Popsicle’s Departure, 1989
A day in the life of the Boston grunge scene
This article is from 2007.
It's 1989. Seattle’s mighty Sub-Pop label dominates the grunge scene, Dido can’t get hold of her dealer, and tonight Jeremy’s band have totally got a gig supporting the Lemonheads. On film these characters would be played by Matt Dillon and Winona Ryder; well-scrubbed and ultimately redeemable. The soundtrack would be a bestseller. Here, though, they’re something uglier.
Writer-performer Madi Distefano plays both Dido and Jeremy, flipping between their conflicting or colluding versions of relationship breakdown with a twist of her beanie hat. There’s just her and a chair on stage, but the world she evokes teems with obsessively hoarded period detail – Jane’s Addiction album covers, Dr Bronner’s deodorant and granny dresses from The Limited.
Dido and Jeremy aren’t nice. They’re high on ego, crystal meth and joyless sex; they’re the worst, whining excesses of Generation X. But Distefano’s sinuous voice and textured writing makes them compelling even as she holds them up to ridicule. This is as much a love poem to the arrogance and naivety of past youth as a recreation of a particular point in time and culture. (Kirstin Innes)
Assembly St George’s, 623 3030, until Mon 27 Aug (not 20), 1.20pm, £11–£12 (£10).