30 years on, we finally agree with The Cranberries. 10 years after our first blog, Pop Lifer is jumping on the comeback bandwagon. The two writers are going to share a few thoughts on why – first up Neil.
2021 ended with ecstatic Beatles fans devouring Peter Jackson’s time travelling “Get Back” documentary, which finally resolved the question of whether John or Paul was to blame for the Beatles split with the possibility it was George all along. Then Carrie Bradshaw returned to TV screens for the first time in 18 years, to a warm welcome that rapidly turned frosty. Now, 2022 is barely underway and we’ve already had the thrilling news that one of Britain’s greatest ever pop stars – Betty fucking Boo! – is back with her first single in 30 years* while Morrissey is trying to heap the blame for his own enormous inadequacies onto Johnny Marr via the ancient art of the “open letter”, like its 1987 all over again.
But why is Pop Lifer back? Simple. Because in the 9 years we’ve been gone Kanye West’s “Yeezus”, The Good Place, Parasite, Twin Peaks: The Return, Lana Del Rey’s “Norman Fucking Rockwell”, Get Out, Station Eleven, Burning, Squid Game, Janelle Monae’s “Dirty Computer”, I May Destroy You, Inside Out, Frank Ocean’s “Blond”, The OA, Under The Skin and exactly 237 other works of genius have come into the world and we only talked about them with each other, never wrote about them. Chris’ football team even pulled off the most miraculous sporting triumph ever in 2016. Now we want to change that and put our love on record. Think of our posts like Morrissey’s open letters, but with hate swapped for love, and hopefully not as atrociously written.
Things have changed for the two founders and writers at Pop Lifer in the last ten years. One of us has changed careers and one of us has changed continents. But the founding principles of Pop Lifer are exactly the same as they were ten years ago. We love pop culture and we want to write about it. Just as Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld had two rules for their show – “no hugging, no learning” – so do we: “no sneering, no cheap cynicism.” If you catch us failing this test, call us out on it.
In addition, we have a few other house rules we’ll let you in on.
- We can only write about something we love three times per year, to prevent us ever becoming, say, a Kate Bush fansite (please note that this rule will be broken if Kate Bush comes back with a new album and tour).
- We aren’t going to be trying to write as frequently or promote ourselves as much as we did in that first year, we want this to be fun for us above all.
- And we’re never ever doing another two-blogs-a-day advent calendar again, that stupid idea nearly killed us all. (No, we’re most certainly not – Chris)
We hope you love some of the things we write about as much as we do. We hope that just once in a while we might introduce you to a TV show, film or album you haven’t heard of or have been avoiding, and make you love it. If so, let us know please. That would be nice.
Over to Chris…
You are always somewhere, right?
No matter how hard you try to escape into a quiet, peaceful nowhere.
You could lose yourself in the notoriously impassable and dense rain forests of the Darian Gap, be alone in the barren depths of the Australian Outback with only Paul Hogan’s dead eyed casual bigotry as an ear worm for company. You could be in Slough.
But no matter what shade of dust nestles under your fingernails, your location is a co-ordinate. You represent a point of latitude and longitude which can identify your exact location on this fragile beautiful globe. A location from where a Google satellite might zoom in at any moment and provide you with your browser history and an algorithm of your most recent internal monologues.
And so it is now with culture.
No matter how hard you might want to write, compose, film, direct or even review a piece of art, somewhere, somebody or more likely something is giving you a left, right, liberal, conservative co-ordinate – a precise pinpoint on the map across which territory is being fiercely fought in the defining battle of our times: the Great Culture War.
We’re sure we were promised we’d be in Berlin by Christmas but somehow (the Facebook like maybe) and somewhere (Hogwarts most definitely) we’ve become entrenched and it’s all gone on far longer than anyone expected with no end in sight.
Sadly anyone hoping that ‘Don’t Look Up’ might deliver that fatal shot will be disappointed to note that well set battelines haven’t budged an inch.
We know what side we’re on.
Of course we do. I’m sure you can guess.
Do Look Up. But…
…but sometimes, someone may just want to disappear onto another map, another universe that isn’t mapped, break new ground that isn’t yet on any radar but is just gloriously its own thing, resplendent and provocative in a hazy inbetween of don’t give a fuck.
We can’t entirely divorce ourselves from our context and not should we – but we can and should be able to detach ourselves to give ourselves room to stretch and flex.
So, we just want to go on a bit of leave from the culture war is all. To be gently deprogrammed, so that when we watch a film there isn’t a part of your brain that wonders what Piers Morgan or Joe Rogan might tweet about this.
And so Pop Lifer is back from our leave of absence to provide you with a leave of absence from the inescapable culture war.
A spa day where you just bask in the fluffy dressing gown amazingness of an ‘Sex Education’ or ‘It’s a Sin’ or Dave’s Pyschodrama. So that soon the hum and the drum of the noisy aggy clatter of the outside will be drowned out by the sheer force of just how good ‘It’s Always Sunny’ is or the subversive anti-capitalist anarchy of ‘La Casa de Papel’.
This might prove impossible. But we’ll give it a go. Like Jack and the immovable drinking fountain in One Flew Over ‘we’ll try goddam it.’ At least we’ll do that. Wish us luck but if we fail don’t feel in anyway obliged to lob the water cooler out of the window.
We’ll try to provide you with A Great Escape into some really good songs, albums, films, TV shows and other aspects from a well lived pop life.
Follow us on Twitter and Facebook if you want to know when new stuff comes out. Let’s go!
*It’s her, again. Yes! How did you guess? Because last time you were really impressed?