GARBAGE: 20 Years Paranoid Tour. 9th September 2018. Manchester Academy.


There are some experiences in life that can never be replicated. There are some moments where words do not do what you have been through justice. Last night I saw Garbage perform a record in full that came out 20 years ago. This is the record that saved my life. This isn’t an exaggeration; it’s the truth. Music has, and always will be my crutch but Version 2.0 helped me in ways, and still helps me in ways nothing else has. Or could.

This isn’t a typical review of a show. This wasn’t just me going to see a band play live. This was something else. This was an outer-body experience. It was part healing, part saving, part something that I do not know how to put into words.

There were a few songs I knew would break me. I tried listening to one in particular a few days before the show and I couldn’t make it through. How was I going to cope seeing it live? As soon as the opening notes to Medication kicked in, I suddenly wished I was on a higher dose of sertraline. My mind and body couldn’t really come together to fathom what I was experiencing. The brutal truth; Medication got me through being bullied all through secondary school, it got me through the years and years of self-loathing and what comes with it. Just read the lyrics, it’s fairly obvious how I coped. Do I regret it? No. Am I ashamed? Not at all. We all cope differently. So when I heard this song last night, I went back to the days of feeling like I did then. But something happened- it wasn’t just tears of sadness. They were tears of relief knowing that I don’t have to carry that feeling around ever again. Sure I have to face depression and anxiety every day- but certain feelings aren’t there no more.

A moment that truly stood out was Shirley crying at the response we gave the band. But, what else could they expect? People that were there last night were people who idolise the band, who have had their lives saved by them, who use the strength in the band make it theirs. Last night’s show was the best show I’ve ever been to- the main reason being what the record means to me. However, the reaction from everyone was just so beautiful, and totally backs up my theory that crowds in Manchester are just the best.

I loved when Shirley went into Personal Jesus during Wicked Ways. It went perfectly, and was something I just wanted to last forever. I also loved Dreams by Fleetwood Mac being sung by Shirley towards the end of You Look So Fine. That song has always made me cry for reasons I’ll never understand, and to hear Shirley sing You Look So Fine and expose just how vulnerable the song is was just something else. Push It sent everyone nuts- it was incredible. I was stood right at the back, but to see everyone go off for this song was so beautiful. The crowd was made up of every background you can imagine, and it was just a beautiful sea of people coming together to see the band that they adore. There is no better feeling.

Every B-side was played, and my personal favourite was Solider Through This. It’s been a song I have loved since I heard it years and years ago. I loved the fragility in it. I loved Shirley’s speech before she went into it. She said relationships shouldn’t be difficult, that they should be easy. I truly felt that- I was stood next to my girlfriend, my best friend as she said this. There was no one else I’d want to see my favourite band with, and allow them to see me ugly cry like that. Although a difficult song for her to sing live (the lyrics justify why) Shirley’s voice on this was one of my favourite moments of the show. Shirley’s voice at this show was nothing short of mind-blowing. I have never heard anyone sound so tough and powerful. There’s a note in this song near the end that she totally annihilates and every single part of me is covered in goose bumps. She does this numerous of times throughout the show, and I think it’s us, the crowd that make her sound louder than she ever has. I was just in awe of her voice and how Butch, Eric, Duke and Steve play with this energy that puts newer bands to shame.

The Trick Is To Keep Breathing was the song that made me cry the most. I’ve never ever cried like that at a show before, and I never will again-unless it’s seeing this song. This song was my lifeline for so long, and it still is. It’s my go to song when everything is too much or when I just need some form of reassurance. I used to repeat the chorus in my head as I walked the corridors at school and had this feeling in my stomach knowing what I was about to face. This song got me through it, and I am forever in debt to Garbage for this song.

When you go to a Garbage show, you are enamoured by all of them. You focus on Shirley stalking the stage like a hungry panther, Butch makes you wish you could play the drums, Duke is the coolest person on the planet, Steve has this laid-back stance but you know he is playing with everything he’s got and Eric drives the band on. I’ve never seen such a perfect bunch of musicians like this before. They fit together. Their bond is just so beautiful.

Excuse the pun, but it was such a special show. Every song made me feel like I was going back 20 years ago to hear this record for the first time all over again. I loved that there were little kids at the show wearing massive headphones-imagine that being your first show you ever go to! Those kids have cool families. I love how this show just brought so many people together all for the same reason. I loved hearing The World Is Not Enough,  Dumb and their cover of Can’t Seem To Make You Mine. Temptation Waits blew my mind a stupid amount! I wanted the show to keep going forever. In my head, it still is. I’m emotionally exhausted from it and I’ve had about 5 hours sleep. I feel like I am still at the show. I want to always stay in that moment.

The show ended perfectly on their cover of Starman. That song has always made me cry (what doesn’t… I know!) and to hear them sing this song, it kind of felt like the band were saying “Stay weird and don’t let anyone take it from you. Ever.” Just like Bowie always did. The way Shirley sings this makes you realise she has definitely studied his performances, and she did the song justice. They all did. They made this song theirs but in a way, you knew it was a tribute and it was so perfectly done.

I never thought I’d see/hear the songs live that saved my life. I never thought I’d experience it. It meant more to me than these words I’ve written can express. If on the off-chance they read this- thank you. You helped this kid deal with more than they could carry, and make it to adulthood.

GARBAGE:Strange Little Birds.


“Every broken thing can’t be fixed.
And all those fragile things we are,
They find their voice, they find their power.”

Some feelings we have can be replicated by others things, and other people. In a way I guess that can make us question the legitimacy of it- but that depends on the feeling and who/what made you first feel it. Feelings are hard to wrap our heads and hearts around, and like most, I use music as some kind of means to get into whatever is going on. It, for the most part helps. But there’s one feeling that can only come from one thing in particular. I’ll never feel it from anyone else. That feeling is when your favourite band, the band that dragged you through hell and back for over 20 years come back with a new record. Each Garbage record has matched a point in my life where only their music would do. Only their music would be the thing that got me through. I’m aware I sound like an oversensitive idiot- but I’m trying to state the importance of them, but do I really need to? They’ve been around for over 20 years and they’re still here, so that speaks more than my words ever could. Yesterday Strange Little Birds came out, and yet again, they’ve managed to make a record that fits comfortingly into what’s going on inside. I’ve read a few reviews where they have said that Strange Little Birds sounds a bit like their first record, but to be honest, it could be a really loud Acid House record and I’d still love it- because it’s them. I’m an unconditional fan for life.

Sometimes: A song that oozes destruction is always the perfect way to start a record. It starts with an intense piano intro which is followed by what resembles a rumble of thunder. Then Shirley’s voice kicks in and the words hit hard. It is such a haunting and dark song, and in a way that’s been what I’ve clung onto- Shirley isn’t afraid to speak of insecurities and ugly feelings we are always told to cast aside. There are many ways in which this band are my absolute heroes/heroine, and it’s their honesty that does it. I challenge anyone to not relate to: “Sometimes I feel like I vanished in thin air.
Sometimes I feel I’m not here.”

Empty: Firstly, please play this as loud as you can and secondly, this is the one that captures their first record in 2016. Like a lot of Garbage fans, their first record changed my life. I was just approaching 10 years of age, my dad wasn’t doing so good (he died a few weeks after their first record came out, and I saved up for a tape copy of it with my pocket money) and this record, as young as I was became everything to me. As I got older, I related to the songs more. And to hear something that takes me back 21 years is messing with my head big time but you carry on, you have to. What I get from Empty is being able to not relate to everyone who has to pour their lives on to social media in order to seek validation of others. Maybe they are the ones that are empty. We all are in a way, there’s always something missing. I think the lyric I love the most is this: “So I work at staying patient. Good things come to those that wait, or so they say.” However, I’m not entirely sure what I’m waiting for.

Blackout: The bass on this is one of the best moments for me on the record. It’s got this deep, swirling sound which is like Warpaint meets The Cure. It’s dark, intense and spins you off into a dream. With it being over 6 minutes long, it’s just bloody ideal. It’s an intense ride that feels like a telling off to the self. It’s the perfect way to get back at anyone or anything that’s pissed you off. I guess with how Shirley sings this and the gorgeous menacing lyrics will make some link this to the likes of Stupid Girl. I see it, I really do but the sound on Blackout is so big and so powerful, you in a way, forget all that’s come before Strange Little Birds. What I’m getting from this record so far is that Garbage don’t sound completely like a band who have been around for 2 decades here, they sound like a brand new band who are here to show us how it is done. They’ve got more power, bite and determination than a lot of newer bands, and that alone just deepens my love for them. I love the sheer attitude in this song that comes out from all of them. Perfect.

If I Lost You: This song is painfully open and hugely vulnerable. That’s what drew me towards Garbage years and years ago. The openness and carefree honesty always touched me. Maybe it’s for the good or bad that I’ve never been jealous of the person I’ve been in a relationship with, but the lyrics to If I Lost You are so easy to relate to, you imagine going through it. Or, you can imagine how the other person feels. I’m swaying towards the latter and it brings out a change of ways. I just think this is line is one of the most powerful on the record: “Are you so strong, or is the weakness in me?” We’ve all felt that way- friendship, relationship, all felt it.

Night Drive Loneliness: I love songs that give off a feeling that you can only get when you listen to them at a certain part of the day/night. There are a few bands I love that I can only listen to at night time because of the mood they create. I’ve never really felt that way with Garbage until now. Night Drive Loneliness would probably sound better if I could drive and if it was dark out. Instead, I’m at my desk in my room at 2:15pm and it’s raining. Again. Maybe that’s my version of a night drive. This is my escape. I love how this song captures the desire to escape everything and everyone so beautifully. A feeling that doesn’t always leave, and I think if we didn’t want to escape every now and then we’d have robotic tendencies and be blank humans. Or maybe you can go the other way with this song. Maybe it’s feeling lonely when surrounded by a load of people. Maybe it’s a touch of both. Take it however you want, and make it your own.

Even Though Our Love Is Doomed: This one hits close to the bone for many reasons. Maybe all love is doomed to an extent, but me personally, I’d rather go towards something that could be doomed than not have every single part of me challenged. Basically, love should feel like a Nick Cave song. Even Though Our Love Is Doomed is such a beautiful reassurance that, even though some of us have difficulty with it- we can still love, and it can be warped and twisted but it’s still love. We all find someone who makes us feel this way and you can’t rush it. Maybe you’ll find it now, maybe you already have or maybe it’ll just take time. This vulnerable kind of love is the kind that is good for the soul. The last minute and a half of the song has this huge build up that evokes SUCH urgency. It’s one of the most important Garbage songs ever. Cling tightly onto this one.

Magnetized: Unlike the song before, this one is not a love song of sorts. It’s a lust song. It’s about being hooked on someone without the falling in love part. We’ve all been there. It’s about 2 souls clashing who are polar opposites and sometimes it works out. Maybe love develops but with this one, just being hypnotised by the person is a safer bet than falling in love. Such a simple line, but I adore this: “Get so close that it hurts.” Sometimes you just have to let something like this in and let it hurt you. Go into the unknown and just see what happens. Life would be a bore, a dull ache if we didn’t step into the unknown every so often.

We Never Tell: The heavens have now opened in London, and I can’t think of a better record to play as the rain falls harder and harder. I just went to check on my housemate’s cat to make sure she’s okay. She’s gently napping, so I gave her a kiss on the head. This means nothing to the outsider, but show affection where and when you can. We Never Tell is a great song and I love the lyrics. I really love the line: “We’re on the outside always looking in. You don’t trust humans and I feel the same.” I would take the trust of animals over people any day, and when you find people who get that- that’s when you know. Mutual understanding goes a hell of a long way, especially as people seem to be getting colder. Hey I can’t look after myself but I’m pretty sure I could look after a dog, no problem. We Never Tell is a great “fuck you” to those you want to prove wrong or to those you want to shut up.

So We Can Stay Alive: Gentle vocals but aggressive lyrics and ferocious guitar courtesy of Duke. This is one of the angsty songs I’ve heard in a long time. Sometimes you just need something to bring out that dormant rage that others beg you to tone down. Don’t let nobody in this world make you tone down whatever you feel. Don’t let anyone try tame or change you. Speak up don’t shut up. Call the fuckers out on what they’re doing wrong. I love how rowdy this song is, in all the right places. The guitar kicks in to back up Shirley’s gentle voice. But that gentle voice is unleashing a fury that will make you run. But you better listen up, chump! You can try break a person but they will eventually get their own back when you least expect it. The weak can find strength, in time. In their own time, they get there.

Teaching Little Fingers To Play: I’m trying my best to not make any references to old songs, but for me this sounds like the aftermath of Medication. Of course that self-destructive feeling stays but then something kicks in and you realise you’ve got to do certain things on your own. For me, Teaching Little Fingers To Play has that same fragility as Medication but without wanting to destroy oneself. Instead, this focuses on being able to pick oneself back together again without anyone around. We’re always told we need to have others around to fix us, but sometimes you can do certain things on your own. You can get tough in your own way. This is less co-dependant and more dependent on nobody but yourself. It’s a kick up the arse, in a way. “Nothing ever stays the same.
Youth and beauty don’t remain.”
Gorgeously accurate.

Amends: The last one on the record, sadly. Just play it again. That’s all you can do. A wave of sadness always hits when you reach the end of a record. Me being utterly sentimental, it does bring on a hint of sadness. You don’t want it to end. You want that first moment you listened to keep coming back. Over and over. But fortunately, I get that feeling every time I listen to Garbage. Amends is a beautiful song that deals with any kind of loss you’ve had with a friend, lover, whatever. Sometimes we forgive, sometimes we forget, sometimes we physically cannot do either. The hurt and rawness of being hurt in this song is very close to the bone and my god, you feel the hurt. There’s a part in the song that sums up perfectly how anyone has ever felt. It’s not a nice way to feel, but we’ve all been there: “There is nothing you could say to cause more hurt, or cause me shame. Than all the things that I have thought about myself.”  We are all capable of hurting ourselves more than we can hurt another person, and sometimes it easier to break our own hearts than someone else’s. There’s this dignified rage in this song that is so eloquently put together, and you know what? It’s the perfect ending to the record because it feels like healing. With a lot of their records, the last song on each one does feel like healing. They’ve done it all over again here with Amends.

On Monday I’m seeing them again at the Troxy which is about half hour from my house (thankfully.) It’s one of my favourite venues. There’s still some tickets left. Garbage are the band that have helped in some way make me alright with whoever it is I am. I keep a handful of uncertainty because I’ll never be fully settled with it. If it wasn’t them, I wouldn’t have this inner toughness that I reserve for certain things. Certain things I thought would ruin me in some way. Certain things that make me get a little braver each time. The got me through the pains and torment of school and the uneasy ride of adulthood. There will never ever be a time where I don’t turn to their music for some form of comfort and for that I am truly, truly grateful and forever in debt to them.

GARBAGE. O2 Brixton Academy. 8th November 2015.

For some reason I never thought I would see my favourite band of all time live. I thought after the tour in 2004 that I had tickets for was cancelled, I wouldn’t have the chance again. Time wasn’t on my side and any dates announced after I couldn’t make. Would I really never see the songs that saved my life in the flesh? Would I never get the chance to see the band that gave me hope when I was a miserable teenager with no clear way out?

It happened. It finally happened. This evening I finally got to see Garbage live and it was everything I hoped it would be. I was stood downstairs in the midst of it all. And in the seating area was a friend from secondary school who loves them as much as I do. To know she was up there watching made the gig mean more. Two kids from a small island in the middle of south London watching the best band in the world.
The gig was a celebration of 20 years since the release of their debut record. I was about 9 years old when it came out. The video to Vow gripped me. I was old before my years. My father had just died and I was dealing with it however a kid is meant to. For me it was music, and that set in stone how I was to face daily life-through music.
The band walked on stage and I, like a wuss, cried. I cried because it was finally happening. I cried because everything that had happened in the lead up to this started to slip away. I’ll never be tough but I can work on being brave. That’s what Garbage’s music means to me and has taught me. Shirley Manson has ALWAYS been such a huge part in my life. Through knowing someone dealt with life in an unconventional way like I did when I was a teenager to making it to adulthood with a few scraps along the way. I made it, they made it. We all made it.
The anniversary shows consist of songs from the debut record and the gorgeous b-sides that came along for the ride also. Last week I watched in awe Patti Smith rip apart the Roundhouse. On the other side of the river I watched my other heroes do the same. From Shirley forgetting to put her underwear on to the euphoria that erupted as they tore into Only Happy When It Rains. It was such a beautiful sight and such a great thing to be part of.
Garbage welcome anyone and their music speaks to so many. They found me when I was lost, and to this day they continue to do so. I have my good days and I have my bad days, but one thing that’s always constant is this bands ability to drag me through hell and back.
As I looked on, I felt glad that I went the right way and ended up here. I finally got to see the band that own every inch of my heart and soul in the flesh. I’ll never see the Velvet Underground but Garbage created my love for music, the rest just followed. In some respects I was catapulted back to my teenage years but it felt like a blur and it was over far too quickly. In the best way possible, this was the most emotionally draining gig I’d ever been to. I guess it is because I had been waiting for so long and it got to the point where it just became this blur in my mind. But I’ll cling onto everything I witnessed and felt.
You don’t forget the songs that saved your life, the first band you fell in love with or things like that. Those things stick with you because they are what spurs you on and drags you along. I felt like I was watching Garbage 20 years ago. I felt like I was watching them back in 95/96, I didn’t feel like I was watching a band who have been around for so long. That’s what made it great and it felt like home.
Every generation needs a voice, a person who stands up and tells those in the wrong to fuck off. I regard Shirley as highly as Patti Smith. She stalks the stage like a majestic panther, pacing up and down. With her candy floss pink hair flowing around as she runs around the stage with determination and power.  Creating shadow boxing like moves on the stage. The stage is her ring. She’s a fucking fighter and that’s why she’s on another level compared to most. The band sound stronger than most bands I’ve seen, and they make you feel like you’re watching a new band rather than one that’s been around for some time.  It just adds to the reasons as to why they’re the best.
This obviously isn’t a typical review, and if you want something that will tell you what they wore etc you won’t find it here.  Live music has this ability to bring something out of you that nothing else and no one else can. I guess you could call Garbage superheroes. They’re my heroes and have been for the past 20 years. It was emotionally draining to experience but it was for the greater good. Even writing it feels exhausting, but I think the show was a body of inspiration. I’ll probably never feel like this again seeing any other band, but that’s okay. I love a lot of bands, but none hold such weight in my heart like Garbage do. I probably sound like an overly sensitive mess, and maybe that’s what I am. But this band kept me going when nothing else did. They sometimes still do. You can feel this at any age, and as I get older I start to feel less ashamed about how I feel about things or how certain things make me feel.
This gig will stay with me a hell of a long time, and much like the music, perhaps it will serve as a crutch.
If by some weird bout of fate the band see this, thank you and I love you.

GARBAGE-Beloved Freak.



There are musicians who, even though you’ve never met them and may never meet them, sometimes feel like the closest person to you. You feel close to them because they tell your story better than you could. You’ve tried many times to unravel every feeling and everything that goes on in your head. For the most part, it is pointless. Things don’t always need a meaning but things need truth. Voices do need to be heard, and when our own isn’t loud enough there is always someone else who has the guts to be our voice. To be louder and be as brave as we wish we were.

I’ve always had a small yet solid number of musicians that have been my voice and that ounce of hope I needed to get through most things. They are the musicians I wish I was as tough as, but I’ll never be tough. I may look as if I am pissed off most of the time but I’m not. Although I dislike the current state of the world, it’s never anything that personal. I’m grumpy but only because I’m getting older. I dislike a lot of things, and it is easier to vocalise them. If you talk about the things you love, it is  easier for people to mock your interests. But you know what? Fuck them. No, not literally. No thanks. Grubby bastards. Courage crept up on me late in life. It smacked me in the face a few years ago. I’ll stand up for anyone but myself. I was once hit in the face for standing up to some racist prick. It wasn’t a hit that was painful. Maybe because I was proud of myself for speaking up. I do have a point, but I know no one is reading much further. Which means I can write what I want. Be free with your words.

When Not Your Kind Of People came out last year, I went directly to the last track on the record; Beloved Freak. I somehow had a gut feeling that this song would be one of those Garbage songs that fellow Garbage lovers would turn to when everything was ugly. I knew immediately it would have the same meaning to me that The Trick Is To Keep Breathing would have to me. The Trick Is To Keep Breathing dragged me through my teenage years, and partly through adulthood. I’m nearly 27; I don’t have it right and I know I never will. I don’t think any adult ever truly has it sussed out. You just make do and carry on, because the alternative is..well, I’m not sure.

I played Beloved Freak and cried. What a surprise!

For as long as I’ve been a fan of Garbage (since the start) their songs have meant more to me than I can put into words, songs like Beloved Freak just sum up exactly why I love them and why they saved this lost soul. I’ve watched various live clips of Beloved Freak and I’ve seen Shirley choke up towards the end as she sings. The power she has with her words is just beautiful. She doesn’t need to write lyrics that are made up of ridiculous metaphors to make her point. She goes right to the core of the emotion and executes it in such an honest way that most wish to shy away from. Everyone has their own struggle to overcome on a daily basis, and I firmly believe that music is one of the very few things that make life a little bit easier.

“You’re not certain when you feel.
Hurt get violent when you deal
With how the world drags you along
You’re not alone.”

Maybe I’d have been braver if this song existed when I was a teenager, but as an adult listening to this, it makes every emotion feel less ugly and less of a chore to carry around.

The thing about Shirley’s words is that you KNOW she means every single one of them. When she sings songs about despair and self-hate, you know she has felt that way herself. That is what makes her words more powerful than I can get my head around at times. Beloved Freak feels like, to me, her way of telling the person who is listening to the song that in the end, you’ll get to a point where everything is alright. It may never make sense, but you’ll get there. It’s like she’s placed her hand in yours as you drag yourself through each day. There will come a time where you won’t be dragging yourself no more; instead you’ll be walking with your head high.

There are many parts in this song that have come to mean the world to me, for reasons I don’t think need explaining. Shirley’s lyrics have always been obvious for me. Much like Morrissey. You know exactly what they mean and you connect straight away. When a singer/band isn’t afraid to be so open with their music, you know you’ve found something you will have a connection with for the rest of time. The other day I thought about what it would be like if I never was a fan of Garbage. Would I harbor certain feelings forever with no clue as to how I face them? I have no idea, but for the better, Garbage helped me grow up and adjust. I’ll always feel slightly awkward in the skin I’m in. I’ll never fully like myself, but I don’t let that define everything I do and the person I am. If I was happy with myself, I wouldn’t work hard towards anything. Carrying some self-doubt helps.

Beloved Freak isn’t just a song to me. It’s something I turn to when that sinking feeling kicks in. It isn’t as frequent as it once was. I always mention that I love bands/singers that are really open with their words, and I guess that is why I write like this. Maybe it makes me a total prick, I have no idea. But music is my life, and with songs like Beloved Freak- I couldn’t and wouldn’t have it any other way.

“People lie and people steal.
They misinterpret how you feel.
And so we doubt and we conceal.
You’re not alone.”

People will always make you feel as if what bothers you is insignificant or that you’re dumb for having such feelings. Let them waste their time on being foolish, you just carry on. They’re not worth the thought. We learn to hide how we feel in order to keep a sense of normality around us, but let it be known that nothing is normal. Morrissey taught me that. And he’s utterly right.

Bands like Garbage are there for you to no longer hide anymore. Everyone is different, and how you cope with life is how YOU cope with it. People will judge, but you have to go with what you feel is right in your heart. These are just a small fraction of what Shirley Manson’s words have taught me.

“This little light of mine,
I’m going to let it shine.”

Music is my light. Be a beloved freak. Don’t let the fuckers push you around and don’t let anyone ever tell you how you should be x

Garbage & Marissa Paternoster-Because The Night.


Yes I dislike covers, but only when they are done in a mundane fashion. If you’re going to take someone elses work, then please do something to change it slightly. Add something to it. I don’t know what, but blow people’s minds. You have the power to do so, so you should.

So, with my dislike for covers those that are familiar with the best day of the year, RECORD STORE DAY will be aware of some of the releases that are coming out. I’ve got my eyes (and hopefully hands) on The Horrors/Toys split release. Looks good. However, there’s one in particular that got my attention more than others.

Patti Smith is my ultimate idol, closely followed by Shirley Manson. Basically, I have a thing for women who aren’t afraid to speak up and use their voices for the greater good. Oh, and they also make insanely beautiful music. No days have gone by where I haven’t listened to Garbage or Patti Smith. I just have to. That’s all there is to it.

Most are familiar with Patti’s cover of Bruce Springsteen’s Because The Night. Probably the best love song of all time? Oh go on then. Some have covered it and butchered it. There was a truly awful dance version of it some time ago. I wanted to do a Van Gogh; it was that bad. Then you have some who cover it and bring back the beauty and purity in it. They nail it. They bring it back to perfection.

Record Store Day sees the release of Garbage and Marissa Paternoster’s (Screaming Females. Listen to them. They are a brilliant rock band) cover of Because The Night. The live clips I have seen are out of this world. But my favourite has to be from Garbage’s show in New York at Terminal 5 from this Friday just gone.

Marissa is THE best guitarist around right now. No doubt about it. She has such a distinctive voice that goes so well with Shirley’s. You can see why both bands have come together to do this release. They just work so well together. One can only hope they do more.

When your hero covers a song by one of your heroes and makes it just as beautiful, it makes you proud. Makes you proud to not just a music lover, but proud to love both bands. Everything about their cover is all kinds of wonderful. The way Shirl and Marissa look at each whilst singing this is gorgeous. You can see how Shirl has taken Marissa under her wig, and in time will probably be just as empowering as her. She’s probably already there to be honest.

Anyway, go to your local record store on Record Store Day (20th April) and buy this. Buy some others too. Support your local record store, always.


Dear Shirley Manson : A Birthday Letter.

I have no problem with baring my soul, on a page. So I guess this is why I feel with it being Shirl’s birthday, I’m going to write this down. From me to her. Maybe she’ll see it, maybe she won’t. But sometimes you just have to let it out.

Dear Shirley Manson,

I’m not going to be the first or last person to say words similar to what I’m about to write. That alone proves how much of a force you are. You’ve made emotional pain and general emotions less of a chore to deal with. You’ve made demons easier to fight off. You’ve made being an outsider feel less daunting. You made it easier for acceptance of the self.

I was about 8 or 9 when I first saw Garbage on TV. It was when MTV actually played music videos, I know- so rare! I remember seeing the video to Vow and being in utter of the band. Like most, I was drawn to how fearless you appeared on camera. Then I saw Only Happy When It Rains and Stupid Girl. That was it; everything changed after seeing those videos; listening to those songs. Every song you have ever written means more to me than I can even put into words. The Trick Is To Keep Breathing fast became a mantra almost. No matter what, you’ve got to keep going. Even if you just want to stop. And I do wish I could, guess I can’t. You taught me that. I’d rather burn out and try start again. Fight comes from a place that most of us cannot go. Sometimes another person brings it all out of us. I firmly believe you have done that.

I remember skipping college to go and buy Bleed Like Me the day it came out in 2005. I remember that day so clearly. I was nearly 20 years old, and no part of me wanted to go any further. From ages 15 to around then, no part of me understood the point of anything. I held the record in my hands so tightly, and went home. I sat and played it over and over. Growing up is exhausting. I was exhausted. Run Baby Run and Right Between The Eyes did something to me that I’ll never be able to put into words. I guess you can say, they saved my life. Those two songs keep me going. I may be stubborn, and I may not listen to some people, but the words in those songs ignited something. It goes beyond words. Sure I still get miserable; but it’s okay. You taught me how to not be afraid of ugly feelings. You taught me how it is okay to be weak and vulnerable. No one can be strong all the time. Christ knows I like to act like I am though.

Your words are the light at the end of that fucking long tunnel. Being a fan of Garbage doesn’t mean just enjoying the music. It means it gives us something to believe in. And we all need that. I’m not the only one who can say that you saved my life. Knowing others feel the same makes everything less scary, and possibly worth it. Possibly. The older I get, the more I seem to be able to relate to your words. They say being a teenager is hard, but I know being an adult is enough to drive anyone mad. Are you meant to figure stuff out at 25? Because I know nothing. Maybe knowing nothing is the way to go.

Every Garbage song has provided guidance. Every Garbage song has been the security blanket at 4am when there was nothing else. People like you Shirl, well they give hope to those who truly are without. Your voice eases the soul and your words have healed wounds. Old wounds that have been opened up, new wounds that one thinks may never heal.

I still live in hope that one day I get to see Garbage live. Being piss poor is starting to take its toll. But one day, I’ll be at the front. I’ll sing every word as if they were meant for me, and the day after I will have no voice. I will ease the pain by having a small glass of whiskey.

I love seeing photos of you with bands that I love, such as Dum Dum Girls and The Kills. When I saw those photos, I felt like a child at Christmas. You’re such a wonderful force.

This is just the outline of how much I look up to you, and respect you. I’m glad at 8 years old, I saw you on MTV singing the songs that would later become my lifeline.

We shouldn’t fear what we feel. We shouldn’t be afraid to feel. Be kind, be honest, be yourself, find inner peace. That’s what your words have taught me.

Your words have guided me in and out of love, teenage angst, adult insecurities, the good times, the bad times, letting go, holding on. Everything and more.

So, Happy Birthday Shirley. I hope you have the best day possible, you deserve it.

All the love in the universe,



Garbage-Big Bright World (video.)

There’s not much I can actually say about this song, this video other than it is fucking amazing. Shot in black and white, with splashes of colour every so often. The video shows Shirl as beautiful as ever. For me, Garbage have always made songs that sum up my life. For every ugly and vulnerable feeling possible- they have made a song about it. It’s fair to say their songs are the soundtrack to my life. Garbage have always given me hope and provided the words when I had none. I’m not one for needing, but I know I will ALWAYS need Garbage in my life, there’s no doubt about it. They’ve been my crutch and force of hope when I had nothing. That will never change. They just mean everything to me. Big Bright World is taken from Not Your Kind Of People, which is probably the best album of the year.

“You’re a satellite around my heart.”

Garbage-Not Your Kind Of People.

“I sat myself down, and shot my fear in the face.”

Good things come to those who wait. Bad things happen whilst you wait. You fall apart, but you pick yourself up by going back to the previous ones. The ones that saved you once before. But you’re looking for something else to pick you up. Not just to pick you up- but to keep you up. It’s alright to be weak, it’s alright to shake your head at all you see and want something more. It’s okay to have a breakdown every now and then. Tears do not mean defeat. Tears do not mean weakness. Waiting and waiting and waiting. You wait for everything. Anything. Just something. Cast a lifeline in the shape of a song. In the shape of a record by your favourite band.

Garbage have owned my heart since 1995. I honestly don’t know if I could give it to anyone but them. I don’t think any band have ever made me feel so okay with being who I am before. I’m going to be utterly personal with this, so if you want a standard album review- go elsewhere. I can’t remove myself from Garbage. You see, Garbage put their all into what they do- what kind of fan would I be if I didn’t put all I had into writing about this FUCKING INCREDIBLE RECORD?! I wouldn’t be a fan, really.

So here’s the thing. You probably know how much I love them. You know how Shirl read my piece on Bleed Like Me last year (if you ever want to see me smile like a mental person, bring that up.) As I write this, I’m listening to Control and I am fighting off tears. I don’t want to be crying over something so accurate. I don’t want to relate, but I do. And because I can relate, I believe again. Fucking hell Shirl, are you in my head again? Don’t ever leave. Just don’t.

I wish I could write this in a way that seemed eloquent and worthy of your time. But all I can do is just listen to this intensely and in awe of every member. I just have no idea what is going on inside, all I know is that I am hearing the songs that will mean as much to me as all previous songs have done. I feel as if my body is going to explode and my mind is heading that way too.

Okay so you’ve already heard Blood For Poppies and Battle In Me, and if you have your wits about you- you will know that they are perfect. They show Garbage at their most beautiful. I’m currently listening to Beloved Freak. It is doing to me what Run Baby Run, Right Between The Eyes, The Trick Is To Keep Breathing and So Like A Rose have all done. It is making me feel less alone with people a huge fuck up. It making me feel more human about my constant mistakes, that are dragged up. I try to bury them, well..don’t we all. Beloved Freak will probably be the new anthem for us Darklings. It is like Shirl is guiding us through hell, telling us all that it is going to be okay. She’s living proof that through all the self-destruction and self hate- you can become the person you were always meant to be. To call her my role model is an understatement. There is no word good enough to describe what her and her words have done for me.

I listen to this record, and I feel like I did when I first heard them in 1995. I was only 9 years old then, and it was at the time when my dad died. Garbage got me through. Since then they have been my constant beacon of hope. My solid way of dragging myself through life with a “Fuck you, I won’t give up” kind of outlook. But like anyone else, giving up does seem like an option. But when you hear all this fight in Shirl’s voice, it makes it impossible for you to even fathom the concept of throwing in the towel and going back into yourself.

What I love about Garbage is how aggressive and passionate they are. Their song, Special, to this day is so apt. I look at people I used to know and how they parade themselves about in such a pretentious way- what happened to you? You used to be one of the good ones. But it’s okay, at least I know Shirl has experienced that same level of disappointment. This mentality that Garbage have, and if you;re a Darkling you too have adapted this attitude, it gives you strength. For me, that’s what Not Your Kind Of People is all about. It is about developing a sense of self, overcoming, putting up a fight and never ever giving in. But surely, that’s what all their records are about? Of course. But there is something bolder about Not Your Kind Of People that makes you stand a bit taller with no doubt at all taking over. This record is going to give you everything you’ve been trying and fighting to find.

Sugar and Control I feel are going to be the songs I have on a constant loop. I used to be petrified that I could identify so much with their lyrics, but I then realised it was so far from being a bad thing. It is something I shouldn’t fear. Since falling in love with Garbage in 1995, I have played their music every single day. Even if it is just one song to make sure I get through the day, I still play their music. With their muchly anticipated album about to come out, knowing that this wait is over just means the world to me. Waiting this long for something is enough to drive a person crazy. But for Garbage, I will wait.

If I could thank Steve, Duke, Butch and Shirl for what they have done for me..not just with Not Your Kind Of People but since 1995 I truly would. I feel like their shittiest fan though, because I’m not going to see them on their tour in a few months. Not having any money is slowly pissing me off (alright it is quickly pissing me off!) I have every bit of faith that one day I will get myself to a Garbage show and I will be singing until I feel like my throat is bleeding to the songs that saved my life, and give me life.

Garbage-You Look So Fine.

I guess I pretty much hold a lot of sentimental value towards Garbage’s second record. So many of the songs have acted like a beacon of light, a strand of hope when there was really none there you know? I feel that way towards all their records and I know I will feel that way about Not Your Kind Of People when it comes out. I’ll probably lock myself away for a very long time and refuse to do anything but listen to it. Over and over again. I’ll probably need a new copy of it after a week. I have Version 2.0 on vinyl and I’ve never played it. There’s certain songs on there that, if I heard on vinyl I’d probably have some kind of meltdown.

You Look So Fine has always meant the world to me. It means a stupid amount to me right now, but I’m going to place my awful feelings aside and write this in a way that doesn’t make me hate on life and such things. You see, this song just oozes vulnerability. The owning up of liking a person is a bloody chore isn’t it. I toy with the idea of telling someone (I rarely dig a person, mainly because if I want disappointment I’ll just put the news on) and let it bother me for a while. Then I tell them..and it goes wrong. So I play this song. I play this song and it is like a sigh of relief. You can let go once you let it all out can’t you. I’m not writing about this song because of this reason, that I need to get it out somehow. Oh no. I bitch about this nagging burden to about 2 people, then I drop it. I’m writing about this song because I believe it shows Garbage at their best. I’m sure I’ve said that about all their songs but for some reason, I feel it greatly towards this song and I want to try work out why. If I can.

The intro to the song sounds like a heart racing. You know that feeling don’t you? When you think about or see the person that has all your affections, even if they don’t know it. All of you aches and is frustrated. So what do you do?

“You look so fine
I want to break your heart 
And give you mine.”

If I could’ve written anything in the world, it would be that. It is so perfect and pure. Imagine if someone said that to you. You’d melt and collapse into them. Or maybe it is just me. See, I may look like I’d mug you for black nail polish but I’m just a soppy old so and so who is a sucker for honest lyrics. The way Shirley sings this is so painfully dedicated. She is giving herself to that person, and nothing can stop her from doing so. See, you do try to stop yourself from feeling anything but it always catches up with you doesn’t it. How cheeky.

You Look So Fine is 5 minutes of honesty and wishing you had the heart to give up on a thing, a person. Something that’s just no good. It happens to us all. Once, twice..many a time. It happens. You can shrug it off. You can cling onto a wine glass in a bar and sing your heart out to the sad songs. Whatever gets you through.

“It’s so insane 
You’ve got me tethered and chained 
I hear your name 
And I’m falling over.”

 The person’s name is enough to send you into some kind of frenzy. At times it is enjoyable but for the most part it is a bloody chore to deal with. You feel trapped. When oh when will you gain the courage to let it all go? Her voice when she sings this feels like a huge sigh. Like she knows she is stuck, but does she (or you) even want to get out?

Then rejection seems to want to say hello.

“Knocked down 
Cried out 
Been down just to find out 
I’m through 
Bleeding for you.”

There’s heartbreak, then there’s this. Going so low down just to feel something other than what they’ve given you. And what they have given you is rejection. One day fellow underdog, our time will come. This song for me is a sign of strength and hope. There’s a part of this song that just makes you think, “My time will come.” It’s up to you where you find it. For me it’s that part. It’s the realising that you are through. Utterly done with feeling a thing to this person. It takes a lot out of you, but you gain more from it. Rejection isn’t always a bad thing. So don’t be scared of it. (Oh how I wish I could pay attention to my own words.)

“I’m not like all the other girls 
I won’t take it like the other girls 
I won’t fake it like the other girls 
That you used to know.”

For me, I find this to be the most comforting part of the song. We all think, “I’m better than the one you have chosen, you’ll see.” But rarely do we say it. This song gives you the platform to own up to being good for someone. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a bit of a wanky person but hey- I’ll buy you presents when you least expect it because I’m kind. Prefer hugs though. They’re free. And money isn’t something I have. Got plenty of time though. ANYWAY. This part for me is just a piece of Heaven to be honest. When you can get to a point where you feel like that, you’ve got to take that strength and courage. You take it and move forward. What they used to know was bad for them. All that you are is good for them. You could be the one that changes everything for them. So why won’t they let you? I wish I had the answers, but I don’t. I’m just some idiot who likes to evidently, take a song apart and talk about what it means to them. How pathetic.

“Ending with letting go
Let’s pretend, happy end.”

The repetition of this towards the end of the song leads up to an astounding instrumental build-up. The last-minute and a half of this song is almost like the listener gaining a solid peace of mind. You find clarity and you can carry on.

I just love this song so much. Not only is it one of my favourite Garbage tracks, it is easily one of my favourite tracks of all time. I love songs that seems vulnerable at the surface but as you listen closely you can find such strength and bravery in it.  At times, you feel like you are on the outside looking in as the person you want wanders off through life with someone else. Sure it is heartbreaking, but that’s why you should only give yourself away to a person who is willing to give themselves to you. It takes time, everything in life does. These are the reasons as to why Garbage are the band that own me. Shirley Manson evidently owns my heart, and songs like this just show why.

Be brave.

Garbage-The Trick Is To Keep Breathing.



Everyone, I don’t care who you are, has a song that ultimately defines them. It is a song that they play when they seek a feeling that nothing or no one in this world can give them. You have some that turn to a substance, some that turn to a canvas and create a piece of art- then some just turn to a piece of music. This song is your life. It sums up not just how you feel, but it gets out every tiny little feeling you have. No matter how messed up it is- that song is YOUR song. Call it a theme song if you want. Or maybe, just maybe, it is the song that gets you through.

I’ve thought about this quite a lot. I think attempting to define a person is the worst thing you can do. To define yourself by your sexuality or colour isn’t cool. There’s more to you than that. So why settle for less? “I’m gay so I must act this way.” No, just no. You must not. You must go with your heart and ignore what is expected of you. I think any ounce of strength I have comes from listening to Garbage. I was talking about them yesterday whilst having lunch with a friend that I have known since I was 5 years old (20 year friendship..maybe I’m not so bad after all!) and I brought up the topic of Garbage. She knows they have been my life since I was 8 years old. I don’t think I’ve ever felt such a connection to a band. You see, with Morrissey it is the wit and longing I relate to. With Shirley’s lyrics it is the courage and desire to no longer put up with the shit anymore. It is like, her lyrics instill something in me that nobody will ever do. I have cried on my bedroom floor to Garbage. I have had revelations to their music. I have become tougher to their music. I’m still too sensitive, but I’ve learnt to accept that it is just who I am. I’ll have my outburst and nap it off. That’s just how I am. I spent a long time trying to change it, but I listen to her lyrics and I realise that it is okay. You can be strong but vulnerable. That’s why The Trick Is To Keep Breathing is MY song.

“She’s not the kind of girl 
Who likes to tell the world 
About the way she feels about herself 
She takes a little time in making up her mind 
She doesn’t want to fight against the tide.”

If any verse in the history of music could sum me up, it’d be this one. I think anyone who has felt useless and hopeless can relate to this song, mainly this verse. It is everything you want to say, constantly on the tip of your tongue. Shirl gets out all those feelings of vulnerability and being unsure because you find it hard to do so. I’ll be the first to admit that me saying how I feel to a person is hard work. I’d rather write the person a song or poem, and give them it. But then I think what I’ve written isn’t good enough so I don’t bother. Constant battle that I’ll never win. Not with an attitude like that. Moving on.

The Trick Is To Keep Breathing, when I first heard it, I was only 11 or 12. That age where everything is about to change and you really have no idea. Move forward to now and the song is still as important to me now as it was then. Just because I’m firmly into adulthood doesn’t mean I know anything. All I know is based on what I believe, from certain songs and my own experiences. It gets you through. It is okay to carry some uncertainty around with you because it keeps you sane. It keeps you breathing. I’ve always wanted this song title tattooed on me somewhere. I have no idea where, I constantly change my mind..but I know I need to have it done soon. Real soon.

I cannot pick out a favourite Garbage lyric from any song. I’d have to spend a long time (sure I’ve got the time but..) trying to figure it out. I’d change my mind, but this one always comes to mind when I think about it :

“She knows the human heart 
And how to read the stars 
Now everything’s about to fall apart.”

It is just so haunting. You can figure everything out, but at the same time you cannot stop it from falling apart. Sometimes though, it all has to fall apart in order for it to seem right again. Trial and error. Or just error after error? Your call kid, your call. You’ll get what you want, eventually. But when will you get WHO you want? I dispute that most days with myself, to the point where I shut that part off because it causes a headache.

For me, Garbage are the friend I go to at 3am when I cannot sleep and need some form of guidance. Deep breaths. A cup of tea and I play their music. The amount of times I have played The Trick Is To Keep Breathing on a loop is probably in triple figures. I don’t care. It isn’t teenage angst, it was never ever that. It was always self frustration. I wanted to figure out so much and I just couldn’t. The Trick Is To Keep Breathing became my anthem, my theme song because it aided with figuring everything out.

“Maybe you’ll get what you want this time around .”

Maybe I will. Maybe I won’t. Either way, I’ve got this song to keep me going. To remind me to keep breathing. There’s a war in all of us. There’s a tame path for all of us. You’ve just got to figure out which one you are dragging yourself towards. It is never too late. Keep breathing, and don’t let anyone tell you that you’re not good enough. If I write this down, maybe I’ll believe my own words. Or maybe I’ll just listen to Garbage and believe their words. Nobody is ever sure, nobody is ever right. That’s why you cling onto whatever gets you through. For me, its music.

I hate how personal I write. But if it isn’t going to come from the heart, then what’s the point?