The youth are revolting. Gone are the apathetic proto-hipsters of my youth, where the lamest thing you could be was someone who cared about shit. Young people today have embraced politics, from Extinction Rebellion to The Women’s March, we are seeing young people take up activism in a desperate bid to save the world from its desperate hurtle off the edge of a reactionary, nationalist, climate apocalypse cliff into oblivion.

You wouldn’t know this to be the case when looking at films or TV. There aren’t many depictions of young people getting involved in activism in our visual media. If you look at recent music, you can see it. Groups from Dream Nails to Run the Jewels intertwined activism with music to the point where they are one and the same. However, TV lags behind.

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This fortnight, the podcast celebrates Alastair’s successful Oscar predictions by watching 2021’s Best Picture Nomadland, while Nick takes his turn by bringing in new X-Men series Way of X.

But first, still in the world of comics, Nick’s read Silver Surfer by Dan Slott and Michael & Laura Allred, while Alastair’s watched Netflix space movie Stowaway.

And then it’s time to hit the road with Nomadland (11:15), Chloe Zhao’s acclaimed movie starring Frances McDormand as a modern-day nomad.

Finally, Nick and Alastair return to their beloved modern-era X-Men line with Way of X #1 (22:57) by Si Spurrier and Bob Quinn and ask: how much ritualised murder is too much?

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Political turmoil and music have always gone hand in hand. Even in periods of mass apathy, there’s still protest music to be found. In this article I’ll be revisiting an album by US punk rockers Bad Religion, and its part in my political awakening.

The ‘End of History’ early-2000’s was not a great time to be a young person getting interested in politics. I’d listen to my dad’s old Billy Bragg tapes, naively longing for a time when there was something to fight against. In The New Internationalist, I’d read about the human and environmental toll of unfettered globalisation. The problem was, here in the UK, consumer capitalism seemed to be working OK for most people (we’d find out later that it wasn’t, but 2008 was still a long way off). I was, no doubt insufferably, a rebel without a cause.

Then George W Bush and Tony Blair decided to invade Iraq, and Britain saw its biggest mass protest in a generation. Plenty of people my age opposed the war, but frustratingly, I knew few of them. Most of my friends were casually pro-war. Or, they’d internalised the received wisdom of the ‘60s generation: “there’s no point protesting, it doesn’t achieve anything.” Or, worst of all: “It doesn’t affect me, so I don’t care.” They cared about Pop Idol, football or Big Brother, not this.

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In the age of Spotify, the compilation CD might be as redundant as dial-up internet. But for me, they were an essential component of my teenage soundtrack. In this article, I’ll be revisiting an experience shared by so many music fans of my generation: listening to a collection of songs curated by someone else.

Always displayed prominently in HMV, there were lots of compilation albums. If you followed the charts, there were those interminable ‘Now’ albums. But if indie was more your thing, there were compilations like ‘Shine’, ‘The Bands’ or this one – ‘Reloaded’. Why did we buy them? For me, they were a way of discovering new bands without having to splash out on whole albums or buying endless singles.

On getting this CD out, my first thought was: look at some of this stuff! My second thought was: look at some of this stuff. There isn’t space to talk about every single track, but let’s jump in and take a look at the highs and lows of ‘Reloaded’.

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This fortnight, Nick and Alastair present their inevitable The Falcon & The Winter Soldier conclusions, then decompress with lovable scifi-romcom Palm Springs.

But first, tis the season for Alastair’s annual Oscar predictions, while Nick’s read teen alien meltdown comic Alienated by Si Spurrier and Chris Wildgoose.

And then they join the masses in receiving the gift of The Falcon & The Winter Soldier (12:18), Marvel’s much-discussed latest TV show about the weight of the Captain America legacy, including spoilers to the very end from 19:45.

Finally, Nick and Alastair live through the eventful day of Palm Springs (36:13) with Andy Samberg and Cristin Milioti, including somehow yet more spoilers from 39:37.

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This week I’m revisiting an album that was either a triumphant return to form or the sound of a band who’d stopped trying depending which review you read. But contemporary critics almost always got Oasis albums wrong. So let’s look afresh at their 2002 album, Heathen Chemistry.

Oasis are one of my all-time favourites, and this came out at the peak of my Oasis fandom. But unlike some of their other releases this one has languished more-or-less unplayed in my CD collection for years. I loved it in 2002, but how will it sound now?

First impressions are pretty good. The Hindu Times has all the basic constituents of a good Oasis song: swagger, soft drug references and a chorus involving “rock ‘n’ roll”. It’s like a matured version of Rock & Roll Star, the opener on their still-blistering 1994 debut, Definitely Maybe. But it’s also got some of the downsides of the archetypal Oasis song; for example the tedious weather references (“you’re my sunshine, you’re my rain.”). What any of this has to do with Hinduism is anyone’s guess. Overall it’s a paint-by-the-numbers Oasis song – which is something you can say of the whole album.

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Remember Feeder? ‘He’s got a brand new car… it’s got leather seats, it’s got a CD player, player, player, player’. How about now? This week I’m revisiting their massive breakthrough album, Echo Park.

Feeder was music almost everyone could agree on. Indie enough for people like me, heavy enough for the nu-metal kids, catchy enough for those who just listened to chart pop. They were unlikely to get turned off in the sixth-form common room or at a party. No doubt there will have been an iconoclast or two who hated them, but generally speaking, the consensus was that Feeder were ‘alright’.

But they weren’t anyone’s favourite band, either. Whilst writing this, I asked my sister if she remembered them. With only two years between us, we used to share a lot of music back then. She replied that she bought their albums and went to their concerts without even really liking them that much.

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This fortnight, Nick and Alastair are so neck deep in superheroes, you’d think it was 2019, with Wonder Woman 1984 and Invincible.

But first, Nick’s continued sheltering behind comfort viewing, going all the way back to The West Wing, while Alastair stays on the cutting edge of politics with We Are The Wave.

In the end, they settle for moderate relevance by reviewing a film from late 2020 – Wonder Woman 1984 (14:37), the eagerly awaited sequel which ended up taking a pasting from reviewers – will Nick and Alastair push back at the consensus like they did with New Mutants?

Reaching the present day at last, it’s time for Amazon’s new cartoon superhero adaptation Invincible (31:50), with full stinkin’ spoilers from 39:15. And seriously, if you’re gonna watch, your hosts recommend going in without having those twists ruined if you still can.

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Got time on your hands? Yeah, me too. So how about checking out some new tunes?

Lockdown’s meant I’ve discovered more new music than I have for ages. So this week, I’m taking a break from revisiting teenage albums to share this carefully curated list (well, thrown together after a few bottles of West Country idiot juice) of covid-era releases to help get you through lockdown. I hope you enjoy them.

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It was the multi-platinum selling album that dragged British indie-rock out of the doldrums. But at the time, Is This It more or less passed me by. In this article, I’ll be revisiting this seminal debut album, and asking: in hindsight, is it all it’s cracked up to be?

The Strokes were the ultimate in don’t-give-a-fuck, New York cool. Back in high school, this gave the band associations I didn’t care for. I associated them with a certain type of apathetic trendie; the kids who’d been into Ibiza dance music just a year or two earlier and suddenly morphed into bed-haired indie fans. The least cool trait in their book was to be seen to care about anything. Whilst I was being politicised by the Iraq War, these guys directed their snark towards anti-war protesters and Bush supporters alike.

I suppose what they were afraid of was being into anything that the piss might feasibly be taken out of. This album, right down to its mildly sexually suggestive cover art, was a safe bet. They all owned it. Just like they all owned By The Way by the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Consequently, I thought the album wasn’t for me.

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