Gah! Turned on the computer to see what’s happening in the world only to find out the rather crap news that journalist Steven Wells died of cancer on Tuesday… bloody Jacko hogging all the headlines. You'd think nothing else was happening in the world. For anyone who doesn't know, Steven (or Swells as most people knew him) wrote for the NME throughout the eighties and nineties and latterly for the Guardian doing surreal polemics against everyone and everything in the guise of sports articles.
Swells was, to say the least, uncompromising and honest as a writer. He did not fawn to musicians in interviews, but more importantly to me he didn’t play the game of giving bad albums good reviews just to keep everyone sweet. I’ve never been able to find it online but I used to have a review he did of Smashing Pumpkins’ Zero on my wall. From what I can recall he eloquently described it as “bab, cack and a festering sackful of fetid turds” before neatly finishing with “fuck off Smashing Pumpkins – you’re shit.” You don’t need to guess what score he gave it out of ten.
Given Swells’ genius for deflating pop stars’ egos perhaps it was meant to be that he would be ready and waiting in the afterlife for Jacko. It’s a nice thought to imagine the celestial clamour at Jackson’s arrival being interrupted by a big bald bloke from Bradford calling him a talentless twat. RIP Swells. Give them hell.
Visit here for some choice samples of latter day Swells.