Tuesday, April 18, 2006


So, food and music then. Did you know that Karen Carpenter used to carry around a packet of bird seed for a 'snack', and would have a furtive nibble when she got peckish? It's true! Check out Burt Bacharach's sick little in-joke, "Why do birds suddenly appear / every time you are near?".

Another singer who didn't eat much was Brett Anderson. He used to survive on a veritable feast of kernals and husks, and the odd pint of liquidised brown rice - not to mention Diet Tango and speed. Now, I must confess to having pretended to hate Suede when I was younger. My girlfriend had a poster of Anderson on her wall, and I became incensed with rage at the sight of the tousled, unsmiling dandy stick insect. I wanted to listen to Blaggers ITA's nazi-bashing anthems, Huggy Bear's barely audible screech-preaching, Throbbing Gristle's industrial noise - not this preening posing pranny!

But come on, be honest with yourselves, Suede were fucking brilliant. Yes, you sah! Out of that closet, or I'll have you by the ankles. I'll abide no coolishness or hippery on this URL. I secretly liked Metal Mickey, The Drowners and Animal Nitrate all along. And even Trash, when that came out in 1996. I'm only managing to admit it now, but I was too terrified to lighten up and enjoy it at the time. No, I knew best - I mean, come on, straight male readers - what would YOU do?

a) Openly like Suede. Revel in the sight of your 17-year old girlfriend leaning into a club mirror with her best mate, both playing with their hair while singing a raucous version of So Young, bracelets clashing around their forearms. Savour the heart-singeing lament of Saturday Night , really explore the nihilist glam romanticism of the last white UK guitar band to come up with decent artwork, decent lyrics, decent ANYTHING...

b) pile in your mate's car and drive around Britain's official crappest town listening to Joy Division. Then discover 13 years later that, in 1979, NME hack Jon Savage basically pre-empted your woeful teenage years (thanks K-Punk).

I'd like to thank my two anonymous blog muckers who confided to me their liking for Suede too. If we'd all just done this in the first place, maybe we wouldn't have had to suffer the Kaiser Chiefs. I do acknowledge, however, that even at the best of times the blogosphere can resemble little more than a stamping ground for bigotry, prejudice and blind hate, so rest assured, I won't reveal your identities.

But back to food. Do you remember that bit in the film "Merry Christmas, Mr Lawrence" where David Bowie pisses off the Japanese by loudly declaring - through a gobful of petals! - that a bunch of flowers tasted nicer than their Manju cakes? At least that was just fiction - sad racist rock alcoholic and highly irresponsible parent Eric Clapton, at the height of his Cream junkie daze, used to insist on eating his pre-gig nosh straight off the body of a naked teenager! You know how Japanese businessmen like to blow 3 months' salary on picking bits of sushi off a model's bare arse? Well, Clapton's sordid behaviour wasn't that different - except he only ever devoured Yorkshire Hot Pot! What a cunt!

However, my interest in the subject matter goes deeper than this - I like the intersection where food and music and DEATH collide. Doesn't it make you glad to be alive knowing that Johnny Thunders once nearly drowned in a plate of spaghetti bolognese? Isn't that just so fucking punk rock? That Manic Street Preacher bloke who carved '4 REAL' into his arm - pah, what a clueless swain!! If I was ever going to top myself, I'd definitely go via the spaghetti route. When I was a kid, my dad would often say "AH, NOW! DROWNING - THE MOST PEACEFUL DEATH!" But did my dad ever try it with a hooter full of garlic and parmesan? How would he have bloody known anyway? Oh, someone down The White Bear told him (presumably the bloke who once drowned, but not "fatally").

Dying face down in spaghetti just seems so apt for Johnny Thunders, a point on which you'll agree if you've got any interest in this extraordinary (anti)musician (which I have). I partly wish he had died that way and left a pretty, pesto-splattered corpse in an Italian restaurant, instead of ending up a chronically fatigued bag of pus. Which reminds me, a man walks into an Italian restaurant and asks, "Can I have some anti pasti?" to which the waiter replies, "No, but I think the chef's brought his Chron Gen LP" ((C) FRANK CARSON, 1982)

However, if we're talking direct death, I'm afraid that Elvis scoops the prize. This is of course assuming he's really dead, and wasn't actually snatching children from outside schools in North West London in the early 1980s. Enough has been written about The King's scatological end without me throwing any more rotten spuds on the compost heap, so I'll wrap up there.

I don't know, it's all very rum. Elvis rips through the core of his persona in a blast of pure cheeseburger dynamite, while Karen Carpenter implodes like a brittle twiglet.

And yet I think it's best that bands and musicians steer clear of songs about food. Can there really be a more pitiful sound than Lee Perry moaning, "A box of chicken / keep the drum kickin' / enjoy the taste / and listen to the drum and bass" on the lamentable Kentucky Skank?

INNER CITY BRITAIN, WAKE UP! You are being lulled into a patently false dichotomy. On one side, those slimey class traitors, the proprietors of kebab shops, the chippies where capital fattens up the proletariat flesh it hasn't yet whipped into the ground - AND - on the other, the Fromageries of this world, the brown bread con-dream, the smoked trout pate' festering in the window as it demarcates the boundaries of imagined gentrification ! Burn down the chippies! Death to the organic food halls! Let pop music renounce all food lyrics and return to themes of joyriding, copkilling, drugs, teenage lust, bizarre magick, hating society and fucking in the streets!! British bacon for the British workers!
know exactly what you mean about Suede.. same thing happened to me, almost exactly... had to pretend to hate them for ages because of all the indie wankers at College (I insisted that i only listened to hardcore mentalism like TG and Coil and NWW with maybe just a little Big Black for pop fun where secretly i sneaked the odd bit of Mercury Rev indie rock and jangle pop in too, plus oodles of Cathy Dennis...)

then, 'stay together' hit a nerve because of a girl i was stalking at the time and the floodgates opened...

admitting to liking Suede was like never having to be ashamed of anything ever again... a huge musical catharsis that set me rolling ever faster downhill into inclusivity and The Sugababes (though the absence of the R still grates; this is how we lost the Empire)

and i still think Stay Together's a great song , especially the long version where he kinda raps and it all gets a bit unfortunate...
Indeed - well done Loki, come and immerse yourself in the healing waters of SUEDE PRIDE. The rest of you can fuck off. We're the litter on the breeze, the lovers on the street etc
May I suggest that we have indeed lost our once glorious Empire due to illiteracy of the standard mentioned. And that for 'multicultural' groups like Sugababies, there is one suitable 'home' -

In the dustbin!
a few years ago i was standing in my local hipster record store when the kid behind the counter cahnged the record from like Isotope 321 (or something on the Kranky label) to something that immediately made me walk over and ask him, What is THIS? like it was the greatest thing i had heard since Janes Addiction or something...he replied, This band from Britain, theyre pretty huge there. Suede.

i instantly felt like a 14 year old girl and now i do again after admitting that

and that's ok...im in touch with my inner 14 year old girl :)

thank you Martin for letting us safely come out of the closet :)

i feel so liberated now

i'm on a slippery slope after admitting liking the smiths on that dissensus thread


i do quite like some things by suede
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