Sixty for 60: 13. Gravel Samwidge

To celebrate my 60th birthday, I asked my social media friends to nominate a favourite song from 2021 – 60 to commemorate the fact I am 60.

Today. Again, today I am breaking my own rules. I do not believe this was a nomination but certainly a) I have been aware of this for some time now, and b) these are some of my old homeboys from Brisbane and as such take precedence. It has only been in recent months that I no longer miss Brisbane and its sun and isolation and massive lawns every day – this, more than five years since I moved back to the UK. Haywards Heath is similar: but as yet, I have not discovered the space or underground music scene that made Brisbane so bearable and indeed desirable. And the grunge! Sometimes, it feels like Brisbane’s Gravel Samwidge – and the much-missed, sadly departed Bek Moore – are the only people left this side of the Arm himself to understand what was meant by “the grunge”.

Today, we have Gravel Samwidge – ‘Wrong Way’ (Swashbuckling Hobo Records).

Mess. Noise. Freedom. Beer. Sprawling comatose under share houses. Loudness. Camaraderie. Loving the loud rock and most all that goes with it. Loving the weird little scuttling creatures that lurk beneath the abandoned car in the garage under your share house.

Or, as Robert Brokenmouth says about their newest vinyl Complaints:

It’s quite unpleasant, and I may never listen to it again. But if I do, it will be very loud, and I will end up in jail. I like Gravel Samwidge. They’re out of kilter with everything else around right now. The songs put the listener right in the singer’s place, their intense, irritated narrative. The Gravels write songs as natural to Australia as the King Brown Snake, and just about as cuddly.

Agreed. He goes on to mention a fair bit about The Birthday Party and The Scientists – but bearing in mind I have been cited on numerous occasions as saying Kim Salmon invented grunge in Australia years ahead of schedule, I think we can safely say me and the Brokenmouth are spewing forth syllables from the same dusty semen-impregnated hymn book here. He also adds this most excellent disclaimer:

Don’t get “Complaints” if you want to dance (get the Revillos’ Cherry Red box, “Stratoplay” instead). Don’t get “Complaints” if you think that Nirvana were stoner rock, nor if you think Mudhoney stole Nirvana’s glory. This ain’t Seattle-nostalgia. This is something very nasty out of Brisbane. Get “Complaints” if you’re a grumpy old git like me who wants the world to pay a bit more attention to itself, and you fancy a turn inside yourself. Down a wrong way street, naturally.

So true. Ain’t Seattle nostalgia at all: this is specifically Aussie RULES and more specifically Brisbane and also nasty and cuddly and twisted (though, much as I love the new Revillos box, gotta say that it’s mostly irrelevant after the first disc). So that’s that. Gravel Samwidge: two MASSIVE fucking thumbs up from ME! This is like Fontaines DC or Idles or someone, but really fucking good. (NOTE: I like Fontaines DC and Idles and someone.) THEY KICK SOME FUCKEN ASS.

As I wrote before:

I really appreciate any music that sounds this sludgy and acerbic and sarcastic. Music that captures a moment in time, and doesn’t move forwards, only sideways. I really appreciate any music that makes me feel a little less alone. I really appreciate any music that can remind me of music that’s actually near-impossible to duplicate but tries anyway and gloriously, deliriously fails. Music that makes me shuffle backwards and forwards, rooted on the spot, waving my non-hair in abandon. In my head, I’m dancing. Always dancing. In my head, I’m surrounded by music like this and I’m leaning out of a third-flight window throwing whiskey bottles at the dullards below. In my head, this is the sound to aim for: drawn-out and lingering and not a little woozy. Everything is a failed climax. Everything is anchovies.

If there were from Birmingham UK, they’d be called The Nightingales, and Stewart Lee would be making gloriously brilliant documentaries about their sadly never-realised glory years.

Sixty for 60: 9. Chai

To celebrate my 60th birthday, I asked my social media friends to nominate a favourite song from 2021 – 60 to commemorate the fact I am 60.

Today, it’s the turn of Collapse Board mainstay (and way talented musician and writer) Brigette Adair Herron to make a suggestion – ‘Donuts Mind If I Doby Chai. Now, I do wonder whether there may be a touch of an in-joke about her suggestion (‘Do Nuts’ being the song that Julie Burchill is most famous for singing on stage with Pearl Jam); and it’s a fantabulous offering, for sure. Like J-Pop and PC Music reimagined by a group of somnambulant Sonic Boom fans, all straining, soothing, higher-than-the-sun vocals and trippy hazy instrumentation that would have gone down a storm in Brisbane 2015. Just mind-blowing: all of a happenstance, my slump week has sunlight turned on it and the dust particles in the air are dancing, butterfly dancing. And I see that my pals from across the water, agree:

Since breaking out in 2018, CHAI have been associated with explosive joy. At their live shows, the Japanese four-piece of identical twins MANA (lead vocals and keys) and KANA (guitar), drummer YUNA, and bassist-lyricist YUUKI have become known for buoyant displays of eclectic and clever songwriting, impressive musicianship, matching outfits, delightful choreography, and sheer relief. At the core of their music, CHAI have upheld a stated mission to deconstruct the standards of beauty and cuteness that can be so oppressive in Japan. (Sub Pop press release, 2020)

However. My blog, my rules. All due respect to the totally awesome Brigette, but that is not the song I wish to share with you today. Nah nah nah. It’s this one: spooky and sampled and disorientating, and full of borderline psychosis. Recalls John Steel Singers and anyone else ever fallen in love with Krautrock they shouldn’t’ve. Reminds me of… what was their name again…Teen. (Sorry, can’t find what I wrote on them for ref. You know how difficult is it to Google ‘Teen’?)

God, this is great, St Vincent great.

As they sing:

You know how I feel about make-up?
I feel like make-up has the ability to allow you to be who you want to be.
It’s that super awesome, sparkling kind of magic!
Yes you can paint over with it, even recreate with it but… doesn’t that make it just like decorations?
The same as a cake no?
Because, I’m the original!
There’s no reason to become someone else right?
My color is only for me to decide! “what’s attractive to us?”, is something CHAI will MAKE♡ and of course eat as much CAKE as possible!
It’s this type of song! Take a listen〜

Makes me wanna go out and hang and dance and whirl round, lost in intoxication, lost in the music.

How NOT to write about music – 140. Hinds


One of the greatest reviews I wrote since my return from Brisbane in 2015 was of Spanish band Hinds when they played Brighton in 2016. So great, it directly contributed to the break-up of my marriage (alongside several other pieces of writing) – but what the fuck. You don’t become a great music critic by caring for yourself or those near you; having friends; having any sort of self-respect. Also, in fairness, it wasn’t this review and the other reviews per se that caused the break-up of my marriage but my behaviour at the time.

As Hinds singer Carlotta Cosials put it, “I am flirting with this guy/Just to pretend I’m fine”. And of course I am anything but fine now and I never flirt anymore.

And now, way way too late, I realise that of course I would rather have friends and a marriage and a life than be considered any sort of a music critic.

As Carlotta sings below, “I’ve been riding solo, riding solo/Doesn’t feel okay/Make it go away”.

How NOT to write about music – 139. Foo Fighters

Dave Grohl

I have cracked. I have grown to like Foo Fighters through osmosis.

Osmosis: the process of gradual or unconscious assimilation of ideas, knowledge, etc. “By some strange political osmosis, private reputations became public”

It happened yesterday morning, on the way back from Brighton after dropping the children off at school. Idly flicking the radio on, turning down the country roads of Sussex, 10 Minute Takeover at 9 am, someone’s choice was this, from the 2007 album Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace.

I found myself furious, emboldened, thumping the dashboard and throatily singing along with the chorus and meaning every word.

What if I say I’m not like the others?
What if I say I’m not just another one of your plays?
You’re the pretender
What if I say I will never surrender?
What if I say I’m not like the others?
What if I say I’m not just another one of your plays?
You’re the pretender

Worn down by exposure over the years, trapped by compartmentalisation and the routine of The Daily Commute (approaching 18 months now), no way out, no way forward; I could relate to Dave Grohl’s words absolutely. I had become precisely just like the others, trapped in an Orwellian nightmare present, the social media dystonia, the online bubble we never break free of… converse to what Dave is bawling here, I have said I will surrender, I have said I am just another play. His voice is fake, I can hear that. A little kid still trying on big sister’s shoes. Doesn’t matter.  My interpretation is enough. The song represents an outlet, a way out from an intolerable situation that I see no way out of. Hence my discharge of anger, my empathy.

My interpretation, not his intention.

I could never feel this with Foo Fighters before, not past the first two albums anyway when me and Dave were angry about everything post-Kurt’s death and we hadn’t sorted shit out. Then, his music made sense to me… but he started becoming more and more powerful and me less and less so and so I stopped relating. (Why would I? Surely I do not despise myself so much, to consider myself just like the others.) Two reasons: his band have always been paint-by-numbers – a little from Column A (Wings) here, a little from Column B (Led Zeppelin) there – and while that is sometimes fine for me, our shared history makes it hard for me to take. Also, Dave himself – he ain’t part of the common herd, he doesn’t suffer The Daily Commute, he is a fucking rock star. That is him. That is what he does. He is not us. These lyrics mean shit.

But but BUT!, the critic screams to himself, rock music has never been about truth but trust – the interpretation, always. I wouldn’t level the same criticism at Gorillaz. Why would I? It’d be meaningless.

The song makes a lot less sense away from my car: it is not designed to be listened to on headphones but live and LOUD.

At least they’re not the fucking Smashing Pumpkins.

I was asked by The Guardian in 2015 to cover the Foo Fighters’ Suncorp Stadium show: I warned my editor there was a possibility my report could be unfavourable. My editor replied she was aware of it. I took a professional approach to the assignment that belied my years of being Everett “not” True, and listened to the Foos’ Greatest Hits compilation several times… and realised there are indeed a handful of Foo Fighters songs that I do not find mediocre. (Including in all likelihood this one, as it is very McCartney-esque and that is an aspect I like about Grohl’s songwriting). The review was not to be, though.

Foo Fighters’ management heard I was down to review the show and banned me from the arena. This set in play a hilarious sequence of events which unfolded like this…

What I did tonight instead of seeing Foo Fighters play live

Sometimes forgettable, always horrible… Foo Fighters live in Brisbane

When nice people make horrible music | the collected Facebook Foo Fighters vitriol

Well done knob gobbler | The homophobic wit and wisdom of Foo Fighters fans

Do not mess with the critic, deutschbags. The critic is always right


How NOT to write about music – 132. Kylie Minogue

How to review Kylie | a beginner’s guide

How to review Kylie | a beginner’s guide

This is reprinted from five years ago. I continue to surprise myself, rediscovering my attempted deconstructions of the simplest of art forms.


Isaac (age 9) accompanied me to the Kylie show last night. I thought it might be a good idea to talk him through the stages of reviewing the show. Let’s see, shall we?

We have two main threads here: reviewing the show, and explaining how to review a show

  • First, have an idea what you’re going to write. (Isaac: “That’s a bit obvious, have an idea what you’re going to write.” Me: No, no it’s not. Plenty of writers sit down without an idea of what they’re going to say.)
  • Worried about how it will read? Be direct in your language. Say what you need to say, try to make it interesting, move on. (Isaac: “You probably should make it interesting, or no one will read it.”)
  • Don’t worry about or pUnctuation mistakes while you’re typing. You can correct those later. (Isaac: “Oh, OK.”) Get on with it.

Make yourself a giant cup of coffee.
Isaac: “I don’t like coffee.”
OK then. Fake yourself a giant cup of coffee.
Isaac: “Is that because you saw the wrong typing?”
Yes. Yes. Take inspiration from wherever you can grab it.
Look online for the set list from the show.
Isaac: “What does that mean?”
The set list is the running order of the songs she played. The bigger the show, the more likely it is to be there. Kylie? For sure. This will allow you to fake authority – give the illusion that you’re familiar with all the material, and also allow you to talk about stuff you might have missed if you left early. Like we did. Here’s the set list. I’ll put it at the bottom, so it doesn’t get in the way.

OK. So we need to figure out a way how to a) describe the concert, b) offer up some points of difference so the experience of reading this review feels unique, and c) offer some critical overview (perhaps). Immediate notes to oneself… Isaac, don’t interrupt here!

a. BIG
Isaac: “Control B automatically does bold, if you highlight it first.”

Isaac: “Loud, bright, and you get very thirsty during it because the venue doesn’t allow you to take water in.”
Sumptuous, nostalgic.
Isaac: “I have no idea what these words mean.”
Sumptuous = splendid, expensive-looking.
Nostalgic = experiencing or exhibiting nostalgia, a sentimental or wistful yearning for the happiness felt in a former place, time, or situation.)

Gleefully tacky (cheesy) and down-to-earth in places.
Isaac: “What’s down-to-earth?
Ah, jeez…

Very Australian, inasmuch as Kylie sounded very Australian and embodies Australia for many. Dancers, many strobe and laser lights.
Isaac: “You could sort of see the laser light beams as they went on to the wall. Like you could see a line going towards the wall, a very straight line.”

Did we say LOUD yet? Upbeat, never downcast. A giant party in a make-believe disco. Kylie referred to the fact we’d all been invited to her backstage area, then to the fact it was Saturday night and we were all at a disco, and then it became MORE.
Isaac: “It wasn’t a make-believe disco. It was a real disco. If it was make-believe it wouldn’t have been real.”
Emphasis on Giorgio Moroder (producer on ‘Right Here Right Now’, and the rather disappointingly cheesy support act – still what can one expect?) and the good times.

Kylie looks sexier the older she gets. Just an observation that has no relation to the music, but every relation to some of the music’s core appeal. One can still aspire to be her, in her over-knee boots and finely toned abs. Sexy, not in a… alright, let’s get back to this.

What else?
Isaac: “There were loads of big sticks that changed colour in the audience. There were also things that went up and down a lot.”
You mean the stage trap doors – the scenery?
Isaac: “They’re not really trap doors because trap doors just open and close. These went up and down, like an elevator.”

The show confirmed what I’d always suspected:
Kylie Minogue is a being entirely made of light.
The unbearable lightness of being (Kylie).


b. Points of Difference
She allowed one fan bearing a KISS ME ONCE PLEASE, KYLIE sign up on stage to fulfil his dreams. She performed (impromptu?) cheeky versions of ‘I Feel Love’ and (Natalie Imbruglia’s) ‘Torn’. (Mentioning impromptu cheeky cover versions is a good way of helping the reader feel like they might have been there.) She seemed thoroughly engaged and delighted to be with us.
The final night of a tour (which Brisbane often seems to be) usually brings out the sentimental beast (and beats) in an artist.
Isaac: “Sentimental?”
As of or prompted by feelings of tenderness, sadness, or nostalgia.

Four costume changes that we saw.
Isaac: “One was red. One was black. And one was blue. And I can’t remember anything else. There were too many costumes.”
Several interludes.
Isaac: “Interludes?”
Yeah, when she’s not on stage.

She performed ‘I Should Be So Lucky’ dressed in a blue love heart and little else, from a bath full of feathers.
During ‘Slow’, she stalked her fans in her six-inch platform boots while a dancer balanced on one hand.
The crowd were dressed up but not in a Lady Gaga fans way, more in a night out down the Valley with our forty-something pals way.
Isaac: “There were more than 40 people there.”

Isaac: “Can we go on to point C now?”
No, because we haven’t really said anything here yet.
Isaac: “We haven’t? Oh, OK.”

On our way in, I took a photograph at the entrance to the Brisbane Entertainment Centre compound, and pointed out to Isaac you wouldn’t be likely to see similar signs at similar British arenas.


What did you think of your first arena pop show?
Isaac: “I liked it.”
What did you like about it?
Was it the crowd, the noise, the songs, the singer, the venue…?
Isaac: “I really liked the lights because they were interesting.”
Interesting isn’t a very descriptive word. Can you think of a different word?
Isaac: “Well, it looked complicated.”
Did you like Kylie herself?
Isaac: “Yeah… well, she’s a good singer, and she also made up good songs because there’s no point being a good singer if you make up bad songs.”

From my perspective, the first section seemed to drag a little, the second section dazzled as we fed off Kylie’s energy and spunk and she fed off ours (she seemed notably relaxed, which worked well) and the 80s disco medley was wonderful… made me yearn for Pet Shop Boys, and anyone who can make me yearn for Pet Shop Boys is A-OK in my book.

Basically, during the first section I was thinking, “Why the HELL didn’t I get myself on the list for Miley and Katy Perry?” but by the time ‘Spinning Around’ delighted I was lost, caught in a trance. Lost in music.

And by the time the ‘Dizzy’ section came round I was ruing Isaac being with me cos I WANTED TO SEE THE REST OF THE SHOW. But he’s nine, and it was 10.30pm by then, with a 45-minute drive back – and so we missed the ‘Lick’ section and the ‘Aussie’ section and doubtless a tumultuous and tear-streaked encore.

I saw Kylie on my 30th birthday, and she was a massive disappointment. Tonight? The only disappointment remains me.

First Kiss
Breathe (intro)
Les Sex
In My Arms

Secret Kiss
Bauhau Disco (interlude)
Step Back in Time
Spinning Around
Your Disco Needs You
On a Night Like This
Right Here, Right Now (Giorgio Moroder cover) (with Giorgio Moroder)
I Feel Love (Donna Summer cover) (with Giorgio Moroder)

Dizzy Kiss
Chasing Ghosts (video interlude)
Enjoy Yourself (intro)
Hand on Your Heart / Never Too Late / Got to Be Certain / I Should Be So Lucky

Lick Kiss
Skirt (interlude)
Need You Tonight (INXS cover)
Nu-di-ty (interlude)
Can’t Get You Out of My Head
Kids (Robbie Williams cover)

Aussie Kiss
Kiss Me Once
Get Outta My Way
Love at First Sight
The Loco-Motion
All the Lovers

Into the Blue

How NOT to write about music – 72. Tropical Fuck Storm


Whiny, maleficent malcontents. Bruising, beautiful brawlers. Out of tune, out of time, dissonant and a glorious sprawl of ugly loose-ends and shimmering dissonance. Anger, isolation, fuck you attitudinal beauty. Drug-fueled inertia. Disgust and disillusionment given vent in a way no male American rock band has managed in two decades now. Jesus, this is so good. Jesus, this makes me feel so homesick – no not for fucking Brisbane but for my core city of Melbourne with all its rain-washed grimy streets and sun-burnt rock formations in the middle of the fucking beyond. Jesus, this makes me want to tackle that fucking right hand turn single-handed. Jesus, this makes me want to drink and brawl and fuck and fight and argue loudly with whoever the fuck comes into the vicinity, and go twirling round numerous beer-soaked dance-floors and laugh at that fucking excuse of a beard on your face. Jesus, but this is glorious even if the dweebs do round off the song about 10 minutes too early, just as it’s getting going and becoming Coloured Balls epic. Fuck death and depression when there is shit like this still happening, still being created out there in the world.

This is Gareth Liddiard and Fiona Kitschin (of the Drones). I don’t want to say this, but what a pair of fucking ledges. What. A. Pair. Of. Fucking. Legends. And yes of course they have released 15-minute battles of wills before now.

At one point, I was even talking about how I was missing gigs in the mainstream press:

Damn it. The Drones’ fourth album – the melancholy, incendiary Havilah – came out a couple of months ago in Australia (it’s out worldwide in January), and the hipsters and the diehards, the drunks and the seafarers have been foaming at the mouth ever since. And rightly so. New single, The Minotaur, contains the insouciant swagger and intricate guitars that have been so sadly lacking of late from Australian rock. Not for singer Gareth Liddiard the self-serving histrionics of a Daniel Johns or the laddish “charms” of a Powderfinger. He sounds possessed, the way all great rock singers sound possessed, as he beats the shit out of a stray vowel. The song is brutal, brilliant. Drums crack like Lewes firework displays, beats stutter to a halt among bruising repetition. You don’t need to understand lyrics to understand emotion.

Interview with Liddiard here.

How NOT to write about music – 70. Robert Forster


I know I have shared this once already, but it makes me so happy.

This is how I remember Brisbane. This is how I remember The Gap. Such beauty, such greenery, trees crowding round your massive lawns. Sheltering from the summer heat, dreaming of the spring rain, dreaming of ice, cowering from the morning’s heat. Sleeping naked in bed but still tossing and turning unable to rest. Not wilderness as such but next to any suburban town you care name in Southern England, total wilderness. The jungle is coming right up to your door. Thunder and lightning electrical storms that you watch from your decks for hour upon hour, stopping only for another tinny. So beautiful, so gorgeous outside – go on holiday for four weeks and you end up staying for seven years with an irretrievably broken-down marriage and three gorgeous kids as your heritage. Dreaming of under-show house gigs, illicit parties, wide empty turning roads that buses bomb down with no thought for their passengers they just want to be in out of the heat. On every hillside more greenery, more trees. Snakes squirming across roads and rearing up in your back garden. Massive trampolines made invisible by mega gardens. The kids getting up before you on a Sunday morning just so they can hurl paper planes off the deck and then chase down the roadside hill after them. Mowing endlessly. The grass is always a disgrace. Let me out. Let me back. Let me out. Let me back in. Please.

How NOT to write about music – 55. Robert Forster


I cannot resist this.

I have never knowingly listened to a Robert Forster solo record before – sorry, Robert. I am too entangled with The Go-Betweens for that.

NOTE: don’t mention the fact the video reminds me of my former gardens in The Gap, a few long streets away from Robert himself lives.

NOTE TO SELF: do not mention the fact Robert once stood on Charlotte’s foot in the fruit and veg section of Woolworth’s, or our very convivial meeting down Kelvin Grove market, or watching him recount songwriting skills to QUT students on an otherwise mundane weekday afternoon, or endless weeks spent inside cowering from the sun, the inferno.

NOTE TO SELF, NOTE TO SELF: do not mention ‘Spring Rain’, the way I could only understand that song after I’d been living in Brisbane for a couple of years. Do not mention the heat. Do not mention the heat, the decaying plastic playgrounds and garages full of spiders.

NOTE TO SELF: do not mention The Velvet Underground, the two-note piano refrain, the towering benign shadow Forster casts over The Music I Love, the wicked little asides of synth and silence and madness, the way he brings it all back down, the focus we all have on our ‘lawns’, the ‘jungle’, the guitars, the forest, the green, the languor, the semi-retirement, the warping and bending of guitar notes enough to unsettle, the brilliant brutal simplicity of it all. Do not mention the fact I have now spent just over 52 minutes listening to a 2.46 minute song over and over.

NOTE: I really had no intention of writing about Mr Forster as he reaches yet another peak of artistic creativity. Indeed, I had no intention of listening to Mr Forster (see above). Now I think about it, that must be untrue – my insistence I have never knowingly listened to one of his solo records. (I got in a 3am Facebook argument with Courtney Love and Lou Barlow – among others – a few months back, when I started insisting I have no recollection of seeing Courtney’s band play live. I know I must have seen them. I just cannot recall seeing them.)

NOT TO SELF, BUT TO ALL OF YOU: splurgy-troth brilliance. Place on repeat, let the lyrics and the pronunciation and the guitars soak through you 20 times, the insistent two-note piano, and then start playing it for real. For real, man. For real. I fucking wish fucking YouTube didn’t keep taking me through to Sharon Van fucking Etten at the song’s end however. Do YOU remember the winter at all?

Look at the way the man dances with his mower! Look at him.

We all do that, in The Gap. It’s a weekly ritual, our pastime. Like First Dog on the Moon made corporeal flesh. A suburban death twitch.

How NOT to write about music – 24: Morrissey

British singer Morrissey performs during

This is reprinted from Collapse Board, 2012 – wherein I was merely trying to prove that there is  more than one way to review a show. Of course, there are more than 17 ways to review a show as well – interpretative dance, political, unseeing, seductive, podcast, ranting, haiku, whistled, choppy, sculpted, dress-making, self-centered… the list goes on and on. And on. Can all these be counted as music criticism? Depends on how narrow you like to set your parameters.

Couple of notes:

  1. Since this was written I find my 2018 self in violent disagreement with my 2012 self and section 15, particularly in regard to Morrissey and racism. So much so, I have thrown in a bonus rant (drawn from Ed Sheeran Is Shit) at the end, to counter the goodwill. The idea of reprinting this blog entry and the rant is not to draw attention to Morrissey however, but to try and alert people to the endless possibilities contained within music criticism – especially in the wake of Dave Simpson’s well-meaning but perhaps misleading Guardian article about the health of the music journalism that chose as its visual a magazine rack full of covers that only featured white male musicians over the age of 35.
  2. In section 14 (comparative) I cannot find links to all the music originally played so I have had to guess a couple. Unfortunate, but a good reminder of the transient nature of the Internet.
  3. I have added comments where I have deemed them necessary. Frankly, this shit should be shared and taught across every country where folk consider music journalism to hold any worth – but of course it won’t be. The folk most vested in music journalism’s value also have the biggest stake in music journalism not changing. Plus ça change.
  4. I still fucking LOVE that clip of ‘Everyday Is Like Sunday’.

17 reviews of Morrissey @ Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre, 17.12.12

The show took place on the 17 December. So I thought I’d print 17 versions of the review.

Version 1: Literal

1. Shoplifters Of The World Unite (The Smiths single, 1987)
2. You Have Killed Me (single from the 2006 Morrissey album Ringleader Of The Tormentors)
3. You’re The One For Me, Fatty (1992 solo single, later released on Your Arsenal)
4. Alma Matters (single from the 1997 Morrissey album Maladjusted)
5. Everyday Is Like Sunday (second single from Morrissey’s debut solo album Viva Hate, 1988)
6. Speedway (final song on 1994 solo album Vauxhall And I)
7. Ouija Board, Ouija Board (1989 solo single)
8. One Day Goodbye Will Be Farewell (eighth song on the 2009 solo album Years Of Refusal)
9. How Soon Is Now? (B-side of The Smiths 1984 single ‘William, It Was Really Nothing’)
10. I’m Throwing My Arms Around Paris (first single from the 2009 solo album Years Of Refusal)
11. To Give (The Reason I Live) (Frankie Valli cover)
12. Meat Is Murder (title track from The Smiths’ second album, 1985)
13. Let Me Kiss You (single from the 2004 solo album You Are The Quarry)
14. Still Ill (sixth song from the first Smiths album The Smiths, 1984)
15. Irish Blood, English Heart (single from the 2004 solo album You Are The Quarry)
16. Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want (B-side of The Smiths 1984 single ‘William, It Was Really Nothing’)
17. I Know It’s Over (third song on the third Smiths album The Queen Is Dead, 1986)
18. November Spawned A Monster (1990 solo single)
19. The Youngest Was The Most Loved (second single from the 2006 Morrissey album Ringleader Of The Tormentors)
20. Sweet And Tender Hooligan ( B-side to ‘Sheila Take a Bow’, 1987)
Encore: 21. First Of The Gang To Die (second single from the 2004 solo album You Are The Quarry)

Version 2: Abstract

Invoice for u/c
Exercise 5: Towel exercise
Sally Breen



Version 3: Pedantic

I can take or leave Morrissey. I’m ambivalent way more than obsessed. Never liked The Smiths or (it would be more accurate to say) never liked the idea of being seen to be liking The Smiths. Indie? Pah. Sometimes, I think he’s a one-trick pony. Sometimes? I mean, often. On Monday night at the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre I find myself bored 32.1 per cent of the time, charmed 5.3 per cent, thrilled 3.87 per cent, spirits thoroughly uplifted 8.2 per cent, and entertained 64.9 per cent. I believe that adds up, and if it doesn’t that’s because it shouldn’t. I don’t like rock bands that think like rock bands. I like rock bands that rock. On Monday night, the only time Morrissey’s band really get into their stride – from my perspective, high in the stalls – is when they’re whipping up a howling vortex of noise during the PETA film, leading on from ‘Meat Is Murder’. I write, howling. I write, vortex. These words aren’t to be taken literally. You should never take anything literally, especially Morrissey and reviews of Morrissey. Unless, of course, it’s more entertaining to behave that way.

I’m not sure how I split on the songs. I’ve created my own “Morrissey, live in Brisbane 2012″ playlist and some of the songs on that are already more memorable than they were on Monday night, particularly the blousy ‘You Have Killed Me’.

And some aren’t.

Version 4: Irrational (fan-lust)

I love Morrissey. I’ve only seen him live once, but that’s more than most people. It was the most amazing experience in my life. Why? Not only because seeing him live just made me feel so euphoric, but because he took off his shirt and tossed it into the crowd. I was lucky enough to get a piece and I swear to you, it smelled so sweet. Drinking my favorite beer, Blue Moon, on this lovely Wednesday night while listening to him has reminded me how much i love him. This is a special frame with the piece of his shirt. I have it hanging in my house ever so proudly. (SolarV, Tumblr)

Version 5: Visual






the clash

Version 6: Imaginary

by Jake Cleland

Out trudges Moz, his face the picture of graven sadness – or at least, I think so. I can’t really see from a hundred rows back. But let’s just say that the aura of this sadsack LEGO man stomping around half a football field away is one of gloom. “The Queen, bad,” he says. “Capitalism bad. Marxism bad. This heat bad. Our impending collective deaths, good.” Each statement is punctured with a round of cheers. “This is not going to be a typical show. You’re going to get much more than your money’s worth and I hope you’ll appreciate it although I think for some it might be too much. That’s OK. What’s important is we’re all here now and we’ll all go through it together. OK.” I didn’t know it then – I couldn’t have – but what Morrissey had in store was a trip to hell and back. Travel time: 16 hours.

The First Quarter
“I’d like to introduce a special guest tonight…” he motions stage left. The curtain parts to make way for whichever sap was pulled in to be his gimmick tonight. No doubt some member of the Australian rock vanguard. Timmy Rogers? Paul Kelly? No, this guy’s got dark hair. The excitement ripples through the crowd from the front row like the vacuum preceding a nuclear explosion. “I believe you know my mate Richey.” The fandom detonates. By some miracle, Morrissey’s revived the Britpop prophet of blank, emotional exhibitionism. He’s brought out Richey Manic. I start pushing my way through the crowd to get a better look. “A few guests, actually…” The curtain parts again and onto the stage shuffles Damon Albarn and a typically dapper Jarvis Cocker. A lot’s been made in the past year about 90s pop revivalism and the cynicism of reunion tours in Australia – it felt especially inevitable following the popularity of Simon Reynolds’s Retromania last year – and yet how could anyone be cynical about this? Sure, it was backwards-looking navel-gazing like all nostalgic tripping but shit, for the kids who weren’t there the first time, this simulacrum of a historical moment is just as good as the original. The set begins strongly, sprinkling covers of the guests’ songs between two decades of hits and treasured deep cuts.

The Second Quarter
The hits and covers done away with, Morrissey and his mottled crew hand off their instruments and come down off the stage. “It’s time for a break. Flex the muscles a bit.” Security staff begin circulating through the crowd, carrying an assortment of sporting equipment. Tennis gear, cricket bats, footballs of every kind. Even a ping pong table, set up in front of the stage, although this quickly turns into a round robin tournament of beer pong. Despite the sensitivity, Moz still draws the lad crowd. The band begin mingling. “Fancy a kick, Moz?” I ask him. For an old feller, he’s pretty spry, dodging and weaving like the ball’s glued to his legs. We set up a small area, maybe 5×5 metres, fans vs band. Moz’s a deadly midfielder but Richey’s cadaverous goalkeeping nudge the fans ahead.

The Third Quarter
Requests and crowd favourites. Security gathers up all the gear – even the ping pong table, which some had had the bright idea of using as a stage of their own [actually, in its original incarnation, my old regular venue in Brighton UK, the Free Butt, would set up the pool table as the stage – Ed] – and furrows it away as the band take their original positions. “So, what shall we play next, my darlings?” asks our fearless leader/lover. “Khe Sanh!” one shouts. They play it. “Cattle And Cane!” another shouts. They play it. “The Wild Ones!” yet another shouts. They play it. “Wonderwall!” The crowd goes silent. Morrissey’s stare freezes the culprit to the spot. “You’ve asked for it now.” Richey, standing in for Noel Gallagher, begins strumming the opening chords. And he strums. And he strums. And he keeps strumming for what feels like half an hour as the rest of the band stands poised as if they’re about to come in but it seems like they never will. Finally Morrissey enters. “Tooooooooooooooo-” it drags on. He slides up the scale and back down again. Then he starts syncopating. All on this one “oooh” sound. He drags it out, twisting and contorting it in every way imaginable, and just when it’s sunk so deep into the psyche it seems as natural as the sound of the breeze on a spring morning or the cars along the highway at night, he switches into “Dayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy-” and on and on. Finally it dawns on me, but the realisation makes it no easier to bear. A three-and-a-half hour long version of Oasis’s ‘Wonderwall’. By the end there are folks huddled on the ground, while some just stare blankly ahead, thoughtless, except for a kind of existential stillness, an emotional paralysis. He’s hurt us. Like any abusive lover, at this point it seems the only hope he offers is to make the cruelty that much more satisfying.

The Fourth Quarter
That hellish nightmare endured, Morrissey gives one more surprise. “This is the final one, I swear, but please welcome to the stage my dear friends, the original members of S Club 7.” The crowd muster a feeble moan of approval but can’t even get it up enough to appreciate the spectacle of Albarn and Cocker mimicking their choreography with rehearsed precision. The hits go by with rote energy. ‘S Club Party’, ‘Don’t Stop Movin”, ‘Bring It All Back’. It doesn’t matter. Who cares? I’m defeated. The entire world seems grey. Wait, is that it? Oh Morrissey. Morrissey, you sly dog. I finally get it. The last sliver of my conscious mind grasps Morrissey’s genius. “We’re all here now. We’ll all go through it together.” My god, he didn’t mean the show, he meant life! The optimism followed by the crushing pessimism which evolves into jadedness. I doubt many here could understand but Morrissey’s just replicated the experience of human emotional growth, from the boundless curiosity and hope of children through to the bleak limit of reality one discovers as an adult. Torture, yes. Fairly sure everyone here could be considered prisoners at this point. And yet, we’d all been offered the most real glimpse into Morrissey’s psyche as any one man could ever provide. In that moment I understood exactly what made Morrissey who he was, and exactly what I could do to stay the fuck away from it.


LOVED: The complete deconstruction of Morrissey’s metaphysical nature.
HATED: The beer was a bit watered down. For $8 a cup, I expected better.

Version 7: Street press

The following is taken from The Australian:

Back on the road with no new album to support, the Mancunian front man took to the stage looking like a well-aged matador. Opening with The Smiths’ Shoplifters Of The World Unite, Morrissey’s five-piece band swung in to action behind him.

You Have Killed Me was next and the troupe had a full head of steam by the time You’re The One For Me, Fatty came around. Morrissey’s voice sounded, for the most part, as good as it ever has, although there were moments when the quaver wavered. Speedway was rough around the edges but that was part of the appeal.

John Lennon, towards the end of his life, referred to David Bowie as rock’s last great original. A few years later, Morrissey came along

Version 8: Poetic

Oh Morrissey.
You mean little when you’re separated but sometimes you mean
The night to me

Version 9: Note form

We were in the seated section to the right hand side of the stage, as you look at it.

Charlotte asks me what I take notes about at a concert (it’s very rare that I do). Usually, it’s just the song titles (although strictly speaking this isn’t necessary in the age of set-lists being available on the Internet the following day – e.g. here) and some general observations: the stage banter, as that’s what is unique to this night alone. (Some artists repeat themselves night to night, but I can’t imagine for one second that Morrissey, who prides himself on his capriciousness, does.) Lighting arrangements, number of musicians. Whether I enjoy a particular song or not. The mundane stuff. Stuff I forget. Also:

Did the crowd chant his name? (Yes.) Were fans pulled on stage? (Yes.) How many shirt changes? (Three.) Were the lights blinding us in the stalls? (Yes.) Was a giant image of Himself projected onto the screen behind the stage so we could see nose hairs in detail? (No.)

The following are my notes, word-for-word, typed into my mobile phone during (and before) Morrissey’s set. Quotes signify Morrissey speaking (or a lyric).

Jean Genie
Salford Boys Club
football chant of “Morrissey”
never turn your back on mother Sparks 1974
new york dolls looking for a kiss

“let me spit it out”
“well, look at it this way, this bottom therapy”
You’re the one for me Fatty
always was a Clash fan (and that’s a difference between us)
mic lead
security monitor every move as he touches hands
“this is my life to destroy my own way”… I like this one (song 4)
big gong behind drums
“you’ll be horrified to hear we had a fantastic time in New Zealand and whether Australia can compete, I don’t know”
Every day is like Sunday (“It couldn’t be much further from Queensland, this song” – Charlotte)
bows (mention way the band looks when they come out)
“in my own strange way I’ve always been true to you” – with ‘Funeral Pyre’ drums (song 6)
guitarist with his arm in a sling
Ouija Board has vague carnival signifiers, gong at end
“I had a shocking experience last night…. Rock Kwiz…’name a singer whose name begins with “m”… someone said the obvious one, someone another obvious one…six down the line, I wasn’t even mentioned…”
no costume changes yet
“I’m human and I need to be loved/just like everyone else does” – theatrical end with Morrissey in foetal position, and banging on major drum (song 9)
“You’re feeling weary now, you’re thinking about tomorrow, there isn’t one… prozac, prozac”
next song like ‘Eloise’ singer Barry Ryan (song 11)
“I’m very pleased to see such a movement in this country against factory farming… until it’s gone, humans aren’t humane”
footage of chickens and turkeys
“and the turkey you festively slice/it’s murder” – band almost coming into their own (song 12)
“Will and Kate. Bag. Of. Shit”
“close your eyes and think of someone you physically admire”
strips off shirt and lobs it into the audience, returns in green Johnny Cash top (costume change!)
into Smiths song, very messy. ‘Still Ill’, voice cracking a little
Meat is moider, “brave English heart”
A plant in the audience… “thank you for your great courage and compassion”
stands still, encourages audience participation
Please Please Please… done subtle with keyboards (song 16)
ties shoelace
Also gentle, ‘I know it’s Over’

“Oh, you’re bored stiff, I can tell”
Shouting on “etcetera  etcetera” lyric repeated (song 20)
same venue as citizenship ceremony, seemed big then
another costume change, and a bow
“You have never been in love… first of the gang with a gun in his hand” – pulling fans up on stage

Version 10: Musical

The songs I enjoyed particularly are as follows:

  • Alma Matters – score! I don’t believe I’ve heard the song before, but it has a lovely circular guitar motif that cuts in every so often across, enhancing Morrissey’s deliciously playful croon
  • Everyday Is Like Sunday – score! Charlotte memorably remarks halfway through, “It couldn’t be much further from Queensland, this song” and later revealed she would listen to the song in the car on the way to Southend, on a Sunday. Utterly charming. Couldn’t believe it wasn’t a Smiths song, when C informed me of the fact. I thought only Smiths songs possessed this lightness of touch – as opposed to bludgeoning force. Wrong.
  • Speedway – it’s muscular, sure. But it’s pleasingly muscular.
  • Ouija Ouija Board – what sets the great Morrissey songs aside from the merely ordinary or mundane is the choice of phrase, often. For example, this song here. (‘One Day Goodbye Will Be Farewell’ rocked reasonably hard, what with those tempestuous drums but didn’t have a phrase. Or a melody.)
  • How Soon Is Now? – oh yes. I mean, really. This is the song the entire early mythology of Morrissey and The Smiths is built upon, right? The one The Stone Roses hark back to (which is why they could be MASSIVE while Suede only ever aspired to ordinariness as they took ‘Shoplifters Of The World Unite’ as their template). Lyrics lyrics lyrics… but of course not only. The band aren’t Johnny Marr. Only Johnny Marr is. It didn’t matter. And it was sweet to see Morrissey stray away from his standard dance move of twirling the microphone lead around to curl up in a foetal position in front of the drum kit as the noise droned on and eerily on. Lyrics lyrics lyrics.
  • Meat Is Murder – memorable, certainly. Awful song, but memorable.
  • Irish Blood English Heart –  yeah of course.
  • Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want – oh, it’s such a relief when he drops the volume for a couple of songs, and lets us all breath again. This always was a wafer-thin delight of a song (thrown away with the other great Smiths song on the same B-side), recognised long ago for its sensitive touch, and it’s always a pleasure to be reacquainted with any version that doesn’t feature bland indifferent female vocals.
  • I Know It’s Over – see above, and triplicate. Score! A Smiths song I really wasn’t on speaking terms with, reclaimed – subtle and playful and wistful.
  • First Of The Gang To Die – the only encore. (The crowd can’t say Morrissey didn’t warn them. He kept warning them!) Absolutely the stand-out of the night. Storming chorus, storming phrasing, storming storming. Loved the way he played up to the idol worship, pulling outstretched hands up onto the stage, security all crouched and vigilant in case the play-acting became too real. (Which of course it was.) Wonderful way to end the night. I could forgive him any number of faults for this one song alone, and indeed do.

This doesn’t mean I hated the others, more that I was indifferent.

Version 11: Conversational

Conversation One:

“Went to see Morrissey play at the Exhibition Centre the other night…”
Oh yeah? How was it?
“Well, I wouldn’t classify myself as a fan…”
“No. It was pretty good actually. I objected to the way he semi-shouted several of the numbers, and I didn’t really like the band, but there were enough moments to make it worth the trip…”
Oh yeah? Did he play any old Smiths songs?
“Seven, actually.’How Soon Is Now?’, the one Smiths song I’ve always had a soft spot for. And ‘Everyday Is Like Sunday’, which everyone thinks is a Smiths song anyway.”
Yeah? Good, was it?
“Yeah, great. And he closed the show with an absolute belter, ‘First Of The Gang To Die’. Absolute stormer.”
Yeah? I haven’t heard that one.
“No, neither had I. Remind me to play it to you some time.”
So. Did you speak to him afterwards?
“Morrissey? Are you kidding me?”

Conversation Two:

“He was a lot more jovial than I expected” – Charlotte, on the way back to the car

Conversation Three:

“We consider ourselves the Morrissey and Johnny Marr of Brisbane. There are fights over who gets to be Johnny Marr, because no one wants to be Morrissey” – Gentle Ben Corbett, on the songwriting process between him and Dylan McCormack, 2008 (interview by Shan Welham)

Version 12: Cynical

He’s no David Bowie.

Version 13: Lyrical

I am the son
And the heir
Of a shyness that is criminally vulgar
I am the son and heir
Of nothing in particular

You shut your mouth
How can you say
I go about things the wrong way?
I am human and I need to be loved
Just like everybody else does

There’s a club if you’d like to go
You could meet somebody who really loves you
So you go and you stand on your own
And you leave on your own
And you go home and you cry
And you want to die

When you say it’s gonna happen “now”
Well when exactly do you mean?
See I’ve already waited too long
And all my hope is gone

You shut your mouth
How can you say
I go about things the wrong way?
I am human and I need to be loved
Just like everybody else does

(‘How Soon Is Now?’, The Smiths, 1984)

Trudging slowly over wet sand
Back to the bench where your clothes were stolen
This is the coastal town
That they forgot to close down
Armageddon – come armageddon!
Come, armageddon! come!

Everyday is like Sunday
Everyday is silent and grey

Hide on the promenade
Etch a postcard :
“how I dearly wish I was not here”
In the seaside town
…that they forgot to bomb
Come, come, come – nuclear bomb

Everyday is like Sunday
Everyday is silent and grey

(Everyday Is Like Sunday’, Morrissey, 1988)

Version 14: Comparative

Most of these are Morrissey’s own comparison points, drawn from the music and films played before the set on Monday. I threw in Barry Ryan, mainly for the Frankie Valli cover, and I can’t imagine Morrissey would object. If I was feeling real mean here, I’d compare some of the set to the lesser bands that came after Viva Hate (which is my favourite of any of Morrissey’s albums, with or without The Smiths), but I ain’t feeling real mean here, just comparative. Oh, wait. That means I should.

Hence the Suede clip at the end.

Version 15: Vitriolic

This section is halfhearted because I ain’t got no call being vitriolic towards Morrissey. My feelings for him veer from indifferent to admiring and, on occasion, glad that he’s around. Do I think he’s a racist (to answer one popular call)? No. Not vaguely. I think he likes to think he’s challenging.

Also: it ain’t his fault the shit his music has inspired… OK, maybe some of it is (Easterhouse, anyone?) but not all of it.

  • ‘Still Ill’ has always fucking sucked and it STILL FUCKING SUCKS
  • As does ‘You’re The One For Me, Fatty’
  • ‘Sweet And Tender Hooligan’ should never have been afforded a release. The “etcetera” lyric sounds way better in its original form, “You’re my pride and joy/Etcetera”.
  • I wouldn’t remove my shirt, looking like that. Oh no. What does he think this is? 1992?
  • If I’d wanted to hear someone bawling his way over graceless noise I could have stayed at home and listened to Isaac and Daniel fighting, thanks.
  • Meat means dinner. Always.
  • He’s a bit Tony Bennett, all this reaching out to the crowd.

Version 16: Conflicted

Ah yes. Should I ‘fess up now after all these years? That I only ever hated The Smiths because everyone else so overrated The Smiths when all they simply were was an occasionally brilliant rock band with a lot of chaff attached?

Doing research for this review, I saw plenty of examples of (overwhelmingly male) music commentators making irritating and outrageous claims for Morrissey (the Second Greatest Living Englishman, according to a poll conducted a few years back). That he’s the Last of the Great Pop Stars. That he’s the World’s Greatest Living Lyricist. Etcetera. Etcetera. Bugger that. All they’re doing is trying to reaffirm their own place in the world, one rooted in nostalgia and a yearning for times when they still understood half of what was going on around them.

The Last of the Great Pop Stars? To paraphrase Bill Naughton (The Goalkeeper’s Revenge), I buy and sell pop stars, they’re two a penny to me.

I like The Smiths but I don’t like The Smiths. I don’t like The Smiths but I do like Gene, The Sundays, The Stone Roses, even (very) early Cranberries…

Fundamentally, because I’m old, I can still remember independent music in the U.K. before The Smiths’ champions (and Creation Records) got their teeth into it and turned it all retro and put paid to myriad of the possibilities. This is the prime reason for never being a fan, but that’s ancient history now and it’s 2012 and yes I’m glad Morrissey is up on stage tonight. I can forgive almost anything for one, just one great song.

On his day, Morrissey can handle a phrase, that’s for sure. And he struts with a certain insouciance befitting of the former president of the New York Dolls fan club. He ain’t half rooted in a different world to mine though (one that seems weirdly indifferent to his sojourn in Los Angeles). He’s known for his sensitivity and wryness, yet attempts to browbeat us into awed compliance half the time with an arena rock band interchangeable with dozens of other arena rock bands.

I like the fact he’s petulant, still cares enough to wind up folk he sees as the foe. I dislike the fact he’s petulant, doesn’t really care enough to wind up folk he knows are the foe. I am not a Smiths fan, but I do really like about six of their songs (same as with Roxy Music, Sparks). I am not a Morrissey solo fan, but Bangs alive several of those songs really came alive for me tonight.

Version 17: the Spotify playlist

Bugger that. Create your own, you lazy fuckers.

Morrissey is shit (2018)

There I’ve said it. Happy now? Morrissey is shit. Of course, I don’t really believe that. Not really. He’s a diarrhoeic stream-of-consciousness twat whenever he opens his mouth these days, he doesn’t think before he opens his big fat mouth… or perhaps he does? Maybe that’s the problem. But back in the day, he was great… wasn’t he? Well no. Never felt that either. A pleasing enough diversion, but I didn’t grow up in buttfuck USA. I knew of plenty of alternatives already, many of whom weren’t so obviously performing sorrow and integrity and sensitivity the way he did. Nothing wrong with performance of course, not per se – but to me, back then? Fuck yeah there was. Still, The Smiths (and Morrissey solo) released a good couple of songs and several albums of mediocre imitations and approximations of same. So blanket shit, like Chris Martin? Hell no. ‘Course not… unless you happen to believe he is.

Hell, I’m not scared of my own taste, but I don’t believe you should be either. Got n’owt against him as a performer. Puts on a damn good show sometimes. But nowadays? Fuck man. Nothing feels like shit more than someone people once placed their trust in, their belief, and formed their identities via. No one can stand up to that pressure, that spotlight. Imagine being Johnny Rotten for 40 years. Imagine being Morrissey day in and day out, and not being able to switch off. Bad enough being Everett True. The other day I had a student tell me that she liked DailyMailfuckwadwriter’s name, cos at least she’s being honest. Here’s the thing, though: is DailyMailfuckwadwriter being honest or is she being selective? Perhaps she, like us, eats Oatibix in the morning, but she doesn’t Tweet about that, does she? Nah. She Tweets shit like, “An entire city of monkeys: see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil. Blind. Deaf. And dumb.” Not about her Oatibix at all. Just the stuff she knows will rile people. She’s a professional twat, a Troll of the First Order, thriving on fear and hatred and everything that is low and scummy about life. A bottom feeder on the bottom feeders.

Morrissey isn’t a Troll of the First Order like that… and he’s not as bad as Bono either. But he is a twat, isn’t he? Maybe he always was, and we just didn’t care (or know) back then. Maybe he’s changed, or our demands upon how he should behave have changed? He says stuff to provoke, to get people thinking. That’s the defence. (Is it?) What, so you like people thinking what a racist piece of shit you are, Mozzer? Nice. ‘Course you don’t need to defend yourself mate. This is art. All you need to do is call other races ‘subspecies’ when you get upset. Not individuals, mind. Whole races.

Claims to love animals, bans all animal products from his shows: Wears leather shoes, so I’m told. (Who knows? I’m no expert. I’m down with the alternative reality brigade, just not the alt-right scumbags.) All he does is sing the same melody from the Dominant 5th to the major 3rd of whatever key his songs are in… so I’m told. Behaves like an impoverished rejected outsider when he isn’t. (Is that a crime? Well, it explains Trump.) And he looks like a Tory MP these days. Flag waving ex-pat. Still, he’s got a nice voice, don’t he? Lovely voice. (‘less you don’t like it, of course.) Shame The Smiths only had about eight good songs. Still. That’s eight more positive contributions to humankind than that fucking DailMailfuckwadwriter has managed.

People who have always been shit don’t disappoint. Not in the same way.


How NOT to write about music – 12. Kate Nash (part one)

Kate Nash Thin Kids

When I was living in Brisbane, I formed a band with Ed G, Triple J DJ Maggie Collins and Scotty Regan called The Thin Kids. We were amazing. We had two types of songs – don’t hate us because we’re thin, and don’t hate us because we’re from Queensland. We gave interviews that were works of art.

For example. 

Within a couple of months of forming, we had supported Kate Nash on a national tour of Australia, released a four-track CD which sold out of its 2,000 pressing within days*, became the sweethearts of bouncers the city over with our punk rant ‘You’re Not On The Guest List (You’re Not Coming In)’ and deserved to be on the cover of every music publication in Australia… because (yes) we were better than you. Our opening show was supporting The Cribs at the Brisbane Zoo.

The following clip is from Sydney, where I promised to perform a song that Isaac (then aged around 6) had written entitled ‘Poppycock Is Rubbish’.

I am still waiting for a savvy label to contact us, and release our debut album under the aegis of “the great lost pop band of Brisbane”.

This is the song you can lead with.

We were dynamite. Seriously.

In Sydney, faced with a crowd of 1,500 plus baying Kate Nash fans and a drummer who refused to play on the rather tenuous grounds that he hated Sydney, I asked Kate if she would play on stage with us. She was hungover but game. “OK, just one song,” she replied.

I made sure the song lasted for 10 minutes.

From The AU Review:

It was a laughable, uncoordinated mess – and that’s exactly what True wants from it. “Don’t hate us ‘cause we’re thin!” he shouted at a mostly bemused audience that didn’t seem to be in on the joke, before inviting up the lady we all came to see to play a bit of piano. It must have been her touch that did it, but suddenly everyone was interested and even cheering. Atop a simple chord progression, True read out a slew of beat poetry, dedicating each line to a different past self – from his seventeen year old self right up to now. And how was that time spent? “FUCKED UP ON ALCOHOL!” Right on, said we. Watch your sincere form of flattery there, though, Everett – if you record that track you just might end up in the Hottest 100.

Kate returned to the UK or LA , and we went on to record two split seven-inch singles with her. In a fit of postmodernist pique, we wrote a new song entitled, ‘She Never Wrote Back’ that opened with the lines “We sent Kate Nash an email/SHE NEVER WROTE BACK”, a wry commentary on the fickle and fleeting nature of record industry friendships or so we thought, only slightly undermined by the fact Kate invited us to play with her again in Brisbane the following year.

I live in Britain now. Kate hasn’t responded to my emails for years.

(to be continued)

Note to aspiring blog writers: for fuck’s sake. Do not EVER write about music this way. Note the fact I have not even once attempted to address the reason for this blog entry, Kate Nash’s music (and by implication her last album, 2018’s Yesterday Was Forever). I am so concerned with telling my own story I completely omit to tell hers. Do not EVER do this. No one gives a fuck.

*Slight typo here.