I was raised on a music journalist content farm. So here is a 200-word history of Lethal Bizzle’s career. He begun as one of More Fire Crew, a male version of The Faders: all invigorating youthful energy and a total lack of any competence. He then recorded “Pow!”. This was meant to be the musical summation of the social tensions and unrest that existed in the mid-2000s, but now stands a lot less evocative of the sound of 2004 than, say, “Put ‘em High” by Stonebridge. He had a shot at a pop career after this, which saw him flip the same Spinners sample that Abs from 5ive had used on his debut album three years prior, and somehow made a shittier stab at it. Then came grindie and a period of time where he was the token black man for hire for some of the worst guitar bands of the 2000s: Babyshambles, The Rakes, yourcodenameis:milo. He went on to play the Download festival, for some reason, before returning to the bosom of Channel U. What I’m saying is that, throughout every single musical nadir of the past decade, Lethal Bizzle has been present. He’s like the Zelig of crap.
It is the great question of our age as to which group of people are the most persecuted, vilified, and oppressed in our society. Some people say it’s Christians. Some people say it’s indigenous white people. Some people say it’s heterosexuals, and some people say it’s all of the above. Dawkins knows, though. It’s atheists.
Before we break down the man, let’s break down the chronology. Around 2003, “roleplaying” accounts were big on LiveJournal. Kissless 15 year olds set up profiles pretending to be the coffee advert guy from Buffy, or the chick that was in Date Movie from Buffy, and sublimate all their nascent teen emotions into portraying that character online. Then Twitter came along, and one of the early cross-media deals was “people roleplaying Mad Men characters”, which was good for the occasional broadsheet culture section article. As Marx famously said, however, history occurs the first time as tragedy, the second as farce, the third as lads bantering. Welcome to the world of soap opera roleplaying accounts.
Putting together a top 100 list is easy. There’s a formula. Think about a top 100 albums list. Number 100 is a marquee name to draw everyone in. The 90s are filled with recognisable entries, the 70s and 80s have some obscure picks, the 50s and 60s contain those whose reputation is either on the rise or on the fall. You get into the top 40 and you can start bringing out the big boys. We’ve done all that. We even had a wildcard entry with Sara Malm. And now is the time of the list where we go “Actually, “Stunt” by the Barenaked Ladies is one of the best albums of the 90s”. You’ll double-take, you’ll shake your head, but eventually you’ll agree: “It’s All Been Done” and “In The Car” are great singles and they both deserved more airplay.
You thought you could get away from us that easily, huh?
Of all the memes that have spawned legions of parody accounts on Twitter, Wonka is by far the worst and most ubiquitous. For some reason, a load of people decided it would be funny to have Gene Wilder state “Oh, you’re drinking diet coke? My, aren’t you the embodiment of a healthy lifestyle.” And so on. The thing is, that these jokes tend to quickly wear thin. There ain’t the permutations to keep it going. So you have to evolve. Conservative Wonka is a fascinating case study in this field.
We’ve already examined British lad culture once or twice on these pages, but you may be wondering: What do our American cousins have in it’s place? Well, they have something quite similar, but as you’d expect, there are a multitude of social and cultural distinctions to be made, which make it very complex to analyse. Here’s how you do it.
We need to differentiate between lads and “lads”. The former come from places like St. Helens and Keighley. They’re rugby league fans, they do seasonal work on a building site and love nothing more of an evening than downing ten pints and kicking an Asian man’s head in. “Lads”, on the other hand, are all Arsenal fans from Sevenoaks. Called “Tim”. The difference between the two is effectively the difference between alleyway rapists and date rapists. And @lads_house clearly fit into the latter category.
“We get a Tory government. The rich get massively richer. And this is evidence of a stupid chancellor? He’s just acting in his class interest” - Rob Manuel
“What’s long and black? The unemployment line.” - One of 38,476 jokes filed under ‘Racism - Black’ on Sickipedia, a site Rob Manuel owns and makes money from.
We need to talk about Guy Fawkes masks. I might be speaking from a position of some bias when I caution against glorifying a man who planned an ethnic cleansing of London’s Scots, but I think I speak for a wider demographic when I say that any ‘WE ARE THE 99%’ types donning the mask aren’t, in fact, coming across as edgy and dangerous, but in fact smack of “haha, V for Vendetta was cool, yeah. Welp, fuck the police or something, also let Julian Assange out. Having sex with a girl without a condom or her consent isn’t REAL rape.” Old Holborn, however, can’t even aspire to that.