I’ve known my friend N since I was 17 and he was 20. These days, we can go months without seeing each other but we always pick up where we left off – the best kind of old friend.
I recently spent a PERFECT couple of days with him. This was thanks to the 20th anniversary of Placebo’s first album. Yes, really. In our misspent youth, we would listen to Placebo together, get drunk and cry. A lot, on repeat.
So of course we had to go to the special 20th anniversary show. It did not disappoint (except for being at Wembley Arena and very much an ‘arena’ vibe – we have seen them before in venues from Shepherd’s Bush to Brixton to Reading Festival). The greatest hits setlist had very few missteps (although we could bitch about a couple).
Every time I see Brian, my love for him reverts to starstruck 15-year-old levels and last week was no expception. I could forgive him anything just for playing Lady of the Flowers and I Know (see: this list I wrote quite a few years ago). Not to mention the Leonard and Bowie tributes that absolutely SLAYED me.
In short: thanks, Brian.
Funnily enough, it wasn’t a Placebo song I had stuck in my head for days afterwards. It was Madonna.
N and I have grown up somewhat in the past 20 years, although our musical tastes have not. Before the Placebo gig, we went out for a lovely lunch in Soho, had a couple of drinks – then on arrival at the venue, decided we fancied coffee and pain au chocolate. We drank coconut water on the way home and were in bed by midnight. Times have changed.
The next morning, we drank our coffee while playing with cats and watching Madonna's Rebel Heart tour DVD. I am a somewhat casual, if enthusiastic, fan of Madonna; N is the oracle of all things M.
As is so often the case after seeing N, I am still feeling filled with positive energy – and also love for Madonna. Watching her, I was reminded of her brilliance, ongoing relevance and general fucking fabulousness. I have been listening to her on repeat ever since, and have had True Blue lodged in my head for days now.
Here’s a tiny reminder in case you need firing up, too…
Also, good timing after her astute and moving Billboard speech...
“If you’re a girl, you have to play the game. You’re allowed to be pretty and cute and sexy. But don’t act too smart. Don’t have an opinion that’s out of line with the status quo. You are allowed to be objectified by men and dress like a slut, but don’t own your sluttiness. And do not, I repeat do not, share your own sexual fantasies with the world. Be what men want you to be, but more importantly, be what women feel comfortable with you being around other men. And finally, do not age. Because to age is a sin. You will be criticised and vilified and definitely not played on the radio.
...I think the most controversial thing I have ever done is to stick around.”
Let's hope she and her rebel heart stick around for a long time yet, please.