The Streets: When You Wasn’t Famous

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The Skinner guide to pulling pop stars

The first two times I listened to this I was convinced that it was the most rubbishest single of all time, a cheese-fuelled, creatively bankrupt parody of Eminem’s dreadful ‘Without Me’. Then, on the third listen, rather like an Alsatian being talked through a card trick, the penny dropped and the true magnificence of Skinner’s comeback was revealed. Yes, it’s about hoofing great bumps of chisel, bashing the arse out of a load of crisp, gassy lager and nattering to girlband “birds” (all of which sounds like a tremendous idea). Yes, it’s set to a see-sawing, drunk-fairground of a choon straight out of the ‘I’m a Cockernee sort of Tom Waits character, me’ guidebook, but it’s also an incredibly focused dissection of modern media mores (and whores) by a person for whom snorting cocaine is as normal as having a pint, while smoking crack is still that little bit more naughty. It is throwaway and novelty in the best possible way, ie it’s very March 2006, but its theme – securing suitable sexual partners – is as timeless as pop itself. Skinner’s ambivalence towards the casual shag versus something a bit more ‘meaningful’ screams a potent message about all our passing years. I look forward to the, ‘Ikea’s A Nightmare And Decent Childcare’s A Pisstake, Mate’ album of 2010.