings and yearnings that algorithms can never hope to capture, however ‘expertly’ sculptured. There is a line of argument that holds the creative industries will be one of the last to fall when confronted with the all-encompassing AI. Here is proof, an indication. Perhaps. If proof or an indication is what you desire. This is a song for those who feel like their heart – no, not their heart, their head – is going to burst every time they step onto the 07.37 to Clapham Junction but have to keep it secret, all welled up inside. This is a song for those who can never relax, who can never have an outlet, can never let others too close. This is a song for….

The way you scream…

The way you scream like something else as a man.

The way you scream like something else as a man.

Wouldn’t it be nice if life was always this ‘passionate’? Music as desire. Manufactured rawness.