So over republicans who want to act like we shouldn’t have personal beef with the monarchy.

Monarchy survives as an institution by creating a cult of personality around its representatives. That’s how it legitimizes itself. If you participate in their cult of personality, you’re propagating their political power. Royalty presents itself as something natural and uncontroversial by branding itself as an alternate form of celebrity, instead of the question of politics it really is.

The republic and the royal family are not separate issues. If you support the former, you should consider the latter contemptible.



You draw your own conclusions from the number of reviews.

The uncut version of my blurb was a post about the Paramore album I’d been planning for here, and it seemed suitable enough for an “Ain’t It Fun” blurb that I gave it to the Jukebox. Here’s the original:

It isn’t quite as sharply focused or finely drawn as Ashlee Simpson’s Autobiography, but like Carly Rae Jepsen’s Kiss, Paramore’s latest album finds inspiration in having newly arrived at the cusp of adulthood. “Been through the wringer a couple times/I came out callous and cruel” it begins, picking up from the point it first becomes clear that your world falling apart and your world ending aren’t the same thing. “Grow Up” finds strength in difficult decisions: “If I have to, I’m going to leave you behind.” And while “Ain’t It Fun” isn’t a title entirely bereft of irony, it does genuinely locate the joy in emerging from the turbulence, even if it can’t be done unscathed. The chorus’s not-quite-sure yet not-quite-sarcastic “Ain’t it good living on your own?” acknowledges the bravery as well as the necessity of self-reliance, and “What are you gonna do when the world don’t revolve around you” is comforting because telling yourself to find some maturity is nearly as satisfying as telling other people. The coda, “Don’t go crying to your mama,” demonstrates that more pep talks should include gospel choirs.


If you go to Lonely Planet’s Japan website, it introduces the country with:

"Japan is a world apart — a cultural Galápagos where a unique civilisation blossomed, and today thrives in delicious contrasts of traditional and modern. The Japanese spirit is strong, warm and incredibly welcoming."

And there’s little that makes me want to click “read more” less than that sort of orientalist bullshit.

I’ll be in Japan in three weeks time, and (remember when I wrote this last year) though this trip has been a long time coming, in its development I’ve always been keenly aware of how I don’t want to approach the country. 

That is, Westerners have been for centuries exoticising and stereotyping Japan, and whether it’s French painters in the 19th century or Bert Cooper from Mad Men or dumb white nerds who like to call themselves otaku this is an approach I really want to avoid, in learning about both the country and its history. The latter of which I’m hella ignorant about, like, I can describe the sociology and politics of antebellum USA in fine detail, but I’m not actually confident I know what, like, the Meiji Restoration is.

And the Western tradition of exoticising Japan has never been something I’ve felt a part of anyway. I only started watching anime and listening to J-Pop after I’d begun trying to teach myself the language, and I only did that because I wanted to keep up with how one of my American friends and her mom talked to one another. (“Why did you say Ittekimasu just now? What does that mean?” etc.) I mean, I was never that kid dreaming of discovering the land of aidoru and bishoujo or yakuza and ronin or, I dunno, the mystic serenity of Shinto shrines and tea ceremonies.

But sometimes when you learn more and you get more interested you start wondering if you’ve become fascinated by a real place and real people in all their complexity or if you’re just another Westerner resolving a complete society into a fixed set of self-gratifying ideas.

But anyway, what I’m actually saying is that I really want to stay in this dumb ryokan in Nara with its stupid deer and its claim that it doesn’t even have internet access, like wtf, how is that a good thing. But still I think it’ll probably be neat.

Obinze just said trunk, ma. He said it’s in the trunk of your car." In their America–Britain jousting, she always sided with his mother.

“Trunk is part of a tree and not a part of a car, my dear son,” his mother said. When Obinze pronounced “schedule” with the k sound, his mother said, “Ifemelunamma, please tell my son I don’t speak American. Could he say that in English?

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Americanah (2013)

Team Obinze, tbh

How to Fit 1991 and 1990 in the '90s

Five Years of the Singles Jukebox


We’re not usually big on self-aggrandisement or mythologising. More or less, we just do one thing — we rate pop songs out of ten — but we love it and we do it well. We don’t pay attention to the consensus around us; we build our own (sometimes, but we often disagree). And we’ve now been doing it for five years.

Of course the story of the Jukebox goes back further than that. We started as a pair of columns on Stylus, one for UK singles and one for US singles, which ran until the site closed in 2007. A chance meeting between two writers in a pub led to a few emails going across the globe, and all of a sudden the band was back together, just like we’d never split up. Sure, our friends at Pitchfork began to focus on individual tracks in earnest a month earlier, stealing our thunder somewhat, but we’ll always have the extra decimal place.

In the last five years, there have been nearly 3400 songs covered from over 60 countries, with about 30,000 individual paragraph-long reviews from us adding up to about 2,000,000 (two million) words. It’d take you a week solid to read the site from front to back. We don’t recommend you do that, so here are some highlights from our first five years. Feel free to share your own in the comments!

Here’s to another five just like these.

Read More

Guys, it’s our birthday! Or, it was a few weeks ago, and now we’re having the party.

P.S. The chance meeting in question involved me and it was absurdly chance. Full story some other time, maybe.

This was a pretty cool episode.

This was a pretty cool episode.

(Source: memewhore)

Like, I do actually like High Fidelity…

andrewtsks replied to your post:1994
Seriously, that “music or misery” quote from Hornby’s the most insufferable thing he’s ever written, which says quite a lot. If it’s a question you must ask, you can take comfort in the fact that you have never truly been miserable.

…but this is true doe.

EDIT: These days, I mostly remember it as a Fall Out Boy song.


I don’t remember Kurt Cobain dying, which is strange, because I was 10 years old at the time.

I remember Cobain living, and I remember him having lived, though. I could tell a very illuminating story about being eight years old and watching “Smells Like Teen Spirit” on TV and being changed forever, being absolutely stunned by what I had seen. It would be a true story, too, except it would leave out the parts where the same thing happened with Pearl Jam’s “Alive” and Michael Jackson’s “Remember the Time” and Warrant’s “Cherry Pie.”

Back when video stores rented out CDs, I insisted upon one trip to Video-Ezy that we rent Nirvana’s Nevermind, and I dubbed it on to cassette. Then I listened to it over and over and wrote pre-teen proto-grunge songs of my own that were surely interminable, characterized by glum lyrics and descending chord progressions. It was the first time I’d heard that the world could be personally awful. (The music or the misery — gold help me if I start channelling Nick Hornby.) I don’t remember when the refrain from “Come as You Are” became quote-unquote ironic.

Later in 1994, or maybe 1995, we would visit my cousins Briony and Christian. Briony was my older cousin, in that she had a month on me, which she would never let me forget. On this vacation, my actual older cousin, Christian, Briony’s elder brother, had Become A Teenager and part of this would mean that he would stay in his room while Briony and my little brother and I did fun kid stuff. But sometimes Christian would invite me into his room — me, not my little brother or his little sister — and we’d listen to Nirvana and he would play for me his copy of Live! Tonight! Sold Out! and ask me to share in his awe of the now posthumous Kurt Cobain. Because I admired Christian’s maturity, I tried to do so, but I sort of didn’t actually like Nirvana that much, meaning I still liked some of their tracks a lot, but also that I didn’t want to spend all this time watching songs I didn’t know being played by a man in a dress.

In high school, my best friend belatedly discovered Nevermind, and I loved Nirvana through him. He and I and another friend would go to skate nights and debate which of the holy grunge boy triumvirate of Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins, or Pearl Jam best expressed our teenage angst. I would waver on this question, but even then I think I preferred the back half of Nevermind; like The Joshua Tree, the side without the singles is the more interesting one. One time we asked the DJ to play “Territorial Pissings” and he did. I’m sure this was awful for nearly everyone except us.

Kurt Cobain taught me how to play guitar, and how I do is modelled after him. As well as Green Day, I guess. Blink-182. Punk riffs with some blues musicology added post-facto.

Today I think I like In Utero best of all, but Kurt Cobain made three very good albums with his band, and even the Nevermind singles, riven into my mind, can still astonish me. He could be marvellously gnomic and concise, and now I am an adopted Washington kid, I like the quite specific hints of Evergreen State trash you hear in the band. It’s probably the flotsam I most often return to: “Been a Son” or “Verse Chorus Verse” or whatever. But “Teenage angst has paid off well; now I’m bored and old” is a hell of a way to kick off an album. (Hayley Williams might have matched it on her most recent.)

That is, twenty years is a strange anniversary, because I remember the life and the afterlife, but not the death. Kurt Cobain has always been dead; long live Kurt Cobain, and etc.

Between the predictably tortured ages of 11 and 15, I was of the opinion that “Miss World” was one of the greatest songs of all time. And I know this for a fact because — ever the personal archivist — on my birthday each year I would make a mixtape of The Greatest Songs of All Time. I never shared these tapes with anybody else; they were my secret equivalent of the pencil mark on the kitchen wall, documenting the ways I’d changed (or, more often, hadn’t) over the course of a year. With those creaky-staircase chords cradling Courtney Love’s fractured croak of “somebody kill me,” “Miss World” made the cut every year, always to my slight disappointment. In your pre-teen and early-teen years everybody loves to tell you that It Gets Better, so it was a bummer to check in at the beginning of a new year and confirm that the raw and throbbing pain encased in this song still rang unbelievably true. Really? Twelve still feels like “Miss World”? And 13? And 14? And…fuck.
Apr 12

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10