Wednesday, 25 August 2010

If I see another celebrity goon in a magazine wearing a Herve Leger bandage dress I will...

Ok, well admittedly I probably won't do much. It's not exactly letter of complaint material, is it? But I can't help but recoil in horror everytime I see that bloody dress claim yet another identi-kit victim.

Seriously though - I know I'm not the first to say it and I certainly won't be the last, but when will it be written into some sort of law that bandage dresses HAVE BEEN DONE TO DEATH?

"Oh man... what are the chances of bumping into someone at a Herve Leger party who is also wearing a Herve Leger dress? Mandy, you bitch!"

Oh, and if the law ever gets passed, could someone see to it that the same goes for Ugg boots? Ta x

Friday, 13 August 2010

What's that Mike Stock? Pop music has become too sexually suggestive?

Nonsense! Gaawd how terribly old fashioned. [Insert more phrases uttered by today's disaffected youth here** for full effect]

In other unrelated news, here's Rihanna in concert at New York's Madison Square Gardens. Yep, nothing to see here... It's just your average pop gig: bit of a sing song, a tame dance routine... You know the drill. I mean, yeah; so you can practically see her labia, but that's fashion right? And the microphone to crotch look? So next season. Definitely not suggestive in any way, shape or form (ahem, pardon the pun).

Above: "Testing, testing. Mike check... Well go on then, don't be shy. Say hello"

Above: "You can see my vagina, ina, ina. Eh, eh, eh.

**And yes, yours will probably be better than my attempt, which included horrifically uncool words like 'nonsense' and 'terribly'.

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Celebrities 'balls’ up their World Cup geography

Whilst I don't pretend to know much about the ins and outs of football and the World Cup (well, aside from knowing that the ball has to go 'in' the goal, which for me, is arguably enough to get by) I have to say I'm feeling like a certified geographical genius after the recent spate of World Cup induced celeb geography gaffes.

Putting their foot(ball) in their mouths ahead of the England vs USA match were:


Yes he's pretty and makes young girls swoon, but Effers is still prone to the odd interview faux pas, saying that he couldn't wait for the States' game... against Man United. Now I wouldn't want to write poor Zackie off as being ever so slightly mis-informed, so here's a breakdown of his possible thought process:

Football = soccer = LA Galaxy= David Beckham = Used to play for Man Utd= USA are playing Man Utd.

So you see, he was really being quite logical when you think about it. Really hard.

It's a scientifically proven fact that placing a shirtless image of Zac Efron on any blog will increase hits fifty-fold


The Daily Mail reported that Katy Perry, "showed her support for both teams when she stepped out wearing a rubber dress which had one half made from a Union Jack flag and the other from an American Flag".

Hmm, all well and good, except for the small fact that Great Britain don't actually enter the World Cup, hence why people have been waving around this thing called the English flag. Looking as insanely hot as she did, obviously I'm willing to forgive K-Pez and her design oversight, but the Daily Mail not picking up on such a glaring error? Tut tut...


Also victim to the England/Britain confusion was clearly the New York Post, who ran with this front page:

It's also worth pointing out, New York Post, that a 'win' generally constitutes as beating an opposing team, not DRAWING WITH THEM.


Lastly, the Chan-meister should probably steer clear of the footie talk, or at least admit that he hasn't got the foggiest when it comes to the World Cup. He confidently predicted that Milan and Barcelona would go far - lets just hope he hasn't got a large sum of money riding on that happening. On second thoughts, anyone got his agent's telephone number? I have a bet I'd like to discuss...

Monday, 7 June 2010

Is it wrong...

That upon reading the following hilarious typo in a university email sent to me about an outstanding materials fee* from 2008:

"As your Exam Board is taking place shorty, this debt needs to be cleared immediately."

I couldn't resist replying,

"Hey, who you calling shorty?"

Oh how I make myself chuckle. I did however, style it out with this witty aside:

"(Sorry, it's the proof reading journo in me, couldn't resist!)"

So all in all I think the sender should not deny me my graduation, based on my bad humour. Right?

* The "materials fee" being an additional £50 a year no less, for the privilege of a few photocopied sheets of paper. Obviously you'd think that the £3,050 a year tuition fees would just about cover the cost, but apparently not. Ah, you've got to love those UAL pranksters. Repeat to self: "I am not a bitter person. I am not a bitter person..."

Friday, 14 May 2010

I'm in love with a 12 year old (in a completely non-sexual way I hasten to add)

Oh. My. God.

That was my reaction - along with the other 11 million plus viewers - when I watched 12 year old Greyson Chance's rendition of Paparazzi on youtube. In the two weeks since it was loaded, Greyson has gone from school talent show hero, to small time celebrity, and has already appeared on the Elen DeGeneres show where he spoke over the phone with Gaga.

The difference with this kid in comparison to other annoying youtube sensations (yeah, you Justin Bieber) is that he has genuine incredible talent, both vocally and on the piano. Not only that, but a scary maturity and articulacy when being interviewed by Ellen. He's 12! Any other kid would surely have crumbled!

And rather tragically, watching him hit the high notes he does with such ease not only made me insecure of my own vocal talents (sob), but also a little bit sad at the prospect that he might lose some of those notes once his voice breaks.

(Ahem, I was going to make a joke about finally understanding choir boys being castrated, but that would just be tasteless wouldn't it?)

Anyway, regardless of that, this kid is an immense talent (he writes his own songs as well, including the morbid Stars which is about a woman who dies of cancer and is shortly joined in the 'stars' by her husband), and deserves all the praise he's getting. You can criticise youtube all you like, but when a gem like this comes along, it makes it all worthwhile and proves it's a vital social platform.

Now excuse me while I go and stalk, sorry listen, some more.

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

M.I.A vs. Gaga

After seeing M.I.A's controversial new video for the single Born Free, I feel a little sad at the fact that gone are the days where the excitement of music was simply about getting your hands on [insert favourite artist]'s new record/tape/cd, and is now simply geared towards the sentence, "oh my god, have you seen so and so's new video??"

It's like the actual song has become secondary, and the bigger the budget/more controversial the video, all the better (extra points if you can combine high budget and controversy like Lady Gaga, in which case you'll be laughing all the way to the bank).

But anyway, onto the actual video for Born Free. M.I.A's got balls, I'll give her that. The nine minute film was directed by Romain Gavras (whose last controversial offering was Justice's Stress) and has already received the obligatory ban from youtube.

In summary, it features American police storming into a block of flats, aggressively pushing aside a middle aged couple in the middle of getting down and dirty (sexual scenes: check), before finding their target - a young man who they bundle into one of their vans and drive off to the desert. His crime? He, like every other person in the van, is a redhead. Yep, welcome to the ginger holocaust.

Reaching their desert destination, the redheads are lined up, and watch as one officer shoots a young boy in the head.

Just in case you missed the gore, this is helpfully played out in slow motion, for full bone chilling effect. The rest of the line-up are ordered to run, in a chase to their inevitable deaths (a combination of gunshots and being blown to pieces by landmines if you must know). Meanwhile, our protagonist eventually stumbles, and is brutally beaten. You get the gist of it...

Interestingly, eagle eyed youtube commenters have spotted that the colouring and complexions of the police would suggest that under their helmets, they too have red hair - a clever symbol of the hypocrisy involved in most conflicts.

Highly provocative and politically charged, it's clear that with this video, M.I.A isn't interested in 'sucking up' to her American audience; she's been outspoken in the past about what she believes to be the US government's censorship of Sri Lankan homicide, saying of the scenes of fighting between the rebels and the army: "It's systematic genocide, ethnic cleansing ... it's just out and out Nazi Germany".

However, in her native Sri Lanka, the majority of people view the rebels as "terrorists" and deny a genocide. The singer - whose father was a Tamil "revolutionary" - has also faced accusations of spreading "terrorist propaganda".

Regardless of her personal reasons for the video, the simple fact is that a statement like this is always going to face cynical accusations. Make a controversial video, stir up some buzz, and hey presto: record sales. M.I.A might believe she's doing things her own way, but it's to the glee of her record company.

In a Guardian article, Anna Pickard comments on the video's unnessessary use of 'shock images', saying that the video's powerful message:

'Is diluted by the fact that Gavras, again, seems to pack random "shocking" images into the film, for no apparent reason other than to say "LOOK! Overweight naked people! They're having sex, even though they're FAT! And here in the next room there's a nice old man smoking crack! Ooooooh, isn't it shocking!

'It's not a part of the film that adds anything or contributes to the story, the message or the issues. It's more like the News at Ten opening with Huw Edwards shouting "POO BUM WILLY TITS!" before launching into the headlines.'

I somewhat agree with Pickard, and it makes you wonder: just how much of the ideas in the video are M.I.A and Gavras' doing, and how much of it has been pushed by record label fat cats, greedy to generate column inches and an internet buzz?

Interestingly, M.I.A is label mates with Lady Gaga, who she's also voiced her opinions on, telling NME:

"Do we still need record labels? Are they even interested in making money from music anymore? Lady Gaga plugs 15 things in her new video. Dude, she even plugs a burger! That’s probably how they’re making money right now - buying up the burger joint, putting the burger in a music video and making loads of burger money."

She goes on to say, "She models herself on Grace Jones and Madonna but the music sounds like 20 year-old Ibiza disco. She's not progressive, but she's a good mimic... None of her music’s reflective of how weird she wants to be or thinks she is”.

Some brilliantly fair points: I actually think Lady Gaga is alright, but her downfall is how seriously she takes her self-proclaimed 'art'. While I agree her that her image is refreshing (her crazy ensembles are as close as we're ever gonna get to the stir that artists like New York Dolls, Bowie et al provoked back in the day), she holds too high an opinion of her music when speaking about it in interviews, when it's not groundbreaking or different in any way.

To me, her chart songs downplay her actual talent, and it's only when she sits down at her piano that you get any sense of her as an artist, with something to say.

Gaga also claims to be doing things her own way, yet I find that her beliefs often contradict the outcome. In an interview with Q magazine, she discussed the early reservations her record company had about her image, and how she fought tooth and nail to avoid the sexualised pop star cliché: "The last thing a young woman needs is another picture of a sexy pop star writhing in sand, covered in grease, touching herself."

A valid point, yes. Yet Gaga's image has always been about flashing the flesh, and has consequently become more and more sexualised (yes, I'm talking about those close-ups on her 'derriere' in the Telephone video, not to mention the previous video offering by Bey and Gaga, aka the porn-tastic and not-at-all-subtle Video Phone).

Above: Ok, so granted Lady G; there's no sand or grease, but there's definite 'writhing'.
If this video - and accompanying lyrics - isn't a blatant display of SEX SEX SEX, then stick a telephone on my head and call me 'gaga'

So what point am I trying to make out of all of this? Essentially, when I saw the Born Free video, I felt compelled to write about it because on the one hand I think it's gutsy, and a politically charged statement like that is not something that a money-driven 'product' like Lady Gaga could - or would - ever dare do.

On the other hand, the video is reflective of the 'shock' tactics employed in music and film; the more graphic, the more violent, and the more sexually explicit the product, the more publicity it generates which ultimately equates to sales.

Whether that formula will work in the case of Born Free, we'll just have to wait and see. Then again, with Diana Vickers presently at number one, maybe I've got it all wrong, and it's actually less about the shock factor, and more about the bland factor.

Incidentally, I think Born Free as a 'song' is basically the same as what M.IA accuses Gaga of anyway. It's an unoriginal offering, wrapped up in an extravagant video which gives it the pretence of something bigger.

Strip Born Free of its provocative video, and it's just M.I.A "sampling" yet another classic song (Ghost Rider by Suicide) and adding some distorted, fuzzy shouty vocals over the top of it.

As Planet Ill says, "It will get casual pop-punk fans off the wall and those hipster folks will like it because they will assume she’s saying something deep because she’s yelling over a punk track. However, if you prefer substance over style I can give you the names of 10 punk bands that will suit you better."

Monday, 29 March 2010

How It's Meant To Be

My latest distraction technique - cubase recording

sell music online

How It's Meant To Be

Another day has gone where you’ve been left alone
Footsteps surround you but there’s no-one walking home
They seem to look into your eyes so desperately
Until the sun is down you’re all for them to see

And now your mother’s asking who you’ve been around
She tells you daddy’s not surprised when they were found
This isn’t how it’s meant to be
This isn’t how it’s meant to be

Because you’re alone
Because you’re alone

And now you’re searching for the place you see in your mind
Blank people tell you it’s impossible to find
The broken heart of all the dreams you had for me
Is now the faded blood that only I can see

And your now mother’s asking who you’ve been around
She tells you daddy’s not surprised when they were found
This isn’t how it’s meant to be
This isn’t how it’s meant to be

Because you’re alone
Because you’re alone