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The Crack Magazine

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Snapper

I can answer with certainty that white boys with guitars haven’t figured very much…

When the editor of The Crack commissioned this piece I thought, great, I can stop thinking about new variant Deja Vu or Boris Johnson (and his sleazy minions), get my spacesuit off for a while and think beyond the borders of this lonely isolation unit. But as I cast my mind back over another Plague Year, I couldn’t help wondering whether this year’s favourite things would have shadowed a ‘normal’ year’s favourite things. Would I have picked Ghetts’ sweet melodied but hard-hitting ‘Conflict of Interest’ or Little Simz’ ‘I Might Be Introvert’ (another classic from the Inflo stable) as joint favourite albums of the year? And without the time working from home would I have had the inclination to give Cornershop’s tune heavy ‘England is a Garden’, Du Blonde’s ear wormy ‘Homecoming’ or all three of Lonelady’s stuttering post punk masterpieces a spin (or thirty)? Questions that are impossible to answer, of course - but I can answer with certainty that white boys with guitars haven’t figured very much, whether of the vintage or modern variety, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon (Big Star and The Replacements excepted, always and of course). As a confirmed bibliophile, however, I find it hard to admit that the five albums mentioned above excited me more than almost anything I read this year, with the possible exception of Will Burns’ ‘The Paper Lantern’, Emma Cline’s ‘Girls’ and Rachel Kushner’s ‘The Hard Crowd’, the last two of which in their different ways, reminded me of the time I lived in an Arizona border town in 1971. (A town both writers would have felt right at home in observing the antics of my friend’s brothers, both of whom were Hell’s Angels, who had a habit of suddenly screaming at me just to watch me jump, and whose house, festooned with nudie pictures, never had any sign of a parent. I won’t bother mentioning their pet scorpion or well-tended nest of Black Widow spiders.) And films? What about them? What film - in what cinema, in what world - could possibly be more interesting than an Arizona border town in 1971? Especially when explored in full spacesuit, armed with nothing more than childish naivete to face down rabid dogs, poisonous snakes and tarantulas coming at you faster than a speeding bullet. And, now you mention it, why would anyone want to sit in a cinema with (or without) a mask? But with booster jabs hanging from both biceps and both thighs and a spacesuit on, I can honestly say that my favourite film ‘would’ have been Todd Haynes’ Velvet Underground doc. What did I say about white boys with guitars? Lou Reed and Sterling Morrison will always remain exceptions as I’m sure Moe Tucker and John Cale would attest. So up yer VU! And, of course, a happy and healthy 2022.

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