10
Dec 19

The 21st Freaky Trigger Annual Between Christmas And New Year Pub Crawl: Back To TCR

Pumpkin PublogPost a comment • 4 views

Twenty Years Ago (1999) I decided to organise a pub crawl on the quietest pub day of the year, and thus the Freaky Trigger annual between Christmas And New Year Pub Crawl (henceforth #FTABCANYPC) was born. Since then we have crawled annually on the 29th December (except from when it wasn’t) around nineteen different parts of London. But for this special 20th anniversary I thought I would go back to the source, the very first route. I am not doing exactly the same pubs, some have changed their names (one four times), and a few are off the main drag. But I’d live you all to come and join the day of the year when you can celebrate friendship and London without it being tied to religious and/or calendrical bullshit.
The route on the day will be:

3pm The Flying Horse (Oxford St opposite TCR Station)
4pm The Jack Horner
4.45pm The Rising Sun
5.45pm The TCR Lounge Bar (previously The Bar @ TCR, The Castle and The Olde Surgeon)
6: 30pm Fitzrovia Belle
7:15pm Carpenters Arms (Whitfield Street)
8pm The Prince Of Wales Feathers (Warren St)

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27
Nov 19

CHRISTINA AGUILERA – “Beautiful”

Popular12 comments • 1,139 views

#949, 8th March 2003

One of the notable things about “Beautiful” is that having written it, Linda Perry wanted to keep it for a proposed solo career – it was one of her “personal” songs. So the question is – would the song make more sense sung by a woman staring down forty, her big hit a decade gone, in a business that’s notoriously unforgiving to women who age? Is its scenario – panic’s sudden grab at the throat – one that transfers?

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4
Nov 19

My Thoughts Big I Just Can’t Define (THE VERVE – “Bitter Sweet Symphony”)

New York London Paris Munich14 comments • 1,027 views

(Reached #2, June 1997)

One of the repeating themes in British indie music is bands hitting the rocks because the guitarist and singer can’t work together. The Smiths, The House Of Love, The Stone Roses, Suede, The Verve – for a decade some of the biggest names in British guitar rock kept flaring out like this, until the music became boring enough that it stopped being an issue (you can’t have creative differences when nobody’s doing anything creative).

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22
Oct 19

T.A.T.U. – “All The Things She Said”

Popular23 comments • 2,560 views

#948, 8th February 2003

Nobody could claim that time and changing norms have rendered t.A.T.u. problematic; they were glaringly, undeniably skeevy from the off. Executive producer Ivan Shapovalov – who masterminded the duo’s anime schoolgirl look and teenage lesbians on the run schtick – seems like a more honestly sleazy Malcolm McLaren (Bow Wow Wow edition). All the trolling, none of the philosophy.

To which Shapovalov might say, well, you let me get away with it. His follow-up to t.A.T.u. was niqab-wearing “terrorist pop star” N.A.T.O., a bit of Islamophobic pantomime. It touched on much rawer symbols and taboos and the project was a flop. With t.A.T.u., on the other hand – conceived in the year “….Baby One More Time” smashed charts worldwide – the group were surrounded by a teenpop culture where suggestions of underage sex worked like a black market currency. If time has changed how t.A.T.u feel, it’s by shrinking the measurable difference between them and the pop that surrounded them. Shapovalov was just saying the quiet part loud.

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17
Oct 19

What’s Going On With The FT Comments?

FT4 comments • 341 views

Hi all –

We know some of you have had serious issues with the FT comments, both in terms of logging in on existing IDs and creating new ones.

This is because of something being imposed by our hosts to stop continued spam comment attacks. We’ve taken the actions requested (updating wordpress etc) but there’s clearly still an issue. To make things more frustrating, my admin login is working so there’s no way of my knowing when the login system is down or not.

We’ll keep you updated. Posting comments is (clearly) still possible, but may not always be possible with the login. Use the comments on this thread to let us know what your situation is.

Sorry!

15
Oct 19

DAVID SNEDDON – “Stop Living The Lie”

Popular21 comments • 1,518 views

#947, 25th January 2003

One possible reason Popstars’ producers risked an unconventional song with Girls Aloud: the show itself had competition. The BBC approached the reality TV era warily, but there was no way the Corporation could stay fully aloof from those kind of viewer numbers. Still, appearances had to be kept up – if the BBC was going to run a talent show, then by jingo it would involve real talent. And, in pop terms, that meant songwriting.

The resulting show, Fame Academy, was originally developed by Endemol as a Pop Idol/Big Brother crossbreed – the novelty was that the contestants all lived together in a house being taught the ways of stardom (Academy, see?). The BBC’s publicity leaned heavily on the teaching aspect, perhaps hoping that an educational aura would somehow settle on a show clearly designed to steal ITV’s Popstars thunder.

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13
Oct 19

All one can do is die (CRASH TEST DUMMIES – “Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm”)

New York London Paris Munich2 comments • 472 views

(#2 in April 1994)

Fortune is the issue here: the blind bad luck of the song’s kid subjects, the random chance of us ever hearing about them. “Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm” is a fluke, but a fluke brought forth from a particular moment, the end of the alt-rock gold rush. First there were the years when major labels pushed Nirvana’s peers, rivals and sometimes elders out across the world (even I bought a lumberjack shirt). Later, alt-rock became modern rock, a settled category in the US and barely a concern elsewhere. But alongside all that were the chancers, the one-hit wonders, the unlikelies, trawled up by the industry’s tuna nets as it tried to meet MTV and radio demand. Green Jelly. Ugly Kid Joe. 4 Non Blondes. This.

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12
Oct 19

how not to write about extreme metal, probably

Hidden Landscapes8 comments • 364 views

[This post originally went up at my PATREON: subscribers get to read posts and hear podcasts early — and help offset costs and time and help me do more of this kind of thing. Please share widely and encourage participation in the comments!]

“It might seem like ham-strung vaudeville from a media-saturated Western outlook, but this internationalised language of stock rebellion and theatrical posturing clearly resonates for youth in Indonesia, Malaysia or Singapore, and offers comfort and dignity to those still; ambivalent about buying into the post-feudal-/colonial environment that’s being rapidly constructed round them” — Kean Wong on metal in South-East Asia, and how it was interacting with political Islam, ‘Metallic Gleam’, The Wire 110, April 1993

Back in the mid-80s, my NME colleague Dele Fadele and I had a shorthand: ‘Nigerian Heavy Metal’. Of course there’s plenty of African metal around today, and this no longer seems even a faintly counter-intuitive idea – but even though it already existed (so Dele said), there seemed enough of an absurd tinge to this fact for it to seem useful to us.

Of course the seeming absurdity is in retrospect a tell, which was exactly the point from our POV. It’s a shorthand for a mockery emanating from the critical community and culture both we shared (meaning an NME-type hivemind)

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9
Oct 19

Popular ’02

Popular12 comments • 941 views

Last time we did one of these Obama was president, so a quick reminder is probably due – I give every Number One a mark out of 10. This is where YOU get the opportunity to vote on which hits you’d have given 6 or more to. My own highest marks were a 10 for Sugababes and 9s for Aaliyah and Girls Aloud, while at the other end Ronan, Gareth’n’Will, Westlife and ver Kitten picked up 2s.

Which Of The Number One Hits Of 2002 Would YOU Have Given 6 Or More To?

View Results

Poll closes: No Expiry

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Discuss the year in general in the comments! (If you want)

8
Oct 19

GIRLS ALOUD – “Sound Of The Underground”

Popular34 comments • 2,127 views

#946, 28th December 2002

Looked at one way, this had to happen. Reality TV pop shows weren’t going away. Lightning had struck for Hear’Say, then again for Liberty X, then so often for Pop Idol that you’d think Zeus had the ITV voting lines on speed dial. The maths of it was simple enough: the audience mobilised for reality shows was multiples larger than the crowds pop could normally draw for a new release. Anything a winner released would get to number one. Simon Cowell (and gang) had hacked the charts.

But in doing so they’d also surrendered control. If winning a reality show was the golden ticket, and what you released after didn’t matter, then the winners’ single could get away with far more drama and delight than Cowell’s starchy definition of pop allowed. Critics, me included, who gasped in excited shock when they heard “Sound Of The Underground” – it’s reality TV pop, but good – hadn’t twigged that this outcome was always a possibility. Once you shatter the link between quality – however conservatively measured – and results, you create an opportunity for anything, great or touch-my-bum awful, that’s blocked by the usual filters.

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