Before we criticise the gross and indefensible spectacle of the 2022 World Cup – where perhaps billions of people around the world tune in to watch a spectacle so polluted by decaying capitalism that hundreds or perhaps thousands of ill treated migrant workers have forcibly sacrificed their lives in order just to provide us global ruling classes our shits and giggles – let’s at least compare the quality of competitive entertainment to what it was a few hundred years ago. The game Aunt Sally dates back to 17th century and was played at fairgrounds in pub gardens across the middle English counties. It involves participants throwing sticks or battens at a ‘doll’ placed upon a pole. Traditionally, that doll is an old woman named ‘Aunt Sally. It has also been suggested that the doll eventually got its name ‘Aunt Sally’ because it was at one point meant to be in blackface and inspired by the character (sigh) Black Sal in the 1821 novel ‘Life in London‘. So, essentially, it was a game where drunk middle Englanders would throw things at an old black woman. But don’t despair at missing out on such good old fashioned competitive hate crimes – the The World Aunt Sally Open Singles Championships takes place every year in Oxfordshire. The first event in 2011 was attended by David fucking Cameron, because of course it was.
An ‘Aunt Sally’ is also what you’d call an easily disprovable fallacy, so maybe I’ve been really clever and nothing I said in the previous paragraph is true and wouldn’t stand up to even the briefest of research. However, I know I’m safe, as none of you fat lazy slobs can ever be arsed to extend even the most minute of effort. It’s also the name of a 1938 film English film, which given those two pieces of information is also likely to be extremely racist. What I’m saying is: it’s not easy to Google the extraordinary 1970s Japanese punk band Aunt Sally.
That Aunt Sally rereleased their 1979 debut album in 2021, and provided more evidence for my reasoning to fucking hate punk music.
In a lot of way, it’s not your fault that you like shit stuff. A lot of the shit stuff you like you had no control over. Maybe the culture you were raised within normalised such abhorrence. Perhaps you just had really stupid friends growing up who liked really stupid things. I’m not going to blame you for that. You rarely get much choice who your friends are, they’re often just there because of some past and continued convenience. Maybe your friends from school are now registered sex offenders, maybe they’re big Fast and Furious fans, but either way it’s not your fault. Your parents could have maybe brought up in an environment where liking such absolute shite isn’t something to ashamed of. Is it your parents’ fault?? Am I saying that they’ve somehow failed at child rearing because of your shitty tastes??
Yes. That’s exactly what I’m saying. But it’s not your fault. Please don’t take any of this post as me mocking your artistic choices. You can’t help it, you’re just wired that way, and me making fun of it would be like you making fun of my cauda equina. Like, dude, come on, I can’t help it. Cryemojicryemojicryemoji. You know how it goes.
You might have seen this repugnant rabble advertised recently:
2. There are no wars or anything (real wars, that is).
3. Ummm. Very little continental drift going on (that’s probably normal).
4. Somewhere, the president’s daughter is “like, totally wasted” right now.
There. One minor problem. Otherwise, things are swell. I haven’t really researched this much, but if something major was going wrong, I’m sure someone would have told me. So what are these Manic Street Preachers bitching about?
And despite everything I’ll discuss in this review, I still absolutely stand by that visual point. It’s simply inconceivable that the band ever believed that ‘Know Your Enemy’ would be a commercial success, and it’s likely that they correctly assumed that it would cut ties with the mainstream to such an extent that they would never again experience anything close to the success that they enjoyed in the late 90s. Their previous album, 1998’s ‘This is My Truth…’ sold five million copies worldwide (!), while ‘KYE’ sold 500’000. Nicky Wire would later even concede in Mojo Magazine that much of those sales were to dissatisfied customers, and also remark on how it marked the band’s commercial downturn: “To this day, you see ‘Know Your Enemy’ at service stations for £2.99, because they bought so many thinking it was by one of those commercial bands! In retrospect, it sold half a million copies. Imagine what we’d give for that now.”
So, yes: commercially, it was ritual suicide. But was it any good?
Hey! I wrote a big review of this album when it came out! What, you want me to cut and paste all those words here?? Jesus, your sense of entitlement is actually rather worrying. I’m not angry, I’m just… learning things about you…
I’ll just add one little story. One of my friends actually subscribes to my blog. Like, literally I think, one of my friends. That’s how fucking useless my friends are. Honestly, if you take away the option of offering them an excuse to get drunk (even if you keep stressing to them that, even if you don’t drink, you really fucking want them to, because they’re such overwhelming dullards when they’re sober!) you’ll find that many of your friends don’t actually care that much about you. Anyway, my one true friend, the one who actually reads this piece of shit blog, noticed that my latest masterpiece was titled ‘Govier Forces a Little Exception of His Own’ and asked me if I was making political posts now. I just said ‘No’, that ‘Govier’ was the name of the artist, and we moved on. Much, much later, I started to get puzzled by what exactly about that particular title might have led him to believe that it was political, and I think by now too much time has passed for me to reopen the inquiry to attempt to discover…
Michael Gove!! He thought it was about Michael Gove. Well, that’s been solved, and I hope the Michael Gove reference in my latest Miley Cyrus review helped quench that particular thirst. Wow, turns out I really didn’t have anything to talk about for this entry…
Language is very much like that green growth on my left testes, in that it keeps growing and changing in occasionally unpalatable ways, no matter what we intend and what efforts we take.
Words rarely mean the same thing for too long. ‘Faggot’ used to be a derogatory slur of homosexuals, but now it apparently just means someone whose opinion you politely dispute online. ‘Gay’ used to mean happy, and it seems now many people are so against this shift that they attempt to make gay people’s lives as unhappy as possible. That’s brilliant! I love irony! Sherlock Holmes ejaculated over Doctor Watson many times in the 19th century, and though he would also do so countless times in early 2010s Benedict Cumberbatch fanfic, the meaning was not quite what Conan Doyle had originally intended. There have actually been over a dozen officially recognised semantic shifts that have happened since dawn this morning. At 6:46 GMT it was decreed that the word ‘viscous’ now refers to Beijing Opera. At 8:12 GMT we received news that ‘tableware’ was actually a derogatory term for people of South Vermont. We heard at 11:02 GMT that dogs were now called cats, cats were now called mice, and mice were now called Total Network Solutions. Most confusingly, we were informed at 11:53 that we could no longer call a spade a spade, but a digidigdigdigdigdigdigdigggytron*
(*I had a… different joke there… but I chickened out… Feel free to tell it if you can tell what it would have been, but give me full credit. It it’s funny. If it’s racist, then that’s your fault)
I’ve explained on this blog before how music journalism is absolute bollocks. A person’s response to music is a primal and unconscious reaction that simply can’t be described in words. Because of this paradox 99% of music reviews are the writer vainly attempting to explain why he or she likes or hates a song and twisting themselves into utter bollocks. You like a song because it sparks an unnamed fuse in your belly and twists your stomach in a knot*. You like a song because it reminds you of a time you were happier. You like a song because it reminds you of someone you love. You like a song because it soundtracked the sex scene in Trainspotting. You like a song because you really want to fuck the singer. You like a song because you did fuck the singer. All music journalism assumes an objective truth that can never be, and supposes there is any use in a larger knowledge of context. Just because you’ve religiously listened to all of Avril Lavigne’s records in the past doesn’t make your opinion on Hello Kitty any more valid. No matter the circumstances, no matter the knowledge, no matter the context, you can never force yourself to either like or hate a song. These things are primeval and undefinable.
(*Evidently, reactions to music are primarily based in the digestive organs)
Music journalism could never hope to describe- or even comprehend- that dizzy and nauseous feeling you get when you fall in love with a song. This series isn’t a ‘review’ of the greatest songs ever, it’s simply aiming to be a practically collated list of all the songs that electrify your innards.