Goddammit, I hate writing these things. The last few years have been pretty awful for music fans, so to hear of the death of Buzzcocks frontman Pete Shelley this evening was another bitter blow for many of us.
I’m not going to say any more, except to suggest that you hit play and turn the volume up very loud…
I can feel the earth begin to move
I hear my needle hit the groove
And spiral through another day
I hear my song begin to say
Kiss me where the sun don’t shine
The past was yours
But the future’s mine
You’re all out of time
The Stone Roses – ‘She Bangs The Drums’ (1989)
Yet again, the press are reporting this morning that the Stone Roses are to reform. According to the NME website, this time vocalist Ian Brown and (non-macho) guitar god John Squire finally resolved their decade and a half long feud at the recent funeral of bassist Mani’s mum. Mani himself, who managed a supergroup free transfer into Primal Scream when the Roses split, has apparently long been well up for it. It seems that all they have to do now is persuade genius drummer Reni to get back on board and a “megabucks reunion” is in the offing.
However, the NME‘s report is originally from that well-known bastion of responsible and truthful reporting, The Sun – so you’ll have to excuse me if I’m not entirely convinced by it. And anyway, we all know that it’s never quite the same when bands reform, especially if you were a huge fan first time round…
So it appears that New Order’s legendarily low-slung and grumpy bassist Peter Hook has written a book. I must admit I was pretty astonished when I heard the news as I’d never had Hooky down as the literary type, although I was less surprised when I heard what the book was about (of which, more below)….
Hooky’s authorial outpourings are just the latest installment in this year’s exciting episode of the continuing saga of the 80’s and 90’s Manchester music scene; a long-running and often quarrelsome saga that refuses to go away, despite the fact that many of its protagonists have long since produced their best material and should probably have sloped off into quiet rock legend retirement quite some time ago.
So far this year, we’ve had the latest set of rumours of a Stone Roses reformation (please god, never! I’d rather remember them at their incandescent early best than as the meandering stoner rawkers they had become by the end), rumours which appear to have been finally and firmly squashed by the recent news that Ian Brown – who did, after all, get custody of the talent when the Roses split – is to form a supergroup with the equally legendary Smiths/Electronic/Modest Mouse guitarist Johnny Marr. In fact, the Roses have been positively blooming this year (sorry…), what with the 20th anniversary special edition re-release of their truly classic and nigh-on perfect self-titled debut album getting rave reviews in the music press all over again, and guitarist John Squire’s solo art exhibition receiving column inches galore (admittedly, mainly only after it was noticed that one of the installations stated in no uncertain terms that he would play no part in any Roses reformation).
Just a quick post to let you all know that Another Kind Of Mind will be taking a brief break until next month while I finish up and submit my final (ever) extended essay for uni. Once that’s done and dusted, I’ll be free, FREE to… well, I dunno yet, but it’s gonna be fun!
I’m still working on one more post which is almost finished, and that may well go up in the next few days – apart from that, the world of trickygirl will be a little on the quiet side until I’ve got done all the stuff I need to do. But fret ye not, my lovely readers, for there is lots and lots more to come, and here is but a taster of what you can expect when I return…
Find out why a bunch of stoner lads from Manchester made one of the greatest albums ever – and then fell apart. Learn more about third wave feminism (as promised), how men can be feminists too, and get the lowdown on some of the righteous and remarkable women who have inspired me over the years. Discover why astroturf is no longer just the stuff Luton Town FC used to controversially play on at Kenilworth Road. Delve into the world of heavy metal (the ultimate rebel music) and find out how, in parts of the world, it has become a dangerous and very political statement. Contemplate the rise of European fascism in the 1930s and see how it is again on the rise in the modern world today…. And even more stuff as and when I think of it!
If you have any suggestions of subjects you’d like to see me cover, please let me know.
Incidentally, if you have a blog or a website you think I might like and want to link to, please feel free to leave the address here as a comment – I’ll check it out and, if I do like it, link to you. If you want to link to me, just give me a shout!
While I’m away, please do have a look at the blogs I have linked to on my Blogroll. There are only a few at present, as this site is still very much under construction, but I hope to be expanding the list very soon.
I highly recommend all the links on my Blogroll, particularly as they (already!) reflect the diverse nature of my interests:
– MARSHALL LAW: This is an excellent pro-wrestling blog written by my good friend Martin Marshall, which deals with the major issues and debates within the sport in an intelligent and thought-provoking way. And for those who of you who are shocked and horrified by the mere thought of a feminist enjoying pro-wrestling, I’ve got one word for you: Chyna. She’s the whole reason I started watching it in the first place – and I am very much looking forward to Marshall Law’s upcoming take on women in wrestling.
– ME, AS OTHER THINGS: I love this quirky blog, created by the American writer, artist and cartoonist Jason Block. Its title is pretty self-explanatory really; Block takes a photo of himself as a starting point and then recreates it as something else. The most recent entry shows him as the cover of Radiohead’s The Bends, but other efforts show Jason as a Soviet-era propaganda image, Jack Skellington from The Nightmare Before Christmas, an H.R Giger Alien, Heath Ledger’s take on the Joker and a Calvin and Hobbes kid, amongst other things. Well worth a look!
– THE OTHER SIDE OF THE APPLE: Like Another Kind Of Mind, Jessica’s new British feminist blog is still under construction, but there is already some very interesting content on there, including a response to Gordon Brown’s apology to Alan Turing and an excellent piece on women’s magazines. Aiming to cover feminism from a British perspective, alongside ‘armchair activism’ (a brilliant idea!), popular culture and food, The Other Side of the Apple is already well worth a read, and I am looking forward to reading more.
Keep reading, stay tuned and wish me luck!
peace and love,
“That’s what it’s all about. That’s why we’ll be the best band in the world, because I fuckin’ hate that twat there. I fuckin’ hate him. And I hope one day there’s a release where I can smash fuck out of him, with a fuckin’ Rickenbacker, right on his nose, and then he does the same to me, ‘cos I think we’re stepping right up to it now. There’s a fuckin’ line there and we’re right on the edge of it” – Liam on Noel, Wibbling Rivalry, 1994
“I don’t think I’ve ever said anything that’s nasty” – Liam, 2008.
You know, I think I would care more about Noel Gallagher quitting Oasis if he were actually leaving a half decent band. No, really. I mean it. It’s not like they’re even anything special these days – they started out as a halfway fun and definitely second-rate bunch of Beatles copyists, and have ended up as a fourth-rate, washed-up parody of themselves, as postmodern as that sounds.
Admittedly, I remain rather fond of their first two albums, Definitely Maybe and (What’s The Story) Morning Glory, mainly because they remind me of a long ago and far away period of my life when I was young and naive and British pop music ruled the world (again). These days, however, I would argue that ‘Britpop’ is a distinctly lazy descriptive; the only commonalities shared by the bands lumped together in that scene were that they were all guitar bands of some sort and that they were all… er… British. Unlike most bona fide music scenes, none of the first generation of Britpop bands actually sounded anything much like each other, or even really came from a common set of influences. In fact, most of them didn’t even sound like the swingin’ sixties pop scene the media supposed they were emulating.
But Oasis had clearly grown up on a steady diet of The Beatles and punk, and this showed in the swagger and arrogance of their unfeasibly tuneful early releases. They may have been spectacularly ripping off Lennon and McCartney via the Pistols, but they had the balls and vicious charisma enough for that not to matter. And the regular and very public punch-ups between Noel and Liam made the band all the more attractive to the media right from the very start.
It is common knowledge that feuds and tensions between fellow band members can produce some remarkable results. Faith No More spent most of their career hating each other, and are, in fact, widely acknowledged to have produced some of their greatest material during the period when they had both a gay man and a somewhat homophobic redneck among their line-up, with all the unpleasant tensions that naturally entailed. Brothers Ray and Dave Davies of the quintessentially English and truly god-like British Invasion band The Kinks spent much of the sixties and seventies utterly despising each other (to the point of physical violence) – yet this was the period that produced some of the band’s most enduringly classic and influential songs. Mark E. Smith of Peel favourites The Fall has fallen out with an almost countless number of different musicians over the band’s thirty-three year history (most fans have given up counting, anyway), but The Fall remain a vital and visceral presence on the British music scene. And that’s just three examples from an industry that seems to thrive on antagonism and antipathy.
It was always different with the Gallaghers, though. The chaotic lifestyles of the brothers (and the rest of Oasis) alongside the notoriety spawned by the constant brotherly bickering actually distracted from the music, which rapidly deteriorated and soon took second place to the scandal and bad behaviour in the eyes of the band as a coherent entity, as well as in both the tabloid and the music media. And there was always a slightly cynical element of class about it all. Now as then, the music media in this country, in particular, is predominantly southern, very middle class and almost entirely male, and the countless articles recounting the antagonistic fraternal squabbles between these two working class Mancunian siblings were always shot through with a patronising amusement. Watching the Gallaghers slug it out was, it seems, inherently funny in a way that the equally stupid bullshit spouted by the likes of Damon Albarn wasn’t – which probably accounts for Fierce Panda’s release on vinyl of Wibbling Rivalry; a recording of a 1994 interview by the journalist John Harris with the Gallaghers, which almost immediately deteriorates into a huge, fiery and very, very sweary argument between the brothers (see the quote above).
All this leaves me thoroughly unsurprised that Noel has jumped ship – after all, he’s threatened to quit on numerous occasions in the past. And his reasons for leaving are even less surprising. In a statement released on Friday, Noel describes how things had finally come to a head, and that “the level of verbal and violent intimidation towards me, my family, friends and comrades has become intolerable.” This comes as no shock when one realises that rather unpleasant stories of Liam publicly questioning the legitimacy of his niece Anais (Noel and ex-wife Meg Matthews’ young daughter), and very deliberately not inviting his older brother to his wedding, have been circulating for a number of years now. This long dysfunctional relationship between the two brothers seems to have finally broken down, which is certainly sad for them on a personal level – but it may yet mean the end of Oasis, something which should have happened years ago. The band should have retired gracefully when they had the chance, leaving behind an at least partially valuable musical legacy instead of finally imploding like the last great Britpop joke.