The death of Sue Townsend hits hard. I was fourteen in 1982 and had started my own diary that year, so was an eager audience for the first Adrian Mole book. I’ve been reading them ever since, as each new one appeared: a kind of fictional 7 Up series, but featuring my peers, albeit as seen by an elder. It helped that they contained some of the best comic writing around: funny, cutting, warm, wise.
Popular galloped through 1997 in just over two months, which is some sort of track record. I wasn’t expecting to like as many of the year’s UK number ones as I did—over half of them, in the end. Here are my more substantial comments on the year’s closing hits.
Some of my weightier musical thoughts from meaty Popular threads, as its canter through 1997 continued.
Dead currents, stagnant oceans, H2S skies and the next mass extinction: Our future in a world without ice caps.
Even if you’ve already seen Matt Mulholland’s captivating cover of “My Heart Will Go On” (via here if nowhere else), you owe it to yourself to dig deeper into his YouTube channel, which is a feast of musical delicacies.
The sacking of Louvain in August 1914. You would never guess it of Leuven today.
Film Crit Hulk on THE LEGO MOVIE. Saw it with W. the other day; recommended for any Lego kids and parents.
The Things. For fans of the singular John Carpenter.
1996 was an unexpectedly strong year for UK number ones, with thirteen votes from me in Popular’s end-of-year poll of songs worth six or more out of ten. Only a few were songs I was actually listening to then and would listen to much today; what I really loved that year were Suede’s Coming Up and Ash’s 1977, still my favourite albums by each band. But one or two became favourites not long afterwards...
A second instalment of my Popular comments on late 1996, indirectly featuring one of my favourite bands of a few years later, and directly featuring one of my favourite bands of the decade after that.