It’s been awhile (245 days, in fact) since I wrote one of these. I could blame any number of factors—real life commitments, mental fatigue brought on by the GODDAMN PANDEMIC THAT’S STILL TEARING THROUGH THE WORLD, the reasonable assumption that nobody wants to read my hipster ramblings—but now that VN has a bunch of really good writers, I don’t have any excuse for not highlighting their work every week.
Anyways, I can’t imagine a better hipster note to bring this back on than to wish Alex Chilton a happy birthday on what would’ve been his 60th. You could credit Chilton with developing, or at least helping to develop, power pop and/or indie rock without too much quibble from the neckbeards at Pitchfork. Both with Big Star (a criminally underrated band probably best known for originating Out in the Street, which Cheap Trick covered in the theme to That 70s Show) and as a solo act, he’s one of those musicians that all your favorite bands love despite nobody knowing anything about.
Born in Memphis, Tennessee to a family with equal parts musicality and tragedy (at the age of 6, he and his mother found his older brother drowned in the bathtub after a seizure), Chilton had a number one hit in the US at the age of 16 with the Box Tops but disbanded the group just 2 years later; an uncharitable narrator would say it was all downhill for him from there. Although he remained a professional musician for the next decade or so, drugs took their toll on him and he eventually left New York for New Orleans, dropping out of the music business entirely for a couple of years and working menial jobs.
He did get back into the business and made a living from it for the rest of his life, but he often seemed bored and more interested in antagonizing audiences and bandmates than making music; for example, he mixed an entire album by the Cramps using just his socked feet in the studio. He kept doing drugs and often seemed to be doing the bare minimum to just skate by. When the royalties from That 70s Show and the Bangles (who covered September Gurls) finally arrived in the 2000s, he partly retired, since his slacker lifestyle meant he didn’t need all that much money. When he died of a heart attack 10 years ago, it was partly because he didn’t have health insurance and didn’t want to go to the hospital after experiencing chest pains.
There’s not really a Fiorentina tie-in here, which makes this a very on-brand BGW. I guess you could make a point about how there’s real genius in the margins that you miss if you only read the big parts of the history and that, as a provincial team, the Viola are the analog here: largely ignored due to their own inscrutable nature and probably just as happy that way despite a massive cult following of hipsters. Really, though, I just wanted to write about Alex Chilton for a few minutes.
Also, it’s good to get back to these. I apologize to the 0.5% of you who missed them, and apologize to the 99.5% of you who are going to have to deal with them again. There were very good reasons to stop for a bit.
After Andrea Pessina ran his mouth off again, Rocco Commisso chose to stay quiet. This may be the beginning of a more reserved strategy for the Viola owner.
Fiorentina need an experienced and effective striker. Per the rumor mill, that is very much not what they’re trying to scoop up in January.
Riccardo Sottil has looked sharp at Cagliari; a January return to Florence could be just the spark this team needs.
You might think Fiorentina’s got enough central midfielders, but it’s never a bad idea to add a U21 international. Meet Youssef Maleh, whose name you’ll likely become quite familiar with over the next month or so.
The Stadio Artemio Franchi is an icon, but icons that are literally disintegrating don’t help anyone. There are a lot of voices in Florence that are ready to see most of the stadium torn down.
It’s crazy how much a big win can improve how the players look, not just in terms of play but also in how they carry themselves.
Samuele Spallutto looks like the sort of striker who could have a very long career as a professional. Get to know him a little bit so you can say that you heard of him first.
Which Viola player would be the biggest Alex Chilton fan (by which I mean hipster, if that’s still even a thing that exists)?
This poll is closed
Franck Ribery, because he’s probably old enough to have seen Big Star when they first made the scene
Pietro Terracciano, because he’s got that fun dad energy
Valentin Eysseric, because he’s the most obscure player on the roster
Pol Lirola, because he looks like he’d be a music blogger if he weren’t an athlete
Borja Valero, because it just fits
Comment of the week
To cap off a pretty miserable year, glow in the post-Juve cascade of purple. I love you all.
That’s it for this week, folks. Talk to your children.