The Null Device


The Guardian's Zoe Williams talks to Robert Smith of The Cure:

Smith says he hates cynicism, and its sidecar of irony. A lot of artists say that; normally, they mean "I hate it when critics are mean about me, what do they know?" Smith doesn't mean that. Which isn't to say that he has no critical faculty. He'll be plenty critical about his contemporaries - he still has space in his heart to say that Duran Duran epitomised everything he hated about the 1980s (although he's fine about Simon Le Bon . . . "I wouldn't say we were friends. But he's all right. I can chat to him"). And he has a frankly cock and bull theory about the Smiths, and how their influence on the era is overplayed because there's a media conspiracy, full of media people who liked them much more than anyone else did (mind, I would say that: I'm in the media, and I really like the Smiths).

Smith's disdain for The Smiths aside, The Cure seem to have followed Morrissey onto the mook-producer bandwagon; their next album (titled simply The Cure) is being produced by US nu-metal producer Ross Robinson (of Slipknot fame), who is apparently getting them to talk about their feelings about the songs more and so on.

(The fact that it's a self-titled album and there's a commercial-alternative producer on the project doesn't bode too well for it in my opinion; it sounds a bit too much like The Cure are trying too hard to be The Cure, and/or to make a record that moves as many units as possible. I wonder whether they chose Robinson for non-commercial reasons, or whether they had him pushed onto them by their label; I suspect the latter. Mind you, in my opinion, The Cure haven't recorded a memorable album since Disintegration in 1989; Bloodflowers, in particular, was deadly dull, comprised of overly long, tedious stadium-rock dirges. It seems to me that Smith has exhausted the narrow form in which he has specialised, to the point where anything else he does sounds tired and stale. Perhaps if he did what he did before The Cure became, well, The Cure, and set out to write songs with themes other than the usual Cureish mood swings (Killing An Arab and Boys Don't Cry come to mind, as do various stream-of-consciousness exercises like The Walk, written before Smith started weighing his lyrics down with his trademark angst/euphoria), they'd find a new wind.)

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So what will the culture-warriors in Canberra do to follow up their anti-gay marriage bill? How about withdrawing the morning-after birth-control pill from prescription-free sale. All in the name of protecting young girls from the dangers of sex, of course. Presumably the need to get parental consent for a prescription will scare a lot of teenagers into abstinence, or so the theory goes. (Do the Silent Majority Of Suburban Battlers really vote for such reactionary gestures?)

Anyone want to start a book on when the Howard government's US-style abstinence-only sex education push will be unveiled?

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