heard on the wire

He wonders if she scores


There’s not a lot to do in Scotland on New Year’s Day, save nurse a hangover. And where better to nurse a hangover than at the football?

Thus on January 1 2014, Andy, Suzi and I set off from Andy’s flat in Edinburgh, headed for the nearest top-flight game, Motherwell versus St Johnstone. Fir Park is a proper football ground with proper pies. And the entertainment befitted the stage, Motherwell, riding high in the league, ran out 4–0 winners.

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This is confusion, am I confusing you?


We were a bit more transatlantic than the Fred Perry and Adidas brigade. We never asked to become part of the Britpop club, all that Cool Britannia shit: Noel Gallagher shaking hands with Tony Blair. I thought: “It’s not meant to be cosy!”

I was going to write a long post about Britpop, but the musical equivalent of Blair really isn’t that interesting. So, in a nutshell, Britpop was either wonderful or dreadful; take your pick.

Will Hodgkinson in The Times recalls a time when he listened to “songs that rejected the alienation of alternative rock for a celebration of the everyday”.

“Britpop, with its songs about getting nicked for smoking a joint and dressing in ill-fitting clothes was for and about people like me,” he says. “Kitsch, irony, disco dancing, kitchen-sink observation and beery hedonism.”

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Remember the lesson of Take That

In my previous musical musing, I dismissed a swathe of musical royalty whose undoubted accomplishments sit uncomfortably in my ears. Now I’m turning my attention to artists cherished by many but which I generally scorn or at best tolerate: Abba, ELO, the Scissor Sisters and Take That.

My response to hearing these four ranges from irritation to outright hostility, but as is usually the case in our dialectical world, things are never that simple. Each, in their own small way, has something to offer even the most belligerent.

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Creeping round my house at dawn

The first time I heard this record I was unmoved. And the second, third and maybe fourth time. Then it clicked.

How can you not love a band named after the winner of the 1988 Tour de France? And how can you not love a band that produces a record as completely brilliant as 1997’s song-from-each-year-of-my-life.

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