About Wrapped
3 December 2023 | 1:27 pm

The years when your musical tastes truly mattered to your identity are long gone, we are constantly told. The younglings no longer define as metalheads or b-boys or goths or disco queens or indie shambles; they just leave themselves at the mercies of the blessed algorithm and let the music play, a title that only comes to mind because I heard Radcliffe and Maconie play it yesterday on their 6Music show, which shows how old I am, doesn’t it?

And yet... and yet. The continued success of Spotify’s annual Wrapped, which gives users a handy summary of their listening habits over the past year and – this is the important bit – encourages them to share it with everyone else, suggests that people think the things they listen to do actually matter, do actually express something about the listener, even if they happen accidentally. To this extent:

About Kissinger
30 November 2023 | 7:20 am

Rolling Stone, for the first time in many decades, nails it.

And we have to return to Anthony Bourdain’s summation of the man:

Once you’ve been to Cambodia, you’ll never stop wanting to beat Henry Kissinger to death with your bare hands. You will never again be able to open a newspaper and read about that treacherous, prevaricating, murderous scumbag sitting down for a nice chat with Charlie Rose or attending some black-tie affair for a new glossy magazine without choking. Witness what Henry did in Cambodia – the fruits of his genius for statesmanship – and you will never understand why he’s not sitting in the dock at The Hague next to Milošević.

Sadly, Bourdain didn’t live to dance on Kissinger’s grave and nor did Christopher Hitchens. But we still have Tom Lehrer who may or may not have said that he stopped writing songs because satire died when Kissinger won the Nobel Peace Prize. So that’s OK.

PS: Also, this:

About Half Man Half Biscuit
23 November 2023 | 11:23 am

I’m afraid I’ve rather lost track of the career of those fine Birkenhead troubadors Half Man Half Biscuit, so I wasn't aware that while I was working on my dissertation (see posts passim) they released a song that would have fitted in quite nicely: 

Born too late for the First World War
Siege of Troy was long before my time
Naseby, Jutland, Agincourt
Characters perhaps from pantomime...
I don’t watch films in black and white
The trees and flowers and birds have passed me by
I’ll just guess and hope I’m right
The first man into space was Captain Bligh...

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