Home > Fuck all y'all > Beyonce at Glastonbury: your guide to how to write a shit article about it

Beyonce at Glastonbury: your guide to how to write a shit article about it

British music criticism is like the life of Avram Grant: humiliating nadir after humiliating nadir occasionally interspersed with perfunctory bouts of lacklustre sub-adequeacy. Its main faults are obvious: its body is a pack of adult males who have been rejected by every single person and institution they’ve sought inclusion from up until this point and now they’re attempting to force pop cultural cohesion by spluttering into their Staropramen any time somebody has the temerity to differ with their opinions about Animal Collective/Taylor Swift/black people passim.

And it’s the banality of these repeated groupthinks that make me want to weep salt tears and burn myself with cigarettes. Music journalism nowadays feels like a life simulator on the ZX Spectrum: there’s only five possible scenarios to encounter and three possible responses to each of those. Lather, rinse, repeat, change screen colour and hope that you can fool someone into thinking that this is a new deal.

Remember when Jay-Z played Glastonbury? Remember when it was this culture-defining paradigm shift for a generation that meant that things would never be the same again? No, because it was fucking shit, because rappers playing festivals is always fucking shit unless it’s the token 90s rap act at ATP disinterestedly running through their three quasi-hits to a crowd of freelance web designers.

Oh, but Lord forbid you mention this to Britain’s music hack masses. Ne’er before has a collection of worse writing plagued British journalism in the weeks leading up to and after Joe Camel’s Somerset trip. A mishmash of white guilt, cultural ignorance, recreational imperialism and stunning linguistic ineptitude spread across Comment Is Free in a manner more commonly associate with Tanya Gold’s menopause.

So, look, I wanna help you out here. Beyonce Knowles is playing Glastonbury this year, you may have heard. As we speak, City University’s graduating classes of 2007, 2008 and 2008 are preparing to pen some of the worst music writing known to man about this. And I feel like it’s my duty to nip this in the bud like my fallen soldier George Tiller. Here is a spotters’ guide to the articles that I guarantee will be written across the journalistic landscape over the next few months about Ms Knowles’ Glasto sojourn. And we’ve teamed up with JackpotJoy.com to bring you a fantastic prize: the first person to correctly spot all five article types in the UK media and send them in wins violent penetrative sex with Laura Barton. Just walk up to her and claim it, don’t worry about her screaming “no”, that’s just something she does for a laugh.

The “pop music is great!!!!” argument

There are currently more people on the Sex Offenders Register in the UK than there are people that buy the NME. Congratulations to IPC on a tremendous achievement. However, when It was something other than a 64-page advert for Wella products there was a common trolling tactic among its writers: all they needed to do was end a review by saying “Hey, [mid-tier indie act] are RUBBISH, why can’t they be more like [mid-tier pop act]?!!!!!” and sit back and wait for the letters page to be full of spluttering 13-year-olds going “How dare you say Ultra are better than Symposium”.

Anyway, like swine flu this strain mutated and became the Real Pop Critic who has been turning up and shitting every bed offered him over the past decade by pretending that the entirety of Scandinavia’s cultural output, up to and including the point they started sterilising cripples, is awesome. This inanity reached critical mass in 2005 when actual adult males who presumably have real bills to pay and a real family they have to go home and look in the eye at Christmas were writing 2,500 word articles about Rachel Stevens, as if that’s just something to do.

These articles will be the first to hit the streets. They will be dreadful. They will use the word “lumpen” a lot and possibly “take shots” at some really easy targets in the music world, as if anyone’s going to be stunned that you insulted Shed Seven in 2011. You know that bit in Family Guy where Peter gets turned gay and randomly finishes a sentence by sucking his teeth and going “I wish I was Beyonce”. Basically that stretched out to 1,500 words.

Who will write this article: Some puddle jumper bro who could have gotten away with this neck-snapping rhetoric when he was 24 and had all his own hair but now he’s the wrong side of 35 and he’s breaking new boundaries for creepy-old-man-in-the-club skeeziness. The medical term for this is Rich Juzwiak Syndrome.

Hey maybe Beyonce has more in common with traditional indie/rock/punk acts that some of today’s other acts, huh?

Punk was fucking awful. I mean, “New Rose” was OK and I’ll vibe to that song about the dead soldiers that Southampton used to come out to but other than that it was basically an utter waste of space between 1977 and the release of “Self Esteem”.

However, punk music was the lsat time that white middle class males were considered “dangerous” (insert Bullingdon Club gag here) and resultantly it gets referenced over and over again as a generic Year Zero reference point. So at various points over the past 30 years acid, rap, jungle, techno, garage, dubstep et al have all been called “the new punk” because… just because. The idea that anyone born after the sinking of the Belgrano is sitting around thinking “Wow, one day I hope to have the musicianship and stunning back catalogue of The Slits”.

Experienced hacks can therefore claim that minor pop figures are “punk” or “the new punk”. Maybe Beyonce is “punk” because she is “doing something you wouldn’t expect her to” or “facing a crowd”, and then you can call our Chris Martin/Bono/Easy Target #7124 as “dull” at the end of your article. This kind of piece is really easy to churn out if you’re a journalist who’s just woken up and realised they’re 45 and have no pension.

Who will make this argument: Some cunt at The Quietus.

Black people! Am I right or am I right?

Let me take you back [no Jurassic 5] to those days of Jay-Z at Glastonburn. Noel Gallagher, then of Oasis, got himself in the papers for throwing a few zingers out in the press about how he wasn’t Hove’s biggest fan (I can’t find a direct link but Gallagher wrote an article for Word Magazine that ended “Rockefeller died of AIDS, that was the end of his chapter/And that’s the guy you choose to name your company after?”).

Anyway Emily Eavis, probably thinking about her trust fund, came out in Jigga’s defence. Here is a direct quote from an interview she gave that somehow went unquestioned at the time:

“Black music was really bling. And then Jay-Z came along, and him and Mary J Blige carried really important messages in their songs”.

Black people were shit at music before Jay-Z came along, who can argue with that? “Hawaiian Sophie” did more for the cause of black self-awareness than 15,000 Frederick Douglases. And every single black recording artiste from Peetie Wheatstraw to the drummer from Ocean Colour Scene was a horrendous capitalist parasite until the broad that did “Family Affair” should them the error of their ways.

As stated before, this is a problem with British race distribution: because there are no black people outside of London, the Midlands and industrial Lancashire 85% of the British population thinks that black people are innately exciting and perhaps if you shake their hands your crops will be free from blight for seven years and six nights. So then hacks will write stuff like “Badu herself is serene and strong, picking a steady path through the turbulence as if guiding her people” as if all black people just hang out together at the weekends, Cass Pennant going in on a game of dominos with a bunch of Somali asylum seekers.

So this article is going to give us lots of claims that Beyonce “says something about the black experience” and some hysterical (in the classical sense) pieces about how Beyonce is in the great lineage of strong black women like Ella Fitzgerald, Etta James, Billie Holiday, Mary Seacole and the Amazing Kong

Who will make this argument: The kind of idiot who uses the acronym “POC” for “person of colour”, not realising how fucking retarded it looks. They will be white.

White guys with guitars morelike shite guys with gay-tars

On one level an addendum to the previous article type, on the other a howling cry of “If I don’t let people on the internet repeatedly know that I don’t like indie music how will they know I’m not a racist?”

My family’s from Sicily so I don’t really carry the weight and burden of four centuries of slavery on my conscience, but for you saltines I can see how that’d be a big burden that’d keep you up or night. If my peoples did have the character stain of 600 years of oppression and mistreatment I would want to make changes though. I’d start by opening doors, getting rid of the old boys club, make everything a level playing field, from each according to his ability to each according to his need. Say if I was a music writer, a prestigious music writer, I’d make it so that some black people actually wrote for me. Who better qualified to write about the actual experience of “being black” and what “black people” think about “things that affect black people” than actual black people? Well, apparently, Jessica Hopper.

Is it white guilt or closeted racism that leads the Hoppers of this world to adopt a “Black people: good at the singing and dancing and that. White people: good at stroking their chins and writing about it, and god forbid either tries the other role).

It’s just embarrassing that there’s people out there who still think that the very idea of black people is instinctly “exciting”. Didn’t they hear the third Bloc Party album? There’s a really big problem with the idea that dull urban music is better than dull indie music, remember that the response this led the NME to do during the darkest days of indie effluence (1998-2000) was to start writing about Rawkus recording artists at length. Bucka bucka.

Who will make this argument: That guy who used to put his hand up to ask questions at the end of university lectues, except ten years on.

I am a fashion/celebrity journalist and I am going to do a funny piece on how festivals are kind of muddy

As journalism thankfully finally dies, one of the gimmicks that it trots out more and more is “making the writer the centre of the piece” in a sort of Hunter S. Thompson-via-Stylist-Magazine way. So you get lots of articles where the journalist is pulling a stupid gurning face in a kind of “Oh no! What have I got myself in for today!” way as they learn molecular gastronomy in 48 hours or scale the Matterhorn naked or take a lariat from Stan Hansen.

Nobody actually enjoys this style of writing but newspapers foolishly believe that they can create stars out of their writing staff, in the same way every parent thinks their little Cindy has what it takes to win X-Factor.

Beyonce belongs to that elite group of celebrities who are SEO gold dust: not on the Aniston/Bieber/Rihanna level, but infinitely more so than Dustin Rhodes. So what SEO angle can you take on Beyonce and Glastonbury? How about a hi-lar-ious article in which a woman who has never been to a festival before goes to one wearing “Beyonce-esque” clothes and then complains about how she’s gotten dirty? Maybe you could have a funny photo of her pulling a “D’oh, my feet are wet!” face as she holds her Manolos up to the camera? I’m laughing already. And by “laughing” I mean “fapping”.

Who will make this argument: The kind of Godless whore whose sole dream in life is to lick the lint from between Anna Wintour’s toes.

  1. esso
    March 11, 2011 at 1:39 am

    no words for that Emily Eavis comment. none.
    The idea of Noel Gallagher doing a cover of ‘Ether’ in a BDP/PM Dawn stage rushing scenario has a certain appeal though

  2. bin-alredidoneit
    March 12, 2011 at 3:53 am

    this will be my key for judging exactly why a broadsheet article bothers me in future. i never heard of the missin white woman syndrome, makes perfect sense now though, word to madeline mccanns milf aul lass.

    “Black music was really bling. And then Jay-Z came along, and him and Mary J Blige carried really important messages in their songs”


  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: