Monday, 27 February 2012

The Fullthrottlelazy Podcast Episode #3

Discussion topics this week include: bands named after cereal and diseases, the cultural significance of football chants, Russian literature and we declare war on steampunk. With Cock Sparrer, Kriegshรถg, Ambition Mission and more.


Tracklisting after the break.

Monday, 20 February 2012

The Fullthrottlelazy Podcast Episode #2

One hour of punk rock interspersed with incompetence and mutually antagonistic conversation about the Berlin wall, Motorhead, Kreayshawn's relationship to punk rock, awkward interactions with members of bands and other fun things to make the brain grow. Tracklisting after the break.


Friday, 17 February 2012

So Scratched Into Our Souls #11: The Queers - Fuck the World (I'm Hanging Out With You)

"Anyway, while record collector scum fail to understand that the point of accumulating info is to marshal it into an argument, they have their uses as trivia merchants who can be consulted by those who know that facts alone are useless things. There is a huge difference between playing DUMB and being genuinely STOOPID. This explains why I rate the Queers and loathe lumpen-intellectual Britpop wannabes like Blur and Oasis." - Stewart Home, Cranked Up Really High: Genre Theory and Punk Rock

The Queers are a dumb band. Deliberately so. Because pull it all down, and pop music, punk music, pretty much any music that relies more on verve, heart and snappiness over technical virtuosity relies on, is the raw fuckwitted immediacy of adolescent emotion. And that is some fully dumb shit.

And that's why they wrote the greatest love song of all time in Fuck the World (I'm Hanging Out With You Tonight). Because love is dumb, a beautiful relentless assault on the intellect, a rabbit-punch to Rodin's thinker. It is a well well worn approach to describe it as something which stuns, stupefies, befuddles, discombobulates and turns over the place like a bored puppy. Though this doesn't really say much, because love, in all its snowflake simplicity, is kind of a well-mined subject, a Diavik-hole, dead-earth chasm of artistic and emotional pursuit, twatted-out by every single person who's ever penned any words in anger or desire, or angry desire. Bitter love, unrequited love, joyous love, hopeless love, barbed-wire love, vicious love, viscous love, self-destructive love, anyway you want to play it and every combination. There are no new angles, but fuck it, what else are you gonna write about? The Queers write Love Songs for the Retarded.

Sandwiched on that record between the more direct paean to love-as-idiocy Teenage Bonehead and the fairly self-explanatory ode I Can't Stop Farting, sits Fuck the World (I'm Hanging Out With You) and it is, for me, the greatest ever love song ever primarily for two reasons: 1) my emotional capacity is a fundamentally limited beast best expressed in two minute pop-punk songs 2) this particular two minute pop-punk song perfectly captures the way that a relationship with someone you love is both an internal perpetual motion machine that often doesn't require interaction outside itself and an outward kicking force that does not give a fucking shit whose shit it fucks up.

I called in sick to work today and stayed in bed 'til noon
And now I just don't care what's going on outside this room
Things aren't getting better
My future's not too bright
Fuck the world I'm hanging out with you tonight

Me and you will walk around so pointlessly
Smashing things, jacked up on way too much caffeine
I'm really going no nowhere
I hate this shitty life
Fuck the world I'm hanging out with you tonight

In this song, love isn't a glorious thing, not in the exultant majestic sense of the word, anyhow. It's not a blanket to envelop everything in a warm homogeneous glow (fuck hippies yo), it's a twisted tight little thing that you cultivate in private spaces, in shared glances that crack the both of you up, all those silly little moments held as cradled weapons, when everything else in the world might be full of shit, to fire spitballs at life and all its annoyances from this perfect bundle of companionship, twitching in rhythm with in each other. It acknowledges the futility and smallness of these actions, their place as a because that's always been the fundamental optimist/pessimist question for me, beyond half-glasses of water, whether the light we find in our likes and loves, in people and records and moments with these things, makes the darkness seem all the darker or whether the presence of that pressing black around us makes the light brighter. Fuck the World raises that question but never answers it, it tumbles down with each line, another depressing gripe, another acknowledgement of futility but then that last shout brings you right back up. Fucking's better when the two of you are fucking the world at the same time. Does it bring you back up all the way? Is it enough? Who really knows. Some have made it enough. Probably more haven't. But it leaves you on that upwards shot, it's got the hope in the right place. Battle lines drawn, two vs billions, a war cry, a charge and a smile. Berserker confidence. Crazy dumb but unstoppable for now and all nows screamed high in the mix above thens or whens and what-ifs so it's all you can hear.

And I mention fucking there, because I've always read this song primarily in terms of romantic love, but this song is about more than just that narrow definition, it's about companionship, in any form, the second person perspective is never clarified, it could be sung from a Jude to a Phineas Poe, from an Old Jock to a Greyfriar's Bobby, from a Beavis to a Butthead. Any pairing of thrown together compatible biting souls, snapping at the loneliness that inhabits us, the rules, written and not, that bind our hands and stymie our steps. Any pairing that can bring itself together on the singalong whoa-oh-ohs when you're close past words, and then even past vocalising as the song rolls into simple guitar line that seems to capture that needling unity and companionship and the very essence of the song in a couple of notes, the way the best Screeching Weasel songs do too.

But a couple months ago, I got to see The Queers with the person I love, the person that I think about when I hear these sort of songs, and I had always sort of thought about that moment. We all project the vision of our worked over slick sung loves that we learnt from these songs and such onto the way we think the future will pan out and maybe all on some level think that there can't help but be a perfect melding of song, story and place. That as the song you love plays and the person you love stands next to you then it'll build into a moment greater than itself, a moment of battle-lines, two vs billions etc. The song will burst itself out onto reality and things will make absolute unholy sense for two minutes or so.

But what actually happened was, we were all physically shattered from three days of drinking and dancing and a night of fitful sleep on a 9-hour bus-ride punctuated by a couple of people in front of us swapping bible trivia as we rolled through little Florida towns in the early hours. Was it everything, was it all that I had imagined when I listened to that song alone and aching years ago and had romance painted for me in those two minutes. No, we were all so dead on our feet that I could barely stand-up and my girlfriend passed out on a bar-stool wearing sugar skull make-up and we left after about four songs, well before they got round to Fuck the World. Ah, well. That's how it works out. Art and music aren't everything, they're a bunch of touchstones and hot water bottles, they're vastly important, but they're not comprehensive documentary nor valid plans. The narratives we construct from them get knocked down, the perfect moments we imagine when the collision of life and art coalesces into a transcendent series of well-soundtracked kisses, that shit just doesn't work out like in the dumb movies, and the dumb songs, and the dumb books. The perfect song isn't always playing on the radio, the perfect movie isn't always on in the background of the bar to teach you some trite life-lesson on your third or fourth drink, to furnish you with a quick manageable epiphany. Whoa-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-ooooaa.

I don't need the Queers for that, the way I used to, I don't need to hang on to Fuck the World as a promise, a dream, but I still love the song, I'm still gonna listen to them, when I want some simple melody and refreshing snot, when I want a perfect picture of the whirling dervish of punk rock love, but I don't see it as an all-encompassing thing in the way I once got caught up in it, ideal for the sort of people kicked most of their ideals to pieces in exactly the sort of caffeine-jack rushes the song builds itself around. Maybe it's fuck Fuck the World I'm Hanging Out With You, I'm hanging out with you.

 Flyer by Mitch Clem.

I love, and I know that those freewheeling itchy moments this love song so perfectly bottles and kisses exist, but I know that there's so much more to things than that, and that when those perfectly punk rock times present themselves then it's pretty fun to throw yourself into them and roll up in the collision of the various loves of your life, abstract and personal, when the music and life do accidentally fall in step for a few paces then I'm going to appreciate that and sing my fucking lungs red and dry but I don't need it the way I used to need it, I can say Fuck the World I'm Hanging Out With You without the song, but I'll still spin Love Songs for the Retarded when I want something simple and dumb and great, but I don't need to endlessly romanticise something that I've already got, to moon over a pantheon of bursts of verse and chorus from Cometbus' Punk Rock Love to a dozen cheapskate Thunder Roads and that Act 2, Scene 2, I know life to be better than romanticisation, but The Queers will still have that place in the wispy dreams that have touched me and shaped my stupid head, a spot in the fun of things. And besides, it's not like I'm gonna stop relating to I Can't Stop Farting anytime soon. Pfffffffffrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrp.