‘Do you wanna be in the business?’ – 10 songs about the music industry

I read Mike Love’s autobiography last week, the lead singer from the Beach Boys who isn’t Brian Wilson. It’s actually a wonderful read, and a fascinating one at that for anyone supremely interested in 1960s America. In it, Love documents the sudden rise of the Beach Boys as ‘America’s Band’ after Life magazine ran a cover feature about California’s surf craze. So, writing to a brief almost, the Beach Boys signed a deal to produce seven records in something like two years, on the theme of surfing, girls and cars (Surfin’ USA, California Girls, Little Deuce Coupe respectively). While I was reading it I could help but listen to the band on repeat, which got me yearning for summer during a time in mid-March where we’ve been seeing blizzard-like snow. The interesting thing about the Beach Boys is that Pet Sounds and the re-imagined Smile Sessions aside, they have only around 15 hits that have kept resurging every 10 years or so, as another generation discovers their music and makes out with their boyfriends in the car to it. The memoir also recounts the band’s infamous lawsuits throughout the years which got me thinking about the workings of the music industry since the ’60s. So I made a PLAYLIST of songs about the curious, sneaky inner goings-on in the biz (scroll down for related lyrics*). You can listen to it here.

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Here are a list of other books that I have hugely enjoyed since the turn of the new year: Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney; Everything I Know About Love by Dolly Alderton, Rookie on Love by Rookie writers and contributors; Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. I’ve tried to get into Goodreads as a way to easily share and get recommendations on what I’ve been reading, but I JUST CAN’T RATE A BOOK OUT OF FIVE! I just rate ALL the books I’ve read out of five, mostly as a pat-on-the-back to myself: Well done you! Five stars for reading a book!

I went to Newcastle for St. Patrick’s Day to see my dear friend and Girl Chat co-host Chloe Trayford. It were a right belter. Here’s some art I saw at the Baltic Gallery that I give you full permission to use as your phone wallpaper.

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On the train home, I watched Beats Rhymes and Life, a documentary about A Tribe Called Quest available on Netflix! Watch it! It’s great! It’s so great I had no idea my train arrived 40 minutes late and I got the full price of my ticket back. All good news.

Other things that I’ve been up to: Saw the motherfucking GOAT Milo at Birthdays in Stoke Newington at both his sold-out shows in London a couple of weeks ago. I don’t have any photos. He did completely different sets both nights and it was probably the most life-affirming duo of shows I’ve ever seen (no hyperboles, trust). It was quite otherworldly to be stood at the front of the crowd and see someone be so creative so spontaneously and with such conviction. If you’ve not heard him yet, I suggest you do so wherever you listen to your music. If you want to support independent radio, here’s an appearance he did on NTS Radio. He steps up around 14m 30s, but listen from the start to hear an insanely good Busdriver track.

OK, I have a terrible cold and I’m out. I’ll be back soon having done some REAL writing.

(P.S. Here’s all the lyrics related to the music business in the linked up playlist, in case you didn’t believe me).
*1. Check the Rhime – A Tribe Called Quest
“Industry rule number four thousand and eighty
Record company people are shady
So kids watch your back ’cause I think they smoke crack
I don’t doubt it, look at how they act”

2. Paint a Vulgar Picture – The Smiths
“Best of! Most of!
Satiate the need
Slip them into different sleeves!
Buy both, and feel deceived
Climber – new entry, re-entry”

3. Free Man in Paris – Joni Mitchell
“I was a free man in Paris
I felt unfettered and alive
Nobody was calling me up for favours
And no one’s future to decide
You know I’d go back there tomorrow
But for the work I’ve taken on
Stoking the star maker machinery
Behind the popular song”

4. Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe – Kendrick Lamar
“You shut me down, you like the control
You speak to me like I’m a child
Try to hold it down, I know the answer
I can shake it off and you feel threatened by me”

5. Re: Animist – Milo
“Showboat rappers get stood up in their studio
I heard Wal-Mart signed Jason Derulo
Then dropped him cause he couldn’t sell crew socks
And refused to adopt the umlaut”

6. W.O.E is Entertainment – Jurassic 5
“Welcome to the wonderful world of entertainment
Where life imitate art and people get famous
Welcome to the world of showbiz arrangement
Where lights, camera, action is the language”

7. We Walk – The Ting Tings
We can’t be honest
We call it off
We got the choice if it all goes wrong
We walk, we walk

8. Have a Cigar – Pink Floyd
“You’re gonna make it if you try,
They’re gonna love you.
I’ve always had a deep respect and I mean that most sincere;
The band is just fantastic, that is really what I think,
Oh, by the way, which one’s Pink?”

9. Country House – Blur
“City dweller, successful fella thought to himself
Oops I’ve got a lot of money
Caught in a rat race terminally
I’m a professional cynic but my heart’s not in it
I’m payin’ the price of livin’ life at the limit”

10. Show Business – A Tribe Called Quest
“Let me tell you ’bout the snakes, the fakes, the lies
The highs at all of these industry shing-dings
Where you see the pretty girls
In the high animated world
Checkin’ for a rapper with all the dough
If you take a shit they want to know
And if you’re gonna fall, they won’t be around, y’all
So you still wanna do the show business?”

‘Nothing more than confetti on the floor’, or, considering ways to resolve 2017 before it even begins – 26/12/16

Resolutions for The Next Year. How lovely it is to measure things in years for absolutely no beneficial reason to us whatsoever. I think 2016 could have actually been a bit less depressing if you didn’t have to hear someone tell you how shit 2016 was being at least once a day. Oh god, a 96-year-old BBC weatherman died. Great, 2016. A racist reality TV star became the president of the United States of America. Thanks, 2016. Primark discontinued their sales of fishnet tights. Literally what the fuck, 2016.

On a personal level, I’ve had a pretty good year. I finally moved out, I travelled across a continent via high-speed train during the summer, I met a serious amount of gobsmackingly good people in a relatively small 12-month timescale, and generally had a huge hoot doing the whole lot of it. People came to watch a play I’d written, Joanne by Lady Gaga came out at the exact right time that I needed to hear it, and Instagram released a Snapchat-like feature where you can see who’s looked at your ‘story’, proving that most of your beady-eyed ex-boys still think you’re mad hot!

I went home last weekend to have Christmas with my dad, as I’m with my mum for the actual birth of Christ this time around in Spain (Feliz Navidad!) Spending the yuletide here is very different to being at home, but I am loving it. You can feel a bit weird about Christmas when your parents no longer hang out, so instead of having to deal with all that at home, it seemed like a good time to go on holiday. 

I’d been getting along just fine in London these past few months but I wonked out a bit when I mistook whisky for water at our Christmas party last week and the visit to my dad’s was a welcome break. I felt way more soothed out afterwards (my dad was quite adamant to run me a hot bath after I kept showing him how much my shoulder has been clicking lately. No, seriously, my shoulder can come out of its socket and go back in again – mostly pain free – every three to four minutes. He kind of went: Physio could be quite pricey, but Radox Muscle Soak could be the solution to this six-month problem! It wasn’t, but anyway, being home was lovely). Pa gifted unto me a book in which Beatles fans recall meeting the band on various tours from ‘58-’64, along with a recording of six Steptoe and Son radio episodes on vinyl! Like, the guy knows me, you know?

While I was immersed in hot water, trying to heal my dislocated shoulder without the financial interference of a private medical professional, I got thinking about what I could to do next year to resolve my things-that-could-be-improved things, in the hope to give 2017 a one-up on 2016. Here were some things I was thinking of doing – and am still thinking of doing – except now I’m editing this post sitting on a beach on the Costa del Sol. Come at me, 2017:

Cook better food

I moved out four months ago and thought that if you spent a fiver on a recipe book and made sure you came back from the supermarket with some onions, that pretty much meant you were Rachel Khoo. It doesn’t, my culinary skills are still quite limited to lazy bolognese (i.e., make a huge vat of it, freeze, and eat three times a week for a month).

We keep a rabbit in the flat (as a pet, not for consumption) who eats parsley and kale out of a tiny cardboard box, and sometimes I can’t help but think that I’m the one that wants to be eating something as hip ‘n’ healthy as kale, not this tiny and very cute mammal. I am better than I was, though, and I’m getting the hang of shopping relatively healthily in supermarkets on the cheap. Not only I am buying onions, I now occasionally buy the odd clove of garlic. I nearly bought parsnips the other day, but only nearly.

Answer emails on time

This has been a strange source of aggravation over the last few months: REPLY TO NECESSARY EMAILS ON THAT SAME DAY GIRL, because when you put it off until tomorrow, three weeks go by and you end up having to start emails with:


Sorry for my late reply, I’ve been in hospital after a malaria-y kinda safari trip on the equator, hence why I couldn’t let you know about This Really Important Thing, nor respond to your several follow-up emails.

Yours very, very, very truthfully, 


I have no idea how I got into this habit so hard and fast, but I’m going to nip it in the bud as of RIGHT NOW. If you email me in 2017, I will have replied before you’ve even pressed send, okay? I’ll live in the outbox.

Stop saying sorry

Look, I’m particularly stubborn when I don’t feel it necessary to apologise for something that wasn’t my fault, but I am quite happy to say sorry to my flatmate if I walk into the kitchen and she’s frying some eggs. It’s good practice to try and not apologise by default. A colleague at my old workplace once said to me: You say sorry for nearly everything you do! And I was all, Sorry! No not sorry! Sorry not sorry! (God, 2017 is NOT going to work out at all, is it).

No more shopping on ASOS

What could alternatively be titled ‘Spend More, Buy Less, Live A More #SustainableLife’, I am going to call ‘No more shopping on ASOS’. ASOS is like Tinder, you could easily spend an entire evening on it, but it never makes you feel Peak You. Particularly since its warehouse burned down a few years ago – and delivery only became free if you spent more than £20 – it’s became a weird hellhole where I find myself buying thigh high socks and hair clips just to get my basket’s monetary value up to £20.01. It’s all too easy to spend £20.01 on shit you don’t want just to make yourself feel better. So when I feel like a delicious consumerist pick-me-up, I’m going to head to HMV and buy a bargain bucket CD (like I did the other day with a Fugees album that has since changed my life), instead of a collection of naff velvet chokers off 0f ASOS. I am adulting!

No more tote bags

YOU’RE INVITED: Are you free on January 1? Would you like to attend a ceremonial burning of all 1,001 of my tote bags, collected at various free events and music festivals? Hooray! Bring your own bottle! It’s happenin’! I’m boycotting the tote bag in 2017 to a) fix my clicky left shoulder b) look like a More Fashionable Person who actually has proper compartments in her knapsack for things like LIPSTICK and BUSINESS CARDS. You may be pleased to hear that I’ve already invested in/been gifted such bags, and I am so hyped to begin the new year equipped with body pouches that DON’T JUST COLLECT TOBACCO IN THE BOTTOM OF THEM. THAT’S ALL THAT TOTE BAGS ARE GOOD FOR. ‘Anyone got any baccy?’ ‘No, but let’s turn my tote bag inside out, and – among the tampons and broken pens – we could roll up at least eight cigarettes!’ But no, I don’t have a lighter. For all their space and life span, tote bags NEVER contain the thing they really should have in droves: fire, for your tote-born fags. Massive eye roll, tote bags. But 2017 may already be looking up – my new one has a ZIP compartment!

Write more about shit you love (it’s not a waste of time if you just get on with it and do it)

Since my hack training began in late August, I’ve been closely monitored on my work with words each day, but had begun to forget the pleasure of writing for writing’s sake. This isn’t really a resolution, more so a reminder to myself that I’m at my happiest when I’m writing a lot. So, on that note, and perhaps ironically, I’m going to stop writing now to go and pour myself another whisky and coke.

Good luck, resolution makers, and here’s to a wonderful start to next year. Here are some tunes to create your 2017 rulebook.


T.A.L x