Monthly Archives: June 2011

Mullets I have loved – vol. 5 – Bono (love/hate edition)

If I was going to sum up my relationship with Bono as a Facebook status, I’d have to choose “It’s Complicated”. You see, back in the 80’s, I thought he was a golden god. Then in the 90’s, I was starting to get confused. And now I pretty much hate the sight of him. I suppose it’s the same for everyone who is in my age group (aka The Olds).

Yesterday while I was flipping channels, I ran across Palladia showing Rattle and Hum and got sucked in, mostly because I was at the Arizona shows that were filmed for that movie. I surprised myself by bursting into tears when I saw the footage from Arizona. (I was having a very hormonal weekend, I was crying at everything. What a mess.) I had forgotten how much U2 used to mean to me, and how much I used to love them. In 1987, I couldn’t have loved anything more purely than how I loved Bono. He was a poet and a prophet to me.

I will follow!

I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s go back to the first time I encountered Bono and his mullet. MTV used to show the Under a Blood Red Sky concert all the time. It was unavoidable, and I was unable to resist its lure. Bono and his mullet were brand new, and so earnest and sincere. Bono had something to say, but he hadn’t quite figured out what it was yet. He wasn’t overbearing and pompous and sanctimonious yet. He was just a young Irish boy who was in a rock band and wanted to be heard.  His mullet was fluffy and clean and had blonde bangs, just like John Taylor of Duran Duran!

The first time that the world took notice of Bono and U2 was during the Live Aid concert.  Bono pulled a woman from the crowd to dance with her, and melted my heart.  He wanted to be close to his fans!  He didn’t take crap from The Man who said it was dangerous, he just dropped the mic and jumped!  He was a romantic figure to little girls watching around the world, and his mullet was leonine and stiff.  Now that I watch this clip without the rose-colored glasses of youth, I can see that he’s starting to become pompous and self-serving.  The seeds are germinating.

U2 reached their peak in 1987 with The Joshua Tree.  U2 played four shows in Tempe, Arizona that year, and I went to all four of them.  That was the year that the Governor of AZ (Evan Mecham, who was later impeached), decided to take away the MLK holiday.  Instead of boycotting AZ, U2 decided to run a campaign of sorts in order to restore the holiday.  This is when Bono realized that he could use his power as a rock star to change things politically in the world, and marks the beginning of the end.  He was beginning to morph into the unbearable figure we know and loathe today.  His hair was getting longer, and not really a mullet anymore.  Most of the time it was filthy and unkempt.

I, in my youth, still worshipped him.  I signed petitions and campaigned and helped get that bastard Mecham impeached.  We got the holiday back too, and when U2 returned in December to film shows for their movie, it was a victory party.  I remember the crowd filing out of the stadium after the show, singing 40.  It felt like I had just been to church.  I felt like I had been a part of something powerful and had accomplished a great task.  I know now that all that happened was I had been watching a concert.

In the 1990’s, Bono started having a little fun with his image.  I thought he was starting to take himself a little bit less seriously when he did his characters of The Fly and Mr. Macphisto.  I liked it when U2 dressed up like the Village People and did a disco song.  However, the fan base rebelled and record sales went down and most people were unhappy, so the fun times ended.  Bono put away the clown shoes and became even more serious, pompous and pretentious.  This is when he became a giant douchebag and a complete joke.

Yes, he does a lot of good in the world (I suppose), but as a rock star, he is finished.  I cannot see him in that capacity any longer.  I can’t go to U2 shows anymore because I can’t stand looking at him.  I feel a huge fiery ball of hatred in my throat and it chokes me.  It tastes bitter and mean.

Bono can either be a musician or a politician.  He can’t be both.  And let’s be honest here, once he shaved off the mullet, it was over.

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Smash Hits now archived online!

It's like punk never happened, innit?

Loyal readers of this blog may recall that I have previously mentioned my passionate desire to have Star Hits/Smash Hits magazine archived online.

Today is quite possibly the greatest day of my life because someone has finally made my wish come true. I could scarcely believe my eyes when I beheld the Smash Hits Internet Archive. I actually cried with joy as I explored the archive. I am a very emotional person, and I am not ashamed to say I did shed a tear (okay, a lot of tears) as I downloaded some back issues. YES, YOU CAN DOWNLOAD THEM!

A lovely lad named Brian is lovingly and carefully uploading his personal collection of Smash Hits magazines. He has a pristine collection that goes all the way up to 1985, which for me, was the peak of 1980’s excess.

The only catch is that he is uploading each issue on its 30th anniversary, which means it will be a few years before the entire collection is available. (I have my own personal back issues on hand but it’s nice to just have a PDF isn’t it?)

In the meantime, feast your eyes on this issue from March 1981, featuring Nick and Roger from Duran Duran on the cover, looking about as ridiculous as they possibly could. New Romantic fashions, dahling! Straight from the Rum Runner, into your living rooms!

If you would like to read the blog that started it all, check out Like Punk Never Happened, and keep up with the new issues as they are uploaded.

In case you’re wondering, “It’s like punk never happened” was an expression used quite often at Smash Hits to describe the feeling that old punks got when they looked at the new wave glamour of 1980’s pop tarts and missed them days of safety pins and spitting on the audience…

The Voice Semi-Finals Official Rant + Bonus Pogo

I haven’t had time to write anything because I’ve been watching The Voice for the last two nights.  Damn, that show is addictive.  The results show was incredibly predictable, and I hate to post spoilers, but honestly you should not be surprised in the least.  And of course we all know that Javier is going to win.  I am proud of my boy Nakia for making it to the semi finals!  I’m also very relieved that Xenia didn’t get through.

I have to say right now that if you honestly believe that Xenia is a talented performer and singer, then you are lying to yourself.  She’s just a deer-in-the-headlights little girl who got in way over her head and the only reason you might like her is because you pity her or you wish you could take her under your wing and protect her.  It’s times like this that I wish The Voice had a Simon Cowell type who would just come right out and tell her that she is not ready; she should come back in five years.

I have one more thing to say about The Voice. One of the biggest problems is that the coaches are way too scared to be honest and critical of the contestants. Blake Shelton is the worst culprit, and Xenia was his victim. However, every judge except Adam split their points between the contestants 50/50, thus leaving the decisions up to the fans. As a longtime Idol viewer, I know what a mistake this is. The viewers will invariably put the wrong person forward. The coaches need to strategize and put extra points to the more deserving contestant. Yes, this might hurt some feelings but if the coaches really want to play to win then this is what they need to do. Ever since the beginning of the show, during the blind auditions, Adam has been the only judge who really got cutthroat. I admire him for that. The only solution I can think of is that next season they should not reveal the way that the coaches divided up the points. The coaches are just too worried about being mean to be honest.

Wow, I had a rant in me after all.

The real reason I was going to post tonight is to share some videos with you by an artist called Pogo.  He creates amazing mixes of samples from movies.  My special favorites are the ones he does for Disney movies, because I love Disney so much.  You can download his songs at his official download page and support his art.

I love listening to them on a loop, it is very peaceful and relaxing, although at times I am moved to tears.  Please enjoy, and if you do like the songs, please buy them at the link I posted above so that he will keep creating for us.

The five stages of Morrissey fandom

I have spent the last few days listening to quite a lot of Morrissey and The Smiths. Seeing as how this week marks the 25th anniversary of the release of one of the greatest albums of all time, The Queen is Dead, I felt I should write about my love for Morrissey.

I have been a Morrissey fan ever since I met my first boyfriend. I would go over to his house and we’d sit in his bedroom and listen to the first Smiths album, and sometimes we’d cry together. (Yes, he turned out to be gay and left me for a boy.) He educated me about a lot of amazing music, but I really fell in love with Morrissey and The Smiths.

Morrissey spent a lot of time alone reading books, just like I did. We both thought Oscar Wilde was a genius, and we both thought we were unloveable. I wear black on the outside, because black is how I feel on the inside. If I had ever thought of getting a tattoo at age 17, I am pretty sure it would have said that. (I am glad I never got this tattoo though)  Things change as you get older…that being said, here is my interpretation of the Five Stages of Morrissey fandom.

1.  Romanticism

Keats and Yeats are on your side…

When you first encounter Morrissey, you’re a teenager (if you’re lucky).  Teenagers feel things so much more deeply than anyone else in the world.  I would hear Morrissey’s songs and they would speak to me in such powerful ways.  I was an outsider and a loner, and so was he.  It was terribly romantic to picture him as a Byronic figure, standing on the windswept moors, with a tear running down his cheek.  Only he understood the pain of living.  Only he could rescue me from that pain.

2. Wit

Morrissey is known for making good sound bites.  He has often gotten himself into trouble for saying things that have been misconstrued.  Back in the 80’s, he gave a good quip.  I remember that he said things like “Long hair is an unpardonable offense which should be punishable by death.” (Later, I discovered this photo of him as a lad with very long hair…haha!) He also loved to put down other pop stars of the time.  He accused Robert Smith of The Cure of being a “whingebag”.  Robert Smith replied by saying that, “If Morrissey says not to eat meat, then I’ll eat meat; that’s how much I hate Morrissey.”  (Not that Robert Smith is an angel – I  remember that he said he wanted to see George Michael hung by the neck – I can’t find the exact quote but you get the idea.)

But you lose, because Wilde is on mine….sugar…

During this phase, the young Morrissey fan will educate him or herself by reading loads and loads of Oscar Wilde, Byron, Shelley, Keats, etc. etc.  Every word that passes the lips of a Morrissey fan in this stage is either a quote, an epigram, or a witticism of their own invention.  This becomes very tedious for their friends, if they should happen to have any.

This phase ends when the fan reads A Taste of Honey by Shelagh Delaney, and ends up highlighting every line that ended up in a Morrissey song.  Finding out that Morrissey has plagiarized and taken on loan creates an overwhelming sense of disillusionment, which is immediately internalized and forgotten so that you can continue to listen to Morrissey and not feel like the world is crashing around you.

3.  Vegetarianism

Steven, you don’t eat meat…

I personally have never gone through this phase, because when it comes to food I am unable to deny myself.  Well, I do eat a lot less meat than I used to, but that’s just out of necessity due to not having any money.  Also, there are all sorts of nasty diseases caused by toxic meat, and also I happened to read Fast Food Nation, which is The Jungle of the 21st Century.  If you don’t know what The Jungle is,  click here.

However, the young Morrissey fan who first hears Meat is Murder may become inclined to eschew meat, leather, dairy, eggs, and all of those things that are made from animals.  The Morrissey acolyte will also make sure to let everyone within hearing know that they are eating the decayed flesh of an animal that once had a face, or some such similar lecture.  This phase will either continue until the person becomes a vegan, or it will end once their family cooks up a barbecue.

I did see Morrissey at Coachella in 2009, and he could smell the barbecued meat coming from a nearby food vendor.  He left the stage for a moment, declaring, “I smell burning flesh…I hope to God it’s human.”

4.  Death Wish

It’s inevitable.  If you are listening to Morrissey, eventually your thoughts will dwell upon your eternal slumber.  For someone that has written so many songs about suicide, Morrissey sure does persist in staying alive.  Still, there is nothing like listening to endless litanies about how things would be so much better if you were dead.  I used to listen to Asleep before I went to sleep, which is a song about killing yourself and/or dying in your sleep.  NITEY NITE!  SWEET DREAMS!  Yes, I had issues.  (Still do)  It’s terribly romantic to think of your funeral, and all of the people who would be there in tears, wishing they had been nicer to you while you were alive.  (Ah, youth!)  This is the phase in which I should have gotten that tattoo I mentioned earlier.

5.  Nostalgia

Once you’re grown up, and you’ve become a clever swine, Morrissey might lose some of his allure.  The golden god may tarnish a bit and you might forget about him altogether.  If you forget about Morrissey, I hope you enjoy your corporate sycophantic life, because you are dead inside.  As long as you have a little affection for the Mozzer, you will continue to question reality.  When you’re listening to Morrissey and The Smiths during this phase, you will think back on all of those nights you spent crying into your cat’s fur and smile fondly.  What fools we all were in those days, ah what fun to write your suicide note in longhand while tears splashed the page!  Is it weird to feel nostalgia for crippling depression?  I am not sure.  All I can say is that back in the late 80’s, Morrissey already knew how we were going to feel about him in the future, so he wrote a song about it.

Listen below to Rubber Ring, and remember that Morrissey is in the corner of your room, holding a torch.

When you’re dancing and laughing, and finally living, hear my voice in your head and think of me kindly…do you love me like you used to?

Simon Pegg signing at Book People

Simon Pegg has a new book out, called Nerd Do Well.  Austin was very lucky to be one of the three cities that hosted a book signing in America, and I was very lucky to attend last night.

There were so many people in the Book People store last night.  I had to park on the roof of the parking garage for the first time ever.  It was really hot and stifling in the room, so Simon courteously didn’t give a long talk before starting the signing.  Unfortunately, that means I don’t have a lot to talk about.  Instead, I’ll share this video of Simon’s introduction that I found on the Book People Blog.

The only thing this video didn’t capture was the fact that Simon was wearing board shorts and flip flops.  Oooh I got to see his ankles, you guys!

Before the signing, Simon enjoyed some Texas BBQ.  I’m not sure where he got his food, but doesn’t it look delicious? 

Simon signed books for over four hours. There are still lots of signed books left, so if you want to buy one, go to Book People’s website and order one! They take orders over the internet.

Netflix Instant Pick vol. 5 – Sherlock and Doctor Who

Sherlock (Benedict Cumberbatch), Steven Moffat, Doctor Who (Matt Smith)

Now that TV is in the summer doldrums, it’s time to peruse the Netflix archives and find something interesting to watch. I am recommending two TV shows because both of them have been penned by the magical, mystical, Steven Moffat.

I realize that most of my friends are already watching and already obsessed with both of these shows, but on the offchance that one of you hasn’t really dipped your toe in, here’s a primer for ya.

First off, I am going to recommend Sherlock because there are only three 90 minute episodes.  It’s such a breeze to watch them all, and once you do, you will be frothing at the mouth for  the next episode.  Sadly, they are only just now filming season 2, and it won’t air until next year.  (This is because the actors who play Sherlock and Watson are in some little movie called The Hobbit by some unknown director named Peter Jackson, or something.)

Sherlock is a modern take on the century-old beloved detective.  It’s funny how Dr. Watson can still be a veteran of the war in  Afghanistan, though, isn’t it?  Some things never change.  Because this is a modern update, there is plenty of technology such as smart phones, the internet and even blogging.  Yes, Dr. Watson is a blogger who writes about the cases he works on with Sherlock.  To the purist, this sounds terrible, but trust me, it works.

I’ll freely admit that before I started watching this show, I had never read any of the Sherlock stories or novels.  I am quickly getting caught up now, because after watching the series, I had an insatiable hunger for more stories.

Here’s a taste:

It doesn’t hurt that the actors are supremely tasty eye candy. Benedict Cumberbatch (yes, that is his real name, thankyouverymuch) has been described as having the voice of a “jaguar hiding inside of a cello”. He’s a tall, lanky and almost awkward slice of crumpet. And then we have Martin Freeman, the ever-cuddly, wide-eyed, sweater-clad teddy bear. Put them together and it’s like putting chocolate in my peanut butter . (Yes, I compare men to food. Shut up.)

Once you’ve had a taste of Steven Moffat’s amazing world, you will undoubtedly want to sample some more.  Lucky for you, he also works on the legendary Doctor Who series.  He took over the show last year, but had written a few episodes in previous seasons.  Honestly, it would be best if you watched all of the new episodes from the reboot, but I know how hard it is to find the time.  I will give you a list of all the episodes that Steven has written.  (They’re all the scariest ones anyway…and he wrote all my favorites.)

Doctor Who has been on BBC television for over four decades.  I know that it sounds daunting to even begin watching a show.  It seems like you’ll never catch up to what is happening.  Well, that’s just not true.  Here is all you need to know…the Doctor is a Time Lord who has been alive for over 900 years, and he travels through time and space in a little blue box called the TARDIS, that’s bigger on the inside.  Sometimes he travels alone, but he often has Companions that travel with him, and they’re usually from Earth.  The Doctor doesn’t die, he regenerates himself into a new body (right now he’s the Eleventh Doctor).

See how easy that was?

And now here is a little sneak peek to whet your appetite:

Again, I implore you to add Doctor Who to your Netlix queue and watch ALL OF THE EPISODES.  Since most people are lazy, I will provide a list of Steven Moffat episodes.  If you watch all of these, then you’ll know enough to follow along.  As I said before, he wrote my favorite episodes anyway…

Season One – The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances – This is a two parter that introduced me to a world of nightmares.  I saw someone wearing a gas mask at a comic convention and I got THE CHILLS.  You will understand why after you watch it.  Also, you’ll never want to hear, “Are you my mummy?” again.

Season Two – The Girl in the Fireplace – The Doctor has a torrid love affair with a French courtesan of the King Louis XIV. (Or is it XV? I forget.)  In true Moffat fashion, there is all sorts of messing around with the timeline.  He’s really good at that.

Season Three – Blink – SCARIEST EPISODE OF DOCTOR WHO EVER.  If you blink, you die.  I don’t want to spoil it further for those of you who haven’t seen it.  Just watch it!  Watch it NOW!!  Oh, and this episode introduces the phrase “a big ball of timey-wimey-wibbly-wobbly stuff” which really sums up Moffat’s viewpoint of time travel.  

Season Four – Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead – Another two-parter that is notable for introducing River Song, arguably one of the greatest female characters in sci-fi history.  I am going to warn you right now that when you first meet her in this episode, you’re most likely going to detest her and wish you never saw her again.  Then you’ll see her again later and everything falls into place, and you’ll want to see her every week.  Alex Kingston, who plays River Song, is a goddess, and once again I beg the universe to allow her to be my BFF.

Once you’ve watched these episodes, you should watch the entirety of Season 5.  I’m sad to say that Season 6 is not yet available on Netflix.  Also, Season 6 is not quite over.  You can get the shows that aired so far this year by downloading them from iTunes (or other nefarious sites).  New episodes start airing this fall, so you have all summer to get this done!

Now don’t complain to me that you have nothing to watch.  Even if you’ve seen these before, you know you want to watch them again.  I know I do…

Reverse poseur

Everyone has run across the type of person who pretends to have seen a movie or read a book or heard an album that they have not spent two seconds with.  Let’s be honest here – sometimes we are that person.  In the 80s we (meaning Anglophile girls who love Brits with mullets) would call that person a poseur.

However, I hold a certain pride in the opposite position.  I like to openly admit that I haven’t seen important pop culture touchstones.  I love telling people that I haven’t seen these movies or TV shows on purpose.  They are usually shocked, stunned and amazed at my restraint.  To be honest, I really have no desire to see any of these things.  I’m very contrarian and I like being that way.

I do have a friend who hasn’t seen any of the Star Wars movies, but she has seen Spaceballs.  When I heard that, I was pretty weirded out until I realized she was only doing my favorite thing in the world – shocking people with her pop culture ignorance.  If she’s anything like me, she’s secretly proud of the reaction she gets from people when she tells them she hasn’t seen the Star Wars movies.  And just think, this means that George Lucas never raped her childhood!  (I envy her.)

Here is a list of the movies and TV shows that I have never seen, and never will see, and enjoy telling people I have never seen:

1. Titanic – I have a tendency to cry at movies.  Sometimes it’s better for me to wait and watch a movie at home where I can cry until snot runs out of my nose and no one will see me and/or point and laugh.  I’m sure if I saw this movie, I would cry that hard, and I really have no idea why I would want to put myself through that.  Look, we all know the story, and the whole “I’m king of the world!” bit, and the necklace.  Isn’t that all I need to know?  Why do I need to watch an entire ship full of people drown in icy water?

2. Jurassic Park – Little kids love dinosaurs.  If I had been a little kid when the movie came out, I would have been excited.  (I guess.)  I don’t think I was a dinosaur-phile, actually.  The only reason I might want to see it is because Jeff Goldblum is in it, and I think he’s a long tall glass of sexy nerd-water.

3. Dancing With The Stars – I learned from American Idol that talent shows are rigged and I’m sure this one is no exception.  I have watched a few clips of it, but I have never sat and watched an entire episode.  The winner is always the former athlete and/or former professional dancer.  There’s no reason to obsess over it and theorize over it and make conspiracy theories over it, and that’s what the fun of these talent competitions is for me.

4. Law & Order (in every permutation) – This is the type of show that my mother would watch.  Therefore, I have avoided it for half of my life.  Apparently this show has been on for twenty years?  I really have never heard about it until a few years ago.  I know I’m missing out on a lot of sexy dudes and weird serial killers and 90’s fashions, but I figure, why start watching it now?  I’m way too far behind.

5. CSI (in every permutation) – Gore really makes me uncomfortable.  I watch House and have to close my eyes during most of it.  I also enjoy going to a hotel without having to bring a black light along to look for cum stains.  I’d rather not know what might be going on.  I have enough problems in my life.

Honorable mention – I have to put The Simpsons on this list, although I have seen a handful of episodes.  When that show premiered, I worked at night and I never had a chance to watch it.  By the time I had a regular schedule, it had been on for so many years I felt like I was way behind.  Now it’s been on for so long, there seems no point in starting to watch it now.  I have Googled most of the pop culture references such as I, for one, welcome our robot overlords so I can figure out what’s going on if people talk about it.  I wish that someone would just make a Best of Simpsons DVD so I could consume it in an unhealthy binge weekend.

Although I have never spent any time watching these worthy shows and movies, I did read the entire Twilight series just so that I could intelligently make fun of it and argue about how shitty it is.  (I think I’ve already made the intelligently/Twilight oxymoron joke so I’ll give it a rest.)

I think I need to get my priorities straight.