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Swells on Topshop playlisting The Rotted
Steven Wells , July 3rd, 2008 00:00

Topshop, popular outfitter to the nation's youth, have recently added malignant grindcore types The Rotted to their instore playlist. Swells explains why this means he should have been an A&R man, rather than working in Morrisons, back in '77

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In 1997 David Bowie flogged $55 million worth of 10-year bonds backed by his album sales. These bonds are now worth fuck all. Tramps use them for toilet paper. Hurrah.

The scam that this is the music industry is being gang-raped in every orifice by millions of baggy-trousered cybermonkeys. Economists reckon that by the year 2013 these stripey-jumpered virtual burglars will have stolen all our money back and spent it on lap dances and sweets. This is undoubtedly a good thing. But what about all the slack arsed chancers who blagged their way into the music industry and are now facing the screaming fucking nightmare of having to get real jobs?

I feel their pain. I do really. I had a job once. For three months in 1977 I worked in Morrisons supermarket in Bradford, stacking potatoes. It was fucking murder. And so I feel obliged to suggest some new music industry jobs that desperately need doing but are currently not being done.

1) Someone to stand onstage behind Thom Yorke. Every time he looks like he’s getting all angsty or existential, their task is to shout: “It’s just pop music, you pretentious cunt,” and punch him really hard in the back of the head.

2) It’s a crime that a naked Sting and a naked Sir Paul McCartney aren’t being hauled around a never-ending loop-tour of US Starbucks where, every night, the two old fools are fed amphetamines and raw meat and cattle-prodded into fighting with blunt knives with Sting wearing Spock ears and Sir Paul in a rubber William Shatner mask, with that Star Trek fight music blasting out of Motorhead sized speaker stacks. Just think of the jobs this menagerie could provide, not least to the former A&R men one can imagine sweeping up the blood and shit smeared straw.

3) Someone could be hired to sit next to whoever the person is on the Starbucks board who sticks up their hand and says: “I know, why don’t we carry the new Coldplay/Sting/Paul McCartney/James Hunter/Alanis Morissette/SonicYouth albums and then play a looped mixtape of their combined inoffensive beige doodlings over the tannoy, or PA as we call it here in America?”

The new employee’s task would be to then hit that board member with a baseball bat, just hard enough to break their arm, and then say (speaking quite loudly to be heard over the screaming): “What my colleague meant to say was we should play the band Rotted (formerly Gorerotted)"authors of such coffee-sipping classics as ’Gagged, Shagged, Body Bagged’, ’Stab Me Til I Cum’, ’Fuck My Arse With Broken Glass’ and ’I Can’t Fit Her Limbs In The Fridge’.”

I’m kinda guessing that’s what went down at the last Topshop board meeting. How else to explain how The Rotted’s ’A Brief Moment of Regret’ appears on the chain’s 20-song in-store CD loop alongside such the safely ungorotic likes of Goldfrapp, Supergrass, Kate Bush and Elvis “why are you still here?” Costello? Could it be that this particular song is about My Little Ponies having a picnic with Jesus and Big Bird? No, even worse, it’s a instrumental so piffly and inoffensive one could imagine it played by Belle and Sebastian as a warm up before they get down to some serious kick-ass passive aggressive mock pop. Which means someone at Topshop bottled the chance to blast the track ’It’s Like There’s A Party In My Mouth (And Everyone’s Being Sick)’ at that oh-so-crucial treats-buying-knickers-as-a-leisure-activity demographic.

Or could ’A Brief Moment of Regret’ be the tiny but well lubricated thin end of the most enormous industrial jackhammer-powered fuck wedge? Soon you’ll hear ’Only Tools and Corpses’ in Homebase, ’Zombie Graveyard Rape’ in Anne Summers, and ’Kissing you With My Fists’ in Boots. And it won’t stop there. Some ex-Bradford Cathedral choirboy wins Pop Idol with a falsetto cover of Cannibal Corpses’ ’Rotted Body Landslide’. Howard the geek from NatWest charms us all by selling mortgages to the tune of ’Vomiting the Fetal Embryo’ by Dying Fetus, while Carcass’ ’Vomited Anal Tract’ becomes the new national anthem (74,000 England fans pack Wembley, bulldoggish tears in their eyes, hands on their pounding lionhearts, all passionately singing: “Liquidized oesophagus mixes with bloodied excretion / As you pathetically gasp for breath/ The stench of hot faeces scorch your nose / As you violently vomit to death |” and so forth. The sheer tantric power of their concentrated patriotism actually causing the watching Queen to actually vomit her anal tract which is to torn to bits and eaten by corgis. Live on TV).

Oh no, I’ve held it off long enough, her it comes: OBLIGATORY OLD FART THERE’S-NOTHING-NEW UNDER-THE-SUN PUNK ANECDOTE, JUST TO PISS OFF EVERYONE UNDER FORTY.

It’s summer 1977 and I’m working my arse of in Morrisons supermarket in Bradford, England. Every two weeks some godforsaken Muzak Corporation clone company sends Morrisons an updated mock-muzak version of the current top 20 that sounds like it’s sung by Christian eunuchs on valium.

This is played on a continual loop, 12 hours a day, every day.

This particular week the top 20 contains ’God Save the Queen’ by The Sex Pistols, ’Gary Gilmore’s’ Eyes by the Adverts, and ’Peaches’ by The Stranglers.

“Gary don’t need his eyes to see, Gary and his eyes have parted company” billycoos the PA"or Tannoy as we call it in England.

For the first 345 times this is quite shocking (post modernism hasn’t even been invented yet"we literally have no defences). Then it gets boring. And then"at around play 9,458"it quite literally drives me mad. Not quite as mad as those poor cunts in today’s Starbucks who have to listen to the worst loop tape ever made (while smiling politely at Morrissey fan customers who, while in no way racist, are prone to loudly express the opinion that the baristas, with their “vile” foreign accents, are undermining the unique culture of England) but mad enough that I wasn’t ever going to be offered a job in the music industry.

Which is cultural tragedy. Had I been made A&R Czar at the age of 18 and been given unlimited emergency power, almost none of the shit bands you like would ever have been signed. I could have kicked indie to death in its cot. I could have chased it back into the womb, ripped the egg and sperm apart and forbidden them from ever co-joining again. Which in turn would have made you less of a pop-hating cloth-eared cunt and the world a much nicer place.

Curse you. Morrisons. Only two letters away from Morrissey, the Lord Voldemort of shit pop. Coincidence? (All the Sub-Pop employees and many of its band members worked for the real Muzak Corporation in Seattle. One of them, Kurt Cobain from the band Nirvana, would later get so irrationally depressed " despite the fact that he had all the dosh, drugs and swimming pools full of gold tits that anyone could ever ask for " that he blew his pretty brains out with a shotgun. That’s the power of muzak.) It’s all connected man, it’s all connected.

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Ass Hat
Jul 3, 2008 5:47pm

never a truer word shouted.

i worked selling double glazing on the phones for a few weeks once. when we were under-performing, they would play 'ecuador' by dj sash on a non-stop loop.

i learned a lot about ecuador that summer, and still have a great deal of respect for its people and culture.

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Fergus
Jul 4, 2008 5:05am

Tannoy is a brand name.

Why are you all staring at me?

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Jon McArthur
Jul 4, 2008 1:23pm

NatWest, NatWest........surely everyone knows that Howard sings on the Halifax adverts, along with little Lee from Leeds, who used to be a beach boy!

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terminator 2
Nov 10, 2008 10:35pm

why feed macca raw meat? being a vegetarian is the only things thats good about him.

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Johnny Nothing
Jul 29, 2012 9:31am

How come I never 'got' this guy's writing before? He is (was) a cynical comedy genius. I must be some kind of cunt. (Apologies. When in Rome and all that.)

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