Music Features

The Culture Bunker #5

Summer is here and while many of you are out enjoying it, our resident Miserable Bastard, Peter 'Fuck Life' Mattinson has instead been musing on his fragile youth, the nature of ageing and a deep-seated hatred of the months July and August.


The time between right now and death is called Getting Old and it never stops. Lately, I've been thinking of what happens in this time, comparing the pale, anxious, mop headed 16 year old to the pale, mop headed, bitter and resentful 22 year old.

Minor details aside, I began thinking about my evolving tastes in music. Some albums have always been part of my listening, while others have faded into the background, collecting dust on the shelf. The former group includes the Jam (my Dad wisely got me their Greatest Hits for Christmas 1996), the Smiths, New Order and Joy Division. All made songs which dragged me through the gut wrenching misery that is adolescence in small-town hell, all I can now appreciate because they made fucking good songs.

However... into the other group go Radiohead. Now, when I was younger The Bends and Pablo Honey would never be far from my stereo. OK Computer got pretty much the same treatment despite its horrific hints of pretension (surely Fitter, Happier counts as one of the most cringe worthy moments on any credible album, ever), and then aged 18 I took off into the world and I couldn't listen to them any more. The sheer 'sixth form-ness' of the lyrics seemed a tad irrelevant when you've just heard Stevie Wonder singing Living For The City or Between The Wars by Billy Bragg for the first time.

I tried listening to Radiohead recently. Admittedly, The Bends still works as a pretty good rock album, but I could only make it past Paranoid Android on OK Computer before being bored stupid and returning the album to the rack for pretty much all of the near future.

We all go through this. In recent conversations with Mr Coleman, we discussed how our love of Gomez, so predominant in 1999/2000, has faded quietly while the 10/10 awarded to Coldplay's Yellow is an embarrassing part of history No Ripcord would probably like to forget.

On a similar note, shock horror: Q magazine used to be good. I recently unearthed the 2nd issue I ever bought (June 1997, featuring a big Radiohead interview) and was shocked to discover that I could read the articles without wanting to resort to an industrial shredder. Raised eyebrows also ensured after finding of the nine 'Recommended' albums of that month, I own four. Bizarre, and not very likely to happen now that I'm older and obviously no longer down with the Q kids.


I hate summer. Or, to be more accurate, I hate traditional summer weather. Living where I do, this isn't normally a problem, but this year has brought more then the traditional three days of relative warmth and so I've been exiled behind closed curtains for more then the usual period.

I'm with Julian Cope on this one: Summer has a contemptuous smugness to it that makes me sick. Well, I've had enough of it. I've had to work for years to get this ill-looking pale skin and dark hair, the last thing I want is to return to the tanned, blonde haired kid I became on being forced on many a Spanish holiday. The occasions that have forced me out of hiding have found me surrounded by countless happy couples and families enjoying the sun which mocks me so. Roll on winter, when wearing large black overcoats isn't a major risk to your health and sleep isn't only possible with the bedroom window wide open.