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Black Sky Thinking

Black Sky Thinking: What We (Don't) Need is an Alternative Oldster
Steven Wells , May 6th, 2008 10:54

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Kill all the baby-boomer music journalists. Line them up on the edges of mass graves (that they've been forced to dig themselves by AK 47 toting tweens wearing black pajama bottoms and sandals made out of old tires, and Los Campesinos! T-shirts) and then neck-shoot the moldering, old, in-the-fucking- way, saw-the-fucking Clash-at-Victoria-fucking-Park-in-1977 fucking geriatric bastards. And then send their weeping mothers the bill for the bullets.

That, in a nutshell is the radical plan to reform music journalism proposed by 25-year-old gunslinger Dom Passantino in a blistering attack on the generation of festering music-writer zombies that the snarling young turk says are cluttering up the music journalism landscape with their annoying Werthers Original sucking noises and their constant tedious fucking non-stop muttering about how it all used to be Fields of the Nephilim around here when back they were lads.

Dom Passantino in action

Passantino is part of a new exciting wave of fresh young writers who argue - with some justification - that they are being smothered by a festering, piss-reeking, wrinkled-flesh blanket of old cunts who, if they had even a shred of self-respect, would just fuck off and die and leave the dance floor to the juves.

Dom Passantino and his fellow oldsterphobes are calling for a new year zero - A Dom's-day if you will. And the date they have chosen isn't 1977 (oh will you shut the fuck up about punk fucking rock you boring old tart) or even 9-11 (which yet another generation of-used-to-be-radical old farts like Martin Amis and Christopher Hitchens and Dennis Miller have chosen as the-day-that-changed-everything).

No, the new year zero - says Passantio - is 1997. Why? Because that was the day Britpop died (at fucking last) and paved the way for the seminal (in the literal sense of that word) album of the fucking millennia, the record that made Lemmy out of Motorhead say: "That's it, I retire": Belle and Sebastian's epic, epoch molesting, planet shattering, cosmos birthing, atomic thunderclap of a stone cold rockin' classic Chicks, Drugs and Harleys - Bring it the Fuck On.

Passantino's logic is impeccable. Why are all these old cunts with their Weller haircuts and coke-guts and eyeglasses and badly-fitted dentures that make a really creepy clacking noise still fucking writing? Why aren't they fertilizer? Why aren't they literally pushing up the daisies - daisies being an artful metaphor for a fresh, young, exciting, new crop of writers who don't secretly do the baggy-trouser skank to Madness' Greatest Hits when they get home to their disgustingly pokey piss-and-cats reeking old people's flats after a hard day's kicking the shit out of Los Campesinos! for an audience of similarly senile old punk cunts who should just fucking die of cancer or AIDS or Alzheimer's or some other fuckin disgusting old peoples fucking disease or ah who gives a shit just die you old cunts just DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE.

But does he go far enough? I have argued for a long time for the state-subsidised mass-murder of all music journalists over 25-years-old. True we'd lose some cracking writers and cause a lot of human misery and suffering, but on the plus side we'd live in a universe where Q didn't exist.

And when I say "we", of course, I mean you. Because I'd be dead.

Frankly I think it's the only way to shut me the fuck up. I mean who gives a fuck what I think anyway? I certainly don't. And next year I'd be joined by Dom Passantino. Can I request now that we be buried together, intertwined like Ancient Greek warrior lovers, thus causing the alien robot squid archeologists in the year 4012 to scratch their throbbing giant computer-brain-cages with their super-advanced semi-liquid-space-metal tentacles as they wonder how these two obviously brutally murdered men - one old and the other, like, rilly rilly rilly old - were intertwined in life as they are in death?

Or even better, every year open that grave up and sling in the next generation of 25-year-old, past-their-fucking-pontificate-date music hacks so that when the Angel Gabriel blows his horn to signal the dead to rise on the day of judgment, this huge interlocked mass of creaking hack bones will rise from the grave like some enormous skeletal super zombie which will then engage is a mass fuck-in-a boney post-mortem sex and drugs and tediously over-told fucking anecdotes fucking orgy where slime encrusted femurs rasp chitinously into flyblown sockets and worm-gnawed fists are rammed repeatedly into crumbling pelvic girdles. Oh fuck me I've just come all over the fucking keyboard. But it was worth it.

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Mike DiS
May 6, 2008 11:04am

Brilliant. mx

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Dom Passantino
May 6, 2008 11:19am

u mad, doggie

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max r
May 6, 2008 11:44am

with exciting new writers like dommy p and max gogarty, the future of journalism in the uk is looking bright.

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Steven Wells
May 6, 2008 7:07pm

My only wish is that Dom liked music as ideological, articulate, angry and vocal as he is. Actually my other wish is that there was lots of music as ideological, articulate, angry and vocal as he is.
Twee finally (after how many years?) gets a spokesman who doesn't just gaze at the floor and mutter some smug, insipid, unexamined and unchallenged nonsense about "integrity". And he's a punk. Oh irony.
Lastly, while I think Dom is absolutely right to hate me and my generation of blithering old punk cunts, I wonder if he's half as fucked-off with the blandroids of his own generation. He should be. It's like we're growing fucking generations of plodding, born-middle-aged, please-stop-reading-now spewing future Q writers.
Burn the greenhouses! Destroy the pod hacks!

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B'dum B'dum
May 6, 2008 8:41pm

Aren't most of the NME's current batch of writers reasonably young?
Problem is that a lot of the older writers generally had more interesting things to write about(eg. Nick Kent and all the Rolling Stones stuff), while the younger journalists can write about albums and whatever type of activism the band is involved in.
They just don't get as close to the artists as they used to.

Q's the devil though.

1997 is the best choice of a new year-zero in my opinion.

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Steve Cheney
May 6, 2008 9:15pm

"Lastly, while I think Dom is absolutely right to hate me and my generation of blithering old punk cunts, I wonder if he’s half as fucked-off with the blandroids of his own generation. "

I know him and he is.

For what it's worth though, I kinda agree. The "spirit of punk" thing isn't just dumb, it's putting a retro-stamp on any kind of innovation or experimentation, effectively trying to claim it as part of a youth that isn't their own. As a musician, it's kinda hard to get excited about "the spirit of punk" when it's attributed to the arse-end of just about anything, and it's not really something that anyone I've worked with empathises with anymore. Punk may well have pissed off the hacks in the 70s, but now it's what they want, and I can't help but think that the blandness is a response to that, kinda like trying to piss off liberal hippyfag parents by joining a New Labour thinktank (there's that '97 again...)

As a musician, I also empathise with your desire to see music journalists as far underground as possible, but that's another matter entirely. But basically, if you want music to be exciting again, your best bet would be lower your expectations accordingly and possibly eat a load of sugar.

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May 6, 2008 11:20pm

Fuck twee. Fuck it royally. I'm 28 and...

...whatever, i'm missing the point here.

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henry gay miller
May 7, 2008 12:07am

man, imagine if dom was into some real insurrectionary future-punk shit like atari teenage riot or asian dub foundation or even primal scream's XTRMNTR? that would BLOW THE FACIST TORY SCUM'S MINDS.

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Steven Wells
May 7, 2008 2:00am

That's the ticket, youngster (ruffles hair).

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Steve Cheney
May 7, 2008 9:18am

K, I only skim read the original article, but wasn't the point not that old folks should die, but more that they should just stop acting like wankers? At best he's offering both as options.

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DJ Punctum
May 7, 2008 1:16pm

Time to DUMP grimy grandad DOM and bring in radical ROSIE SWASH as voice of Boris Youth has PENSIONER PASSANTINO even HEARD of JACK PILATES??!?

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May 7, 2008 1:40pm

I can't think of anything more tedious than getting close to artists.

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Keith Mandement
May 7, 2008 3:05pm

Two bald men fighting over a comb, this.

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B'dum B'dum
May 7, 2008 3:37pm

Alexander Narkiewicz, have you read Nick Kent's rolling stones articles?

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Jacques Rigaut
May 7, 2008 4:38pm

I'll do you one better: kill ALL music "journalists." They're ALL empty-headed blowhards who have fallen so low in life the only thing they have to offer is their ill-reasoned and ill-informed opinions on something as completely beside the point as "popular music."

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John Doran
May 7, 2008 4:41pm


Shake your hips sugar!

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B'dum B'dum
May 8, 2008 1:28am

but jacques... with internet blogging and all, that could be potentially a modern holocaust!

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Dom Passantino
May 8, 2008 1:35pm

The original Year Zero (Pol Pot not Rat Scabies) was about the violent removal of anyone who was liable to pose a threat to the status quo (the religious, intellectuals, foreigners), yes? So, in cultural terms, the last movement that would have needed a Year Zero of its own would have been the punks, because they were the final footsoldiers of the Baby Boom. And if there’s one thing Boomers love above all else, it’s putting forward the belief that their generation was the last one that had any opportunity to change anything, and if they failed at anything, then there’s no chance any future generations will succeed (qf Hillary and Obama). Therefore, for this schtick to wash, the punks had to remove all evidence that the previous boomers (greasers, beatniks, hippies, to a lesser extent the disco kids) had tried to change the world and pretty much crapped out. If anything, I’m arguing for the complete opposite: mans who are prepared to stand up and question the current Big Cultural Ideas are, on the whole, a Good Thing.
And of course I’m disgusted by the music writing of my generation, but I think the hopeless writing being churned out by hacks in their 20s isn’t so much because they’re ideologically flawed, but just because they’re bad writers. Although, sometimes, I wonder whether or not the people doing the hip-hop articles in The Guide are in fact engaged in some sort of long-distance trolling of Chinua Achebe. But anyway, surely the reason the lunatics got the chance to take over the asylum with regards to modern music hackery was because those who were on the grind at IPC in the late 90s left the place floundering so badly that the NME was forced to employ a “throw as much shit at the wall and see what sticks” approach. And sadly, the faecal matter currently on the masonry is Does It Offend You, Yeah?, and we get journalists who match the quality of the music with their writing.
At the end of the day, the majority of music writers over 30 in this country strongly resemble generals fighting the previous war. I mean, it’s 2008, fucking Mojo runs six-page features on The Wu. All the old battles have been won, maybe it’s time you started fighting some new ones?

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Steven Wells
May 8, 2008 2:40pm

Firstly - what the fuck are you doing writing at such length for free? Make them pay.
Secondly, are you kidding? With shit like the Decemberists and Los Campsinos! around? With the hip kids in Philadelphia flocking to the Belle and Sebastian disco (this Saturday, I will be there). With the evil that is twee on the rise again? With the vile and ghastly Morrissey defended by legions of fans so docile, dedicated and disconnected that they'd excuse him anything, no matter how revolting? With the soul of so-called alternative culture slipping still further into an inspipid, reactionary, anti-intellectual, disempowering, consumerist coma?
(You tilt at imagined punk windmills. The swine who dominated the music press from about 1981 onwards hated everything about punk. Except maybe the fucking sleevenotes)
Looks like the forces of righteousness lost those particular battles. (That'll be 50 pounds please, to the usual address),

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Dom Passantino
May 8, 2008 4:32pm

Oh come on, you know as well as I do the era for anyone getting paid for writing shit of this length about music in the UK is long dead. I’m assuming this is part of the reason dudes like you and Grimey Simey fucked off to America the first chance you got, even at the current exchange rate Spin pays 600% more per word than the NME, and you get exactly the same amount of money for writing a major review for Pitchfork (which is a website run near-entirely off of the will of Seattle-area indie kids to work for free) as you do for The Guardian (who have the highest paid management staff of any newspaper in the country). If I wanted to make decent money off of writing about music, I’d start pitching “I think this is gonna be the year MIA breaks through, guys!” articles to every section head in the country. Then shoot myself.
I don’t think you *get* Los Campesinos. They’re to indie what The Game is to hip-hop, they approach music as fans of the genre above all else. Really, you can just replace Sarah Records with Death Row and they’re pretty much the same group. So the former shouts out Ian MacKaye, the latter namedrops MC Ren. The former sets out to write a song that sounds like Ballboy, the latter Above the Law. You can even draw parallels between The Game’s “beef with everyone” approach and LC’s “WOMYN’S RIGHTS NOW” schtick if you’re desperate. Of course, if you’re not fucking with tweecore or West Coast Hip-Hop in the first place, it’s not going to be for you. And Morrissey’s half-Chuck D, half-BBC Have Your Say forums poster gimmick is dictionary definition of “ignore him and he’ll go away”.
Who do you mean by the swine of 81? The new-pop/Sade mob? Do they really have any influence nowadays, in a musical sphere at least? Surely they’d all fucked off to lifestyle journalism by 1987 (kinda like the Britpop gang by 1999, then). I believe that your gang actually give a shit, which is why you're still around. I'm just not sure that you've "helped".
You do realise that the video for “Rockstar” by Nickelback proves that pretty much anything anyone from the 90s fought for is wrong, yes?

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Steven Wells
May 8, 2008 5:32pm

My gang? Good god. I've got a gang? And I don't think you *get* Nickelback. Do you *get* Lily Allen and Jet, by the way? I always find them to be acid tests of cuntdom. Ditto Meatloaf. If you don't like them, you're probably an indie-borg. Ah, but - you see what we're doing here? Monkey dancing for free. Giving it away. I'm a whore, Dom. Not a slut. This nonsense has to stop.
All I've ever asked is that concepts like "authenticity" and "credibility" be tested and examined against some real world criteria now and then, so they can't be used as a smokescreen to disguise indie's glacier-like slide into the unquestioned and unchallenged white/male, middle class comedy of conformity.
You've conflated that with my flippant use of the terms "punk" and "punk rock" as bloggy/blokey shorthand for empowering and/or transgressively poppy and/or bottom-up and/or self-organised DIY culture stuff, and then lumped me in with a bunch of shoegazers and Manc-humpers and "rock's rich tapestry" types, which was terrifically unfair and a lot of fun and well overdue.
I like pop, Dom. That's (one of) my bag(s) . I like teasing pop haters (who are more often than not women-haters) because it is they who have—for decades now—fucked thing up with their cloth ears and mild autism and unexamined racism, sexism, homophobia and privilege (and yes, I know, kettle-pot, but the plank in my fucking eye is scrutinised on a daily basis.
I am more than willing to see Los Camps or twee in general redefined as genuinely subversive. Would you do it for me? With reference to queer theory or culture or Carry On films or the Pet Shop Boys or Jilted John or David Beckham anything other than some slap-dash ramshackle comparison to another genre?
Seriously, I'd love to read it. But not here. Somewhere where you get paid for it. (Another reason music jounalism is fucked - trustifarians who can afford to work for peanuts.)
Your point about punk being the sting in the tail of baberboomdom, by the way, is brilliant. Esp. as we saw/see/sold ourselves as the enemies of babyboomerdom (aka the hippies).
But you've got 20 years at least before the bulge in the demographics starts dying in numbers significant enough to allow gens x thu z the chance to breathe.
Wadya gonna do in the meantime? Bitch and piss and moan? Good idea. Or you could go look at the culture being made by "the kids" in those places where they're in the majority—where the babyboom is happening right now. Francophone Africa for instance. The French African rap scene is amazing is like todally punk rock. Oh shit, I done it again.
That's a another 75 quid's worth of pontificating I've spunked.

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Steven Wells
May 8, 2008 6:23pm

A freind just sent me this extract from a five year old web conversation Dom had - and is oh my god. scroll to the bottom,—still having. About me. Awesome!

Basically Dom has been stood on a soabox screaming how he hates me for a half a decade. And I've just noticed. He must be so excited.

How awesome—and how flattering—is that?

You can read the entire screed here:

But here are the unedited highlights:

YOU ARE a RACIST who DOESN'T appreciate GOOD POP music you INDIE NAM namby pamby SOFT useless PONCE.

Steven Wells is the Anti-Christ of music writing, a man pushing his own ill-conceived, badly informed political agenda onto his own third-rate interviews, which reveal little about the musician in question.

The nadir would obviously be the Belle and Sebastian interview, where Stuart Murdoch plays him like Ace/Jack suited, and Wells' response basically amounts to "Haven't you even read "No Logo"".

Steven Wells entire existence basically resembles that "Yoof TV" show in the Young Ones. Shame he didn't realise it was a piss take.

-- Dom Passantino (Dom Passantino), Thursday, 8 May 2003 14:18 (5 years ago) Link

did you actually read that interview dom?

-- Julio Desouza (jdesouza), Thursday, 8 May 2003 14:43 (5 years ago) Link

Actually - Stuart Murdoch didn't 'play' him at anything - he came across as genuinely a bit clueless in that piece (yes obv. it was Wells writing it but...)
-- Matt DC (Matt DC), Thursday, 8 May 2003 14:45 (5 years ago) Link

stuart murdoch is a twat. Then wrote a letter abt that interview and he came across as even more of a twat.

-- Julio Desouza (jdesouza), Thursday, 8 May 2003 14:48 (5 years ago) Link

I love how when the editor of "Bang" was called to task on his magazine being hopelessly out of touch with what music fans want from a magazine nowadays, his first line of defense was "Steven Wells" writes for us. It just needed to be accompanied by the chorus of 30,000 football fans chanting "NME reject"
-- Dom Passantino (Dom Passantino), Thursday, 8 May 2003 21:31 (5 years ago) Link

My main objection is that he actually doesn't discuss politics, and instead uses dumb, 6th form Socialism as a stick to beat bands he doesn't particularly like with.
-- Dom Passantino (Dom Passantino), Friday, 9 May 2003 12:24 (4 years ago) Link

Possibly the worst article on football ever:
What do you mean, "possibly"? My grandfather could write a better article than that, and he's been pushing up daisies for 20 odd years. Sheesh, that's some bad writing.

-- Dom Passantino (Dom Passantino), Wednesday, 14 May 2003 11:01 (4 years ago) Link

"possibly the worst article on football ever:
what do you mean "possibly"? my grandfather could write better than that, and he's been pushing up daisies for 20 odd years. sheesh that's some bad writing

-- Dom Passantino"

sigh, haha unreal! remind me how the fuck your own brand of lame off-the-peg wit is any different to wells'?

-- Chip Morningstar (bob), Wednesday, 28 May 2003 17:25 (4 years ago) Link

or maybe you just reached a sublime transcendent level of self-effacing irony?
-- Chip Morningstar (bob), Wednesday, 28 May 2003 17:28 (4 years ago) Link

There's a really good piece by Swells in Bizarre this month, a history of group onanism. Where's most of his stuff been since leaving the NME anyway? And how come he didn't write for the Ianucci/Morris axis post-The Day Today?
-- Dom Passantino (Dom Passantino), Monday, 4 September 2006 11:47 (1 year ago) Link

I was rereading 98-00 NMEs at the British Library the other week, as part of a potential article, and what it struck me was that Swells was a fantastic interviewer (his Sonic Youth piece was amazing), but an awful, awful reviewer.

-- Dom Passantino, Sunday, 2 September 2007 13:38 (8 months ago) Link

The nadir would obviously be the Belle and Sebastian interview, where Stuart Murdoch plays him like Ace/Jack suited, and Wells' response basically amounts to "Haven't you even read "No Logo"".

I'm glad I mocked this statement at the time. Stuart Murdoch 'playing him like Ace/Jack suited' actually entailed Stuart Murdoch writing a really stroppy letter to the NME the following week, going "Dear Steven Wells, I haven't read your piece about us in the NME but people have told me about it you're a lousy journalist... (babbles on for a bit) ... okay, I've read your piece now, maybe you're not such a bad journalist but you're still wrong."

Even when I didn't agree with him (about 75% of the time) he was always worth reading and in retrospect I kind of agree with what he was trying to do - eg using the singles column to slate every single hyped arse-end-of-1998 indie band and then giving Single of the Week to En Vogue.

-- Matt DC, Sunday, 2 September 2007 13:39 (8 months ago) Link

f anyone is interested in commissioning a 10,000 article about the NME between the releases of "OK Computer" and "Is This It", holla.

-- Dom Passantino, Sunday, 2 September 2007 17:33 (8 months ago) Link

Also, if you're reading this and you're the cute Swedish girl who was photocopying the indie charts from back issues of Music Week for your dissertation, I would like to nail you.

-- Dom Passantino, Sunday, 2 September 2007 17:38 (8 months ago) Link

Stevie, was D*niel B**th specifically hired as an erstatz Swells or did he adopt that style of his own accord?

-- Dom Passantino, Monday, 3 September 2007 11:16 (8 months ago) Link

It's kinda embarassing to see dudes to still "PUNK MUSIC WAS SO REVOLUTIONARY, MAN", considering that the Ramones' sole contribution to music has been hockey theme tunes and The Donnas.

-- Dom Passantino, Monday, 29 October 2007 11:41 (6 months ago) Link

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B'dum B'dum
May 8, 2008 7:50pm

here's a short reply, it doesn't really say anything but at least people are reading it.

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May 13, 2008 1:54pm

Sigh. We can't teach Dom anything, folks. He clearly knows it all.

Let him eat cake.

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cockney wag
May 15, 2008 8:55am

er, by applying the logic of this argument then Swells who surely must be about 50 and has been out of touch with music for two decades shouldn't be writing...

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Steven Wells
May 15, 2008 3:53pm

er, what argument? 

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cockney wag
May 19, 2008 10:19am

c'mon old codger...

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Steven Wells
May 20, 2008 1:12am

No, really, which of the several score arguments sprayed around this page are you referring to?

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cockney wag
May 21, 2008 9:42am

Kill all the baby-boomer music journalists!

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Steven Wells
May 22, 2008 3:26pm

Do you have a reading problem?

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May 29, 2008 7:03pm

SWells, why do you hate twee pop exactly? I don't get it.

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Jan 8, 2009 9:48am

The thing is Dom Passantino is a certified online bully.

His track record online would be considered illegal, probably worthy of a criminal record, in the real world. He picks on random people online for the pettiest reasons and he stalks and smears them. Online. How brave.

Look how Dom Passantino stalked this person, someone who was guilty of nothing.
Not to mention that Passantino's stalking habits reveal a distinct lack of social life.

Someone should blow the whistle on this horrible little man.
Because all he does he libels people and smear them for his own sweaty excitement. For reasons such as "the music they like". Playground stuff last seen on Year 7 at school...
Don't forget Mr Dom Passantino is 26!

Why is he doing that? In his perverse, warped mind, he probably hopes that some x-rate tabloid will employ him thinking that he's wacky or flary. But in reality he's losing job after job.

First the GUradian got rid of him after two or three articles because they didn't fancy being done for libel. Especially over music reviews. (see here From :

Then The Stylus received loads of complaints over his review of a Tori Amos record (see which contains the following line:

"the only way that were going to get a good
album from her in this day and age is if someone has
the decency to abduct and kill her daughter".

Understandably people went as far as threatening to kick his head in. But alas, someone as psychotic as Passantino was probably chuffed that he got loads of complaints and then kicked out by the magazine.

More recently, he referred to the killing of innocent girl Sophie Lancaster by writing that she was gagging for it, humouring that "it's a laugh" when a 'goth' wearing those clothes gets beaten to death.

Immature? Or simply horrible? Do you believe that a person can be simply horrible inside? After looking at Passantino's track record we are starting to believe so...

Then it emerged from several sources that Dom Passantino is a homophobe too (see (see

He also started a blog called "I hate you too bitch" (in which he was doing the same old crap again), until several complaints forced to shut it down.

Whoever will leave comments on his current blog (which I will not advertise with a direct link) trying to defend their reputation after some Passantino's defamatory exercise, will not be allowed to post.

What the devious little oddball does, he posts the comment, but he changes the content entirely, so in the end the post looks sympathetic to what Passantino wrote.

This is Dom Passantino. Watch out for him. And report him to ISPs or whoever if necessary.

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Mirnum Jeff
Mar 27, 2009 8:26pm

In reply to AJ J:

If anyone comes upon this by googling Dom Passantino's name, please take heed of the warning above. He is a stalker and a sociopath.

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