Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Music: Keep or Cull No.20: Björk - Vespertine (2001)

During my second and third years at Keele University, I lived in a shared house in Newcastle-under-Lyme. One of the people I lived with embodied a plethora of bizarre emotional and psychological issues. He was afraid of many things: alcohol, motorways, spiders, black people, and his mother (I’m not kidding). His issue with alcohol was that he once had a few drinks when he was 17, and when he got home he sat on the kitchen work surface – this terrible act caused his mother to be incredibly upset, and he vowed not only to never drink again, but also to preach about the horrors of drinking (he would always tell the kitchen counter story).

He had views that would make Richard Littlejohn feel uneasy. We were once sitting around watching the Brit Awards, and as the Sugababes were performing, he made comments like “they deserve to get raped for wearing clothes like that” and concluded that they were the reason that the teenage pregnancy rate was so high – we laid into him quite heavily for these comments, and he thought that we were simply bullying him.

What annoyed me the most about him was that he would only listen to three artists: Red Hot Chili Peppers, Sigur Rós, and Björk. On an evening he would, for example, play Red Hot Chili Peppers’ One Hot Minute album three times in a row at considerable volume. What made matters worse was that he would always provide his own bass-guitar complement to the tracks, and boy did he love to play slap-bass. Before moving in with the guy, I had been a big fan of these three bands, but a combination of hearing them over and over and over again, and the association with him and his issues, has meant that I’ve not been able to bring myself to listen to anything by these artists since. ...

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