Going For A Song: ‘Till St. Dymphna Kicks Us Out’

Conor Oberst – Till St. Dymphna Kicks Us Out

After revisiting Bright Eyes’s Cassadaga album, I’ve been listening to Conor Oberst’s most recent albums – Ruminations and Salutations. I’ve only listened to the latter a few times, but it’s the former that edges it for me. This is the last track off that album.

Not Gone Forever

Using the Wayback Machine for work this week, I deviated from what I was supposed to be doing to looking up defunct websites. In the process I managed to find this review I had published on the Plan B magazine website. I’d thought it’d gone forever, but no.

I was so pleased when I got this accepted, so pleased. I’ve sometimes thought to try to contact Gracelette, the lives editor at the time, to tell her how much I appreciated her publishing me, and for the much-needed encouragement it, and she, gave me. I never have. But one day maybe she’ll read this.

Going For A Song: ‘World In Motion’

New Order – World In Motion

Perhaps inevitably, yesterday the conversation turned to what is the best England song. Predictably, ‘Three Lions‘ (1996) came up, but was a bit too obvious; a less obvious choice was ‘Vindaloo‘ (1998) by Fat Les, a song which I had completely forgotten about. Eventually, we settled on World In Motion. Well, I did.


Last night, while explaining to my friend, who has no interest in football, what occurred in the penalty shootout between England and Columbia on Tuesday, I used the pronoun ‘we’ when referring to England. My friend objected: ‘don’t use “we”, you weren’t playing’. I’m sure much has been written about the usage of ‘we’ by supporters and of arguments for and against it, but two things occurred to me.

The first is how churlish an objection it is, and a slightly mean one at that (and it’s strange because it was made to me by someone, who I attest, is neither of those things). For the objector, of course, knows that the person is not suggesting they played, and so leaves them the option to offer up only something abstract in explanation as to why they used that pronoun. So there’s no recourse for that person and so there is no further discussion. The second is: I don’t usually use the pronoun ‘we’, I usually say England. Not that I find the usage odd or object to it like my friend, but I leave it to fans who I feel have more claim than me to the team.

But I used ‘we’. And I used it without thinking or worrying too much about who has any such claim. It was kind of nice doing so. (Apart from where my friend shut it down that is). And it says something about those penalties, what an achievement, and relief, it felt to finally win them and get through.

But more than all this, I think it demonstrates the peculiar intensity of penalties in general; that, watching from wherever you watch (or can’t watch), the tension, the nerves, are felt, that the experience, due to the heightened nature of it, feels (indeed, I’d argue, is) shared with those who are present, involved directly, and with those, like yourself, who are not.

England play Sweden today at 3pm.


Reading: The Unconsoled, Kazuo Ishiguro


For my money, the best satire floats somewhere in the centre – not in a non-committal sense, but a tactical one: positioned between the two sides, you’re capable of lashing out in either direction. The first one to say something ridiculous gets a slap. It’s the rational option. Genuine satire ultimately consists of the outraged application of cold rationality to whoever deserves it the most  – Charlie Brooker, Dawn of the Dumb (p. 285).