Better to Burn Out Than Fade Away… Says a Glorious Fader

I know I’ve been dissing and cussing shit in recent posts – I’d like to blame it on my period, but I can’t. I’m just a grumpy cow sometimes, but I’m going to be nice now. I’ve talked about having mind sex with Alt-J (emphasis on mind – I have not had sexual intercourse with any of these men) and am now going to move on to matters of the heart…


Neil Young, Bob Dylan and The Velvet Underground are music to me. Everything else is really just an affair. I might think it’s over with the big three, that I’ve moved on, but I soon realise I can’t move on. Yes, I’m doing it – they are my Heathcliff ‘the eternal rocks beneath’ and everything else is pretty Edgaresque – like ‘the foliage in the woods; time will change it’

I’ve been lucky enough to see Lou Reed TWICE. The first time, I was twelve. I lurked around the backstage exit for three hours after the concert, begging bouncers and Lou to believe I was his illegitimate child. The second time was more recent – when the Berlin album came to Stabbersmith (otherwise known as Hammersmith). To this day, it remains the most extraordinary concert I’ve ever seen. Just Lou standing still and deadpan, speak/sing-ing his beautiful lyrics, with an orchestra and Julian Schnabel visuals behind.

I saw Bob Dylan for the first time last year. All I can say is WOW! Everyone can bore off with their chat ‘he sings differently’, ‘you can’t recognise the songs’, ‘he is too old’ blah, blah, blah. He is bloody Bob Dylan. It’s his blimmin’ song and he can sing it how the f*** he likes. If you just shut your face and listen, he will ALWAYS, ALWAYS take your mind and shake it right up.

But I still hadn’t seen Neil Young. I was losing sleep, sick with worry that he’d be insulted by my neglectfulness. So, the second I heard he was going to be playing at the O2, I spent a minor fortune on going to see him. My sisters had reported that he was disappointing when they saw him at a festival. They said I was mad to spend the majority of my salary on it. But I KNEW he wouldn’t let me down.

When he first walked on stage, I realized quite how much he is getting on. Considering he was the bloke to first say ‘better to burn out than fade away’ (the ultimate rebellious glue-sniffing teenager quote), one thing is for certain – he is definitely fading. He is getting old, and he is doing it magnificently…


He came on with Crazy Horse and they all pranced around the stage like they were 16 and wasted on Pro Plus. His voice was extraordinary, as ever, and the guitar solos were completely mental. But Neil didn’t stop there – he got on the piano and harmonica. And he did it all for hours.

When he played one of my three all time favourite songs, Hurricane, I could feel myself shaking. The chap below did too, as I poured my drink on his head. To be fair, you don’t get much space in O2 aisles, but crikes – the sound is amazing. The O2 did, however, fail on one front. They tied to create an American desert, cowboy vibe on stage. The sounds were great, but the visuals/dramas were pathetic. There was a small fan on stage, like the one I have at the end of the bed. Neil and Crazy Horse were pretending to be blown around by it, but it wasn’t fooling me… AND there was someone in front of the fan, chucking newspaper about. Trying to get that tumbleweed effect, I guess. Doesn’t quite work when you have some twat tumbling the weed.

But NOTHING could detract from my hero on stage. And it didn’t matter if on stage the blowing was shit, because I was being blown into a cringeworthy eye-closed, head banging, soul dancing universe. And I wish I was still bloody in it.

Oh you three,

fading you may be,

but in me,

you live on eternally.