Shout out Smash Mouth (but not Chairman Mao)
A brief, and incomplete, history of things that overstayed their welcome: the bubonic plague, the feudal system, Chairman Mao, the provincial Russell Brand haircut I wore between 2006 and 2009. Some of these things had a resurgence, but feudalism and that fringe were never great ideas first time around. Yes: for the most part, it’s important to leave the past where it was, to know when to step through the door and into a bold new future, uncertain and exciting. This time around on The Week’s Winners And Losers, let’s turn our attention to those whose sense of timing is absolutely spot-on. Not you, Chairman Mao.
Well, is there anyone with better timing than Phoebe Waller-Bridge? Comic timing, narrative timing (every episode of Fleabag crowbarred a frankly unbelievable amount of stuff into 28 minutes) and, yes, the timing of the announcement there’s to be no more of her show, even if it came indirectly. “There will not be a third series,” Sian Clifford, who plays Claire in Waller-Bridge’s comedy, told BBC Breakfast this week. “This is it.” Is this it? This is it! Man, if only The Strokes had known to bow out after two stellar, near-perfect instalments.
Anyway, obviously it’s fucking sad there’ll be no more Fleabag, exceptional as it was – short, sharp, brutal and ruthless yet with a huge heart that could rival that of any supposedly serious drama – but at least it’ll never turn into a parody of itself. The phrase ‘jump the shark’ seems to have fallen out of favour, so let’s just say Fleabag never stepped on the guinea pig.
Then again, some comebacks are welcome. Sometimes you just need to look in the mirror and say: “Hey now – you’re an all-star / Get your game on / Go play”. And so it was with Smash Mouth.
The pop-rock titans crawled from Shrek’s armpit to angle to be the toast of Coachella festival in the year of our Lord 2019. Well, sort of. The festival regretfully said on Twitter that superstar Solange would no longer play for the beauties of Indio, California this summer. Smash Mouth’s response? “We got this.” The biggest comeback since Chairman Mao? It remains to be seen if the ‘Chella bods took them up on the offer.
Are Green Day the bubonic plague of pop-punk? Well, that’s perhaps harsh, even if ‘Basket Case’ is catchier than a medieval infection, and the singalong chorus to ‘When I Come Around’ is bigger than a bulging bubo. Yet the band made all the wrong kind of headlines this week with their woke new book, Last of The American Girls, billed as “a handbook for the rebellious – every woman who refuses to capitulate”. Except, no, wait a minute, turns it out it’s not woke at all, because it’s produced by three men: penned by comics writer Frank Caruso and based on Green Day’s 2009 song of the same name.
Look, surprisingly I don’t make the rules on this stuff, and understand them even less, but even I know that this is as good a look as my provincial Russell Brand haircut (2006-2009, R.I.P). Green Day have tried so heart-stoppingly hard to come back as the righteous punk hopes that they were in the ’90s (sorry to say that went out of the window some time around the American Idiot musical). But this just made everyone pull that stupid face Tré Cool does in all of Green Day’s press photos, somewhere between and tax return and prostate exam.
Finally, Miley Cyrus has been cancelled for hanging about a fragile and ancient thing, thereby risking its already delicate structural integrity. No, I’m not talking about Wayne Coyne, but a Joshua Tree in California. She posted a snap of herself frolicking on the greenery on Instagram (it’s since been removed) and folks on Twitter did their thing, decrying Hannah Montana as the worst thing to happen to nature since Johnny Rotten murdered punk on I’m A Celebrity… There’s another thing that’s overstayed its welcome: cancel culture.
Has there been anything dignified about Arctic Monkeys ‘Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino’ world tour? I hope not.
If ‘AM’ was the album that saw the lads from High Green embrace their status as world-conquering rock gods, it was on ‘TBHC’ that they learned to laugh at the lunacy of it all: Turner did a thing where he pretended that he’d forgotten his lines every time he sang “I lost my train of thought” and there was a posh-pit to ‘RU Mine’ at the Royal Albert Hall. So it’s sad they’ve finished the tour, but I’m glad they grew out those indie ‘dos and stepped into the future.