I've reached the point where I'm beginning to have second thoughts about using Roman numerals for each edition of the newsletter. It might have been okay if they were monthly, but at (nigh) weekly, they don't half stack up quickly. Maybe I can reassess it in the new year, and relaunch the numbering with Volume II.
The New Year. At the time of writing we're a mere 58 days away from 2022; two years into what some hoped would be our glorious revisiting of the Roaring 20s. It's a hope that feels like it's been eroded, bit by bit, headline by headline, development by development. With every ratchet clank towards cynicism, it feels like the hope is diminishing. But it's also in hope that the solution lies. Hope, and work, and kindness, and putting better things out into the world. Sometimes just the intent, the hope, the desire for a better world can go a way towards making it. And it's the only way we can forestall a mainstream return of drum and bass.
I was hoping here to talk about the new Foals track, Wake Me Up, which is supposed to be released today. But it’s now nearly 4pm and I fear that they’re going to miss the deadline, and they’re not going to make this week’s playlist. Yes, it’s back, and not only did I easily have enough tracks to fill it, but I had too many.
One track that featured prominently in early drafts was Coincidence by Handsome Dancer. In the end though, I realised that it had burrowed its way into my brain chiefly via the medium of dance; DanceTikTok that is. The quirky track has been doing the rounds for months now, made popular initial by kelladactyl‘s reel. But if it doesn’t fit, it doesn’t fit.
More old school now, in that Radiohead have released new track Follow Me Around, taken from KID A MNESIA out 5th November via XL Recordings. I like it, I have included it, but I think I’m going to need some time for it to percolate. Knowing Radiohead, I’m probably better off listening to it in the context of the whole album. And based on the album title, I’ll probably need to listen to Kid A and Amnesiac again, to really get the full picture. This is now starting to feel a bit like homework, but it’s worth it. Back in 2014, when Twitter felt fresh and young, and less cesspit-like, I corralled a whole bunch of people to crowdsource a definitive list of Radiohead tracks. That playlist still exists, and it is here.
Why are Enter Shikari part of the playlist? They’re not really part of the zeitgeist, are they? No. But to my amusement, they do sponsor my local National League South football team, and that tickled me.
And finally, Peloton, the outrageously expensive connected exercise bike scheme. It wasn’t that long ago when barely anyone had heard of this company, and now they’re massive. How massive? And why is this in the music section of the newsletter? Because this year Peloton is on track to become Universal Music‘s 10th best customer, in terms of the royalties they pay for the music featured in their exercise sessions. Not bad, for what to me still feels like a scam.
Addendum: I took long enough writing this that the Foals track got released, and it doesn’t fit in the playlist, but I’m adding it anyway, because I like it.
I have been to the cinema! It was good to be back after so long an absence, and the benefit of going in the middle of a weekday is that there was next to nobody there with me. For a while it seemed almost impossible to keep myself utterly uninformed as to the ins and outs of Edgar Wright‘s Last Night in Soho, the marketing campaign has been relentless and I didn’t want to know anything. I knew who was in it, who had made it, where and when it was set, and nothing else. I can’t remember the last time I was in that situation. It was worth it, it really made for a much more enjoyable experience, especially for this film.
There’s pretty much nothing I can say about Last Night in Soho that wouldn’t give something away to anybody who still intends to see it. But I can say that I enjoyed it, I’m glad I saw it on the big screen. Thomasin McKenzie, Anya Taylor-Joy and even Matt Smith were excellent, Wright’s craft was excellent throughout.
For ages people have been telling me I should start watching Succession. It was inevitable that I’d cave eventually, and I have. It’s such a cleverly constructed show, so well written, that it doesn’t matter that all of the characters are essentially unlikeable. They’re not without redeeming features, but there are no heroes there and you shouldn’t expect them. I truly wasn’t expecting to get as sucked in as I did, especially as on my first try I didn’t get past the first three episodes. Now I’m racing to catch up so that I can watch the last episodes of season 3 roughly at the same time as everybody else.
And so we come to the end of another week, another newsletter, and the absence of a Photo of the Week. It’s not really been a visually oriented week. Not only does that take a different way of looking at the world, but it also takes some inspiration. An inspiration I’ve been missing. And one of the reasons why I’ve already booked to return to Margate in the spring. Until then, we’ll have to find other sources of inspiration.