Matthew Street Music Festival 2009

 The Cocanuts.
Far too many tribute acts, most of which are playing Beatles songs, nothing else. Multiple stages, but hardly anything to see. For this reason, we purposefully avoided day one of The Matthew Street Festival. Day two at least had the "new bands" stage. Located just around the corner from Moorfields Station on Tithebarn Street, the idea was that the talents of Merseyside, yesterday and today, would all be showcased on this one stage; it being, as a result, the only "main" stage to feature any original music. Walk around the rest of the city and you're in tribute limbo, not a good place to be. 
The Sunday lineup was comprised of bands from the first wave of Mersey Beat. Monday, the day we attended, was supposed to feature younger, more contemporary bands. That said, a lot of the people onstage today appeared to be fat, balding - mid to late forties - which implied that the bands of yesterday/yesteryear must have been made up of a collection of crumbling semi-fossilised skeletal zombies animated only by electrical discharges sent down the animatronic wires that have long since replaced their veins. Dodged a bullet there, then. Toilet breaks mid-set.
We arrived comparatively early in order that we could catch Emily & The Faves. Ryan, my brother and travelling companion, frequents a cafe at which Emily herself works. Or frequents, I can't remember which. We were promised some stoned, cosmic sounds in the vein of Bongwater or Galaxie 500, but instead we were treated to half an hour or so of supremely competent trebly guitar pop which brought to my mind Sleeper. Sleeper! I then remembered that, when in town the other day with significantly less money I had gazed longingly at a copy of their "It Girl" album in a nearby Cex. A pilgrimage was duly made in that direction, and it was about this point that the streets began to fill. 
Most people were, it seemed, only there in order that they could exploit the relaxed street-drinking laws. Essentially, in specially designated areas, it was legal to drink as much as you wanted, but only before 18.00. This most people ignored: heavy drinking was taking place everywhere. It was common to see men and women of varying ages and tracksuit hues swaggering down the street clutching a grubby carrier bag full of booze - not so much making merry as steadfastly making it their mission to get as inebriated as they possibly could in as short a space of time as possible. Just like any other day in any other city anywhere, then. But this time it was slightly different. Like mufty day in school - when you were allowed to wear your own clothes - that people were allowed to drink in the street - in full view of the police! - leant a degree of novelty to the binging. I saw a woman stride with pride into the Cex to which I was making a bee-line - pint in hand, she proceeded to attempt to sell a battered little black box. They weren't having it. What was it? Unsellable, in any case. She proceeded to argue, loudly, doing that horrible aggressive pointing thing which seems to accompany all drunken conversations - friendly or hostile - in the north. And there was me queueing some five or six people behind her calmly clutching my Sleeper album. She wouldn't budge, so my pilgrimage was abandoned. It'll be cheaper online, anyway.
We drifted back towards the "new bands" stage in order to see The Amnesiacs. We knew absolutely nothing about this band, but we were keen to give them a go. I thought that with a name like that they could have been demonstrating a deep-seated admiration for the jazziest of Radiohead albums which would inevitably have seeped into their music. I was wrong. Very, very wrong. They were introduced as a "ska band", then came onstage and in a chirpy scouse PA twang only previously heard at pantomines, proceeded to introduce themselves as a "ska band", before going on to play some "ska music". This Ryan identified as "middle ska". "Early ska" is the label he gives to the originators, "late ska" to sickening atrocities such as Save Ferris, and in between, "middle ska", the likes of Madness, The Specials and, apparently, The Amnesiacs. It being Liverpool, they appeared to be related to most of the crowd. Their music was fast, loud and - in that afternoon warmth with the sun struggling to peek through the overcast sky, it was hard not to smile at their bouncy grooves and social commentary. They were yelping about poverty, about how one wastes their life at work - wonder stuff! Then they introduced a song by saying that there's a global conspiracy which everybody ignores, distracted as they are by modern trivia. Oh, please don't let this be about Judaism. I don't think it was. They spoke out against how lousy it was to have so many tribute acts on the bill, so kudos to them there, anyway. 
Went for a wander after that. We gazed at the Mersey for a while, attracted by a boat which seemed to get smaller the closer you got. Next, we ploughed our way Mt. Pleasentward, through the lairy crowds and stopping off to look in a few charity shops for some Flaubert. It became uncomfortably warm, so it was a relief to arrive at St. Luke's, the bombed out church atop Bold Street. This is where we should have headed from the start. Called The Matthew Street Fringe (what else?) it was, supposedly, the alternative to the Beatles-obsessed throngs below. And it was absolutely wonderful.

Within St. Luke's we at first enjoyed the hypnotic polyrhythmic delights of Global Pulse. Three Liverpudlian drummers - their leader wearing a big red hat to contain his dreadlocks - but their sound was so vibrant and life-affirming that it was hard to believe that it was conceived and played by denizens of so bleak and insular a city. There in the empty shell of the ex-church, surrounded by wildflowers and interesting photography - this music which seemed to look beyond a specific, stifling time and place was exactly what I needed at that point. 
Having left the stage, local rapper/poet Loki took to the stage to preach, in rhyme, to a beat - about his need to transcend his Liverpool existence ("it's MANDATORY!"). Here we had some genuine ambition. More so than the "new bands" downtown, this actually felt like the contemporary music of Liverpool. It felt forward thinking, relevant - and it was supremely refreshing to hear from somebody else who felt the need to escape from this swaddle of a city. 
Next came a quartet called Wrecked Career. Apparently they came together less than a week ago, so it's understandable that they've not yet any kind of online presence. For less than a week of togetherness, already they boast an impressively tight sound, with soulful vocals undulating over addictive beat theremin loops. By this point the wind had picked up and people had begun to dance. In those apocalyptic surroundings with that dark, ashen sky - the wind interfering with the sound quality - things began to feel somewhat tribal. I felt a warmth - it was CREATIVITY! Unfortunately, the actual temperature itself was low. As warm as I might have been feeling inside and as much as I would have liked to have stayed and saw through Wrecked Career's set, it was too chilly, we had to leave.
I was up for heading towards Bumper - a nearby bar where entry was free and where bands such as Peter and The Wolf were apparently playing all day. It would have been warm and comfortable, but there was a further band on the "new stage" of which Ryan had heard great things, so we descended once again into orange hell. By now the crowds were pulsating and the alcohol had kicked in. There was a certain tension in the air which I just couldn't ignore. Where it came from, I don't know. It struck me as the exact opposite of the inclusive party atmosphere of St. Luke's. This one felt less tribal, more primal - hostile, exclusive, cold, cruel. 

We arrived at the stage just in time to see The Elementals kick off their set. Again, they are unfortunately lacking in any web presence, but for these guys the crowd was surging. There must have been about a dozen musicians onstage - four or five rappers, a small horn section, a drummer, a DJ, three guitarists, bass - an extremely harsh and visceral sound which seemed to tear through the air and reminded me for the second time that day that this city can skank. And skank they did. The atmosphere was a dark party - before me, to the whoops and applause of the circle which immediately surrounded him, a young boy began to breakdance. The main body of the crowd was throbbing with energy, the police nearby looked grumpy, wary - as if hoping against hope that things wouldn't turn ugly.
For a while it felt great to be part of something so apparently vital and celebratory. However, presently a group of glittery sailors in wigs and hot-pants - part of a gay cabaret act from a nearby stage - meandered through the crowd. Some people boo'd them. Some turned from the stage and shouted at them, pointing. Their voices slurred unrecognisable by alcohol, no sense could be found in their shouts. However, the ugliness of their expressions, the screwed-up redness of their faces and the violence of their hand movements made it clear that these flamboyant sailors simply weren't welcome here. Indeed, how dare they be so different, so gay?! Of course, as homosexuals they presented a direct threat to the manliness of these feral idiots, so they simply had to scream their disdain. Would it have turned ugly had the police not been there? I don't like to think. From that point on, I lost the ability to view the party atmosphere positively. I was reminded that such collective energy could, very easily, be directed with destructive hatred against anybody who doesn't fit in. As I feel like an outsider at the best of times in this city, I suddenly felt very vulnerable indeed.
The final band of the day - the headliners, as it were - were The Cocabelles. Heavily influenced by the vocal girl groups of the 40s, 50s and 60s, they'd be a museum piece were they not so young, with two of the three girls being but 21. Dance moves and all - with sweet, close harmonies, a tight, swinging backing band, the guitarist of which sported a most impressive moustache - they were bright, colourful, energetic and very, very tedious and dull. That sort of music simply does nothing for me. The more faithful the pastiche, the more depressed it makes me feel. Also, there and then the sky blackened completely and opened up - it began to rain very hard indeed. I looked around at the miserable, drunken faces, the horrible grey office blocks bearing down around us - the barriers, the security cameras, the police - it hit me, I felt cold, wet, trapped and the chirpy sounds onstage with mocking cruelty simply compounded the misery - there and then I had to leave. Luckily they were only onstage for twenty-five minutes.
The Matthew Street Festival, then, I believe forces this grey city into a far more faithful nutshell than did an entire year of "Capital of Culture" events and plaudits. The majority of the city is cold, hostile, lairy, brutal, cruel, insular, inbred and absolutely obsessed with itself - with its position in the world, in Britain, with its past, with The Beatles and with pride. However, look hard enough and you'll find pockets of wondrous warmth and creativity - with people who'll smile with you, shake your hand, look out for you and just generally make you feel welcome. The difference seems to be that people in the latter camp know that Liverpool - as great a place as it might be, certainly is not the world.


No Laughing Matter

I'm on my best behaviour, trying to consider how upset and annoyed I'd get were people to dare rejoice at the news that a band close to my heart were to split. This news must be devastating for quite a few people. Cheer up! Might not happen. I'm just enjoying a disgusting degree of poetic justice having been so offended by this earlier. 


Impotent Prick of a Cowboy

This is the end. No more Big Brother. Good news? Good news.
I used to enjoy Big Brother. The first series, when it was new and fresh and had not yet resorted to psychological torture, what larks. There was another series. Series five, I think it was, with added fisticuffs. Apart from that, though, it is, by and large, monumentally boring and, ultimately, supremely depressing.
Quite a few people have, over the years, encouraged me to audition. I can't think of anything worse. Why did anybody audition, ever? To become famous. And, yep, it gets them on television instantly, but afterwards? Why, after ten years, did people continue to audition when time and again it was proven that Big Brother contestants have a subsequent shelf-life of six months or less? Six months in the spotlight, is that what they dreamed of? Followed by an eternity of not ever being able to shake the label of "him from Big Brother". You could be working as a shipping clerk in Helsinki some forty years later and people would still remember you as "the one who was in Big Brother". In every single sense of the word, it is tragic. Big Brother ruins lives. It makes instant celebrities of people who will be famous for nothing other than "being famous". Quicker than with most it soon becomes apparent that they have absolutely no talent at all, to the extent that the biggest hope for the majority of ex-contestants seems to be pantomine or fitness DVDs. 
Two or three months of televised tedium and cruelty and a lifetime of stigma - Big Brother is evil. Time and again I've told myself that I shouldn't hate on it too strongly. It brings joy to people! To millions of people! Therefore, there must be some good in it, surely? Well, no. Bear-baiting, gladiatorial battles, public-executions, crucifixions - they also used to bring joy to people.
Anyway, I got very mildly excited by this news. Not necessarily because it entailed the end of Big Brother. This show I haven't watched for years. It's ceased to interest or offend me, I won't notice its absence. No, I got excited, because, for a couple of glorious hours, it seemed to be the case that reality TV wasn't as immortal as I previously feared. It could collapse at any moment. Couldn't it? 
Then the horrible, horrible, horrible truth sunk in like dreadful frozen death. The X-Factor will never die. Ever.
When you discount the obvious exceptions, The X-Factor is the single worst thing to have ever been on British television, ever. It seems to have been going on forever, yet, apparently, these fresh horrors we are currently witnessing represent only the sixth series. However, when you consider that before this we had Pop Idol, Popstars, Popstars: The Rivals and such BBC equivalents as Fame Academy and seasonal "variations" such as Britain's Got Talent, it's pretty difficult to remember a time when one could scan television listings without coming across some kind of Nazi talent show.
The only good thing I've ever had to say about The X-Factor is that it makes my mum very happy indeed. Then I considered, would I be so forgiving if she suddenly took joy in feeding orphans their own dismembered limbs?
Where to begin? With the music? For anybody who likes music, watching The X-Factor is an experience akin to witnessing toxic-waste being poured into a river. The dead fish that rise to the surface, bobbing on the surface like macabre grey mallards of death - they're the artists you love, surveying the concrete parking lot that was once their glittering meadow - that was once their home.
But ignore the music. In fact, let there be more music. Vapid sub-sub-sub-sub-midi-karaoke renditions of exactly the same empty standards year after year after year only serve to make that which I do love sound even better, anyway. There is so much more to hate about The X-Factor.
Is it exploitative? Absolutely. This article often makes for a shocking read, with runners-up literally contractually obliged to not say anything even vaguely negative about their experience. And the best they can hope for is - well, very little indeed, it seems. And it is such a horrible waste. Some of them do seem blessed with genuine talent. It's awful to watch them at this early stage - so full of hope and optimism, lambs to the slaughter, about to go through the grinder with no real guarantee at all that anything fruitful will come from their experience. They can't win. If they come first in the contest, it's only in extremely rare circumstances that successful careers are ever forged from TV talent shows. For most, it's one album of covers then a life of Butlins. And that's if they come in first place. For the runners-up, it's even more bleak, as they are promptly ignored and forgotten by all those who so nurtured and exploited them for months on end - left bruised, beaten and raped on the roadside, pissed upon and laughed-at by anybody who cares - credibility but a distant dream, to never be attained, ever. Again you have to ask - why do people audition when they know that this slaughterhouse may be the quickest way to get a career, but it's far from the most ideal? And these are people with talent. They can sing. It's even more of a waste of a life than is the Big Brother saw-mill.
With very few exceptions, in The X-Factor, there are no winners. Those that are laughed at in those early stages might be treated with the most overt-cruelty, but the sweet smiles and seductive kisses placed on the napes of those that have this elusive "X-Factor" only makes the inevitable rape even more brutal.
No, Simon Cowell, that impotent prick of a cowboy, is the only winner. Every year, he makes a killing through exploiting these young, naieve hopefuls, draining them to the last drop until, no longer of use, they're promptly forgotten. It's easy to think of him as a cowboy, observing the room with a hateful leering grin, savouring the lick of the meat, failing to get it up but blue in the balls at the mere thought of just how much money he's going to make. Again, and again, and again. There's no stopping it. People will always watch it, and he'll always do it. All he has to do is fold his arms and pretend that he knows what constitutes as good music and, again and again, he's a millionaire. The thing is, he doesn't know what makes good music. He has absolutely no idea. He knows what sells, and all that sells is utter bland inanity, and the only reason it sells is because year after year he and his goose-stepping cronies flood the marketplace with legions of such empty shit. 
See the problem? It will never stop because it will always sell and it will always sell because it will never stop, with Simon Cowell becoming richer and richer, his bloated ego more than compensating for his useless limp cock. I thought that the only way to stop it would be by murdering him. I imagined him, stripped naked, tied spread-eagled in a garage-forecourt midwinter - ice-cold spray trained on his pale, flabby body, slowly freezing to death. But no. That wouldn't do it. There'd be five years of "tribute shows". Contestant after contestant "doing it for Simon" before they find a replacement who'll exaggerate his worst features and be even worse, then the whole cycle would be repeated, again and again. And again. There's just no stopping it.

Oh, and it can also be said that for a show that attempts to pass itself off as "reality", it's ludicrously fake. Even The Mirror knows it's fake. The Mirror. And yet, year after year, we fall for the same bullshit over and over. We share their woes, their joys, and we laugh together at those MUTANTS who DARE to think they can sing. The auditions sound particularly hellish, and serve to highlight further how horribly contrived is everything. The auditions you see on TV are not the first auditions. There are two seperate panels of judges to satisfy before they even think of letting you sing for Simon. What a chilling thought it is to consider those who are apparently only there to be laughed at. Those that can't hit a note, who're slightly older, those who don't stand a chance. When going through the various layers of hell/audition, do they know that they're being sent to their humiliating deaths, or does a part of them actually think that they're doing well, that they're going to make it? It's cruelty. There simply is no other word for it. 

There's just no stopping it. Just as I can't remember a world before The X-Factor, I can't picture life afterwards. I don't even watch The X-Factor, and yet I find such a thought supremely depressing. I can but cling to two small hopes. First, I never thought we'd ever see the end of Big Brother. Second, even the mightiest of empires fall eventually. If The X-Factor ever topples, however, its ruins will be nowhere near as striking as those left behind by the Romans. No crumbling remains of human ambition and ingenuity, instead we'll have entire generations of imbittered hopefuls and an endless legacy of awful, synthetic, plastic music, forever to be played in the airport lounges and department stores of the darkest depths of hell. There is, therefore, no hope.


Waving Flags

Photo - Alexandra Gadsby, 2009
Glastonbury 2009 was the most wonderful weekend. I hesitate to use the word "perfect", but it's quite difficult to consider as to how it could possibly have been any better. The weather was on its best behaviour - the downpour was reserved for the final night. We were drenched, but never oppressively so, and the apocalyptic thunder leant a glorious air of tribal finality to the proceedings, or something. That said, I had, by that point, run out of clean clothes, so travelling back wasn't too pleasant - oh, and the organisation of the buses and such getting in left a lot to be desired. I mean, granted, admirable considering just how many people had to be ferried and - forget it, we look back on everything with wistful laughter, we genuinely did not want it to end.
Compared to 2007. 2007 was a nightmare. It didn't stop raining. Ever. Well, there was brief respite during Modest Mouse's set (right on cue, when they played Float On, no less) which meant that the mud could never dry so it was an exhausting slog to get anywhere. Queueing for the bus on the way home was hell. Or, at the very least, limbo. So excruciating that a bag of barely soiled bagels oozing past on its own quagmire was genuinely tempting. A middle-aged woman wrapped in foil, face reddened, had been up all night, was slumped in a chair sipping whatever medicine the paramedics were offering her through a straw. She hadn't seen her husband all night; she hadn't slept she'd been so cold. At what point did her Glastonbury stop being a festival and become a Stalinist purge? Back then I was less-informed. I used to say that my friends and I, having "survived" Glastonbury 2007, would have fared quite well under communism. Look, it was my first time, OK?
And the sound on the Pyramid Stages was a bit muffled. Not this time, though! This time, you could hear every spellbinding beard-scratching note of E-Street euphoria with all the warming clarity of that clean, well-lit place of the gods. Problem was, you couldn't really see what was happening. Too many flags. You know there's a problem when even those giant screens are obscured by a fluttering mass of colour and slogan. Blindness born on the wind of enthusiasm!
Flags are a controversial issue at the best of times. To rally 'round a flag is dangerous - the things they can stand for! Imagine those three Isle of Man conjoined legs of horror cartwheeling down the street in order to kick you into dreadful submission! The flag! Point at the flag and donate your legs to the cause!
At festivals, however, it's a different matter. Flags. What do they say about you? That you like sausage? That Jermaine has confirmed that it is, indeed, time for business? That you're Scottish? Yep. Look at me. I'm Scottish but, get this, I'm at a festival in ENGLAND. Just to let you know, though. I'm Scottish. Yeah? Flags. We made a flag for 2007. We each had a corner in which we could go nuts. I attempted a Magritte tribute in my corner. A tree, a man with a hat instead of a head. I tried to write "This is not a tree" but it came out as "this is not woodland". Same message, essentially. Just a little clumsier. For that weird pagan edge I added the salmon of knowledge. Beautiful stuff. Alluring naked woman in the top corner by Alex, whose photograph simply ADORNS this post! Natalie provided a comprehensive list of all the things one is likely to encounter at such a place (drugs, music, sex - usual suspects) and we filled in the gaps with some clouds, psychedelic swirls and a giant pyramid stage, the whole thing glowed in the dark it did! 
Yeah, you can have a lot of fun with flags. Just that we never got to use ours. Too wet. Glow in the dark paint when running I imagine resembles the tears of a radioactive ghost. A tragic sight indeed that would have compounded our collective grief. But it took pride of place on our living room wall when we lived together, reminded us of the good times, such as they were - yep, flags, community, fun. Fun. Fun! Fun? Fun.
Just that they can, perhaps, be a little too fun, as was illustrated at this years festival. It is uplifting to see so much billowing colour rippling in time with the music - joy solidified - but when you're there to see BRUCE and all you can see is SAUSAGE, there's a problem. A problem which has been addressed by the organisers of this years Reading and Leeds festivals. Banning flags from the arena. Brilliant! Beautiful VISTAS of rock music completely unobscured by anything! Until people start getting up atop each others shoulders. But they usually get down after the third volley of piss.
Taking heed, Michael Eavis claims to be considering a similar move for next year's Glastonbury. Theoretically, this could make 2010's even better than this years. This time we'll be able to see AND hear bands on the Pyramid Stage! I'm not quite sure how it would be enforced, though. At Reading and Leeds, where the live arena is seperate to the camping area, it would be comparatively easy. At Glastonbury, however, well, they could confiscate them upon entry, but what of the stalls that sell them? What of those? And fishing rods. Flags can be erected atop those, surely? So, what? They going to ban fishing rods, too?
Flags. They're just flags. To claim that they ruined your festival would be nit-picking. And yet, they did get on my nerves. Hmn. I think I would be quite happy if they went. The only thing is, crowds of such magnitude are difficult to navigate. Without flags as markers, how would we ever meet up with the friends from whom we are seperated? No longer able to say such things as "meet me 'neath the Dalmation after Stonehenge", we'd instead have to do such awful things as wave our arms in the air, holler, or resort to flare guns - now, the flare guns at Glastonbury, THEY were scary. Those things burn.

Pathetic Punks

I do like to write. I did, however, recently read that "blogging" is not "writing". Rather, it is masturbation. I cannot remember where I read this. But it rings true. Everybody seems to have a blog. And why not? Everybody has an opinion. To the internet! I must tell the world. No longer will I have to resort to filming my reflection with a Super 8 for hours on end. No, now, if there's something on my chest, here we are! Better than scribbling furiously into some dog-eared diary, foetal position at 3AM in the dim light, whatever comes to mind first goes down, doesn't matter in what order, doesn't matter if it makes no sense at all, it's all being thought so therefore it's all important, so here we go -
- such has been the case, surely, for as long as it's been possible to articulate thoughts. Everybody has a right to think and to express these thoughts, but this medium still feels like it's in its infancy. So many people do it, and yet, there still seems to be a stigma. Writing really does feel different when the writer knows that there is potential for somebody - anybody - to read that which spills over the rim. Suddenly, you're writing with an audience in mind! We used to head our thoughts with "dear diary". Made it easier to think of your diary as somebody to whom you were writing. Made you feel less introverted, sociable, as if, perhaps, you had a friend. With the internet, this isn't necessary. Just think! Anybody could read this! Possibly by accident, oh my, best behave -
- such does appear to be the problem with blogging. Anybody could read this. I am, therefore, writing with an audience in mind. What is more, my audience, such as it might be, can go anywhere. Why bother reading mine when anybody else could tell you exactly the same using a quarter of the word count? And what have I got to say that hasn't been said before? Nothing. And what gives me the right anyway to assume that people would actually want to read that which I rattle off at a despicable rate? Well -
- if one blogs, there is the potential to conclude that they think of themselves as worthy. It would be WORTH YOUR WHILE to read my rantings! I speak the truth! And that what I have to say is somehow MORE REAL and, dare I say it, MORE DANGEROUS than ANYTHING radiating from yonder SHEEP ENCLOSURES. It's no wonder blogging was likened to masturbation. To write in such a way, no matter how self-depreciating you are, and no matter to what extent you allow comments, is disturbingly self-congratulatory. Hence the stigma. The truth is -
- the truth. I used to maintain a diatribe on a site of ill-repute - quite religiously, at times - and I had the nerve to label it as the truth. How dare I. A Google search for absolutely everything with the billions upon billions of results reaped for anything you could care to mention is an experience humbling enough to convince everyone and anyone that it matters not how large a fish you happen to be, this is a really big pond. Deep enough to drown anyone. Even The Pope -
- I left the truth to die the unceremonious death it deserved. I neglected to tell anyone. Nobody would have cared, but the two or three people who read it might have voiced some kind of mild disappointment which would have given me a thrill which, small as it might have been, would have undermined my initial reasoning for throwing in that crusty old towel, it was writing as onanism with no consequence at all -
- such can be said, though, of all writing. Even to write copy! Think about it. And, of course, everyone has an opinion, me too, even The Pope -
- I like to write. Look, I really like to write. I need an outlet as much as the next person and it is nice, it really is, to consider that someone might read something I have to say about something. I have a solution. What right have I, oh shut up, you hear of those pathetic punks who would disband their collectives (more often than not called something like The Acid Bile Bible Basher Twat or The Death Bed Sweat Lake) having received some two and a half minutes of airplay. Yeah, to be played on the radio, that's selling out. Which implies, of course, that nobody listens to punk -
- so as little publicity as possible and I'm safe. Not as onanistic, pure writing, the truth? No, not the truth, no, but it certainly makes me feel better about myself. A punk rock blog, in that I care perhaps too much about that which people think about me. Better that, surely, than for me to assume that whatever I have to say is in any way more relevant than that which can be found anywhere else, everywhere, written by those wittier, more eloquent and better able to write with biting incision than I -
- soup heated in a pan, too much of it and too hot, too agitated, it boils over and spills over the edge with a spitting sizzle which no amount of  sodium crystals and elbow grease will ever remove. Who am I to judge beauty? Well, I have to think of this soup as beautiful. To do think of it in any other way -
- that way madness lies.