But death is a small price for heaven: The best of Prefab Sprout

This lover of Green Gartside and Roddy Frame spent too many years avoiding Prefab Sprout. A capital-R-Romantic using Thomas Dolby for a Phil Spector grandiloquence, Paddy McAloon believes all the world loves lovers. McAloon preferred this Cinemascope approach, or, better, as a Michel Legrand directing as if he were Jacques Demy; these songs are miniatureContinue reading “But death is a small price for heaven: The best of Prefab Sprout”

‘For black people, normal is the very thing from which we yearn to be free’

After several hours of peaceful marching in downtown Miami, some vandalism occurred, most of which looked contained. Who started it and “who is to blame” are questions in which I have no interest now unless I rewrite the question as, “How has a police force contributed to racial inequities in one of the South’s mostContinue reading “‘For black people, normal is the very thing from which we yearn to be free’”

The best of the Madchester scene

Efflorescing around Hacienda, the doomed club partially funded by New Order royalties, this movement, this curious amalgam of crap baggy clothes, dance beats, heaps of organs, wah-wah, and drunk Britons dominated the UK indie and pop charts at the dawn of the nineties. Fellow travelers like EMF and train jumpers like the Cure played alongContinue reading “The best of the Madchester scene”

The past sure is tense: a COVID playlist

Assembling this list went gaily along until yesterday’s events proved the speed with which history reminds Americans of mistakes it continues to make and lessons it refuses to learn because #America. Suddenly Breland’s “My House” sounded self-righteous and proud, not amiable. 1. Public Enemy – Burn Hollywood Burn 2. Yoko Ono – Why 3. KylieContinue reading “The past sure is tense: a COVID playlist”

‘When the good Lord calls you home, a mask ain’t going to stop it’

Longtime readers know I avoid the Trump scrim. They can read him or about him on social media. I try, when I can, to cover matters local and general. But the depths of his malice revealed themselves when he said not a word of sympathy for the first person to die of COVID-19, for, afterContinue reading “‘When the good Lord calls you home, a mask ain’t going to stop it’”

A word on Minneapolis

To be an endangered pedestrian in the bullshit planned community called “Westchester” requires little more than playing chicken with the wife pushing a baby carriage, the jogger with headphones, the husband and wife huffing and puffing. For the sake of my health — for the sake of courtesy — I’ll step out of the way,Continue reading “A word on Minneapolis”

Good lord, you’re freakin’ beautiful: the best of Mariah Carey

In 1994 a Madonna-vs-Mariah binary existed, believe me. At that point it was clear Carey’s heart was in the plush ballads that climbed the charts when Whitney Houston was in the studio and Celine Dion was powerless to be born — I figured “Make It Happen” and “Someday” were exceptions. When rockists would decry theContinue reading “Good lord, you’re freakin’ beautiful: the best of Mariah Carey”

‘The Half of It’ turns a queer gaze on ‘Cyrano’

As elastic as a rubberband to the fingers of many eras, Cyrano de Bergerac has long needed a queer reading as amusing and poignant as The Half of It. Alice Wu has written and directed an adaptation of Edmond Rostand’s nineteenth century warhorse that encompasses high schoolers’ dependence on technology without satirizing them, limns aContinue reading “‘The Half of It’ turns a queer gaze on ‘Cyrano’”

My favorite queer fiction (updated)

I wonder what readers will conclude when they see The Mysteries of Pittsburgh on a list of my favorite queer fiction and not, say, E.M. Forster’s Maurice. Reading a certain book at the right time can excuse an array of aesthetic shortcomings. I rejected David Leavitt’s The Lost Language of Crane (too diffuse; prefer hisContinue reading “My favorite queer fiction (updated)”

And everything went from wrong to right: the best of Kylie Minogue

Kickstarting her career as another blithe cog in the Stock-Aitken-Waterman machinery, Kylie Minogue has persisted as one of the purest signifiers of pleasure in pop music. She has never sought “depth” or, ye gods, “self-expression,” even if you bought the PR during the 1997 Impossible Princess era, so she flits from context to context projectingContinue reading “And everything went from wrong to right: the best of Kylie Minogue”

Larry Kramer — RIP

In the copy of Faggots I bought in 1999 I bracketed the following passage: And every faggot couple I know is deep into friendship and deep into fucking with everyone else but each other and any minute any bump appears in their commitment to infinitesimally obstruct their view, out they zip like petulant kids toContinue reading “Larry Kramer — RIP”

It’s wet out there: Coronavirus update #27

I was told — note the passive voice — about a “long weekend.” Well, “long” we’ve known about since the ides of March. What is a “weekend”? The Miami I saw on my drives and walks huddled indoors on Friday and Saturday, reluctant to enjoy the restaurants and shops that had opened. After my reasonableContinue reading “It’s wet out there: Coronavirus update #27”