Steven Wells RIP

So how ‘kin ace are Sleater-Kinney, hmmm? Depends on your criteria, innit? Lazily compare them to the monstrous regiment of ‘I’m Mad Me!’ singer-songwriter womyn who dominate the Yank charts and you’d have to conclude - ‘Ooh, no! This simply will not do!’ They’ve got the tunes that make the young boys cry and clever-clever lyrics delivered in the delicious, crazy, Yank ‘Momma’s Got A Brand New Baglady’ wobbly sub-soprano vocals that make male critics go weak at the knees, soft in the head and hard in the groin BUT worrabart the Chad Valley toy-town pocka-pocka drumming and bum-note strewn can’t-play-won’t-play-punk-rock electric guitar, John? Airbrush, sanitise, cleanse and moisturise Sleater-Kinney and you’d have a shit-hot sure-fire unit-shifting monster of staggering commercial potential. But you wouldn’t have Sleater-Kinney. So don’t go changing a thing, mad Yank punk rock lasses, we love you just the way you are.

The last album, ‘Dig Me Out’, was the ace but rough-as-a-bear’s arse, post-riot grrrl album Huggy Bear could’ve made if they hadn’t been suicidally stupid ideological arseholes. ‘The Hot Rock’ is ever so slightly slicker which means - oh joy of joys - that the fascinating death struggle between lo-fi form and hi-fi content is even more sharply defined. “I’m a mess/I’m the worst/But the best that you’ve heard”, warble the Kinney on ‘Start Together’ - a lyric that could be inscribed on their birth certificates, manifesto and tombstones.

Elsewhere (‘Hot Rock’, ‘The End Of You’) the Sleet use mad metaphors for lurve to vengefully monkey boot the living fuck out of inadequate and discarded lovers. “Don’t talk to me like you’re 19…”, they hoot on ‘Don’t Talk Like’, “…you’re 35 if you’re a day”. Ooh err! Then they wrestle The Beast Of Pre-Millennial Tension to the spit’n’sawdust covered floor and give it nuggies with gusto (‘God Is A Number’, ‘Banned From The End Of The World’).

But for total lyrical insanity look no further than the utterly insane ex-basher ‘Get Up’ where the Kinsters blow our tiny little indie-monkey brains out with lyrics that make the Manics, Mansun and Kula Shaker combined sound like Ug, lead grunter with Neolithic proto-punk rock-bashers Ug And The Knuckle Scrapers (ask your grandad).

“And when the body finally starts to go/Let it go all at once… like a bucket of stars/Dumped into the universe/Whoo! Watch it go!”. Eat their space dust, supermodel scum! Top folky-punky DIY agit-angst written, made and played by lower-middle class Yank lasses with fingers like bananas and voices like sex itself. Irresistible.

Fortress Britain

From The Desk Of The Metropolitan

My goodness, the summer is here. Yes, you may be thinking ‘but of course, Cynthia - haven’t you looked outside?’, but I have been much too busy holding forth on the subject of developments on East Forty-ninth Street these past few weeks to have noticed the summer fashions creeping in. A thousand apologies, dear readers - but my eyes were distracted again just this last Friday by Bill Magil’s lovely new Cameo establishment, right smack in the middle of said street. The grill is perhaps nothing to shout about, but the real attraction of Cameo is the two-level dancefloor, where dancing goes long into the night, and even past curfew if you get the right evening. Of course, to spare Mr. Magil’s blushes to the constabulary, I will refrain from mentioning exactly when. One tip for Good Girls: the slats on the upper level are spaced apart more than you might imagine, so dress accordingly.

After falling out onto the street sometime later that night, we ended up in Harlem. Now, as you know, I have pointed out the failings of Harlem many a time in this column, but I always like to keep a somewhat open mind, plus my companion for the evening was an out-of-towner who couldn't bear the thought of returning back to provincial settings without some tales of debauchery uptown. The crosses we bear for friendship. Anyway, after showing her around The Cotton Club, we chanced upon Hulu's. Small and spartan it may have been, but the bartender's gin and ginger lime was exquisite. I shall return again when I have a more experienced partner on my arm.

Now that summer is here, expect some of the more popular terraces to empty out a little as the cruise season takes off in earnest. No Paris for me this year, but I will drown my sorrrows at the Cecil's Terrace on Forty-third. Do come by and say hello.


Oh My! Gin Ginger Lime!

Halfway Through...

I can only say at this point that July may be better. But I’m not promising.


Oh my.

(though, if I’m honest, I’ll be holding out for LeChuck’s Revenge. And I don’t have a PC. But hurrah nonetheless!)

Durham: A Guide

You may notice some familiar people in the Toast picture!

(also: The Pinhook has a lite-brite? One day, I will get there!)

What The Internet Was Made For:

Tim Westwood’s Twitter stream. It is a thing of beauty.

Ladies I'm in Primark - do you want me to get you anything? Let me know

We May Need A Plan C.

Plan B: RIP.

(Music Press: Back In Exile.)

Reasons Why The Internet Is Wonderful

Buy Gareth Campesinos! worn t-shirts!