Monday, July 4, 2022

Finding Our Way Home

Since I added to my feeds a few months ago it has somewhat unexpectedly become my primary source of gaming news. Back when I used to buy it at the newsagents in the early 1970s, the New Musical Express was precisely that - a print publication filled with news about music and pretty much nothing else.

By the late seventies there was a lot of politics in the mix and by the time I stopped buying it in the mid-eighties there was coverage of movies and other arts, too. One thing that definitely never got a mention was video gaming.

Now, billing itself as "The world’s defining voice in music and pop culture: breaking what’s new and what’s next since 1952", I would estimate well over fifty per cent of everything that comes down the Feedly pipe from NME Towers relates to either K-Pop or Gaming. 

Indeed, NME covers K-Pop to such an extraordinary extent that I was astonished to read this morning that Nayeon "has become the first-ever K-pop soloist to enter the Top 10 of the Billboard 200." I was under the impression all these singers and bands I'd been reading about must be global superstars. Otherwise why would I need to know?

One of my backlisted projects for the blog is to take some time to listen to a selection of the seemingly endless series of Idols NME keeps bringing to my attention so I can put together some kind of post about whatever it is they're trying to tell me or sell me. I feel it's something I ought to know more about even if I'm not sure why.

That's an adventure for another day although I don't see why we shouldn't take a moment to enjoy POP, the ineffably-titled lead single from Naeyon's groundbreaking mini-album, IM Naeyon. It's very good, although it does sound like it could have been made at just about any time in the last fifty years.

And that's all the non-inflammatory content for today. From here on in it's all trigger warnings and swearing. No judgment if you want to dip out now.

What I came here to talk about this afternoon is a little more serious. I've been wondering for the last week or so whether to post about the infamous Supreme Court revoking of Roe vs Wade. It seemed such an important event on so many levels that to ignore it seemed weird and yet an English male weighing in on such a topic, paritcularly on what is ostensibly a gaming blog, felt uncomfortable, bordering on innapropriate.

Mrs Bhagpuss and I were talking about it as we walked Beryl last night and I told her that, after a good deal of consideration, I'd decided not to post anything after all. If anyone else in this part of the blogosphere had done more than mention the situation in passing I must have missed it and, while the effects of the decision are going to be with us for the foreseeable future, the immediate cultural moment seemed like it might have passed.

And then I saw this in my NME feed. Why I should have heard about it first from this particualar source is a question worth asking but that's where I got the news and I was glad to get it from somewhere. 

This makes the third charity protest bundle I've picked up in the last couple of years. They're fantastic bargains on paper - this one claims to be worth £2500 - but in practice it's a donation pure and simple. I've only played a handful of the thousands of games and it's extremely unlikely I'll even look at the descriptions of most of them. A lot of them are PDFs for tabletop games and many duplicate or even triplicate between the bundles. I'm definitely not buying these to play them. If I do, that's a bonus.

The fundraiser is for "the National Network for Abortion Fund's Collective Power Fund, which moves money directly to abortion funds across 20+ U.S. states, with a particular focus on the South and Midwest." The target is a modest $50k.  

When I bought my bundle a few hours ago the total so far already stood at $48k and as I write it's close to $60k. There are still nearly ten days to go. I'll be interested to see what the grand total comes to.

I don't have a lot more to say about it. I still think it would be crass of me to start analysing or interpreting the circumstances and implications of the politics from three thousand miles away. I'll leave that sort of thing to those who feel comfortable doing so.

What I am happy to do is relay the words and voices of a few of those people who have felt the need to express their opposition publicly. Last weekend, when all of this kicked off, I was watching the BBC's live feed from Glastonbury, where all manner of artists, from superstars like Billie Eilish and Kendrick Lamarr to indie acts like Idles and Phoebe Bridgers made a point of using their plaform to express outrage, anger, disappointment and fear.

For a few days I was pondering the idea of a post featuring clips of all of the above and more but now I'm going to settle for my two favorites, both of which not only drive the point home with effortless authority and absolute clarity but also make for fantastic listening and viewing. Also they're both sweary as all get-out, which ties right into that other post I keep threatening but never come through with. 

One, sadly, isn't on YouTube but you can watch it on iPlayer as long as the BBC keep it up, always assuming you can access it from where you live. It's Jarvis Cocker and his post-Pulp outfit, Jarv Is, with a version of their extremely NSFW number, the real name of which even I balk at typing, here rendered slightly more acceptable for mainstream broadcasting as Pricks Are Still Ruling The World.

The other is this superb performance from the wonderful Olivia Rodrigo. Her entire set was a master class in how to charm and delight a huge festival crowd, many of whom hadn't come to see you and probably weren't expecting all that much. I watched the whole thing live and loved every second of it. 

Fuck You (feat. Lily Allen) - Olivia Rodrigo

Take this as a teaser. I'll do the whole damned thing one day! And don't foget the fundraiser is open until July 14.


  1. Oh crap. How have I never known about NME? I've spent the past 15 minutes perusing it, and I'm forcing myself away to work on the project that I stopped back inside the house to grab some PVC cement for.

    1. I don't think they're the global brand they'd like to think they are but they were big here for several decades and the website's very well researched and presented.


Wider Two Column Modification courtesy of The Blogger Guide