#3 Let’s Eat Grandma: Two Ribbons

We’re never really taught about friendships. I’m not arguing that we get bad information, or problematic role models, just that we get none at all. Your parents show you what to expect from relationships, what sexual love looks like, and what your expectations should be. Yeah, almost entirely wrongly, and that will likely ruin your whole life, but at least an archetype exists. They fuck you up, your mum and Dad, but at least that’s something.

Who shows you what friendship should look like? Your siblings?? Either you have such a difficult relationship with your siblings twisted by hierarchies subconsciously solidified within your family’s dynamic that friendship should be an escape from those relationship, or your connection with your siblings is so strong that no unrelated person could ever compare with the history you share, and no friendship can clear the prerequisites. I love my siblings (but also: fuck them, right?), you love your siblings (but also: fuck them, right?), you might wish you had siblings (but also: fuck that, right?), but that is not friendship.

JUMP IN ANY TIME, THESE ARE GOOD TOPICS

17 Leanne Betasamosake Simpson: Theory of Ice

Yeah, y’know, I’m actually an indigenous person meself, know warra mean? Indigenous fackin’ Englishman, me, yeah? Oi oi! You avin’ that? Noice, mate, noooooooooooooooooooooooooooice!

Let’s stop all that for a start. The term ‘indigenous people’ isn’t just some uncomfortable dog whistle to be used to threateningly outline the idea that some kinds of people are the ones meant to occupy a certain land. Y’know, before all the bloody Muslims moved in… The term ‘indigenous’ when referring to people is actually intentionally loaded, and designed to make great portions of the globe always shift every so uncomfortably in their seats as it reminds them of past imperialism, past genocides, and current mealy mouthed pretences of absolutions and reparations. The Aborigines, The Maasai, The Kurds, The Maori… Indigenous people are among the original inhabitants of a place which was later colonised by a larger ethnic group, mostly leading to them being left as tiny minorities on the land they once considered their own. That’s right, by its very nature the term ‘indigenous people’ is all political, continuing the broad trens that everything that’s isn’t a straight cishet white man is political. If you’re an English person, your country was largely the reason most indigenous communities became indigenous. So there’s always that.

STEP OVER WATERY EDGES

Love Their Mess and Adore Their Failures: Manic Street Preachers’ 100 Greatest Songs

Right, holy shit, so am I actually doing this…?

“Repeat after me…”

The Manic Street Preachers are the greatest rock band ever. That’s not an opinion, it’s a conclusion that I’ve reached and am now saying it loudly and not listening to any dissenting voices, which in 2021 counts as a ‘fact’.

Their greatness is… complicated… and not easy to explain in a simple intro to a blog post… These 100 tracks aren’t necessarily the greatest songs ever. Even as a pathetically dedicated Manics stan*, even I would argue that they’ve only ever released one indisputable, stone cold classic record from front to back (see if you can guess which one after you read the list!). They may have supernatural control over melodies and how best to ensure a chorus hits just there, but at the end of the day they’re just a rock band. They have never really challenged the very boundaries of music, never pushed things forward or necessarily introduced anything new sonically. I would argue that only one of their albums is truly challenging and experimental, rather than just being a break from what the band usually produce (yeah, it’s the same album…). I mean, Jesus, they once shamelessly released a song including the lyric “The world is full of refugees/They’re just like you and just like me“. That’s unforgivably bad, isn’t it? They can’t come back from that, artistically.

“You stand there and you think about what you’ve done”

(*I may occasionally use cool, groovy, young person lingo like ‘stan’ so you think I’m a hip young gunslinger. Not, y’know, old enough to be a Manics fan)

I’m not able to explain their magic here, but over the next one hundred (!) entries you’ll hopefully all have a better idea. It’s not as dominated by the 90’s as I was worried it might be, and every album is represented (apart from one. Because their tenth album is worse than Hitler). I’ve been wanting to find the time to do this for ages, partially inspired by the great What is Music podcast covering their entire discography and reminding me of how many big veiny stonkers this band had bulging out of their collective musical swimming trunks. They’re talking about Muse on that podcast now, a band for morons, so you only need to listen to the last season. My major blind spot is I don’t think they’ve done a decent b-side since 2001. Now, I’m sure I’m wrong, so please correct my ignorance in the comments. Tell me how wrong I am. Post your top tens. Your top hundreds. The Manic Street Preachers’ fan community is one of the greatest in the world, and no other band are as connected with their fanbase and feed off their adoration as much as The Manics. So let’s celebrate that by calling me a fat slut in the comments because I didn’t choose Little Baby Nothing.

If you don’t have time for such nonsense, here’s the Spotify playlist and here’s all the songs in order on YouTube.

And, er, you might wanna bookmark this page – motherfucker’s gonna be long. Your next 500 trips to the toilet are sorted.

Continue reading “Love Their Mess and Adore Their Failures: Manic Street Preachers’ 100 Greatest Songs”