Music

The Chainsmokers - #Selfie (video)

#Selfie: clever or dumb? Probably both.

Apparently you either love or hate #Selfie, which is a weird hybrid of EDM (electronic dance music) and the spoken verse of a hip young thing in a nightclub. You may love it at first because it is sickeningly addictive, then hate it once you’ve heard it too often, or love it and hate it all at the same time (a little like Jäggerbombs).

You may love it because you appreciate it is heavily ironic, satirising the inane vacuity and narcissism of the narrator as she obsesses about how her tan looks, and whether only ten likes in the last five minutes means she should take her selfie down. You may hate it because it is symptomatic of a culture in which we already over-dose on irony, because as an expression of what is abhorrent it just spreads the problem like a virus.


You may love it because it’s self-referential (it's not even summer, why does the DJ keep on playing Summertime Sadness?) and youth culture should be celebrated. You may hate it because you think clubbing sucks and you’re too old to leave the house.

You may love it because you recognise this is how you speak with your friends. You may hate it because the girls in the club have a small attention span, and this is reflected through the pattern of speech in the song.

You may love it if you’re part of the Instagram generation. You may hate it because it references the Grunge generation (“Nevermind”) in the same way.

You may love it because you think it’s witty and funny, and you can easily visualise the girl wearing cheetah. You may hate it because some people may not get the joke and it reinforces gender stereotypes, of an insecure woman and over-confident male, if indeed Jason is flirting with that other girl.

You may love it because you wear a cheetah dress at weekends. You may hate it because now you can’t wear that cheetah dress anymore without feeling self-conscious.

You may love it because of the bitchy, snarky tone. You may hate it because you aim to live by Buddhist principles and you fear the song may seep into you via osmosis.

You may love it because it’s an accurate description of an average night-out in a club, complete with the ratchet girl with no shoes on. You may hate it because it’s an accurate description of a night-out in a club, complete with the creepy guy sleeping over there.

You may love it because Scarlett Johannson, Danny Dyer and Samuel L. Jackson have recorded versions. You may hate it because the song is receiving additional publicity as a result of celebrity culture.

You may love it because of the girls in the video. You may hate it because it makes you lust after the girls in the video or makes you secretly wish you were one of the girls in the video.

You may love it because you can dance to it. You may hate it because your dancing lacks fluidity.

You may love it because the verse seems like modern poetry. You may hate it because it’s not poetic in the slightest.

You may love it because you “so get” the deliberation between XX Pro or Valencia. You may hate it because you don’t know what these are.

You may love it because it polarises you, energises you and sticks in your head. You may hate it because you know you’re easily sucked in by surface glamour.

You may love it because you take lots of selfies. You may hate it because you’re not photogenic.

And anyway, who goes out on Mondays?

Cover down, pray through: Bob Dylan's underrated, misunderstood "gospel years" are meticulously examined in this welcome new installment of his Bootleg series.

"How long can I listen to the lies of prejudice?
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-- Bob Dylan, "When He Returns," 1979

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Publicity photo of Steve Coogan courtesy of Sky Consumer Comms

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Alan Partridge began as a gleeful media parody in the early '90s but thanks to Brexit he has evolved into a political one. In print and online, the hopelessly awkward radio DJ from Norwich, England, is used as an emblem for incompetent leadership and code word for inane political discourse.

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To be a migrant worker in America is to relearn the basic skills of living. Imagine doing that in your 60s and 70s, when you thought you'd be retired.


Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century

Publisher: W. W. Norton
Author: Jessica Bruder
Publication date: 2017-09
Amazon

There's been much hand-wringing over the state of the American economy in recent years. After the 2008 financial crisis upended middle-class families, we now live with regular media reports of recovery and growth -- as well as rising inequality and decreased social mobility. We ponder what kind of future we're creating for our children, while generally failing to consider who has already fallen between the gaps.

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Gallagher's work often suffers unfairly beside famous husband's Raymond Carver. The Man from Kinvara should permanently remedy this.

Many years ago—it had to be 1989—my sister and I attended a poetry reading given by Tess Gallagher at California State University, Northridge's Little Playhouse. We were students, new to California and poetry. My sister had a paperback copy of Raymond Carver's Cathedral, which we'd both read with youthful admiration. We knew vaguely that he'd died, but didn't really understand the full force of his fame or talent until we unwittingly went to see his widow read.

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