Lazy rascals, spending their substance, and more, in riotous living

Ain’t no party like an Esco party

I hadn’t realized that late-90s pop-R&B producers Stargate—responsible for such classics as “S Club Party” and Brandy’s version of “Another Day in Paradise”—were still in business. Actually, they’ve been keeping quite busy, but I only noticed when they turned up on Nas’s new album, producing anti-American anthem “America.” Not what I would have immediately expected from them, but you can hear a hint of S Club in the production.

I do think my “hip-hop is dead” theory gains some support from the move from S Club to Nas via Rihanna and Beyoncé (two great tracks I hadn’t realized were Stargate productions). The rest of the Nas album doesn’t so much, although I’m so attached to the “Harry Connick Jr of gangsta rap” punchline I’m unlikely to let it be refuted by any mere empirical evidence. Read more↴

Our other 1950s

Why the new 1950s-themed threads? Recently, I’ve been finding something strangely fascinating about the 1950s. Perhaps a picture will help explain.

Kotula\'s 1960 poster shows American road construction in the heroic style, reminiscent of socialist realism. To me, at least, this version of commercial design as a neon-inflected industrial heroic is bizarre, but also oddly inspiring. Now, the 1930s were also a time of inspiring aesthetic and political movements: but perhaps too inspiring. The inter-war years had a level of radicalism I find difficult to imagine, and so it seems to me that any left-wing enthusiasm for the 30s runs a real risk of being nostalgic in a paralyzing way. What’s so interesting about the 1950s is that many of the things that appear so radical in the 1930s—technological progress, social democracy, modernist design—reappear in the 1950s as banal. Read more↴

“Authorized non-​circulating Liberian legal tender”

Incredibly, this manages to get funnier all the way through:

Watch: 9/11 commemorative silver note advert

The most boring candidate in the world

Is John McCain’s creepy linguistic tic an attempt to cash in on those rather annoying Dos Equis adverts?

“Got this feeling in my head / it won’t go away”

A while back, repeatedly played me Calvin Harris’s “The Girls.” So I downloaded the album and promptly forgot about it; but I remembered it, and started listening to it, a couple of days ago. It’s pretty good; but it is odd to hear what is basically Fat Harry White doing Audio Bullys covers.

Still, it does mean that, as a bonus to remembering Calvin Harris, I also remembered the Audio Bullys. In fact, listening to the Audio Bullys in the context of Calvin Harris makes hear something I think I missed the first time around, which is the nostalgia that pervades their records; they don’t so much make dance music as make records about a certain relation to dance music, a relation that I’m not sure exists any longer. It seemed an odd connection when it first occoured to me, but the more I think about it the more plausible it seems: weren’t the Audio Bullys doing something rather similar to Burial?

That strangely shifting location, the “real world”

If Zoe Williams thinks chavs are poor or victims of deprivation, she clearly knows as little about them as she does about the basis of comedy. Chavs are rarely lacking in disposable income and if they’re deprived of anything, it’s taste. Why do we have to be subjected to Ms Williams’s unsubstantiated Islington/Hampstead/Putney view of the world?

As opposed, you see, to the view of the world held by the author of the letter, from Sutton-at-Hone, Kent.