Last week, the world awoke to shocking news. The boy from Placebo's debut album cover – whom we had assumed had gone off and had a wonderfully happy life – was living somewhere godawful called Scunthorpe, working as an unemployed chef. He also seemed to have some ill-advised tattoos on his neck, and, well, worst of all, basically, Placebo had ruined his life.
The photo of him in a red jumper pulling a funny face, his forthcoming lawsuit against the band will allege, was responsible for him getting massively bullied at school. Which was in turn responsible for him getting no education. Which in turn meant he had to go into the unemployed-cheffing trade. Which is seldom lucrative. Hence the suit.
Poor guy and all that, but we can think of at least five groups who are ahead of him in the suing queue.
Before Placebo, Luxembourgers were best known as scumbag tax-avoiders who couldn't work out whether they were French or German. The most famous Luxembourger was the girl with the biggest tits because there were no actual famous people in Luxembourg and so if you stood out on any axis you were famous. Since Brian and Stefan attended the American International School Of Luxembourg, Luxembourgers are known as scumbag tax-avoiders who scam pocket money from depressed English kids and a balding forty-something cyber-goth is the first face that flits into your head when you are asked to name a famous Luxembourger. Thanks a bunch, Placebo.
Chance Of Suing: High. Those people have some of the best goddamn lawyers in the world.
In the mid-90s, goths were existing perfectly happily on the fringes of society. Then Placebo came along, and with them, goths were propelled into a mainstream for which they were uniquely ill-equipped. Imagine a fish out of water. Congratulations, you've just imagined a goth in the mainstream. After Placebo turned his way of life from a complex social code into 'eyeliner and seclusion', the Goth was now an everyman. And he really really fucking hated that.
Chances of suing: Low.
Before Placebo, when you stuck your dick in a man's bottom, it meant you were gay. After Brian and his wishy-washy sexuality turned up in a barrage of 'pithy' interview quotes in Select Magazine, it simply meant that you were "feeling a bit bi". That you were merely unloading the dark poetic pathos of same-gender love, as much as you were unloading a cc or so of semen into someone's large intestine. This has caused a generation enormous psychic conflict, as they have tried to submerged their gay identity in the woolly camo-jacket of bisexuality. Naughty, Brian.
Chances Of Suing: Low.
Girls Called Nancy
What's your name? Oh really, well how would you like it if people turned it into a slang term for gender-benders and then a rock group immortalised that act of naming prejudice? Not so happy now are we?
Chances Of Suing: Moderate.
If Placebo hadn't written half a dozen hit songs, got signed and released five sequentially-worse records, then Brian, Stefan and the drummer guy would be having happy lives right now. Brian would be a chain-smoking abattoir worker, with a wife and a couple of ungrateful kids. Stefan would be a textile designer living alone in a secure apartment complex. No-one would've been forced to drag their increasingly weary bodies through the next signing session in some godforsaken nth-tier music festival, smiling appreciatively as another Serbian in silver DMs tells them that Placebo "stopped me from committing suicide so many times". The evidence speaks for itself. Placebo ruined Placebo's lives.
Chance Of Suing: Excellent. They've got the money. They've got a postal address. You'll see this writ by Friday.
Follow Gavin on Twitter @hurtgavinhaynes