Just one MP3 this week, although it’s a classic (if you’re a fan of Ultravox, you may beg to differ. You Are Wrong). Back in 1992, the NME gave away a triple-CD album, “Ruby Trax”, which consisted of forty covers by then current bands. It’s where the Manics’ cover of Suicide Is Painless comes from.

This however, is not the Manics. It's Vic Reeves covering Vienna. Only he's singing about Belgium. Badly. You should hear it at least once in your life…

currently playing: The Smiths — There Is A Light And It Never Goes Out

Credit In The Straight World

The music world is not kind to women. Sure, there are a few who have been allowed onto the honour roll; Patti Smith, Chrissie Hynde, Debbie Harry, and a few others. But for the most part, the role of woman in music mythology is that of Eve, the Temptress who brings about The Fall. Even today, in these supposed enlightened times, the blame for The Beatles break-up falls squarely on Yoko Ono. We ignore the pre-One bickering, the competition between John and Paul; no it was all her fault. She came and stole John away from his friends. We will never forgive her.

In the 1990s, we had a destructive replay of this; The nasty woman came and tempted sensitive Kurt. She liked being famous. He didn't. He shot himself because he couldn't cope with it, leaving a child without a father. The blame came down upon Courtney Love. She wasn't good enough for him, they said. She didn't help his heroin addiction. She ordered his death, contracting out a hit-man, according to the crazier section of the fanbase. Whatever the truth was, we didn't have Kurt anymore and it was all Her Fault. As a result, we laughed at her efforts to have a career; we didn't care that "Live Through This" rocked as hard as anything Nirvana ever did, or that the follow-up "Celebrity Skin" was an AM Rock masterpiece. We laughed at her entry into film, and celebrated when Hole broke up in acrimony shortly after their second album. She took Kurt away from us.

Since the end of Hole, Courtney Love has been taking lots of drugs, speaking out against the record industry, taking Geffen/Universal to court in an attempt to get out of her record contract, and, most recently, fighting for custody of her daughter, Frances Cobain. She's also been working on her first solo album, America's Sweetheart. It's been a few years in the making, going through several different record labels, line-ups, and songs. But it's here now. The released version is co-written with Linda Perry (once of the 4 Non Blondes, and a collaborator with Pink and Christina Aguilera), and comes out next Monday.

"Did you miss me?" she cries out on the opening track and first single, "Mono". It's a mixture of "Celebrity Skin" and the harder rock feel of "Violet"; as declarations of intent go, it's rather spectacular. For a moment, it's all back; the posture, the rage, everything. Then the second track comes in and the album comes off the rails. "But Julian, I'm A Little Too Old For You" is a song that's been kicking around for over a year, a song dedicated to Julian Casablancas from The Strokes, and it's just awful and sketchy (hurrah! I've been looking for an excuse to use that word for a year now). Thankfully, the record recovers fairly quickly, settling into a cross of the AM Rock from "Celebrity Skin" and Pink's "Mizzunderstood". The standout track is "Sunset Strip", a re-examination of Hollywood and the pop/rock world. It borrows some of the melody from R.E.M.'s "Man on The Moon" (if you're going to steal, you might as well steal something good), and I like the lyric "broken hearts that they use as Valentines". But that might just be me. "Life Despite Me" is a bit too schreechy, but has an interesting structure, and the final song, "Never Gonna Be The Same", is a wonderful melancholy closer.

Is it as good as "Celebrity Skin"? No, but it's better than "Live Through This", and shows once again that Ms. Love is more talented than her detractors would have you believe…

currently playing: Melissa Auf Der Maur — Lightning Is My Girl

"A loud wallflower. One of those dancing ones, in a Coke can."

More pretty pictures.

Sigh. Kenickie were great, weren't they?


The illusion of security.

Moreover, I advise that Carthage should be destroyed.

currently playing: Saturday Looks Good To Me - Untitled

Primary Secondary Tertiary

Conventional Wisdom states that at least one candidate will drop out after today’s Super Seven Primaries. However, in a Primary campaign, Conventional Wisdom is often found drunk at the bottom of a deserted alleyway, beaten up by teenage kids brought up on a diet of that rap and hip-hop filth that torments today’s youth (™ & © Bill O’Reilly). Two months ago, John Kerry was a Loser, destined to slink back to Massachusetts and become Ted Kennedy’s shadow once more. Now, he has a seven percent lead over President Bush in the polls. But what happened to Dean?

It always was a high-risk strategy. Dean, being seen as a hard-line left choice, was going to find it very difficult to pick up anything from today's elections. The plan was to have resounding wins in Iowa and New Hampshire and thus get them over the hump. The wheels came off a week before the Iowa caucus, and it's been a bad ride ever since. Due to the new method of proportional representational selection of delegates, Dean's failure to win any contest so far doesn't rule him out of the running, and failure to win any of today's won't remove him from the race either. The key state is the Wisconsin primary two weeks from now. In December, he had a 20% lead over all his rivals; if he can't capture the majority of the 87 delegates there, the Money Men will step in and demand their Menaces.

But who shall stand and who will fall today? If Edwards doesn't win South Carolina, he's promised that he'll drop out. And, being the sort of person who wants to believe, I think he will, although if he loses by a few hundred votes he may decide to reconsider. I don't think anybody else will drop out after today; Kucinich and Sharpton are both nuts enough to carry on without any semblance of support, Clark might do better in some of the upcoming contests, and Lieberman, well, he's like the Zombie Candidate: no matter what you do to him, he keeps coming. Hated by most of his party! ZING! Saddled with the taint of defeat from four years ago! BOING! Even his running mate from last time would rather have a crazed left-wing lunatic who'll nationalise the all American industry and rip up NAFTA rather than support him! PING! Comes a woeful fifth in the New Hampshire primary, despite being a high-profile contender! NOTHING STOPS ZOMBIE LIEBERMAN! ZRRR!

currently playing: Primal Scream — Swastika Eyes

The Chair of Power

Okay, I’m now convinced. The chair of the Home Secretary is some Evil force, that corrupts anyone who sits in it for any length of time. How else can you explain this? I mean, why does he even want trials? Given the lack of chance for an accused to defend themselves, Blunkett might as well go for the jugular and re-introduce the witch tests. If he sinks, he’s innocent! If he floats, he’s a dirty terrorist!

MAN 1: I'll just need to see some ID.

MAN 2: I'm sorry?

MAN 1: Your police ID.

MAN 2: But I'm not a cop?

MAN 1: Really? Well, then you've been misleading me. £1,500, and not a penny less.

MAN 2: Curses!

MAN 1: Aha! You've behind hoist by your own petard!

MAN 2 (checks his person): I don't have any Elizabethan explosives on me, I'm afraid. Shall we call it £1,000?

MAN 1: Oh, go on, then.

currently playing: The Flaming Lips - Can’t Get You Out of My Head

We Control The Wibbly Dial On The Left

February, then. A new month, and hopefully a return to normal service. Unless I get called out to Austria in the next few weeks. Leap year as well, so that’s another day to fill with nonsense and gibberish. I think I’m up to it.

MAN 1: That’ll be £1,250 for the car, then. You can’t say fairer than that.

MAN 2: Surely I can.

MAN 1: No, I don’t think you can.

MAN 2: Really?

MAN 1: Really.

MAN 2: “Fairer than that.”

MAN 1: It’s a fair cop. Shall I take £150 off?

MAN 2: That would be splendid, thank you.

currently playing: Garbage — Breaking Up The Girl

Two Hearts In 3/4 Time

Two songs for the weekend, one old, one new. Oooh.

  • RadioheadPolyethylene (Parts 1 & 2)

    This is a b-side from "Paranoid Android", and harkens back to The Bends, rather than OK Computer; i.e. lots of guitars and less wailing. I know that some of my readers have stated a preference for this type of Radiohead song, so this one's for all of you.

  • Divine ComedyCome Home Billy Bird

    Neil Hannon is back with a new album! Yay! This is rumoured to be the first single, to be released sometime in March. I like songs that tell a story, and I like songs that tell a story with a twist in the tale even more. And it has Lauren Laverne on backing vocals. I really can't ask for anything else, can I?

currently playing: Saint Etienne - Burnt Out Car

Oh dear. Oh dear.

Hi, I’m Michael Eisner. I’m in a lot of trouble.

currently playing: Bob Dylan - Baby, Let Me Follow You Down

The Madness Has Me

My MP3 player is on random play, and Metal Machine Music has just come on. Do I skip over it? No. I’m actually enjoying it…

currently playing: Lou Reed — Metal Machine Music (Side 4) (as if it matters —Ed.)


currently playing: New Order — Bizarre Love Triangle