Home > Fuck all y'all > Darragh McManus: he’s a terrible one for the shitty blog articles, so he is

Darragh McManus: he’s a terrible one for the shitty blog articles, so he is

Over the weekend, The Observer had a kinda sneery article about the Brand/Ross/Daily Mail clusterfuck headlined “DAVID MITCHELL: How middle England got its voice back”. I couldn’t help but feel the two parts of that sentence were the wrong way round.Sticking with the Farringdon mob, long-term sufferers of The Guardian’s “Comment Is Free” blogs, particularly the culture section, will be fully aware of the career arc of one of their writers. It goes a little something like this: 

 

  • Upstart hack writes to The Guardian asking them if they have any spots in the newspaper for a new music/TV/film/radio/inane celebrity bullshit nobody cares about writer
  • Commissioning editor says “No, but we do have some spots for a one-off blog piece if you have any ideas?”
  • Journo then writes really obvious comment-bait article, usually surrounding a) “something you think is good is actually bad” b) “something you think is bad is actually good” c) “here is a list of things where I have deliberately missed out the most obvious examples so you can respond by going ‘Where’s Dark Side Of The Moon/Del Boy falling through the bar/Wigan Athletic striker Amr Zaki?'”
  • Hit rate for article is impressive so editor commissions second piece
  • Second piece is journo taking a “But seriously, folks” approach, a la the second Fratellis album that nobody bought, and resultingly gets two comments: one from his mum and the other offering cheap viagra roulette strategies paris hilton xanax.
  • Journo is then told to fuck off and never darken CiF’s door
  • A new journalist turns up, lather, rinse, repeat.

 

It’s a system we’ve all grown to know and love, hence the fantastic powerblogging careers of such utter hacks as Triga movie star lookalike Tony Naylor (usual writing patch: everything’s better in Yorkshire, here are some challenging opinions about dance music) or my personal favourite, worst human being in history Ruth Fowler (writing patch: women should make an effort to look nice, there’s nothing wrong with selling your body for money. May have one or two ever-so-slight daddy issues).

But there’s a new sheriff in town now. Darragh McManus, we here at Ich Luge Bullets salute you. So far you’ve only written four pieces for CiF, but each one is an utter humdinger.

Take his most recent effort:”Just 20 years on, grunge seems like ancient history”. Here’s an excerpt:

Because grunge wasn’t just another musical or youth trend – it was the ultimate expression and fusion of most of the defining cultural, ideological and social threads of the modern western world. Feminism, liberalism, irony, apathy, cynicism/idealism (those opposite sides of one frustrated coin), anti-authoritarianism, wry post-modernism, and not least a love of dirty, abrasive music; grunge reconciled all these into a seminal whole.

Wow. And there was me thinking it was what happened when a bunch of university dropouts realised they didn’t have enough hooks to make a career as a hair metal act. “Grunge wasn’t nihilist or moany – they really did want a better world for everyone,” McManus goes on to say, perhaps not fully understanding that the phrase “white man’s burden” ceased to have cachet in 1906. Then follows the usual “working class bands should really get degrees if anyone wants to take them seriously”/”gangsta rap was full of horrid people being horrid”/”Britney Spears morelike BARBIE-ney Spears” gumf that you’d expect to see from a sixth form newsletter article circa 1999, but then he goes there. McManus drops bombs like Truman on y’all:

one could almost describe Soundgarden, for instance, as existential.

one could almost describe Soundgarden, for instance, as existential.

one could almost describe Soundgarden, for instance, as existential.

one could almost describe Soundgarden, for instance, as existential.

one could almost describe Soundgarden, for instance, as existential.

one could almost describe Soundgarden, for instance, as existential.

one could almost describe Soundgarden, for instance, as existential.

one could almost describe Soundgarden, for instance, as existential.

one could almost describe Soundgarden, for instance, as existential.

one could almost describe Soundgarden, for instance, as existential.

one could almost describe Soundgarden, for instance, as existential.

one could almost describe Soundgarden, for instance, as existential.


Part of me wants to think that this guy is some sort of elaborate hoax, but then his other main Guardian pieces have been a fantastically mealy-mouthed “Maybe John Peel was a bit overrated NO OFFENCE INTENDED but maybe he was a bit overrated BUT HE WAS ALSO great” piece, whereby McManus appears to be annoyed with the fact that over the course of his life Peel was involved with the release of six whole batches of records, possibly amounting to as many as TWENTY CDS in a musical career that lasted over 40 years, which apparently makes him “a glorious combination of Elvis, Churchill, Mother Theresa and Shakespeare in the public consciousness”. It wouldn’t be so fucking reminiscent of The Fast Show’s Indecisive Dave if it wasn’t such a cackhanded attempt at iconoclasm, but then again in this era of 50,000 Charlie Brooker impressionists clogging up blogs nationwide, the papers still seem to employ the worst of them to provide their “I AM ABOUT TO ATTACK SACRED PIG HERE GUYS” pieces.

McManus’s other article is entitled “The time is right for intellectual reality TV“. I can’t bring myself to read it. Although interestingly enough, before someone started throwing the no doubt humongous amounts of cash you get for a CiF blog post at him, he apparently had “major problems with the notions of blogs“. We all do Darragh. We all do.

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  1. November 3, 2008 at 5:15 pm

    That Peel piece got edited after publication, actually, because when I saw it the list of things that have happened in his memory included the likes of Peel Sessions albums (est. 1986) and, fantastically, Dandelion Records, which closed in 1972.

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