The Daily Mail Reviews: Nirvana

At the end of August (for some reason I only saw this today) Paul Connolly decided to review the legacy created by Nirvana – to mark the 20 year anniversary of the release of Smells Like Teen Spirit. Here is what he had to say:

Let’s get this straight – Nirvana were glorified one-hit wonders. Smells Like Teen Spirit was a freak, albeit a wondrous, magical one. They only wrote two more decent songs – Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge On Seattle (from In Utero) and Oh, The Guilt (a limited edition split single with Jesus Lizard).

Don’t worry, like many of you, I had my head turned by the hyperbole. But now we can be dispassionate and admit Nirvana were not only not much cop but their influence on pop has been mainly pernicious…

So why was Nevermind so huge? Simple. The turn of the Eighties/Nineties was such a wretched time for music that a song as good as Teen Spirit, and a man as pretty and beset by demons as Cobain, were assured of attention and adoration. It’s just a shame that many of those devotees decided to form bands and adhere utterly to Cobain’s “poor me” blueprint.

You can blame all those wretched “emo” bands on Nirvana. There are armies of kids who believe that a guitar and a persecution complex makes them an artist. Well, they’re wrong.

Ten million miserable black-clad kids – that is the extent of Nirvana’s pitiful legacy.

Something isn’t quite right in the world when an occasional and dire blogger on the Daily Mail website feels in a position to criticise the legacy created by what is generally accepted as one of the most influential albums of the last 50 years.


A favourite tabloid word, and rarely used in its proper context – for example, when over 24,000 people complained to the PCC about Jan Moir’s Gately article the word was not used by the Mail or any of the tabloid press. However, if the BBC has 7 complaints out of an audience of over 6 million for an episode of Top Gear then ‘outrage’ is inevitably used: ‘Jeremy Clarkson outrages viewers by announcing on Top Gear he’d seen saucy underwear beneath Muslim woman’s burka‘ – interestingly the URL shows that originally the over favourite word ‘fury’ was used originally.

Viewers is rightly plural, but rather than the hundreds or perhaps thousands that you would assume would make the story newsworthy it turns out that it was in fact just 7 complaints. The article soon turns towards the issue of the Burka, retreading old ground with the ‘debate’ about whether it should be banned or not – a debate that increasingly seems to be taking place only amongst the tabloid press and a few right-wing MPs. It is almost as if the Daily Mail are testing the waters, getting a feel as to whether they should launch a ‘Daily Mail campaign’ to ban the Burka.

Top Gear wasn’t the only show sparking ‘outrage’ today, ITV is also having to field the fury of a handful of puritanical viewers: ‘Emmerdale causes outrage over crude and offensive shopping list in the Dingles’ kitchen’. Not just ‘outrage’ but also ‘offensive’, which is a bit strange because when the tabloid press invents something that has been banned or criticised because it could ‘offend Muslims’ it is PC gone mad and ‘them’ taking over, yet here we have an offensive shopping list which causes people to be rightly ‘outraged’.

The offending items are: ‘jam rags’ and ‘piles cream’, they appeared on a black chalkboard in the background of a shot. Only a few people would have noticed it, most sane adults would have perhaps allowed themselves a wry smile. Sadly a few adults – assuming they haven’t simply been made up by the reporter, which is not unlikely – feel the need to complain (the only reason I can see why anyone could complain about this is that they lack the intelligence to distinguish between what will or will not harm them / their children or society and therefore complain about anything). One ‘outraged’ parent claimed:

‘I couldn’t believe my eyes when it appeared on screen – it’s not the kind of language you expect to appear in one of our oldest soaps.

‘I had to cover my young son’s eyes because I didn’t want to have to explain that kind of crass language to him at such a young age.

The whole story is really silly, and the irony is that hardly anyone knew about this supposedly offensive shopping list until the Mail published a story on it. What about the young children who read the article, who will cover their eyes? Those watching the show would have been unlikely to have seen the shopping list, now it has been screen-grabbed and repeated for them. It is utterly pathetic that the Daily Mail will give news space to any puritanical idiot just because they like using the word ‘outrage’ and pretending that every form of media is amoral apart from the Daily Mail.

This explains the hypocrisy of the Daily Mail writing about Jon Venables and his ‘1200 upskirt photos’, whilst featuring an upskirt photo of Alesha Dixon right next to the article. As the brilliant Charlie Brooker pointed out, TV – even the worst kind of reality / Victorian freak show exploitation TV – is a million times more sanitary than the tabloid press:

if TV broadcast the kind of material you see in the press – if it paid women in lingerie to recount graphic celebrity fuck’n’tell stories, or shoved its cameras up the skirts of girls exiting taxis so viewers could wank to the sight of their knickers, or routinely broadcast grossly misleading and openly one-sided news reports designed to perpetuate fear and bigotry – if the box in the corner smeared that shit on its screen for 10 seconds a night, it’d generate a pile of complaints high enough to scrape the crust from the underside of Mars.

But as we witnessed with Jan Moir and her Gately article, a record-breaking 24,000 complaints against a tabloid newspaper merits a wall of silence across all of the tabloids. Whereas 7 complaints about a presenter who purposely courts controversy (for which the Daily Mail loves him) just because he happens to be on TV generates an article; as does the words ‘jam rag’ and ‘piles cream’ when shown on TV. If the tabloid press wasn’t such a influential, toxic mess it would be funny.

The Misery of the Daily Mail

With all the faux-outrage over the mythical banning of England shirts and flags you’d think the Daily Mail would be behind one school’s plans to close early on June 23rd so that students can make it home in time for the 3pm kick-off. But they’re not: ‘School to close early … so the pupils can watch England play‘:

A school has angered parents by revealing plans to close early to allow pupils to watch a World Cup game.

Headmaster Neil Strowger has agreed to shorten lessons and bring forward a GCSE exam to enable his 1,200 pupils to get home in time for kickoff.

The controversial decision was taken after a request from pupils who are given a say in the running of their school through its Student Voice.

This is why it annoys me when politicians or anyone else tries to make decisions that will please the likes of the Daily Mail: it is a fruitless and pointless task. If the school had told 1,200 pupils they could not leave early to watch the game the Daily Mail would no doubt have attacked the school for ‘crushing patriotism’ or ‘English culture’. Yet, if the school shortens lessons and works to meet both the educational needs of the students and their desire to finish early for one day of the school year to watch an England match then they get outraged over that. Considering the World Cup is only every four years it really is a pathetic attack from the Daily Mail.

Naturally the Daily Mail get a quote from rent-a-gobshite Nick Seaton, of the Campaign for Real Education (who, like all organisations run by half-wits have a terrible website): ‘This is totally irresponsible. Schools have a responsibility to operate as normal unless there are exceptional circumstances that require them to close.’ Parents are also angry because they claim ‘that they are being forced to sort out unnecessary childcare arrangements’; even though the headmaster has clearly stated that ‘the school plans to run activities for pupils requiring supervision due to parents’ work commitments’.

All in all it seems like a sensible decision, lessons are 5 minutes shorter and one exam is being slightly brought forward. Students still attend the same amount of lessons and if their parents cannot pick them up or be at home to receive them at that time then the school has activities and supervision arranged. Those that can get home can support England in a world cup that comes around once every four years (assuming that they even qualify). Considering how the Mail constantly lambastes the ‘nanny state’, the lack of ‘common sense’, the health and safety ‘killjoys’ and the PC brigade sucking all the fun out of childhood and life in general you’d think they’d be really supportive of this decision.

But no, because the Daily Mail’s job is to criticise everything irrespective of whether, logically, they should really be writing a positive article.