Archive for April, 2010

Amazing Grace

April 15, 2010

 

There is something unidentifiably confusing about the entity that is Grace Jones. She has a vivacious sex appeal that makes men, both gay and straight question their orientation. She also possesses a terrifying man-eating diva-esque aura that makes Madonna seem like your favourite nana.

True, she’s mostly famous for a few minor hits, but if you ignore the Russell Harty slaps (was that joke too subtle) her musical impact although impressive was mostly underground. Have you ever heard a Jones track on the radio that’s not Pull Up To The Bumper?

 

She dallied in acting as well, seen dominating Roger Moore in A View To Kill and battling alongside Arnie in Conan The Destroyer, but her mantelpiece was unlikely to ever flaunt an Oscar. It seemed likely that, when we hadn’t heard from her in a few years she would submit like so many other have, to the forgotten realm of celerity has-beens. This is not the case however. Grace Jones holds gay icon status today that is equal to that of Judy and Kylie. How has she managed it?

Her sexual liberalism in the seventies spoke to many a gay man; while she partied her way through Studio 54 she embodied an emerging culture of freedom and rebellion. Brought up in a conservative Jamaican family, it was not until she moved to New York to study acting that she became the Grace we know now. Living as a nudist for a time, she dabbled in modelling and theatre, but her true love she claimed was always music.

Grace Jones the popstar was much more than just a singer however. Grace was an entire pop-art package, working with Andy Warhol, the sleeves on her CDs could almost have been sold separately.  It was hard to tell if she was stunningly beautiful, or oddly disproportioned, the only apparent was that she was a magnet for attention and all eyes were on her.   Her apparent vanishing act in the nineties was really only within the media. She maintained that if her fans kept a close eye on her she might materialize at any moment to do an intimate gig; not that there would be any guarantee of her showing up mind…. Jones fans reported that going to a Grace gig was a bit like playing Russian roulette. She may play for hours non-stop some nights, while other nights she may run on stage, sing some obscure song no one had ever heard, then give the audience the finger and depart. 

Her “comeback” album in 2008 was aptly named Hurricane, and while it hardly gave her a hit single, it did give her army of fans new material in which to lap up. 

 

There has been much speculation recently that a baby popstar named Lady Gaga is the heiress to Jones legacy. True they both have a tendency to wear slightly odd gladrags, and Gaga herself has named Jones as her idol, however in reality we know that there can only be one true Grace. She may live a more dormant existence in recent years, but her loyal mob of fans, many of which lie in gay culture, are not yet ready to let her retire. Looking the exact same at 61 as she did at 31, Ms Jones may still have a few slaps yet to give to an unwitting chat show host.  

Keeping it in the Family

April 13, 2010

My father is half way through his Art degree now, and this was his homework

Comprised of hundreds of photographs on our kitchen floor

Enjoy

Who’s Afraid Of The Big Bad Wolf?

April 4, 2010

I want to like my favourite singers. That sounds redundant I know, but it’s completely true. I want to like the person who supplies me with the music I love to love.

What I wouldn’t give to share a bag of chips with Kate Bush, or spend a day on the beach with Pink. We’d laugh and get merry and swap stories about old loves and future prospects. It’s a quality most performers strive to have when searching for a fan base. Why then, do I feel so conflicted with my relationship with Patrick Wolf?

I’ve loved his music for a few years now, but unlike most of my favourite artists, Patrick as a person grates me to the point that I avoid watching any videos of him where he isn’t singing. No interviews or promotional footage for me, cheers.

 

I suppose I was a late starter in that my first Wolf album was The Magic Position, the album he supposedly sold out with in that it was a more commercial beast than his previous material. Maybe it was more attainable to the everyday listener but the term “commercial” is so stained with snobbery that it suggests the music is of inferior quality. And that is a statement that couldn’t be more ignorant. The Magic Position stands for everything that is right with Pop music. It is fun, it is colourful, it is dramatic and it is unashamed.   Imagine Rufus Wainwright with less nasal, and swapping his classical influences for dance ones.  I worshiped that album and listened to it over and over. Upon exploring his back catalogue though, I understood why many of his fan base didn’t initially take to it.  Wolf’s first 2 CDs Lycanthropy and Wind in the Wires are bleaker and harsher birds, though no less brilliant. It wasn’t really until he released his 4th album The Bachelor last year that his audience really understood what Patrick wanted to achieve with his music. Each of his albums have completely individual sounds, the only constant being Wolf’s plum vocals and bellowing piano. The Bachelor moved away from it’s predecessor’s pop grooves and became a pseudo soundtrack to Wolf’s folk and dance love child. It has slowly overtaken The Magic Position as my favourite CD in the Wolf catalogue thanks to its vast scope and exorbitant ambition.

The Audition for the role of Sephiroth in the Final Fantasy 7 film went well

So now why, if I love his music so very much, can I not fall in love with the boy? He is almost beautiful if you ignore the Draco Malfoy similarities, and his glittery costumes predate Lady Gagas by a good few years. Perhaps it is his ego that is so constant it prevents our unification. There is a sense that he firmly believes he is a worthier being than many of his colleagues, and perchance if he tasted just a little slice of humble pie he would endear himself fully to his audience. Still, he has four highly acclaimed albums to his name so if anyone has justification for lofty self-worth it is he. We have his fifth album The Conqueror to look forward to later on in the year, though with The Bachelor hardly making a dent in the music scene, I wonder is he likely to see the “almost successful” heights of the Magic Position again?  Somehow he has gone unnoticed by the Barclaycard Mercury panel and has escaped nomination for each of his albums. This seems almost snubbery and is perhaps due to the irritating persona he has splashed around in his interviews.

Conceivably it does not matter for him, as he has a small group of titian strong fans eager to lap up anything he throws at them. I for one am (almost) one of them.

My favourite Patrick Wolf video today