Saturday, 6 January 2018

About A Girl

There are only three things in the world that I hate, and one of them is Bono.

The tax-dodging crooner recently commented that music has become too "girly", proving once again that no amount of philanthropy can offset being a cunt.

Not only does this comment seem strange coming from a man whose own music is so bland, I also think Bono is harking back to a time that never really existed. I'm going to use words like "girly" and "manly" not because I think they mean anything but in order to address this topic using Bono's terminology. Or Bonology.

As long as there's been rock music, there's been "girly" rock music. And that's pretty much what's made it good. The Rolling Stones were one of the first great rock bands, but were they particularly "manly"? Mick Jagger was a slinky dancer with maracas. Keith Richards was wearing his girlfriends' clothes. I'm not saying this undermines their masculinity in any way, I'm saying the idea that rock music was ever macho is a myth. They were popular because they appealed to everybody.

Maybe he means hard rock. But Kiss wear ridiculous make-up and Led Zeppelin songs are all about Lord of the Rings. After racking my brains for a manly rock band all I can come up with is Steppenwolf, and that's just because I only know the one song and it's about motorbikes.

The band Bono uses to illustrate his point is Pearl Jam, as though long hair, plaid shirts and singing about emotions is the height of testosterone. If you can't see the femininity in grunge then you might consider removing your fucking sunglasses.

Kurt Cobain was a poetry-writing kid who became seriously depressed when his music gained popularity among the kind of jocks who used to beat him up because he didn't meat their standards of masculinity.

I think this is why I find Bono's comment so offensive. It's indicative of a small-minded attitude, a kind of dogma that seems antithetical to a genre that I love for its inclusiveness. But I'm not sure Bono understands rock music. Which explains why he's so shit at it.

Thursday, 31 August 2017

First It Gwyneth Then It Taketh Away

My string of monthly blogs was recently broken when I managed to smash my laptop screen (that'll teach me to watch M. Night Shyamalan movies on YouTube), but I have to come out of hibernation to comment on one of my favourite subjects: Goop. 

The pseudoscience website where magicians are physicians has come in for a fair share of criticism lately, "fair" being the operative word. First, the medical community criticised the brand for recommending placing jade eggs in your vagina. Then NASA had to step in to address false claims made by Goop over so-called "energy stickers". Then last week, an advertising watchdog complained about the company's deceptive marketing. And those are just the tip of the lettuce.

Head-in-a-box actor Gwyneth Paltrow hit back at her critics yesterday, when she had this to say on her friend's podcast:

The website recently attacked OB/GYN and awesome Goop critic Dr Jen Gunter for swearing, but I guess it's ok when GP does it because she's paying them.

Anyway, Gwyneth thinks that when people call her out for disseminating misinformation it's "so deeply unfair," because apparently she's becoming the Donald Trump of... whatever the fuck it is she does. How dare you hold me to human standards of decency. Don't you know who I am? I was in Mortdecai.

She continues: "I wish that people would actually like read the article or do their homework." They're scientists. They have done their homework. Dr Jen Gunter? Done her homework. NASA? Done their homework. That's kind of the point. 

You know who hasn't done their homework? The shamans, spiritualists, medical mediums, dumpling enthusiasts, psychological astrologers, integrative structural specialists, pelvic floor authorities, herbalists and go-kart specialists who write for Goop. And yes, those are all taken from the website. I collect them on post-it notes and stick them on my computer at work. Because yes, I do like read the articles.

Paltrow, however, does not - at least according to her recent appearance on Jimmy Kimmel, where she admitted: “I don’t know what the fuck we talk about!” It's possible that she was joking. It's also possible that she wasn't, and that she has as much contempt for her audience as one might expect from someone who was in Mortdecai.

To Gwyneth Paltrow, a hypocrite is just some sort of healing stone you might put in your anus. It doesn't matter what Goop says, as long as the revenue and snake oil is flowing. There is no lie too big for Goop to print, no product too useless to flog, and no methods too low to do so. 

"Your work stands for itself," adds Paltrow. Who was in Mortdecai

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Twitter Patter

There are only three things in the world that I hate, and one of them is Twitter.

I've been spending a lot of time on Twitter recently, and it's doing my fucking head in. I think it's the way every tweet - at least all the ones that get shared - is constructed according to one of just three or four templates. For anyone to get a joke on Twitter, it has to be written like a joke on Twitter. And I find it really depressing when everyone speaks the same.

Some of these lazy Twitter joke constructions include:

As in "Dear 2016. Please stop killing celebrities. Sincerely, the world." I don't know if it's supposed to cute, or funny, or why you'd bother reaching for your phone to add to the endless slew of identical tweets. Dear people who write tweets like this. Please stop.

Your daily reminder that...
I saw one recently that said "Your daily reminder that pineapple, in fact, goes on pizza." It got 310 retweets. Like the previous one, this is just a way of prefacing one's tedious opinion in a way that's been sanctioned by the dullards of Twitter.

Me:... Also me:...
This comes from the Evil Kermit meme, which is essentially about internal conflicts. On Twitter, people say things like: "Me: I have to get up early. Also me: Watches Netflix until 3am." Hahaha, people are so complex! Sorry, not complex. Boring.

I had more of these, but the problem is clearly that I am an old person complaining about the way kids talk on the internet. Who cares? I'm just jealous that my tweets never get any reaction, because they're massively unfunny and mostly to do with Star Trek. 

But while I'm here, here are some miscellaneous tropes that I'd ban if I became dictator of Twitter - or Louise Mensch, as she's known.

Memes, threads, lol used ironically, "lads", lol used sincerely, arguing with trolls, retweeting Katy Hopkins, and shortening the word fascism to "fash".

Here's DJ Shadow.

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Because I'm Worthless

There are only three things in the world that I hate, and here are three more of them.

Everyone is justifiably annoyed at that idiotic Pepsi advert, when clearly the most effective way to advertise Pepsi would just be to say it's cheaper than Coke.

But when you live at the cinema like me, you see worse adverts than that every day. So here are three more shitverts - shampoo edition!


The first shampoo with a brain. More than can be said for whoever came up with that.


Shoulders carry the promise of late nights you'll never forget. Catchy. They'll all be yelling that one in the playground.


An advert supposedly championing inclusivity and difference that exclusively features conventionally attractive people. Facile slogans about self-confidence do not change the fact that as a cosmetics company you're in the business of telling people to look better.

On that angry note, I'll leave you with a Jane's Addiction song about showering.

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Beware the Ides of March

As you know, I love everything in the world, with the exception of three things. One of those things that I love is the Grateful Dead.

Looking back on this day in history, 15 March is a significant date for a number of reasons. For starters, it's the Ides of March, which was the day in 44 BC when Julius Caesar was stabbed in the base of the Curia - ouch! More recently, it's also the birthday of two of my favourite people: Grateful Dead bassist Phil Lesh and genius filmmaker David Cronenberg. Long live the new Lesh! Plus, the movie The Godfather was first released on this day in 1972, directed by Deadhead Francis Ford Coppola - after seeing a Grateful Dead show in 1979, he was inspired by the rolling thunder effect of the two drummers, and enlisted them to play on the Apocalypse Now soundtrack. Which brings me to the point: on this day in Dead history, the band made one of their more bizarre appearances back in 1969.

Picture the scene: you're invited to The Black & White Ball at the San Francisco Hilton, a fundraiser for the San Francisco Symphony. A group of hippies shamble onto the stage, plug in their instruments and unleash a cacophony of baroque psychedelia and a song about trying to sleep with a 17-year-old girl. 

They were never invited back.

The complete setlist is uncertain, but what exists is this electrifying recording, taped by countercultural icon Owsley "Bear" Stanley - more on him another time. The tape begins with a fairly shambolic version of Otis Redding's Hard to Handle, which they'd never played live before, and by the sounds of it, never practised much either. Things pick up with Good Morning Little Schoolgirl, a perfectly acceptable subject to sing about in the '60s, before the boys launch into their typical 1969 run of Dark Star -> St. Stephen -> The Eleven -> Lovelight. And it's glorious - particularly The Eleven, a song I've written about before. Despite a cut in the recording at the start of the track, this is up there with the best they ever played it - an electric dose of colourful improvisation in 11/8 time. Just imagine going to a black tie event 28 years ago today, and being confronted with that.

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

The Slogan

There are only three things in the world that I hate, and here are three more of them.

It's time for another month of awful adverts - terrible tagline edition!


Not only does this Coke advert feature the worst song ever recorded, it also includes one of the worst slogans: 'Taste The Feeling.' Gross. I think 'Tasty Feeling' would have made more sense.


Speaking of not making sense, Stella Artois appear to have adopted the nonsense tagline: 'Be Legacy.' Even worse is the way alcohol adverts are now obsessed with telling us their founder's backstory, as though anyone cares about booze beyond: "Will it get me drunk or not?"


This type of ironic voice-over does cause in me the kind of visceral reaction I associate with Subway, but I also think 'Keep Discovering' is a blatantly bad slogan for a sandwich shop. In fact it's probably the worst possible slogan for a sandwich shop, except maybe: 'Our sandwiches are full of blood.'

I'll leave you with Somewhere in the Between by Streetlight Manifesto, an album celebrating its 10th anniversary and still one of my favourites.

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Fried Neckbones

There are only three things in the world that I hate, and here are five more of them.

I'm talking about adverts again. But aren't there worse things to be worrying about? Yes.


I'm no advertising expert, but I have seen every episode of Mad Men, and I'm pretty sure it's a bad idea to keep repeating that there are chicken beaks in your food. What I take away from that advert isn't the actor pretending to be a 'food quality inspector', but the thought that there are definitely 100% guaranteed chicken feet in McNuggets.


Similarly, I'd avoid phrases like "We are thoughtless" or "We are cruel" when trying to make people trust me with their money. Just a thought.


I couldn't find the particularly awful Dove advert I was looking for, but this one suggesting that you can shower in 13 seconds is either very stupid or aimed solely at Quicksilver from the X-Men.


There's something not quite right about this one. I can't put my finger on it. Is it the eerie sci-fi music? The creepy whispered voice-over? Oh I know, it's because it's an advert about HEATING CHILDREN'S ARSES.


And the award for the world's most cynical advert goes to Amazon Prime! Congratulations Amazon, you win a trophy full of sick.

Here's Santana.