Some topical pieces for August

Hey there! My mailbox won’t open. It has all of the amazing work I wanted to share with you today. Quite ridiculous. So instead I’m going to go and do a phone interview with Neon Indian:

..and by the time I come back, hopefully it will be working again.

*some minutes later*

Ok, it’s working now, great. Before I go and do this phoner for The 405, I’d like to share some pieces which were written for another website but alas they were never published. So here you go, two topical and culture packed pieces.

Do’s and dont’s for the courtroom:

Ever been asked to give evidence in an important trial on an international stage? Do a Naomi and leave the lexicon at home. Confusion over what you’re being asked (“blood diamond? Qu’est-ce que c’est un “blood diamond”?”) as well as monosyllabic, lampen lingo (“i-was-given-dirty-looking-rocks-by-the-bad-man”) served the supermodel pretty well, as she testified at The Hague. Of course, it would be libellous to accuse Naomi of telling anything less than the-whole-truth-and-nothing-but-the-truth; however her story proves that when the entertainment and political frames collide, unintentional comedy can ensue.

Naomi's story: story rhymes with jack-a-nory

One fateful night in 1997, Campbell claims to have been asleep following an oh-so-peaceful Nelson Mandela charity function, when she heard a knock at her door. Two men gave her a pouch, reportedly saying it was “a gift for you”. Without meaning to puncture the validity of Ms Campbell’s account, when was the last time that a knock at the door roused you from your sleep? It must have been some pretty aggressive knocking, which fits slightly better with the President Charles Taylor myth (read: the black Stalin). Had I been cross-examining, I would’ve also asked La Campbell where her swarm of staff where when the drop-off occured. Do you think Naomi Campbell touched doorhandles at the height of her fame? Her legal forte is ABH, as witnessed in the magistrates courts of Great Britannia, where court artists surely enjoy themselves sketching her chignon. So, please don’t take our comedy sunshine away, foreign war trials…more importantly, she might make you look like a joke. And Liberia – as recently investigated by Vice here – is really anything but.

Making light, making money..making a mockery?:

Music has been “helping” us to deal with serious issues since the dawn of time. Self-help songs such as abstinence anthem “We Don’t Have To Take Our Clothes Off” are customary to our culture, and every boy-meets-girl pop song carries a similar brand of emotional counselling.

Even Queen tried it, albeit with tounge pressed firmly in cheek.

However, speculative songs-about-potentially-serious-subjects (SAPSS) rarely appear in the same frame as the subject matter, for fear of trivialising the latter. It’s not like the latest Ripper case is going to be accompanied by a light piano instrumental of “Roxanne”on the 6 o’clock news. Plus, it’s kind of patronising to assume that Roxanne or any other lady of the night wanted Sting’s career advice in g-minor in the first place. Ironically, the news itself sometimes like to draw attention to songs which might just make an audience think that the news is all bureaucracy and trivia. About 10 years ago, BBC news got all angry over a song called Tapa Na Cara (that’s “slap on the cheek” in Spanish).

Tapa Na Cara: 1/3 of women in America is physically abused, and bad dancing isn't usually a factor

Surely telling victims of domestic violence to get angry about a mardi gras anthem is about as relevant as telling someone whose family were murdered and arranged in a pentacle formation to get angry about Halloween at TGI Friday’s?

Plus, it’s kind of naive of the BBC not to think that Western pop hasn’t been linking sex and violence since the beginning of the world, or more aptly, “since OJ had isotoners”. Brazil were positively late on that angle. Anyhow, I digress – the strangest thing I’ve witnessed of late on the internet is an inverse of the SAPSS phenomenon. It is a SAPSS appearing in the same frame as the subject matter, and dodging the “disgustingly immoral” card by way of endorsement from the victim of said serious crime. Antoine Dodson flew into a wholly justifiable rage after an attempted rape on sister Kelly at their home in Huntsville, Alabama, and his subsequent tirade was shown on local news. As part of their well-known “Auto-Tune The News” viral series, comedy group The Gregory Brothers decided to give Antoine’s rant the T-Pain treatment and the video became an overnight meme sensation. The result had more potential and playability than Rick Astley in a gay sauna with Gap Yah rah star Orlando, getting a mutual erection over Chris Crocker circa 2007:

On one hand, it is hugely inappropriate to make a song about a sexual assault which isn’t a) a raw autobiography or b) in aid of a rape charity. It is pretty taboo full stop, actually, unless you’re in Sublime and you can practise irony as well as santeria. On the other, the song in question is almost a two-fingers up at rape (I should stress almost) and could even be viewed (I should stress could) as liberation in the face of anger, poverty and humiliation. Indeed, the makers of the video went dutch with Dodson, who filmed his last video in an apartment which certainly did not resemble the grim surroundings of the Projects where his sister was attacked. At the end of the day, it’s a bittersweet, almost Dickensian paradox, however much we sick British animals with our supposed love for a “working class hero” justify our love. It is because they are poor and black that society allows us to make them into court jesters, much like the cast of the current BBC3 series “Peckham Finishing School”, all picked for a cheap laugh. Antoine Dodson can sit pretty in an Ed Hardy t-shirt and muse about his “fanbase”, but we’re not really laughing with him. Nor are we laughing at him.

We’re laughing at rape, albeit a highly dramatised song about the possibility that someone is “raping errybody out there”. Our fauxmance with Antoine Dodson has most definitely moved from entertainment to exploitation. Sounds pretty sick, right? Some Americans might be behind the Dodson’s as they grasp at their very own American dream. But we are uncompassionate Brits, and we take Lolita and A Clockwork Orange and abuse books on holiday and read them on the beach. But perhaps if all of us rubberneckers who’ve downloaded “Bed Intruder” because of the internet hype have helped a family escape a life where rape could traverse from criminality into comedy…then maybe it would be ok to advise you to buy it.

H xxxxxxxx

The Lady Is a Tramp

…sang Lily Allen back in December when she appeared with other ‘celebs’ to see the new year in with Jools Holland. Was she singing about a certain ‘Lady’, or simply reciting a song chosen by her mangagement, is the baffling question which I would now love to disect, whether or not you actually care 🙂


In the blue corner, LDN’s Tesco-Alfresco Finest, Lily Allen

The obligatory fairytale: Once upon a time, an unconvincing indie ‘grimesterrrrr’ turned into an unconvincing LA dahling. First propelled to fame by daddy dearest after enjoying a supposedly awful unbringing, said ‘grimesterrrrr’ turned being a brat into her career.

Likes to… : Cringeworthily cry about how fat, ugly and talentless she is via MySpace like a 13 year old emo, cuss down other female celebrities, play dress up at boutiques, complain about ‘old men’ stalking her with ‘long-lens cameras’. Firstly, zoom is usually not a good thing (see Now’s ‘Circle of Shame’ etc…you know…VPLs, sweat patches, cellulite, etc). Secondly, not all paparazzi are old. In fact, some are young and date celebrities (admittedly only sleazy ones like Britney’s ex Adnan Ghalib…)

Most likely to say: I’m just a normal lundun gal, honest…ooh but Chanel shoes are amazing!!

In the red corner, LA-LA land fruit-loop Lady GaGa (1)…see also GaGa – (2) – noun, a liar or an impersonator, i.e.: Lily Allen pulled a GaGa last week…

The obligatory fairytale: There was once a singer who seemed to be the poster girl for post op success. In fact, she was a woman, but besides that she was totally fake, so much so that everything from her long ‘platinum’ hair (read: ‘peroxide and hair extension partayy’) to her KKK-at-Christmas costume (see right) may have made people assume she was once Little Mr Riding hood… Or in a No Doubt tribute band…

Likes to… : Party, presumably? She went to school with Paris Hilton, which seems to say a lot about this Lady’s attitude. ‘Just Dance’ definitely doesn’t ask to be followed with the words ‘but it’s 3am and I’m too tired!!’ I imagine that she practices her moves whilst doing ordinary stuff like say…walking over men wearing stilletos and busting into random houses (this didn’t take much of the video to said song to asscertain..)

Most likely to say: “Just Dance”, “Just Drink…Probably No Rohypnol In There”, “Just Get In The Kiddies’ Paddling Pool And Ride Shamu With Me”, “Just Rent Some Friends For The Night”…

HERE WE GO… takes an indepth look at the two high-living ‘heirheads’…:

It’s always been okay to have multiple occupations. Unless your name really is Martine McCutcheon, then you can be a singer moonlighting as an actress and vice versa; a reality TV star turned perfumer turned writer; you can even be famous just for the size of your assets, whether they’re paper, bricks or simply silicone. However, projecting an image of classiness and professional standard is always advised, first and foremost. How can one talk about money in the press let alone brag about a bank balance which makes Miley Cyrus’ paycheque look like child abuse?

1. Ange's pouty lips and hot hair scream smouldering screen siren, rather than just screaming like a siren

The trick is not to go in for all out P-O-S-H, whether you were born so or have recently acquired your squillions (the idea being that one obviously didn’t go to finishing school in Switzerland if one feels the need to prefix her name with a word with makes the real aristocracy cringe, (right Vickaaaay Beckham?) and if one did, then one obviously didn’t take much away from their education other than a Blackberry crammed full of viscounts and heiresses Pins…)

2. Paris shows that showing off isnt always necessary, in a £30 dress from Brit store Dorothy Perkins...
2. Paris shows that showing off isn't always necessary, in a £30 dress from Brit store Dorothy Perkins...

Anyhow, I digress. The idea is to hint to a life well lived rather then advertise it, neon sign and all. The Cuban cigars in the ashtray and the red soles of your Louboutins will tell your illustrious story without the ‘umms’, ‘likes’ and references to that ‘thing’ you had with Russell Brand.

(Not unless that actually IS the story…take note 2008’s Georgina Bailie (aka Andrew Sach’s granddaughter)).

Basically, it’s all about “keeping it real”…or giving the illusion that you’ve kept it real. Nouveau riche is a brassy and un-classy look, and, having heaped a title onto herself, I expected so much more from one such madame.

US export Lady GaGa – real name Joanne Stefani Germanotta – not only went to school with and dresses like Donatella Versace but also sings, quite repetitively, of her obsession with money (see “Money Honey”), fame (not just on title track “The Fame”), the paparazzi (eponymous ditty “Paparazzi” says it all), men (“Boys, Boys, Boys”), champagne (name checked a fair few times) and Hollywood (I just couldn’t listen to anymore of this pretentious twaddle by then, sorry).

Hearing her repeat “we’re beautiful and dirty rich” over and over again without a hint of sarcasm or irony or modesty or gratitude is quite depressing, honestly. In times of economic struggle, GaGa’s material obsession seems to amount to little substance. In fact, I think if you left this Stefani in a petri dish overnight, then maybe she would dissolve into a perfectly formed mountain of glitter.

I say this simply because she is glamourous, shiny and overtly sexual, yet totally and utterly boring. There’s less lyrical depth than the previously mentioned paddling pool on “The Fame”, and the title was annoyingly etched into her fly-eye glasses on the cover (because rich people do stupid things like that, surely?)

A true child of the mid-80s, she unfortunately still appears to erk back to a time when stress meant glamour, glamour meant money and money meant financial security and happiness in the bottom of an expensive bottle.

= modern day slavery...
= modern day slavery...

Oddly enough, the next single to hit (and consequently inflict GB onto) my ears after “Just Dance” (translation: Christina Aguliera rip-off writhes around and commands us to follow her in doing so for a tiring 4:10), was Lily’s latest, “The Fear”, from her new album “It’s Not Me, It’s You”. It is catchier than anything from the GaGa stable, yet annoyingly it is just another song about flashing the cash (and I mean this literally – in the video Lily parades around with dancing hotel staff à la Rick Astley). As for the astronomical amount of swearing which fag-ash Lil manages to pack into this 3:45 homage to money (and Gordon Ramsay?), I was totally appalled. That and her moronic, hopefully ironic, lyrics about learning that people die whilst mining diamonds. Did she bunk all of her Citizenship lessons, one has to wonder?

Being two girls who enjoyed privileged upbringings to say the least, both Lady GaGa and Lily Allen are doing a fantastically unconvincing job of sounding like the aforementioned grimy, dirty gold diggers, and are identical in every way, from their blunt eye-skimming fringes and hair extensions to their piss-poor lyrics.

I’d rather have real chavs turned princesses any day.

In fact, here’s the real winner:


x x x x

Watching: Mad Men…I sense an upcoming feature about this amazing show…

Activity of the week month: Tweeting about various things, which is totally not egocentric whatsoever.

Listening to: the sound of my own voice. N*Sync (no lie).