Monday, March 18, 2019


I'm off on a brisk traipse across Europe -  to chat about hauntology, ArchivFieber, the art of music criticism -  in three wonderful cities. 


Sons de la memòriaEl Born Centre de Cultura i Memòri

18.30 hrs - Conversation about hauntology with Arnau Horta

More information about Sons de la memòria events, including a live performance by Philip Jeck and Janek Schaeffer on March 23. 


Find the FileHaus der Kulturen der Welt 

16:30-18:00  "Piles of Files: The Infinite Archive" - panel discussion with Elodie A. RoyPelle Snickars, and Florian Sievers

More information about Find the File events


MIL - Lisbon International Music Network

10.00 am to 11.30 am - Masterclass: Music Journalism

Main Hall, Palacete do Marqueses de Pombal, Rua das Janelas Verdes, 37, Lisbon

information about the class and about MIL - and a preview interview 

Monday, March 04, 2019


Went to bed, after watching Leaving Neverland, feeling troubled...

Woke up uneasy, to find out that Keith Flint has died.

Every week there seems to be some new sickening blow (as if the actual news-news wasn't sufficiently distressing).

What a performer, an energy force.

As Andrew Harrison noted in  New Statesman, "the best pop stars are cartoons – instantly recognisable, bright, bold and primary-coloured, and in their simplicity far larger and more thrilling than life."

Keith Flint's commitment to his 2D role gave it an electrifying conviction. 

I always liked to compare the cross-over era Prodigy with The Sweet - pure excitement for its own sake, a perfectly wrought storm of hooks and hysteria.

That analogy doesn't quite work because Howlett and crew were an autonomous unit, rather than puppets - writing and producing their own material, fully in control of the hit factory.

But perhaps another punk-before-punk parallel does fit: Alice Cooper. A band that worked perfectly as pop-with-edge for teenagers, while grown-ups might enjoy them without being able to take it seriously. And yet, and yet... for all the vaudeville aspect, a band that in moments actually conjured - purely through sound and structured frenzy  - a sense of apocalyptic drama and danger.

Another in that lineage would be Adam and the Ants.

Thursday, February 28, 2019

double sorrow

Here is my NPR Music tribute to the late great Mark Hollis of Talk Talk.

In a further blow to late-Eighties Melody Maker headz, the sad news has come through that Steve Jameson, the mighty bassist in World Domination Entreprises, has also died. 

Here are some things I wrote back in the day about World Dom - one of the supremely exciting live experiences of their time.

Two different directions, two different post-postpunk outcomes - but more in common than immediately meets the ear.