Kieron Gillen's workblog




You may remember Bleedmusic, the left-field pop site I did a fair bit of writing over the years, in its various forms (Pop is Love? Flashback?). It died, along with pretty much the entire server. However, a few minutes ago I had this page from forwarded to me, which is basically the index of everything everyone every stuck up there. There should be a fair few pieces I don't actually have copies of anymore, which I'll rescue.

Until then, here's Chris Houghton and yours truly taking on Reading 2000. Written about a week after the event, taking turns on the keyboard while we worked our way through three or four bottles of red wine. We wrote as much as we could be bothered, then swapped, and then interjected random comments throughout the other's work. And then threw in a whole load of running jokes which barely even made sense to us. And then we collapsed.

It's clearly bullshit, but it's bullshit we were happy writing and happy reading in the morning. A journalistic one night stand, if you will.

I'm italics. He's normal text. In the rare moment where we speak together, we're bold AND italics.

Reading Festival - Sunday
“We’re called Daphne & Celeste.”

And we’re called Chris Houghton and Bremstrahlung X Jones. But before we talk about The Event, there’s the boring review-type-stuff to do. Excuse us. Chris?

Morning, Comrades. It's a fine start: as yet, there has been no use of toilets as dominos, vodka bottles and spears as part of a horrific anti-pop arsenal, or small trees being subtly transmogrified into celestial beings.

And Pre-midday Sunday Reading Rock Armageddon never sounded so good. As Seth Taylor’s first febrile scree courses through the scowling intro to “Always: Your Way”, My Vitriol (who, don’t forget, didn’t even exist outside Som Wijay-Wardner’s warped cerebellum this time last year) stamp ice hexes on your insides, whilst still having the temerity to gouge and grind the mind.

Pertinently, they’ve now got the confidence to dictate the dance rather than let it take its natural drift; bassist Carolyn Bannister plays exquisitely and looks ready to step into the shoes of true girl rock magnet; “Losing Touch” is still deliciously unhinged, more rabid than anything the Foo Fighters have ever done, but with the same candy-sweet redemptive flavour. And Wijay-Wardner manages to fit in a funny Eminem tribute with a plastic-Elvis-singing fish. Triumphant.

He’s right too. Two years ago I wrote a review sneering at the stadia-designs inherent in every guitar-sweep of da Vitriol. Part of me stands by every word. Part of me. The bad part. The section of my spirit that I have any pride in elates as the feedback slices through the outer layers of the cerebellum, laying open the pleasure centres, licking the endorphins off the rain-drops. Heavenly.

Sell your soul to them now. Avoid the rush.

I never thought a Cay gig could be anything less than an adrenaline-shot to the brain. Never has been before. But now, devoid of their rawkus rhythm section in favour of a Bad Goth and a session drummer, it all seems so wrong. The early pipebombs, “Better Than Myself”, “Reasonable Ease” and “Nature Creates Freaks”, particularly, are still ill, but then they drift into a bunch of new songs, the pretty Pavementesque “Ressurexit” apart, which aim at the utter thoughtlessness of Feeder and manage to miss the target.

Me. I yawned so wide my neck almost snapped. I love Cay. If they don’t wish that to become “I loved Cay”, they need to realise their own potency and step out from their shield of mere good-natured Indie. The post-star-plasma-rush inherent in their most blissful moments hints that they have the potential to rearrange global tectonic plates. If they don’t try harder, I’m leaving in the morning.

You think I’m scared of girls? Well maybe. But I’m not afraid of them.

“I’m here to introduce the greatest rock ‘n’ roll band in the world,” announces the supremely-sideburned Eddie Spaghetti before launching into the dirtiest, most wicked and wild set the main stage is party to all weekend. It’s an air-raid on guitar music with song titles like “She’s My Bitch” and “I Want The Drugs”. But funny.

My Dog’s got no nose? Doctor Who. Awoooooooo. I am Spartacus. Sorry. You were saying?

“They’re called the Supersuckers. And we’re hear to teach you the evil powers of rock ‘n’ roll.”

Born to be written in neon-lights; for half-an-hour, they’re the best band of the weekend by a stratosphere.

But only a stratosphere on Mars, which as our extraterrestrial atmospheric technicians will realise, is considerably thinner than our earthling air-stuff. As much as the Supersuckers proved a meta- amphetamine injection into the carotid artery for all present, there remains a nagging sense that appreciating the Supersuckers is the musical equivalent of appreciating the Top Shop ironic heavy-metal chic adverts.

Blink 182.


They’ve got dicks for brains, and their dicks have sold their asses to you. And the chumps are loving every second. It hits instantly that The Supersuckers do the dumb-rawk-schtick with so much more intelligence, so much more liberated joie de vivre than this cesspool. Whereas Supersuckers thrive on outright glint-in-the-eye misanthropy/nihilism, Blink 182 run amok with down-the-line fratboy misogyny; their shrivelled dicks and brains can’t contain their gigantic egos so it’s reduced to a priapic problem and then a thrust at passing objects. Cos it’s, like, fuhhnneee, yeah? No.

It’s punk rock reduced to a comical in-joke with no thought or passion, just the chink and clink of the cash register.

And every single one of the tunes is shit.

Special mention must be made of Bowling For Soup, who prove that what was previously considered a scientific impossibility in fact lies within the possibilities within our realm of sensory experience. It is possible to be a worse Blink 182.

And, at last, Daphne & Celeste. Even The Pop Is Love alumni in our midst didn’t really think it could work as well as it did. But it did. It was beautiful.

In a very real way, we won.

You see, there was always a multitude of reasons for why we fought so hard for our favourite sneer-pop combo to appear at Reading. First was because we love Daphne & Celeste. The idea of cavorting in the Indian-Summer sun to genuine pop music tore hunks of tasty flesh from our limbs. We wanted it for the sheer joy.

We knew it would never, ever happen. Because there’s always going to be enough in-breds to stop any encroachment of levity into the lager-drowned arena of Reading.

So we wanted it for the next best reason. We wanted it as a symbol.

And it worked.

By the simple act of putting a delightfully ephemeral pop band on stage for fifteen minutes, playing two of the most intravenously thrilling pop singles of the year, we managed to create the End Of The World. We managed to turn an audience of the We-just-wanna-be-individual in-breds into an Orwellian three-minute-hate. We transmuted Fool’s gold into lead. We turned people into what they hated most. Notably, the crowd was considerably bigger than Pulp headlining the previous night. I always wanted to know what Nuremberg was like. Now I know.

We offered the Indie-nation and rock-zombies a noose. They stuck their heads in it. When they’re strangled to death, feet kicking desperately in the air, it’s entirely their own fault.

You screamed at Daphne & Celeste, and you’re the enemy. I hate you and hope you choke on your own vomit.

I personally arranged the Daphne & Celeste For Reading petition. I am Spartacus.

No! I am Spartacus.

Slipknot are Slipknot are Slipknot are crass rock played by a bunch of 42-year-old record company executives who wanted to see if their post-pub plan for a surreal bastardisation of a genre would be able to sliver its way into the public consciousness. They called it nu-metal. It was dreadful. Then they got up from behind their desks and hid behind their masks for an hour. They made us laugh. They won.

It must be stressed that they do not sound like Kenickie.

And by the same token, neither do Angelica. They're entirely rooted into the Indie-rock ethos which the Sunderland Ronettes so deliberately kicked against. No bad thing. Angelica today are bright enough to slice holes through the smog of critical comment. Yes, Angelica occasionally stray towards feminity as intrinsic martyrdom rather than emancipation – a theme picked up on the new delectable songs unleashed today – but they still inject acetylecholine into the nerve endings, making pulses kick at their presence. For the quieter of heart, gig of the day.

And talking about people who don’t sound like Kenickie, here’s Lauren Laverne. And, annoyingly, she’s brilliant. I wanted to write something reiterating my opinion of her EP (short note edition: It’s shit), perhaps describing there’s no "How I Was Made", No "Weeknights" and no "That’s Why".

I can’t.

Lauren, stripped of the emasculating production of Pete Gofton (ne Johnny X) – dive into the dark heart of the soul. While eventually the lyrical bent may provoke projectile “commenting”, at the moment the sun-rapt optimism can’t help but seduce; while "Get In" was basically “I met a bloke... a now I’m shit”, Lauren’s solo material states “I was shit... and now I’ve met a bloke."

Eventually, this is sure to tire. But for now, a triumph.

Some people think Elliott Smith is a genius. But I don’t see it. Yeah, the songs are tight and tender/tough in all the right places, but it’s infinitely more reverent towards the Beatles than Oasis ever were. And in doing so, Smith does nothing but expose Guided By Voices as the shining stars they undoubtedly are.

I forgot I saw Elliot Smith.

Meanwhile on the main stage, Brian Molko is going increasingly bald.

Reviewing the Stereophonics would be like discussing the relative merits of potatoes. I think we could use our time more productively.

Night everyone. There's nothing more to see here. See you next year.


No!! I am Spartacus.


No. The TREE! is Spartacus.





Kieron Gillen's Workblog, foo'.