Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP
May 15, 2007 at 04:00 AM EDT

We suffered the Great Fire. We withstood the black plague. We held steady through the Blitz from Hitler’s merciless Luftwaffe. Throughout history, London has been stout, steadfast, and resilient against all the slings and arrows fate has thrown at it. But this might well break us. This we were not prepared for. From this the entire capital may well break ranks and run for the hills.

Prince‘s Earth Tour. Twenty-one dates of it. All in London. With no curfews. What have we done to deserve this? Was London the city of Sodom in a former incarnation? Remember that this is a man who celebrated his release from the ”evil” Sony empire that had held him slave for so many years with its gargantuan royalty cheques by putting out an album, Emancipation, with a running time of a full three months. A man who has been known to follow his arena shows with club gigs that would go on until the very last person in the room was dead. And some fool has given him carte blanche to play as late as he likes? It’ll be funk workouts ’til dawn — Amnesty International will be swamped with calls from people who’ve been subjected to horrendous cases of Minneapolis Bongo Torture. And most worrying of all, as a city with only 9 million inhabitants, the government are allegedly introducing a form of funk conscription forcing every one of us to go and see him at least twice. If anybody needs me I’ll be hiding in a bunker in Brighton until 2008.

A good choice of bolt hole, since the town is gearing up for its annual Great Escape festival (basically the Camden Crawl on sea) and this week played host to the Twang, whom I joined for the first 48 hours of their U.K. tour amid scenes of madness, mayhem, and ritual arse-burning ceremonies. In Brighton on the first night, Mike Skinner of the Streets showed up to film a video with the Twang for his incredible remix of their new single ”Either Way” on the beach, where the band set about destroying a hired drumkit and skinny dipping in the ice-cold ocean for the cameras. Then on the second night in Nottingham I was witness to the bizarre Twang touring game of Stab the Drummer on the Backside With a Lit Cigarette. Roll on the smoking ban, we say.

And what’s this you’ve sent us in the post? The new ludicrously dull Interpol album, which is, upon first listen, a bit like being nagged by a sick dog for 45 minutes. Sheesh, whatever happened to the ”special relationship” between us, guys? Are we paying you back for ’44 all in one week or something? Well, THANKS.

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