Bad Behaviour

Hugh Jackman seems like a nice guy. He an all-singing, all-dancing, Wolverine-playing extravaganza of a human being – a proper cutie. So I guess  could understand the compulsion to bite his ass. Wait… no I couldn’t because that’s a weird thing to want to do to someone you’ve never met. But that is something that poor Hugh Jackman has had to deal with from his fan base. According to the article, while Jackman was playing Peter Allen in the Broadway production The Boy from Oz, he heard a voice from the back saying “Peter, I want to bite your bum.” After a little joking around the fan followed through with her desire and gave his pert backside an almighty chomp.

Mmmmhmmmm

Mmmmhmmmm

That’s a great butt – a really great butt – but there are some impulses you should keep to yourself. The desire to bite an attractive celebrity’s ass is one of them. There is a line between being a big fan of someone and being a big, creepy fan of someone. In light of this I have compiled a list of impulses that I have definitely had things that you should probably avoid doing (to anyone, ever…but especially not to famous people you’ve never met.)

  1. Kneeling down behind your favourite celebrity, gently placing your cheek on their ass and whispering “thank you for exisiting” whilst lovingly patting each pert globe.
  2. Sliding your hands around their waist and muttering, “Your jawline is so deep and well-structured. I just want to build a nest in it and hibernate for the winter. Would you let me do that? Please let me do that” in their ear.
  3. Getting several tattoos of varying quality depicting their face and the names of their movies or albums. Showing those tattoos to your favourie celebrity. Showing those tattoos to the media. Showing those tattoos to people, generally.

    Not weird at all. (Google "man with Miley Cyrus tattoos" for further info.)

    Not weird at all. (Google “man with Miley Cyrus tattoos” for further info.)

  4. On being introduced to your favourite celebrity, referring to them only by the name of your favourite character portrayed by them.
  5. Maintaining intense eye contact while graphically describing every single sexual fantasy you’ve ever had about them. Bonus creepy points if you only refer to them by their character’s name.
  6. Flinging yourself at their feet as they walk past…licking their shoes while you’re down there. Occasionally yelling “I’m not worthy!” before returning to licking their shoes.
  7. Screaming. Following them everywhere, screaming.  Just non-stop, incoherent screaming.
  8. Subtly cutting a lock of their gair every time you see them. (Increasing the chances of seeing them by following them everywhere.)
  9. Writing letters of devotion in blood. If female, writing letters of devotion in menstrual blood. (Actually, any bodily fluid is pretty bad.)

    This is a letter to a member of a Korean boy band called 2PM, written in menstrual blood and scattered with pubic hair for added intensity. Click through for more weirdness (and a translation).

     

  10. BITING YOUR FAVOURITE CELEBRITY ON THE ASS.

I know it sounds like I’m exaggerating with a lot of these, but I’ve provided you with some hard and fast examples of some genuinely weird shit people have done, so what’s to say that next time someone is confronted with the embodiment of fame/general hottness they won’t bend over and gentle whisper sweet nothings at their ass. Stranger things have happened.

I suppose to balance this post out I should probably provide a list of good behavioUr to display around someone you’re a big fan of. Here we go:

  1. REMEMBER THAT YOUR FAVOURITE CELEBRITY IS A HUMAN BEING AND IF YOU WOULDN’T FEEL COMFORTABLE DOING SOMETHING TO SOMEONE ON THE STREET, THEN YOU SHOULD PROBABLY NOT DO IT TO THE ATTRACTIVE FAMOUS PERSON.

That’s it. That’s the list.

“My Neck, My Back” vs. “Kisses Down Low”

I’m going to preface this blog by saying that it is about oral sex. I am saying this because my mother reads this blog regularly and I would just like to give her the opportunity to walk away and continue to pretend that I have no idea what I’m talking about. So without any further ado, let’s talk about Kelly Rowland.

Why is Kelly Rowland relevant to oral sex? Because she just released a song called Kisses Down Low, which is about exactly what it sounds like. Which is fabulous. It’s been called ‘provocative’, but I suspect that people only think that because it’s about kissing vaginas and not worshipping the peen. Anyway, I thought now would be the perfect time to compare Kelly’s latest offering with my other favourite song about cunnilingus, My Neck, My Back (Lick It) by Khia. Remember it? Here’s a very NSFW refresher.

And here is Kelly Rowland’s Kisses Down Low.

These ladies have taken very different approaches to the subject of downstairs kisses. I am already running out of synonyms. This does not bode well for the rest of the blog. (Feel free to contribute some in the comments section, but if I hear one mention of the word “clunge” I will reach through the screen and rip your legs off.)

Khia’s song was played at a lot of ill-concieved school dances when I was younger, but it was always the censored version (because that makes it totally more appropriate for a bunch of pubescent year 7 kids), so I didn’t hear the actual lyrical content until much later. But I like it. Not only does Khia explore the benefits of being on the recieving end of “so much love” (faced with a lack of synonym, I have resorted to using the lyrics) but she makes it sounds postively marvellous to be the giver as well. Not that she’s letting anyone get away with thinking that they’re too tough to go down. At one point she says “you might roll dubs, you might have G’s but fuck that just get on your knees”. Which is a message I approve of… not that I know anyone who rolls dubs or has G’s but I like the sentiment. In short, Khia is going to tell you what she wants done, how she wants it done and she’s not putting up with any of your bullshit. I can get behind that.

I think my favourite part of the song is where she says she's going to come "all over your face and stuff" like she got bored halfway through the songwriting and was just like "eh...and stuff. Whatever."

I think my favourite part of the song is where she says she’s going to come “all over your face and stuff” like she got bored halfway through the songwriting and was just like “eh…and stuff. Whatever.”

In comparison, Kelly Rowland is a little less… aggressive. The chorus line in the song is “I like my kisses down low, make me arch my back, when you give it to me slow, baby just like that.” It’s more of a gentle suggestion kisses down low are good and that they should keep going. In her video, Khia marches around being in charge of everything so you get some excellent shots of some dude painting her toenails and worshipping the ground she walks on. Kelly’s video doesn’t feature anyone else. It is all about her. And she is ADORABLE. The backgrounds are pink and bubblegummy and her hair and makeup is flawless and she’s just generally great. She quietly reminds everyone who’s in charge whilst wearing candy colours and bows, which is the sort of woman I want to be.

The cutest.

The cutest.

So, you’ve got two songs about oral sex from two very different perspectives. Which one is better? Neither! They’re both great. Khia is for when you feel like stomping around and being in charge of the universe, demanding  things for your pleasure. Kelly is for when you feel like unleashing your inner cute and doing body rolls at the same time (it’s a very specific mood but it does happen).

Oz the Kind of Mediocre

I was going to write this review last week, but then it was International Women’s Day and I got sidetracked. So this is the of Oz the Great and Powerful that I was going to write. The difference is that now, there is a week between me and my actual viewing of the movie so what we’re going to do is play a game called “How much of the movie can Alex actually remember and how much has been compressed into blind rage with no specific cause?” I will give you a hint: it’s probably mostly blind rage. I’ll try to keep it mostly spoiler free, but I make no promises.

I was excited about Oz the Great and Powerful. Too excited. The kind of excited that had me headed straight towards the realms of intense disappointment. However, I was not expecting to be exactly as disappointed as I was.  Have a look at the trailer and then we can talk.

So, let’s go over the plot. Oz, played by James Franco is a down and out magician in a Kansas travelling circus. Much like The Wizard of Oz, Oz gets swept away in a tornado and ends up in the Land of Oz. I feel like I used the word ‘Oz’ too many times in that last sentence. Oz has been thrown into disarray after the death of the previous (male) ruler, Glinda the Good’s father. Evanora (Rachel Weisz) frames Glinda (Michelle Williams) and tricks everyone, including her sister, Theodora (Mila Kunis), into believing that Glinda killed her father to get to the throne. She  casts her out, leaving herself in charge. The only problem is this pesky prophecy that says that a great wizard will return to rule the kingdom. Enter Franco, who “doesn’t just want to be good, he wants to be great”. He decides that he will be the Oz that Oz needs (I never realised how everything is called Oz in these films… Jesus) and, after realising that Evanora is the bad guy, sets out to help Glinda.

It sounds relatively inoffensive on paper but I just spent the whole film mentally going “nope. nope. nooooope.” So essentially, you’ve got a land that has been left more or less in control of three powerful magical women who are all waiting on a man to appear to fulfill his destiny. His destiny, of course, being the leadership role because, despite their magical powers, none of the women are capable of running the kingdom. Oz, of course, does not have any magical powers. He is a conman and also kind of an asshole.

Now, I could let a plot like that slide with some intense side-eyeing for the sake of a good redemption story. Magicless asshole conman becomes benevolent patriarch after learning not to be such a dick, finds love, is less of a shitbag; I could support it if the script was good enough. Unfortunately it just isn’t. Oz is a womanising dick who is unecessarily cruel to the people who do actually like him, but none-the-less, feels entitled to greatness. The crux of the script rests on the disctinction between “greatness” and “goodness”. Oz wants to be great, but he hasn’t proven himself to be good. Glinda the Good is supposed to be his guiding light in this particular endeavour. She exposes him for what he is, calling him selfish and egotistical among other things but sees potential in him regardless.

However, over the course of the film Oz doesn’t actually improve. Part of this is definitely a script problem. The first thing Oz does when he arrives in the magical land is seduce Theodora and break her heart in the process, sending her down the path of wickedness. (This bit is actually totally upsetting – Theodora is so good and pure and has her heart broken so thoroughly that she literally cries tears of acid that scar her face as they fall.) Oz’s way of reconciling this issue once he has proven himself as ‘good’ in the eyes of Glinda is to offer Theodora the chance to come back to Oz if she ever feels the need to be good again. She refuses and he looks disappointed. He gets his happy ending and she gets exile (which suddenly becomes conveniently self-imposed) and wickedness.

The other problem is a casting issue. I love James Franco. He’s been fantastic in a lot of things. This is not one of them. Perhaps the huge script flaws could have been saved by some slightly more nuanced acting, but Franco never really moves beyond the greaseball conman character. To be fair, he’s very good at that role, but now is not the time.

Issues with gender roles aside, the main problem that Oz the Great and Powerful suffers from is a lack of direction. It tries to commit to its fairytale roots, but gets sidetracked pretty quickly with complicated plot points. On the upside, it looks really pretty and the opening credits deserve some sort of medal.

Anyway, that’s it for me. If you’re anything like me, you’ll go see it because it’s pretty.

Ladies! Ladies Everywhere!

This post was going to be a review of Oz the Great and Powerful, but given that it’s International Women’s Day (or, as a lovely lady on my Facebook called “We Could All Be Beyonce Day”), I thought I would take the opportunity to celebrate some fabulous ladies that you should all be paying attention to. To be honest, this list will probably include Beyonce at some point, but I’ll try to avoid it because realistically, we’re all looking at Beyonce already, quiety waiting for her to announce her benevolent dictatorship over us meer mortals. Without further ado, I present: LADIES!

  1. Angel Haze – All hail the new queen of my heart. Seriously though, I have been hammering her album Reservation like nobody’s business. She’s an interesting character too. She was raised in the Pentecostal Great Apostolic Faith until she was 15 when her mother had a falling out with the church’s leaders. She now describes it as a cult. She garnered a lot of attention for her rewrite of Eminem’s Cleaning Out My Closet, which is essentially a graphic detailing of the sexual abuse she suffered throughout her childhood. It’s amazing and you can listen to it here, but I wouldn’t judge you if you didn’t. It’s brutal and honest and terrifying. She says the reason she wrote the song was to make sure that everyone felt disgusted – “I want someone who’s a father to listen to the song, and be like: ‘No one had better ever fucking touch my daughter like that. And if they do, you can tell me.'” If you looking for something a little less heavy that still packs a punch, anything on Reservation will do you. I am particularly fond of Gypsy Letters.
  2. Marjane Satrapi – Have you read Persepolis? If not, why not? It’s really good. Like, REALLY good. It’s a autobiographical graphic novel that was later made into an animated film, which is also really good. Obviously, Marjane Satrapi has done other stuff, like just generally being kind of a badass, but Perspolis is probably a good starting point. It follows her childhood in Iran, giving a child’s interpretation of the changing political climate and follows her throughout her teenage years in Vienna, including a bout of homelessness. If I told you any more I would be giving away the plot, but yeah. Go look at her.
  3. Lyn-Z and Kitty – They’re fresh in my mind because I saw them a week or ago, but I can’t tell you how much I love the two ladies from Mindless Self Indulgence. Lyn-Z is the kind of badass who is dressed in a mini-skirt and boots, playing a bass guitar and then is suddenly crowd-surfing. Kitty is legit one of the best drummers I’ve ever seen and is just fucking adorable at the same time. They’re the main reason I started listening to Mindless Self Indulgence and by God did I want to be one of them (both of them?) when I grew up. I’m still waiting, to be honest.
  4. Quvenzhane Wallis – This little cutie is the star of Beasts of the Southern Wild. She’s 9 years old and an Oscar Nominee, which should be enough for people just to be impressed with her. Unfortunately, because people are kind of shit, she’s ended up copping the brunt of every terrible two-bit comedy sketch in town, usually about something highly original like her name. Let me ask you, lame-joke-making-asshole: did you have an Oscar nomination when you were 9? No? Then shuttup. No one is here for your shit.  Quvenzhane has been fantastic about the whole thing. She’s even in a video teaching people who to pronounce her name.

    If you ever get sad, go watch a 9 year old accepting a Critic’s Choice award. It’s beautiful, she’s beautiful and I won’t hear a bad word said against her.
  5. Yoon Mi-rae – Look, realistically, this blog just should have been called “Alex celebrates International Women’s Day by writing about her favourite lady rappers” but it isn’t. It’s about badass women, so I can still have more than one female rapper on there because shuttup it’s my blog, I’ll do what I want. Anyway, Tasha Reid AKA Yoon Mi-rae is a singer rapper for The Movement. She was born in the States to a Korean mother and African American father. She raps fluently in Korean and English (I love a lady who can make bilingual puns) and she tackles some pretty heavy lyrical content, particularly with regard to racism and discrimination. Her husband, Tiger JK, is also a rapper but adores her so much that he frequently derails interviews to talk about how great she is. I’m on his side. She’s pretty great. This is her latest single with MFBTY (which allegedly stands for My Fans Better Than Yours, but is more likely to stand for Mother Fucking Bizzy Tiger Yoon Mi-rae, which covers all three members of the group).

Right, that’s it. I’m out. Bonus mentions for Beyonce for being Beyonce. Also, this was going to go up yesterday, but I got sidetracked so you get it a day late. Sorry.

Tyler the Creator: A Conceptual Mess

Hi there! Small break over. I am still unemployed but I am out of bed and also wearing pants. By out of bed I mean that I have migrated from the bed to the couch, but it still totally counts. Anyway, with an abundance of free time I have been scouring the internets for something to write about. My friend directed me towards the new Tyler the Creator video.

For those of you not familiar, Tyler the Creator is a rapper and part of the Odd Future collective (their full name being, Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All… obviously). Their known for abrasive, often sexually violent lyrical content and calling out things that they percieve as being bullshit. ‘Bullshit’ usually consists of genres that exist outside of the tiny DIY bubble they’ve created for themselves. I can’t fault them on their DIY ingenuity – they’ve used various social media networks to build a massive global audience. Shockingly enough, I’ve never been a huge fan. But then again, I’m not really the target audience.

Dudes in their late teens and early 20s practically wet themselves over Tyler’s debut Bastard and the follow-up, Goblin. Pitchfork called Badstard “one of the most stunning things released in the last 12 months” back in 2010. Which I guess is true. It SOUNDS really interesting. Tyler’s voice is great and the musical accompaninment has all these lovely weird influences that make it really entertaining to listen to. But I’m not an angry teenage dude and jokes about sexual violence are never really gonna float my boat (or many female boats anywhere ever, let’s be real) so it was never something that was going levitate with joy. But I will confess that I have Yonkers somewhere on my computer and that I’ve watched the video a lot, because it’s really interesting.

Click the image to go to the video.

Click the image to go to the video.

But the problem with being supremely controversial is that it’s very hard to keep being controversial because eventually people know what to expect and who to expect it from and it isn’t shocking anymore. I have a sneaking suspicion what’s happened here. This is the new video. It’s kind of a conceptual mess.

Musically, it’s fine, I guess. Lyrically, it’s even vaguely more palatable than some of their other stuff which is… something? I don’t know. Anyway, the video is such a non-event. For a group that’s featured a hanging, domestic violence, ejaculations and centaurs in their videos and managed to make it seem like it was coherent and maybe even meaningful. But here we’ve just got the obligatory overly large penis, some wrestling, a bit of weed smoking and a sudden jump to some pastel romance montage that ends in him being slapped.

Anorexic models and huge cocks. What does it all mean?

Anorexic models and huge cocks. What does it all mean?

Like, it’s so nonsensical that it borders on being boring which is probably not what they’re going for. I think the saving grace for this particular output is the fact that Tyler seems to be aware of its ‘hit and miss’ nature. He tweeted “I WANT BUSTA AND MISSY TO HEAR IT REALLY. I’M SO NERVOUS WHAT IF EVERYONE HATE IT AND I GO BROK FUCK AHHH… THE FAD IS OVER AND I GOTTA WORK AT SOMEWHERE LIKE THESE REGULAR NIGGAS AHHH NO IM SHAKING.” Having said that, as my friend so eloquently put it, “it’s gotten to the point where he could record the sound of a dogs having sex, sample it and people would still buy it” so he’s probably not gonna have to go “work at somewhere”.

Anyway, that’s me done for the day. If you want to read a more in depth article about the problematic nature of Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All and Tyler then you should read this article. It’s any interesting look at inclusion and exclusion. Meanwhile, Pitchfork continues to shit itself every time he releases something so Tyler’s probably got a while left in him yet.

Lisa Lampanelli is a Bad Person (Possibly the Worst Person)

Lisa Lampanelli is a terrible person. Luckily, most of you probably don’t know who she is. Unluckily for you, I am here to change that. Lampanelli is an author, stand up comic and all round awful jerk. She started out as a journalist and then switched to comedy for “the pay raise.” Her comedy is blatantly unfunny, and she’s repeatedly been called out on being a racist asshole. Which is what we’re going to talk about now. Recently, she posted a picture to her Twitter feed of herself with Girls creator Lena Dunham with the charming caption “Me with my nigga @LenaDunham of @HBOGirls – I love this beyotch!” Lets have a look at the photo in question:

What's wrong here?

What’s wrong here?

Notice how both the people in this photo are, in fact, white women? When contacted about the controversy, Lampanelli made the following charming statement:

“The N-word ending in ‘er’ is far different context from the word ending in ‘a.’ Ask any person who knows the urban dictionary, it means ‘friend.” And by the way, if I had put the word ending in ‘er,’ that would have been a very derogatory thing about Lena meaning she is less than me, and I view her as very above me. ‘A’ on the end means ‘my friend.'”

This is, of course, t0tally incorrect and awful, but totally fits Lampanelli’s profile. Her brand of ‘comedy’ repeatedly plays on awful racial stereotypes. They’re so offensive that I’m not going to republish them, but if you’re in the mood to make yourself really uncomfortable you can check out a couple of samples on the relevant Wiki page. Her justification for such humour is “I can get away with it because I am a nice person, I have a warm personality, my intention is good behind it.” I have written an open letter to Lisa to point out why she is wrong.

Dear Lisa,

I have  a newsflash for: you are not a nice person. You are a bad person. You are quite possibly the worst person.

The fact that you think that you can participate in the marginalising and victimising of people with a cultural background that differs from your own because your “intentions are good”, means that you don’t think at all.

The fact that you spent 30 pages of your book talking about the “quest for the perfect black man” does not make you not racist, it makes you a fetishising asshole.

If you do not understand what I am talking about, perhaps these good folks in this video can explain it to you.

Yours Sincerely,

Alex.

You should really watch the video. It’s good. Make sure you stick around to the end too. It’s crucial. That’s me for the night.

Pub Rockin’

Sorry this is so late going up. I got distracted reading Young Adult literature. Conincidentally, that will probably be the subject of an upcoming post because it comes under the heading of “Things You Need to Know About”. Anyway, moving on. I know that many of you lovely readers are Not Australian, so I try to keep my posts as general as possible so that we can all hang out. But sometimes there is some home-grown interestingness that requires my attention. This is one of those times.

Australians generally suffer from a kind of ‘cultural cringe’. That is to say, we often prefer imported culture (American or European television, music, art, movies etc) over things that are written and produced locally, striving under the impression that our own cultural output is somehow embarrassing. I am guilty of it. I can’t remember the last Australian film that I watched. But I do like live music. More specificially, I am a big fan of live music in pubs. Tragically, due to licensing laws and a bad economic climate, a number of Sydney’s best pubs/ live music venues are going under. And it is affecting my good time. The Annandale Hotel is a particular favourite of mine (I was there last Wednesday to see the Cloud Nothings and Violent Soho, both of whom I would recommend highly) but it’s been struggling to keep its head above water for quite some time. The floor is sticky. It smells like stale booze. There’s probably enough bodily fluids encrusted in the walls to construct a whole new human being. But it’s nice. It has character and history and, perhaps most importantly, it’s really close to my house which makes stumbling home slightly drunk and covered in sweat after being trapped in the middle of a mosh pit REALLY easy.

It looks like it’s going to fall in on your head, and maybe it will but you’d enjoy it, because it’s just got that much charm.

I consider pub rock to be one of Australia’s great cultural exports. You’re probably a fan without even knowing. So, to educate some of you sexy little foreingers in the ways of the pub rock, and remind the handful of Australian readers that you should go to a gig (if not tonight then tomorrow night, and if not tomorrow night then the night after, and so on and so forth), I present to you my top five Australian pub rock bands:

  1. ACDC – Really bloody obvious. Like REALLY obvious.Despite the fact that they’re old and Angus Young should really, really put that fucking schoolboy outfit away already, ACDC are one of Australia’s biggest pub rock exports. They fill out stadiums now, but for years in the 70s they were just up and down the East Coast of Australia playing in sticky, shitty falling down pubs.

    I chose this video because I am an unabashedly fan of “bad video acting” and this is a wonderful example. Also because it emphasises what a maniac Angus Young is.
  2. Hunters and Collectors – You probably like Hunters and Collectors without realising you like Hunters and Collectors. This is largely due to the fact that Pearl Jam covered one of their more anthemic songs. Have a little Throw Your Arms Around Me, for your afternoon

    Once when I was making a CD of Australian tunes for an American friend I asked my father what I should put on it. He said, “What’s that song? You know the one? Whenever it comes on the entire pub gets really emotional and starts hugging and singing along?”  He then proceeded to sing Throw Your Arms Around Me, in a really off-key fashion. I’m not saying that the song doesn’t kind of make people want to do that, I am simply suggesting that at some point my father has been really drunk in a pub screaming along to the Hunters and Collectors. (My father and I have that in common.)
  3. INXS – Again, just another really really obvious one. But I am sucker for handsome. The Australian pub rock scene is not
    reknowned for being populated with overly attractive men. They’re faces with…character? Michael Hutchence, on the other hand…

    Choosing to go with this video because the song is sexy and because it features a pretty impressive mullet (a staple of the Australian pub scene to this day).
  4. Divinyls – I don’t how people feel about the Divinyls being on a pub rock list, but technically their success is largely due to the fact that they were able to play consistently in small venues around Sydney. Ken Cameron had them provide the soundtrack for his film Monkey Grip after he saw them play in a pub in Kings Cross in 1982. I am also including them because I have a crush on Chrissy Amphlett.

    I know you were probably expecting me to put I Touch Myself as the chosen song, but I like this video better because Chrissy manages to be both sexy and terrifying at the same time and apparently that’s something I’m into. (My mother reads this blog. Hi, Mum. Have we spoken about my love of sexy and terrifying women yet? No? Maybe next phone conversation?)
  5. Australian Crawl – There a several other bands that I could (and probably should) include on this list over Australian Crawl, but I have a sentimental attachment to them and to the song Errol in particular. If I had to narrow down what was so notable about Australian Crawl, I would say it’s the fact that, in spite of writing songs with verses and choruses, each song contains about two or three comprehensible words which can be shouted at appropriate times so you can feel like you’re singing along. Unsure what I mean? Have a look.

    Oooooh Errol, I would give anything, just to be like him! And the rest mumbled. I am also very fond of the sheer awkwardness of this video. Why is the singer clothed in a room full of half naked women/half naked bandmates? Why does he look so upset about it? Why is he dancing in a jacuzzi? Why am I laughing so hard?

Right. There ends the lesson on pub rock. I hope you lovely foreign folk learned something. Australians, have you re-evaluated your relationship with small venues and live music in Sydney? Want to help out? GO TO A GODDAMN GIG. Find some friends. Pay the entry fee. Go. It’ll be fun. I promise. Also, if you’re interested in helping save the Annandale you can do so one brick at a time.

Do You Get It Yet?! Do You?!

Right, if you thought this blog post was going to be about something other than Beyonce’s Superbowl performance then you have come to the wrong blog. Having said that, it’s not going to be a rave blog about the performance itself, though that was pretty great. (My favourite part was when the rest of Destiny’s Child magically appeared out of the stage, like KABLAM! Anyway…) Have a look at this clip of the perfomance and tell me if you can spot what I love about it:

In case you didn’t notice BEYONCE’S ENTIRE BACKING BAND IS FEMALE and it is pretty much the best thing ever. I know you all came here for some mildly amusing pop culture snark but it’s time for me to put my serious hat on and talk about some real things. (My serious hat is a top hat with a peacock feather in it. It is very difficult to take me seriously, but please try.) If I say the word “musician” to you, what do you think of? If I say the words “guitarist” or “saxophonist” or “bassist”, who comes to mind? Tell you what, let’s Google “guitarist”, shall we?

guitars

OH LOOK. All of them are white men! Before you get antsy at me, I’m not saying that there’s anything wrong with your favourite guitarist being a wrinkly old white dude. Wrinkly old white dudes have made some lovely music over the years. Some of them should have stopped. Rolling Stones, I am looking at you. If Keith keeps going he’s just going to crumble into dust on stage. But I digress. The problem is the lack of choice. The first thing anyone thinks of when they think of music is a bunch of dudes having a jam, which is cool if you’re going to age and become an old white dude, but significantly less cool if you have a vagina or are not white, for instance. So Beyonce has done something awesome and made an all-female backing band. They are called The Sugar Mamas and they are fabulous. Look at this video and tell me you’re not a little bit in love.

The gorgeous lady on the guitar is Bibi McGill. She’s also the musical director, so she’s responsible for making everything go off without a hitch. So she made everything go off without a hitch at the Superbowl and then did THIS:

…and nailed a damn guitar solo. She’s also a yoga instructor and runs her own business selling kale chips. If you were looking for a new hero, I think I may have found one.

Beyonce has said that the reason she put together an all female band is because growing up she wished she had more female role models to look up to musically. She’s done a phenomenal job of it. There’s a classically trained horn section, some incredible vocals, guitar, bass and drums and they’re all killing it. Then on top of that, there’s the 120-strong all-lady dance team that sashays across the stage whilst avoiding the pyrotechnics from Bibi’s guitar. There is not a single man on that stage and it’s greatest.

Realistically, we should just be talking about the fact that the band and Queen Bey just fucking nailed it and that once again, the half time show is more interesting than the football, but we’re not quite there yet. Unfortunately, it’s still surprising for some people when women play their instruments just as well, if not better than their male counterparts so I’ll be damned if I’m not going to make a post worshipping the ground that they walk on. Beyonce and the Sugar Mamas are the coolest. They are mega-talented and mega-beautiful. If Bibi McGill would like to call me so that I can confess my love in person rather than over the internet, I would totally be down for that. Until then, I’m just going to assume that everyone has accepted Beyonce as their lord and saviour. Amen.

All credits go to blackbookmag.com for the gif. If you click the image, it’ll take you to the article.

Music and Lyrics: The Stupidity Edition

Last week I went to the pub (a shocking turn of events) and at some point, the night dissolved into my very talented friend Jamie doing impersonations of Creed. Creed impersonations are not, strictly speaking, Jamie’s main talent, although if the whole art thing doesn’t work out he could always make a living pretending to be Scott Stapp. But I digress. Eventually we got to talking about how lyrics that are really awful or make no sense what-so-ever often end up being hugely successful because the singer puts a bunch of unnecessary but allegedly meaningful emotion into their vocal stylings. Not sure what I’m talking about? Let me present you with some examples.

  1. Train – Drops of Jupiter – Remember Train? They released Drops of Jupiter and then did nothing for a while. Then a couple of years ago (last year? who knows?) came screaming out of nowhere with a comeback album that people bought and listened to for some reason. Anyway, mostly I just want to talk about Drops of Jupiter though.

    From what I gather, the lead singer has fallen in possibly unrequited love with a girl who might be an astronaut. Featuring such meaningful  lyricism as “checks out Mozart while she does tae-bo, reminds me that there’s room to grow, hey hey”, “can you imagine no love, pride, deep fried chicken, best friend always stickin’ up for you, even when I know you’re wrong?” and “naa naa naa nanana”, a quick search on Google reveals that people inexplicably have a really intense emoitonal connection to the song. It can’t be the actual lyrics. Because they mention soy lattes and space travel in the same verse. Apparently, the girl the song is dedicated to also “listens like spring and talks like June” since she’s returned from a little jaunt living on the moon… which I have thought about over and over and still can’t make sense of. So the only conclusion that I can reach is the fact that there is something about the way that he’s singing the song. To me, it seems ridiculous but he does look like he’s having a really good time in that video. Arms thrown back, eyes closed – the man is singing like he’s on mission. The fact that he is singing absolute nonsense seems to do nothing dissuade the music-buying public who sent this to number one in a bunch of places. On a side note, if more of the men in my life could get around in flowing paisley shirts and leather pants that would make me really happy.
  2. Seal – Kiss from a Rose – I tried really hard to decipher this one because I feel like it means SOMETHING. Google tells me it’s about drugs. Which seems plausible I guess. This is, of course, me operating under my “General Theory of Lyrical Relevance in Contemporary Pop Music” which states “if it isnt about drugs then it is about blow jobs”. Take it away, Seal

    Seal wails this song like it holds the key to the universe, which is probably why people often dedicate it as a love song, but the more I look at the lyrics, it really just looks like it’s about cocaine. “But did you know, that when it snows, my eyes become large and the light that you shine can’t be seen.” To me, that just sounds like a fancy way of saying “I put a small mountain of coke up my nose and I’m chewing my damn face off. Also my vision has gone slightly blurry. Send help.” As for being “kissed by a rose on the grey”, I still have no idea what that means, but from the facial expressions Seal pulls while singing that line I’m gonna assume it’s deep.
  3. Filter – Take a Picture – I like this song. I do. But it should really be  re-titled Drunk Stream of Consciousness ft. Daddy Issues. Take a look.

    Before we get to the lyrical content, let’s just acknowledge that the 90s/00s were a time of really poorly fitted suits. A sad time for tailors the world over. Anyway, since this song is essentially just repetition I can probably just recount everything for you. Basically “awake on my airplane/ awake on my airplane/ my skin is bare/ my skin is theirs” x2, followed by “I feel like a newborn” x2, then “awake on my airplane/ I feel so reeeeaaaal”. Then “can you take my picture?/ cause I won’t remember” x4. It’s all reasonably pleasant and sentimental, kind of like talking to that drunk in the back of the bar who just keeps repeating the same phrase over and over again whilst affectionately slapping you on the back and threatening to nod off. However, much like the drunk guy when you suddenly mention who you voted for in the last election, things take a turn for the shouty. Suddenly “I don’t believe in/ I don’t believe in your sanctity/ Your prophecy/ I don’t believe in sanctity or hipocrisy” then some garbled stuff about not wanting anyone to be left alone and feeling like a newborn again. My favourite bit, however has to be the section where he just starts screaming “Hey dad, what do you think about your son now?” It’s the lyrical equivalent of saying “Dad. DAD. I’ve joined a rock band, dad. Remember when you said I wouldn’t amount to anything? WELL LOOK AT ME NOW DAD. I have a goatee and a nipple peircing and a number one single and women love me AND WHY DIDN’T YOU HUG ME MORE WHEN I WAS GROWING UP!? WERE YOU ASHAMED?” I don’t really know what this song is about. I’m not sure that Filter do either. But the lead singer once again has his head thrown back and his eye closed, so it’s gotta mean something right?

Anyway, there are loads more examples of stupid lyrics out there but it’s getting late and I have to work tomorrow and this post is about to crack 1000 words. However, before I sign off, you may recall I mentioned my friend Jamie at the beginning of the blog. He is lovely and very talented and you should go and look at things he does over here because they are wonderful. I own two of his things. They live on my walls and make my room more habitable. Please feel free to leave more dumb lyrics in the comments. You guys know how much I love stupidity.

Jack Reacher: The Worst

Sorry for the brief absence. I wish I had an excuse, but I basically got drunk and then lazy and then busy. I don’t even know why I’m telling you that. It just makes me sound like a jerk. Anway, while I was very busy not posting here I went and saw Jack Reacher. I’m not really sure why. I had a free movie ticket. A friend told me it was terrible. It was raining. The stars aligned and I found myself with an oversized drink and popcorn, in a room full of dudes, watching Tom Cruise be a muscle-bound pocket rocket pretending he’s taller than the woman they cast alongside him. Believe me when I say, it was awful.

For those of you who haven’t heard of the Jack Reacher character before, allow me to enlighten you. Jack Reacher is the protagonist in a series of books by a British author named Jim Grant, who operates under the pen name of Lee Child. The books are a bunch of boy’s-own detective type stories and are alright if you’re into that sort of thing, I guess. There are something like 17 of these damn books, so you can imagine that the backstory for Jack Reacher is fairly thorough. Keeping it short: Reacher was like a super-cop for the military police. Upon being discharged from the military he became a drifter, hitching-hiking or riding Greyhound buses across the US. Naturally, he finds trouble. Or trouble finds him. Or some other cliche about trouble. Anyway, they all pan out in much the same way, with Reacher fighting off a bunch of dudes and then walking off into the sunset, possibly leaving some busty lass with her heart all aflutter. Pretty standard stuff.

So the film Jack Reacher is an adaptation of Child’s 2005 novel, One Shot. Basically a maniac with a gun kills six people in what seems like an open and shut case, until the accused scrawls “GET JACK REACHER” on a piece of paper. Shenanigans and fisty cuffs ensue. Yada yada. Walking into the cinema, knowing all of this, I was prepared for the movie to be bad. What I did not understand was exactly how bad the movie was going to be. To start off with, Reacher’s character is not in the least bit likeable. Don’t get me wrong: I love a charming asshole. In fact I think most of the problem with my dating history lies in the fact that I am almost exclusively attracted to men who fall into the “charming asshole” category. But Reacher isn’t actually charming. He’s just an asshole. I can’t even really begin to isolate specific elements of his character that make him so unlikeable, because it’s just such an overwhelming impression. The introductory shot of features him sprawled on the bed of a cheap motel while some faceless woman puts her underwear on. (Out of interest: how do you think they credit the actress that did that? “Faceless shag number 1”? How much was she paid for the days work? What’s her story?) He refuses to answer questions, or be in any way helpful. He’s generally obnoxious to everyone and sometimes just kills people because it suits his idea of justice. From what I gather, the audience is supposed to just immediately grasp why he eventually chooses to provide help in any scenario based on the fact that he stares into the middle distance and clenches and unclenches his jaw a bunch of times.

I’ve heard of Reacher’s character as belonging to the “hard-boiled” detective genre and frankly, I’m a little insulted. This is a hard-boiled detective:

Be still, my beating heart.

This is not a hard-boiled detective:

This is a man in a plaid shirt.

Your hard-boiled detective gets to be the way he is through years of alcoholism and too much time spent on the wrong side of the law. (And it’s really hot and I’m super into Bogart and just shut up, OK? Because… reasons.) By contrast, Reacher’s main monologue tells us that he spent all his youth “fighting for freedom” and when he came back to see what that freedom meant, he didn’t think it was worth anything. All of this is, of course, delivered whilst looking into a grey-lit office building at some depressed workers or something. CLICHES ABOUND.

Anyway, aside from a completely unlikeable main character, my other main problem with this film was its attitude towards women (which the audience full of 20-something year old dude-bros seemed to find HIGH-larious). There is the obligatory central female character who is “smart and sassy”, but not in the sense that she actually does anything. Basically, she gets flustered whenever Tom Cruise takes his shirt off, which confuses me because this is not 1986 and this is not Top Gun and he is so clearly sucking it in that it’s actually a little embarrassing. Sometimes, she figures stuff out but it’s usually because Reacher has pointed it out to her. I can’t even remember what her name was. (Just looked it up: the character was Helen and she’s played byRosamund Pike, who I didn’t think I’d seen anywhere but it turns out she was in The Libertine and Die Another Day. The more you know.) So she exists and is a character and there is very little else that can be said about her but I think that’s how it’s supposed to be.

The one that really irked me, however, was the younger girl, Sandy. Sandy is used as bait to lure Reacher into a bar fight. He doesn’t really take the bait, but he does take the opportunity to tell Sandy that he couldn’t afford her. When she tells him she isn’t a hooker, he then says, “Then I really couldn’t afford you.” CLASSIC LINE. Poor Sandy doesn’t get the joke and keeps telling him that she isn’t a hooker. To which he replies, “I know. A hooker would’ve gotten the joke.” ANOTHER CLASSIC REACHER LINE. Yada yada. Bar fight, bar fight. Turns out people are hunting Reacher. Jump 30 mins down the storyline, turns out that Sandy is actually “a smart kid” who does accounts and dates drug dealers. She offers to sleep with him and he valiantly turns her down but Reacher is suddenly all protective of her and her death is used as a motivation for him to go on a car chase/ killing spree. I dunno. Maybe it makes more sense in the book? I lost track of it somewhere in the middle but the rest of the audience seemed to like it. (“I dunno, dude. I just really liked the bit where he didn’t call her a hooker.”)

The film ends with all the gunfire and vicious fist fights you need. The Russian bad guy is killed. (Of course the bad guy is Russian. The bad guy is always Russian.) All is settled in the name of “Justice”. Anyway, I walked away shaking my head. Maybe it’s cos I haven’t read the books. Maybe it’s cos it’s not the kind of movie that is marketed towards me. Maybe some people loved it. But maybe I’m right and it is the stupidest thing you’ll watch all year.

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