I really want to say thank you to everyone who rallied round after the unwelcome visit of GK Hand a couple of days back.

It was by pure chance that I was using my laptop for some of the voluntary work I do for Raith Rovers when the offensive comment was posted, and so I was able keeping an eye on what sort of responses that were coming in to Fraser‘s incredibly well-written and thought-provoking piece on Morrissey.  I was actually trying to pull together some thoughts of my own to add to what was proving to be one of the very best debates and discussions over the almost 17 years of this and the old blog, but found myself totally thrown by what I was now reading.   I was actually shaking with rage and shouting loudly at the screen.  I wasn’t just angry, but I was, I’m willing to admit, a bit scared that such a safe haven had been violated.

The album that happened to be playing in the background at the time was The Overload, as I was refamiliarising myself with it as a result of soon going to see Yard Act at Glasgow Barrowlands.  It’s an album that one sub-editor in The Guardian summarised perfectly as being full of waspish portraits of the country’s worst people.

This one’s for our racist commentator.

The last bastion of hope
This once great nation has left is its humour
So be it, through continued mockery
This crackpot country half full of cunts
Will finally have the last laugh
When dragged underwater
By the weight of the tumour it formed
When it fell for the fearmongering
Of the national front’s new hairdo

So then what becomes of the inhabitants
Of this once unstoppable isle
When all of its exports are no longer in style?
Are you seriously still tryna kid me
That our culture will be just finе
When all that’s left is nob heads morris dancing
To Sham 69?

Gob on thе ragman and rally ’round the maypole
Hijack the sound and stake your claim to it
Every card played is a statement made
And there’s always a new a scapegoat to blame for it

England, my heart bleeds
Why’d you abandon me?
Yes, I abandoned you too, but we both know
I wasn’t the one lied to
And I’m not scared of people who don’t look like me
Unlike you

So bold it is in its idiocy
So bound by its own stupidity
It does not realise it has already sentenced
Itself completely to death

The last bastion of hope
This once great nation had left was good music
But we didn’t nurture it, instead choosing to ignore it
Yes, we’ve been trapped by the same crowd that don’t like it
Unless they’ve heard it before
Leaving me stuck flogging my progressive dead horse south of the border
To the so-so and so’s and through and throughs and this and that’s
I’m buttered breads and proud of it
Who’s values flit whenever it fucking suits them
And we’re supposed to let it slide
Because the press have normalised
The idea that racism is something we should humour

Yeah, the last bastion of hope this once great nation has left is
To converse in a manner that will pacify, divide, and unite the room
But no one’s talking and rational thought has been forced into submission
By the medium through which all our information is now consumed
Yes, fake news
“It’s fake news, mate”

So bold it is in its idiocy
So bound by its own stupidity
It does not realise it has already sentenced
Itself completely to death

So bold it is in its idiocy
So bound by its own stupidity
It does not realise it has already sentenced
Itself completely to death

So bold it is in its idiocy
So bound by its own stupidity
It does not realise it has already sentenced
Itself completely to death

So bold




Intro from JC.

I’m very proud that a wonderful TVV community has built up over the years, and as I’ve said on numerous occasions, there is every possibility that I’d have given up the ghost by now if it wasn’t for the feedback/contributions from so many people.

I’ve never once turned down an offer of a guest posting, and I’m not going to start now.

Incidentally, it was my choice of music today.

Cancel-Culture Club


The composer Richard Wagner was an unashamed anti-semite, committing the most repugnant prejudice to print in both published and private writings. Decades after his death in 1883, his music was championed by the Nazis and used to glorify the horrors of German fascism. For many people, both Wagner’s own bigotry and his posthumous association with Nazism render his works unlistenable. Despite all this, he is almost universally recognised as one of the most important and influential figures in the history of music, without whose innovations the sound of our world might have developed very differently. His operas are a central part of the canon of western classical music, and he is revered today almost as much as he was over a century ago.

Risking a clang of bathos here, it could be said that Morrissey stands in a similar relation to modern pop music. His influence and innovations are not of comparable stature, but his now undeniable racism places fans of his music in an invidious and depressing position. How can people listen to songs that once defined and enriched their lives without conferring respectability on a man whose every utterance now disgusts them?

Neither Morrissey nor Wagner produced music that is explicitly racist, even though there is much post-hoc reappraisal of songs such as Bengali in Platforms, Asian Rut and National Front Disco. It was possible at the time for Asian fans to read those songs as sympathetic laments, and as I will argue below it is still possible for us all to do so, despite Morrissey’s more recent and unequivocal pronouncements.

All the same, it feels much easier to listen to Parsifal or the Siegfried Idyll than ‘How Soon Is Now’ or ‘Hold On To Your Friends’. The distance of time is undoubtedly significant. Wagner is long dead and not earning royalties from any of my purchases.

But musical genre has a lot to do with it too. It is much easier to divorce Wagner the anti-semite from his operas than it is to separate Morrissey the racist from any of his music because persona and performance are so much more important in rock and pop than in classical. It’s Morrissey himself who is singing to us when we listen to The Smiths and a huge part of the appeal of pop music is our admiration of and identification with the performers. When you become a fan of a group or a singer you buy in to the look, the personality, the sense of who these people might be and how you can make yourself more like them. Every star is a personalised dream of who we might like to be ourselves. Cool, talented, creative, adored by thousands… Nobody feels like that about Harrison Birtwistle or Michael Tippett because they were foosty old nerds. Consider the tragic uncool of Nigel Kennedy. I rest my case.

I am a firm believer in appreciating art without need of biographical details about the artist, or even knowledge of what they intended by their work. If the work enables you to arrive at an interpretation that illuminates, entertains or moves you, then that’s all that matters. But it’s hard to keep that up in the realm of pop music for the reasons above. It’s hard to be completely ignorant and not at all curious about who made this music and it’s natural to want to admire the person who made something you like.

Having said that, I reiterate that instinctively I want to be able to listen to the great creations of these people without guilt, and with a full focus on what the songs themselves make me feel. What we need to realise is that our responses to these songs are personal to us, not actually dependent on the people who made them or what they are really like, despite that impulse to identify. In the same way that young children will request specific stories for bedtime reading because they articulate feelings, anxieties, or aspirations that they harbour subliminally, we reach for particular songs and music because they capture something in our own lives or thoughts and give them expression more perfectly than we could manage ourselves, even though it may not be what the artist meant by it.

Once a work of art is out there in the world it takes on a life of its own. The artist can no longer fully control what the work means, even if they had a very specific meaning in their own minds when they made it.

An example of this for me is the Velvet Underground‘s ‘I’m Waiting For The Man’. This song was on rotation for me as a 15 year old, not because I aspired to be a New York junkie, which is what the song is about, but because I interpreted ‘waiting for the man’ in the sense of waiting to become a man, an independent adult with the freedom of personal responsibility. The song’s agitated, insistent rhythm was my impatience to be grown up and flown from the nest, not Lou Reed‘s strung-out desperation for another fix. It doesn’t matter to me what Lou Reed meant, the song will always be my coming-of-age anthem.

Listening to Morrissey won’t make anyone a racist. Nobody who grew up in love with The Smiths became racist because of anything Morrissey sang, nor will revisiting that music make you racist just because the mask has now fallen from Morrissey’s face. If you focus on the music and the memory of what those songs meant to you then you will continue to experience the humane, humourous, sensitive exposure of adolescent self-pity, the poignant loneliness, the yearning, the farce, the comic arrogance, the ironic love of life’s great disappointments. You will also continue to understand that Morrissey is a racist fuckwit. In fact, you owe it to yourself and to the rest of the world to prevent Morrissey taking those songs away from you.

That position may well be possible for you to achieve, but will you be able to resist the wrath of others who take a different view? One of the strong distinctions between our time and Wagner’s is the power of ‘cancel-culture’. Wagner wasn’t cancelled because when he was alive, anti-semitism was as socially acceptable as holding a door open for the ladies. Nowadays, if you transgress, you will be tried by a judge and jury of Twitterati and no argument will be brooked. I dislike using the epithet ‘woke’ in a negative sense, but sadly its proponents have made it all too easy for reactionary bigots to turn it against them through their rabid absolutism. To the woke, all is black and white, to coin a phrase, and nuance, subtlety and ambivalence are seen as tools of the fascists to undermine their comforting moral certainty.

So if the forces of the woke decree that Morrissey is to be erased, then good luck with arguing for the need to reclaim his creations of beauty and humanity. You may well end up cast out along with him. Your insistence on the value of anything Morrissey brought into the world will be like Winston Smith‘s happy memory of playing snakes and ladders with his mother, recalled at the end of Orwell‘s 1984. It will be punished out of you, it will be a false memory, a lie.

We should all question ourselves about where our own personal red lines are. What are the things that we find intolerable and inexcusable, and how should we react to them? We need to be able to explain and justify, to ourselves and to others, what our views are, because we have to understand our morality, not simply adopt it wholesale from another’s insistence. Not to do our own thinking is to submit to another sort of tyranny and it leaves us incapable of making sound judgements when confronted by new instances of social or moral transgression.

How else can you deal with the fact that Wagner had many Jewish friends, supporters and colleagues, including a long term friendship and professional association with the conductor Hermann Levi. It was Levi who conducted the first performance of Wagner’s final opera Parsifal in 1882, although in a demonstration of how obnoxious Wagner could be, he tried to insist that Levi be baptised before the performance. More recently, the Jewish pianist and conductor Daniel Barenboim attempted several times to perform Wagner’s music in Israel, and did so to a private audience in 1991 and again to a public concert audience in 2001. I doubt that Wagner will be high up the playlists of many woke warriors, because those kind of moral complexities are too hard for them to compute.

Similarly, poor old Morrissey – no, I take that back, Morrissey doesn’t deserve any of our pity – stupid Morrissey. For someone who once seemed able to encapsulate Englishness in a couple of lines he seems incapable of understanding the country’s moral burden born out of its history of colonial exploitation, slavery and cultural oppression. As V.S. Naipul used to say every time someone suggested that immigrants should ‘go back where they came from’, “we are here because you were there.” Who now has more right to declare that “England is mine and it owes me a living” than the children of Indian or Caribbean immigrants whose ancestors were screwed out of their birthrights by English imperialists?

In conclusion, I am against banishing Morrissey’s works to the same dark and soundproof cupboard that holds everything ever recorded by Gary Glitter and R. Kelly because the works themselves still have the same positive humane values for me that they always did. I am against giving any more indulgence to Morrissey himself, and against doing anything that will enable him to profit greatly from his work any more. So, making some of them audible here on this blog seems a perfect way of achieving both of those things.

mp3:  Morrissey – Hold On To Your Friends

mp3 : Richard Wagner – Ride Of The Valkyries



I’ve been reflecting recently on the fact that the golden age of music blogs has long gone.  I’ve probably been quite lucky to have been around when the industry regarded them as being a significant player in promoting musicians, particularly those who were emerging and on the cusp of a breakthrough.   There seemed to be hundreds of new blogs being every month, many of them being far more enjoyable, informative and entertaining than most of the established music papers and magazines.

I got things going on 30 September 2006, with The Vinyl Villain being hosted on Blogger until 24 July 2013 when it was torn down by Google for too many violations of the terms and conditions (i.e – the big labels didn’t like that I posted mp3s).  Later that day, I launched The New Vinyl Villain on WordPress and have done my best to ensure, with the help of many guest contributors, to post something at least once a day.

As time moved on, a real sense of community began to develop around TVV, which most came to the fore back in 2010 and 2011 when I lost, in fairly quick succession, a young brother and my best friend.  Other bloggers, and in particular Ctel (aka Acid Ted), stepped in to keep things ticking over while I took short breaks, and the various postings and comments offered up proved to be a huge help in getting me through tough times.

There was also the instance when we came up with the idea of Paul Haig Day, inspired by the fact that the singer and his management were appalled that postings and songs were being taken down by Blogger and being offered the opportunity to post some new and previously unreleased material.  From recollection, some 50+ bloggers all joined in on a given day and devoted their sites to a piece of music in which Paul Haig had been involved, to my great surprise and delight.

Things have been changing a great deal in recent years for all sorts of reasons, one of which being that blogging has been surpassed by other forms of social media and on-line content. There’s also the fact that the personal circumstances of individual bloggers have changed in many instances, with the increased demands from family and/or work circumstances meaning the required time is no longer there to devote to hobbies. Others have, understandably, got a bit tired and bored with things and chose to just give up the ghost, albeit they remain very active across other social media outlets or indeed as regular commentators across those music blogs still on the go.  I know of at least one blogger who decided that it was too much work to post on a regular basis and has kept his sanity by reducing the posts to one per week….although to give credit to Craig (Plain or Pan), he did get busy writing his first ever book with the possibility of a follow-up coming soon.

It is also the case that a number of bloggers have, sadly, succumbed to illness and have passed away over the years.  In many instances, their efforts can still be enjoyed as the blogs can still be accessed, but in other situations the consequential lack of activity has seen the on-line hosts remove the entire body of work.

It was as recently as 2017 that a number of us got together in Glasgow over a memorable weekend to celebrate and commemorate all that is wonderful about music blogs and to cement what had, for the most part, been on-line friendships.  Dirk (Sexy Loser) and Walter (A Few Good Times In My Life) came over from Germany. Adam (Bagging Area) drove up from Manchester.  Brian (Linear Tracking Lives) did the unthinkable and flew over from Seattle.  A number of others sent their best wishes, saddened by the fact that personal circumstances made it impossible to be there over that particular weekend.  The Scottish contingent was represented by yours truly, along with CC aka Stevie (Charity Chic Music) and Drew (Across The Kitchen Table) Colin, Aldo and Carlo, three friends who have been regular contributors to TVV over the years. Indeed, Colin was a former blogger, the individual more than any other who had been instrumental in helping me get TVV started.

Of the seven active bloggers who got together just over four years ago, three are no longer posting on their own sites, while a fourth has gone on the record a few weeks ago as saying he had given serious thoughts to packing it in.  Over the years I’ve come very close to wrapping it up, but always pulled back in by the fact that so many folk offer up such amazing and fascinating guest contributions that I feel compelled to keep going.

Music blogs require time, energy and resources, both in terms of those who write things up and those who read them.  It’s never a quick fix with just a handful of words, phrases and clichés.   The number of people who will permit themselves the indulgence of being involved in a blog, whether as a producer or consumer, has dropped dramatically in recent years. My stats show that the number of visitors to TVV peaked in 2016.  The figures for 2021 were the lowest in a full year in more than a decade.

But do you know something?  I really don’t care.  It never has been about the number of hits or the amount of feedback through the comments section or via e-mails, albeit it is nice to know, occasionally, that you have some sort of receptive audience out there.  It really is very much about that sense of community I referred to earlier, one that I’ve been lucky enough to have been part of it for so many years and which shows no sense whatsoever of dissipating.

To be fair, I might be slightly exaggerating the demise of music blogs. Folk such as Rol (My Top Ten), The Swede (Unthought of, Though, Somehow), Echorich (The Never Ending Search For The Perfect Beat) and Mike (Manic Pop Thrills) still continue to delight after many years, while a number of folk have started things up in recent years, such as Khayem (Dubhed), and of course SWC who is entertaining us in his unique and whimsical way at No Badger Required.

I know that not every bit of writing and every song featured on TVV will find favour with everyone, and that’s as it should be.  I think I’ve got a fairly eclectic taste in music which I try and reflect here on a daily basis, but I fully accept there are some singers/groups for whom I have a real love that leave some, and often many, of you shaking your heads in disbelief.  Equally, there are loads of singers/groups who aren’t featured because I have no fondness for them, but I hope such gaps can be covered by guest contributions….none of which will ever be turned down, although there may be instances where there is a delay from the date of submission to it being published…..especially if it’s an ICA as I limit those lengthy posts to one per week.

I know I’ve rambled a fair bit today, veering all over the place.  I’m not even sure of what I set out to achieve when I started typing things up, except to offer up a sort of general love letter to everyone who gives freely of their time to support TVV and indeed all the other fantastic and wonderful music blogs out there.  It is almost certain that the number of sites of this nature will diminish in the weeks and months ahead of us.  Some writers will be able to let everyone know in advance of their plans to bring things to a halt, while others will simply just make a snap decision to give it up, not returning to their blogs to close things off.

Me?  I’m going to keep things going just now.  I’ve just renewed my fees for the domain name for another year, and sorted out payment to box to ensure the music files can be hosted and downloaded should any of you wish.

But there will come a time when I will think that I’ve said all I really want to say.  Part of me thinks I should bow out in June 2023 when I turn 60 years of age, but if I find I still have an energy, desire and passion for all of this, then it’s likely that I’ll be boring you rigid for a while beyond that.

In the meantime…..thanks for indulging me.  Again.

mp3: New Order – State of The Nation (7″ edit)

Yup.  From the original vinyl.