Tuesday, 21 May 2013


For the mirror shows many things. Things that were, things that are, things that make you go hmmm, Doo Wop (That Thing), ten things I hate about you, all the small things, all things bright and beautiful, the best thing I never had, and some things... that have not yet come to pass.

Thursday, 16 May 2013

The Saturdays - Gentleman

Whether weeping on Children In Need or launching their own range of uniquely scented feminine hygiene products, Britain's worst girl band are decisively marketed as a kind of adorable, sisterly girl-next-door outfit. And what better way to celebrate that sense of empowerment and sorority than by reviewing the lyric video to their latest atrocity, Gentleman.

A gentleman is *so* 1995, we are told. According to Wikipedia, however, a gentleman, 'in its original and strict signification, denotes a man in the lowest rank of the English gentry, standing below an esquire and above a yeoman.'

As such, we will discount any claims to historical accuracy from here on in and read the lyrics to Gentleman as figurative, focusing instead on the song's socio-cultural implications.

Much like diamonds, Wally and a hole in the glass ceiling, gentlemen (i.e. humans with dicks who aren't themselves total dicks) are very hard to come by. This is because men are pigs and bastards. I hope you're taking notes.

"Most dudes just hit it and quit it / and then they wonder why most girls just spit it"
Because of their inherent wickedness, the vast majority of (quantified here as 'most') men will simply abandon the female after coitus. As a result, the female will refuse to fully ingest the male offering of ejaculate. Do not be alarmed by the use of the word 'hit' here, it is simply a clever stand-in term for casual intercourse.

Incidentally, it is always safer to swallow semen once it has been deposited in the mouth. A spitting action can press male fluid harder against the gums where it might be absorbed into the bloodstream rather than neutralised by the natural acid in the stomach. Always practise safe sex.

Here's where the pseudo-feminist message becomes truly convoluted - where the "no, no, sister" mentality turns quickly into a barrage of needless slut-shaming. According to the Saturdays, you're not a lady if you're always on your knees. But what about the woman's choice? What about the girls at the bottom of a human pyramid? What about amputees? What about the pure and simple pleasure of administering a quality blow job?

The above piece of blistering self-contradiction speaks for itself.

"You're beautiful, I hope you know"
I'm on your side, babe. Let's stand together against these pigs and bastards. I know you only act like a total whore to distract from your cripplingly low self esteem. I know this because no woman has ever had casual sex for pleasure. Women prefer commitment, soft kisses and Cath Kidston hot water bottle covers.

It is here that the grammar begins to deteriorate to the point of practical illegibility. 

"He already had the milk so why would he go buy the cow?"
I don't know, Mollie, maybe the cow has a better personality than you. Maybe the cow values herself as something more than a milk machine. Maybe the cow doesn't need David Gandy to buy her a Birkin bag in order to feel ok about herself. Maybe the cow has enough milk to go around. Maybe the cow doesn't feel devirginised or devalued for having shared a little milk. MAYBE THE COW DOESN'T WANT TO BE EXCHANGED FOR MONEY AT ALL?

It is at this point that the girls drop what Germaine Greer termed the "Sloppy seconds bomb" whereby a group of smiling glamazons gangbang a single man and then taunt all his future girlfriends about it. Because men are pigs. And women are sluts.

It's true, he probably will.

At this point we, the audience, are all so baffled by The Saturdays' delineated, postmodern attack on gender polarity that we begin to wonder if Gentleman is actually a call for universal transsexuality.

Well, they ask us to taste the rainbow so it's either about everyone going gender queer or it's about Skittles. I won't go into the implications of the rainbow kiss.

Because I am all about MONOGAMY and not about OBJECTIFICATION!

The Saturdays then proceed immediately to listing an extensive selection of 'hunks' ranging from Robert Pattinson to the President of the United States, before exclaiming, "throw them my way, I'll date 'em!"

All at the same time? What was your point again?

"Heard 'em say I need a Kanye / He ain't a gentleman but I'll date him anyway."

"Let me be your girl" 

The song ends with the peculiar refrain of "go, go, go nineties," presumably a tribute to a time when things were simple and men were kind and wooed women with lovely things like milk, cows and mixed metaphors.

Thanks, girls!

Thursday, 21 February 2013

'How Brit Became Shit' - The Brit Awards 2013

The Brits are hardly known for cutting the edge, but last night’s dribbling shambles placed mediocrity on a pedestal of unprecedented height. Time was, the ceremony celebrated a healthy mish-mash of ballsy pop and alternative fare. The 2013 winners looked more like a rough draft guestlist for a Radio 2 wine tasting.

Does anyone remember Jarvis Cocker wafting his defiant rectal gases at the audience during Wacko Jacko’s 1996 rendition of Earth Song? Did Chumbawumba not drench John Prescott in icy water during the 1998 awards? Surely you haven’t forgotten a rat-arsed Robbie Williams challenging Oasis to a 100k death duel in 2001? What is it you think they were fighting for?

The tensions between perceived high and low culture, working and upper-middle class, urban and alternative are central to the Brits’ rich history as a cultural melting point and site of conflict. And whilst genuine violence may be undesirable, homogenisation is a paltry alternative.

Welcome to the authenticity Frightgeist of 2013. Or should that be 1984? In true Orwellian style, all extremes and signs of diversity have been erased. Welcome to a future where the popstars wield banjos and cars drive on the middle of the road.

Since the announcement of the 2012 Mercury, the government has been diligently pumping subliminal broadcasts into every British home so that no person may hear the trigger ‘Alt-J’ without immediately blurting out the word ‘groundbreaking’ as a response. Radiohead, Hot Chip and Wild Beasts have effectively been erased from the annals of human history.

Continuing in the dystopian vein, the folk genre has been redefined in order to whitewash its lower class roots and even its apolitical 1960s revival. Any twang that might spark a protest or (God forbid) a jig, has been smoothed out and away from the folk tradition, leaving just enough room for public school boys and people whose organic juice companies didn’t quite work out.

So how did the new regime pan out at last night's ceremony? For his breathtakingly reductive impression of Gollum on a piano, BIMM Graduate Tom Odell beat AlunaGeorge to the Brits’ critics’ choice award. Best group Mumford and Sons were little better than a polished version of a bad sausage advert and much lauded Alt-J, whilst often brilliant in sound, belong just as much on the airwaves of Radio 2 as the pages of NME.

Minor dweebs aside, Brit Brother’s head boy and girl were wistful drawler Ben Howard and office quirk Emeli Sande. The former, a slightly less threatening Damien Rice whipped the best male rug from under Calvin Harris’ size 16 feet whilst surreptitiously pickpocketing Jessie Ware for the breakthrough award.

It was a shit night for British women in general as Sande was one of only two to receive an accolade. The other female prize went to Adele, whose dreary bond theme won best single. The category itself boasted some quality mainstream pop and dance numbers but no track could challenge the subdued post-Olympic pride that crowned ‘Skyfall’.

The international solo categories offered some consolation in the form of winners Frank Ocean and Lana Del Rey, whilst Paul Epworth was a worthy recipient of the British Producer Gong. Bizarrely, a novelty prize for global success was added, presumably to appease commercial pressure for a One Direction award without having to sully a ‘serious’ category. Similarly, the shortlist for best live act showed a blistering lack of imagination in its insistence that live equals guitars.

As yet, the powers that be haven’t quite got round to deleting the Wikipedia entry for the Brit Awards 2003. Ten years ago, the Sugagbabes were battling Oasis for best British group whilst the solo female shortlist boasted the diversity of Beth Orton, Ms Dynamite and Sophie Ellis Bextor. That kind of polarity is nowhere to be seen in 2013. Whatever happened to Ginger Spice’s melon-busting Union Jack dress or Bjork’s grateful grapefruit?

The Brit Awards have always been a shambles but they were always our fucking shambles. Pop stars fought rock stars and people got drunk and flashed their tits and jumped up on tables and got carried off stages. In a heaving, utilitarian effort towards sincerity, we’ve let the whole thing go to the dogs.

This is exactly how Stalin’s Russia began.

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

2012: My Top 17 Pop Moments

17. "Kickin' with your bitch who come from Parisian"

16. "All the other girls they say you're full of it"

15. "Kiss me hard before you go"

14. "You can't help it and I don't care"

13. "Set the cheetahs on the loose"

12. "It's much better if you add in some poetry"

11. "We'll never be afraid again"

10. "Shout to all my lost boys"

9. "Let me turn your rain into sun"

8. "So you'd better watch your back"

7. "Now I'm lying on the cold hard ground"

6. "Why the sudden change?"

5. "I'm a lucky ducky getting mad shit for free"

4. "Looking for some trouble tonight"

3. "Got on my buttercream silk shirt and it's Versace"

2. "When I'm bangin' on the radio"

1. "I'm not the one that you should be making your enemy"

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Kitchen Fucks: Gumbo Jumbo

I’m a slut for turning anything into a themed event, so when my homegirl @jesshartdesign suggested rustlin’ up some gumbo to complement our True Blood marathon I nearly shat my pants with joy. Sookie Stackhouse, bottled Bud and a hotpot of bubblin’ Louisiana vamp-juice – what’s not to love?

Heres how: Start with the Cajun Holy Trinity (in which the Father, Son and Holy Ghost are represented by celery, green pepper and onions, respectively). Finely dice your God-mix and leave it to sweat gently in a large pan with a glug of olive oil. For the sake of clarity, we’re calling this pan The Church.

In a separate saucepan (The Cauldron) get started on the blood: rich vegetable stock, chopped tomatoes, tomato puree, a splash of red wine, a shot of bourbon and a veritable gang war of herbs and spices (parsley, dill, smoked paprika, cumin, oregano and black pepper). Simmer away until the booze begins to evaporate and the mix no longer tastes like happy hour at Merlotte’s Bar & Grill.

Once the trinity has softened in The Church, throw in some torn chestnut mushrooms, thyme leaves, sweet Scotch bonnets, vampire-warding garlic and chunks of human flesh. For the last part, I used smokey ‘facon’ and veggie sausage but you could definitely use actual dead animals if you have no morals.

The final shift at the morgue (chopping board) involves kale, lettuce, red pepper, baby corn and okra. These join the aromatic congregation in The Church along with a tin of cannellini beans and enough boiling water to nearly cover the mix. Leave this on a very low heat whilst the greens wilt.

At this point you should have a Cauldron of bloody liquid and a boiled congregation in The Church. Next, take a large, deep pan (The Gumbo Pot) and heat some olive oil before adding plain flour and molesting with a balloon whisk until the roux cooks to a fawny beige. Add gradual ladles of the stock and let the sauce amalgamate (metaphor for precarious nature of integration in Deep South).

Empty The Church into The Gumbo Pot, turn the heat down and give a witch-like cackle as you swirl the mixture about. Upon tasting, I decided mine needed an arseload more salt, pepper, paprika, tobasco, etc. Finally, leave the gumbo to simmer (anything between 10mins and a thousand years – if the blood clots, hot water will loosen it).

I fancied something more pornographic than the traditional rice accompaniment so I took a small bowl and combined garlic, onion, mustard, egg, sour cream and grated smoked cheddar. I spread this goo over toasted walnut bread and grilled until bubbling like a vampire on a sunbed. A buttery corn-on-the-cob and a bowl of hot, smokey gumbo later, I was drawlin’ like I done lived in Bon Temps all mah laaaaife.