Posts Tagged ‘Music’
Tags: Dylan, I shall be released, Joni Mitchell, Mama Cass, Music
This rendition of Dylan’s I Shall Be Released by Mama Cass, Joni Mitchell and Mary Travers is really quite something. Look at those outfits!
I don’t have much else to say, except it’s a song that has huge resonance for me. Maybe I will tell you why one of these days. Any day now, any day now…
Tags: cock in my pocket, Iggy Pop, Music, Phallic women
‘I got my cock in my pocket
And I’m reelin
Down the old highway
I got my cock in my pocket
And I’m reelin
Down the old highway
I’m gonna whip it on you honey
Taste your blood today
I got my cock in my pocket
And I’m shovin it
Through your pants
I got my cock in my pocket
And I’m shovin it
Through your pants
I just wanna fuck
This aint no romance
I got my cock in my pocket’
This Iggy and the Stooges track is new to me. What I like about it is how it reminds us of the potential for the ‘masculine’ ‘active’ expression of sexuality to be available to anyone. Detaching the ‘cock’ from the body and putting it in one’s ‘pocket’ is what many pop stars, men and women, do when they perform. For the phallus, as Iggy, a doyenne of ‘feminine’ ‘passive’ display knows so well, is far bigger, harder, and more powerful than that pink delicate fleshy member most men carry round in their trousers. I got my cock in my pocket, and I’m reelin’ down the old highway.
Happy New Year #QRGMassive !!
Tags: jazz, MOBO awards, Music, Zara McFarlane
A fresh new voice in the jazz world, Zara McFarlane has been nominated for a MOBO award for Best Jazz Act.
You can vote here:
You can see her latest video here:
And also buy tickets for her London gig in October here:
‘Police and Thieves’ is a great song! Zara’s voice and vibe remind me a bit of Jill Scott but it’s sometimes unfair to make comparisons. She’s a unique talent. Good luck Zara!
Tags: Music, Patti Smith, Punk women
I went to see Patti Smith live in concert, at the Troxy in East London this week. I am still buzzing from the experience. She was BRILLIANT!
There are a few bands and artists where I remember exactly when I got to know their music, when I got hooked. Patti Smith is one of them. In the early nineteen nineties, I had dropped out of university and was a bit lost in life. I lived with my Dad and stepmum. My stepsister would come home from her uni for the summers, and we’d sit in her attic bedroom drinking and listening to music.
I had always been, and still am I suppose, quite a ‘pop’ girl. I didn’t know much about rock and roll in its more dirty, dark, gritty form. So I would sit wide eyed and open mouthed as my quite grungey stepsister introduced me to record after record (and it was vinyl) of wondrous music. Marc Bolan and T Rex, Led Zeppelin, Neil Young, PJ Harvey, Bongwater, Nirvana, Mudhoney and Patti Smith.
Patti Smith and PJ Harvey were revelations to me. Those of you who know me as bolshy, mouthy, rude QRG may be surprised to hear that as a young woman I used to be very shy and repressed. In some ways I still am, I suppose. So these two screaming dervishes, who could also play guitar and write beautiful love songs as well as rousing anthems had me mesmerised. They are part of the fanfuckingtastic tradition of hard, kick ass Punk Women from Debbie Harry to Toyah to Siouxsie Sioux to Poly Styrene. Patti is also a good example of the Woman Artist As Witch, with her long, scraggy dark hair, her irreverent approach to God and her witch-like refusal to conform to anyone’s idea of what a woman should look like, do or say.
Has Patti maintained her joie de vivre? Her husky but tuneful voice? Her no nonsense approach to performance? You bet she has. The 66 year old artist is as full of energy and panache as ever. And, as I proceed with alarming pace through my fifth decade, I think she is as good a role model to have as any.
The most inspiring thing about her show and her for me, currently, is how she WONT GIVE UP. The tracks she played from her current album sounded as complex and memorable as her earlier, infamous work. This Is The Girl, for example, that she dedicated to the late great Amy Winehouse sounds to me like an instant classic:
It is tempting to dismiss ageing popstars as past their peak, and just playing for the money, or because they need attention. In some cases that is probably a fair assessment. But seeing Patti Smith jumping and waving (and at one point barking like a dog) on stage, I was struck by her energy, drive, talent and POWER. Why take up knitting and re-releasing box sets (I’m looking at you Morrissey and Marr) when you could be doing what you do best, and loving every minute of it? And as if to underline my point, Patti played her old Horses track ‘Redondo Beach’ for Moz himself. ‘I went looking for you, are you gone, gone?’
But of course the climax of the gig was GLORIA and a theatre full of fans singing along: ‘G – L – O -R -I -A’! The line ‘Jesus died for somebody’s sins, but not mine’ is one of Patti Smith’s most famous utterances. As a very non-militant atheist I don’t tend to like songs dissing religion. But there is something reassuring about Patti’s Heresy. Partly maybe because she comes from a religious background, and though is critical of the church and its institutional status, she maintains a very spiritual ethos and passion. During the gig she spoke in support of Pussy Riot, and their blasphemous acts in Russian churches. But when at the end she told us we should ‘pray any way you fucking want to’ the whole audience seemed ready to get down on their knees.
Tags: Duke Special, friendship, Music
‘Make an example of me, hold me up to the light
If I don’t seem that strong, maybe there’s a strength implied.
Then take a medicine ball, throw it with all of your might,
Maybe it will put some wind back into these lungs of mine…
When I’m blind in pride and I won’t be bent
Though it seems unkind, I’m better for the punch of a friend.
When there’s no recourse, but the most direct
Though it seems unkind, I’m better for the punch of a friend’
- Punch Of A Friend, Duke Special
It is a very specific, exquisitely tortured kind of pain we feel when someone who we care for attempts to hurt us, and succeeds.
That medicine ball is a perfect image as I lie winded, and wounded on the floor.
Oh I will get up. I always do. But I can’t help but masochistically give my ‘friend’ the sadistic satisfaction of knowing they achieved what they set out to do.
I’m better for the punch of a friend.
Tags: Morrissey, Music, music journalism, words on music
I was delighted to be asked to contribute to the Words On Music blog, part of a project to investigate the state of rock journalism, which is currently ’missing, presumed dead’. Words on Music is the brainchild of Simon Spence, whose new biography of The Stone Roses, The Stone Roses – War And Peace looks well worth a read. My piece argues that ‘pop music journalism’ has been engulfed by the digital world, and that this is no bad thing.
I am a writer. Sometimes I write about music. At one point in history, I was even some kind of ‘music journalist’; I used to write for The North’s independent muso rag Sandman Magazine.
So why am I here to defend a remark I made recently on twitter that was pretty damning about music journalism? During the Words On Music live discussion event I tweeted:
#wordsonmusic it is time for music journalists to STFU and to let the music, and the technology, and the young people speak for themselves
Apparently my comment was picked up and retweeted by quite a few people, maybe in agreement, maybe in disgust. But it certainly, excuse my metaphor, struck a chord.
I stand by the sentiments expressed in my tweet because I think music journalism is spectacularly slow to cotton onto the social media revolution that is happening around it. And that has been happening for quite a long time! Whilst musicians and fans have been eagerly taking up the opportunities for sharing, promoting, discussing and making music provided by platforms such as Myspace, spotify, garageband, youtube, and bandcamp, writers have seemed to resist change. Maybe they resent the ‘democratisation’ that comes with new media, because anyone can be heard writing and talking about pop music now. This reduces the status of journalist ‘experts’ and completely removes their role as ‘opinion leaders’.
The last time I remember buying an album due to a review in a newspaper was when I read about The Decline of British Sea Power in The Guardian in 2003. Nine years on, I rely solely on word of mouth recommendations, online chats with twitter muso pals, random youtube discoveries, friends’ spotify playlists and, viral music videos to switch me on to new bands and artists.
For me, any arguments about loss in ‘quality’ or ‘depth of knowledge’ of trained, experienced pop journalists are overshadowed by the sheer breadth and variety of voices, styles and perspectives that come with twenty first century music discourse. In a piece in which admittedly I did protest too much about my annoyance with Manchester’s Master of Miserablism, I wrote: ‘I hate Morrissey because listening to middle class white men analysing pop music was already boring enough’.
For example the list of people involved in the Words On Music live stream discussion event this year seems to include about twenty men, two women, most (or all?) of whom are white.
But, having spent some years completing a Phd on gender inequality in the creative sector, and then running a social enterprise training women in the music industry, and having grown weary of feminist rhetoric, I am not going to sit around asking where are the women? Or where are the ethnic minorities? Or indeed where are the young people? In pop music and journalism.
Because I know where they are. They are online, in their studios, at gigs, on Logic and Ableton, on the ball, on form, in tune, on time, in synch, out there, at work, outperforming the old guard.
The future is already here, and we may as well join wise cats like Tom Robinson, Cornershopand – yes – Lady Gaga, and get with the programme. There is still a place for words on music, but those words have to take into account the changing culture, technology and times we make music in. This is no country for out of touch hacks.
Tags: Freud, Kinsey, Kinsey Sicks, Music, Overuse of the exclamation
I first heard of this brilliant acapella group, The Kinsey Sicks, via Dan. His great blog Overuse Of The Exclamation, now features a post about this wonderful quartet. Dan calls them wittily, The Chicks With Schticks! Of course, ‘Kinsey Sicks’ refers to the Kinsey scale, devised by Alfred Kinsey, aka Dr Sex. ‘Kinsey 6′ indicates someone who is wholly homosexual. My favourite ‘dr sex’, Mark Simpson, influenced by Daddy Dr Sex Freud, prefers to remain open to the idea that we are ALL capable of some ‘bi-responsiveness’. As do I. So I am not sure I really believe the number ’6′ on the Kinsey scale represents ‘pure’ homosexuality.
But, regardless of numbers and who puts their schticks where, the Kinsey Sicks make me smile, and sometimes think too. This is what their fan Dan has to say about them:
‘Though The Kinsey Sicks clearly defy categorisation - it can be said for sure that they strive to do two things – push boundaries and cause offence. They do this both gracefully and very successfully, however, still attract a healthy population of left-wing, middle class Americans.
The majority of their songs are parodies of well-known tunes ranging from the hits of Britney Spears to numbers from the Broadway musical Chicago. The group sing acapella and so no instruments are to be seen in any of their shows. Below I have listed some of my favourite lyrics lifted directly from their songs on key issues.
Sexuality: ‘God Bless ye femme lesbians, may good taste you display. You don’t give up your fashion choices just because you’re gay. With baggy pants and baseball caps and shirts in disarray, there’s something inbetween a bimbo toy out of Playboy and dressing up just like a twelve year old boy’.
Politics: ‘Rent a homo for your party, it’s the something that you lack. For twice the price we’ll send a couple and make sure one, but never both, are black’.
Environmental Issues: ‘BP is creepy, drilling way too deeply. If you think the problem’s just Goldman Sachs and BP, there’s a walrus I can sell you in the Caribbean sea’.
Politicians: ‘I’ll send your kids into war, I just screwed an intern on the floor. I’m not a witch, I’m a corporate whore’.
Away from the playfulness and sharp wit that I’ve come to enjoy so much in the past months, there is something much more serious about the group. Dismissed, I assume, by many simply because they dress in women’s clothes, the political charge and strong message conveyed through their lyrics cannot be ignored. They stand up for civil rights, but most attractively they enjoy taking the piss out of themselves as four gay men. They’re politically incorrect and have yet to be crushed by the Gay Mafia.
Indeed they put the sin in syncopation, the chest in orchestration and the exclusive homosexuality into the Kinsey scale. They’re loud, they’re proud and they’re fantastic. I eagerly await the release of their new CD ‘Electile Dysfunction’.’
You can also find Dan on twitter.
Tags: Bad Manners, metrosexuality, Music
I am writing about how the metrosexual murdered subculture. In addition to the narcissism and the consumerism and the ‘neo liberal individual’, that caused the ‘radicalism’ of subcultures to fade away, I am trying to articulate something about how subcultures e.g. Punk, Mods Skinheads drew on a ‘retrosexual’ model of ‘traditional’ machismo but they could not sustain it. This was due to metrosexuality emerging, in part through the homoerotics of pop music and its imagery and the way male fans and male stars became such obviously commodified objects of desire. Also subcultures could not maintain their ‘macho’ cohesion due to the homosocial/homosexual dynamics of all male or male-dominated groups. The army is rare in that its ‘homoscial’ environment is strictly regulated, and occurs under the shadow of war. Male subculture groups were more anarchic and as we now know, have dissolved and disappeared for the reasons I have just listed.
I hope I am on the right lines. I am using this quote from Mark Simpson’s Male Impersonators:
‘Eventually of course, they stabilise (eg Heavy Metal) but that is also the moment when they go out of fashion- i.e. lose their power over (hip) young people. To be effective rock and roll has to appeal to the ‘kids’ desperation to escape the mortifying squareness of heterosexism, a route out of the crushing sex/gender Scylla and Charybdis* that await them on their voyage into adulthood.’ (Simpson 1994: 207)
This great quote made me think not only of the ‘mortifying squareness’ of heterosexual adulthood that I feared and resisted as a teen – and that I still do, but also of just how camp some of those macho pop stars and subculture heroes were. Buster Bloodvessel the rotund Ska singer, looks like a cross between Matt Lucas and Fred off Coronation Street!
My favourite punk pop star who really showed us that ‘traditional masculinity’ had no place in pop music or youth subcultures, is possibly David Bowie. And Simpson writes about him beautifully in Male Impersonators too. You know, Hugh Laurie can stick his L’oreal moisturiser up his tight retrosexual ‘clearly heterosexual’ ass. I am sticking with the beautiful things of ambiguous gender and sexual identity.
(*aka ‘between the devil and the deep blue sea’)