Tag Archives: music

In Which We Are Appropriated

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Let me share my outrage with you, yet again. Our story begins in New Orleans in 1985. Homogay mrpeenee is busy leading a happy, quiet homogay life when his puny attention is snagged by a snappy tune called Smalltown Boy by Bronski Beat.

And what a brilliant song it is. It’s the story of a young gay man thrown out of his home because he’s queer, everything he owns “in a little black bag” after already experiencing ostracism and gay bashing. Even those of us lucky enough to have avoided that extreme when we came out could still identify with the pain and the alienation and the fury in that song. Plus it had a really rockin beat.

The singer, Jimmy Somerville, is a role model, fierce and furious and pissed off and not willing to take any shit. He’s a humpy, short redhead (I’ve always had a weakness for them) and his videos dancing around to his music are very appealing, but the message in his songs was for his gay brothers to demand to live our lives unafraid. FUCK TOLERANCE, I DO NOT WANT TO BE TOLERATED. Oops, sorry, I got carried away.

Anyway. Try to imagine my feelings when Super Agent Fred sent me a video of Smalltown Boy covered by some yahoo, Marcus Layton. I’m not including it here because I don’t want it to get even a single more view. The cover is so unoriginal it might as well have been karaoke. The video itself is a classic of the “My cousin has a camera” with abrupt quick cuts of bland youth rollicking around some parking garage with a boosted grocery cart: urban but not too urban, we don’t want to have to mess with any riff raff. It is stripped of any politics in the original and it includes heterosexual humping just to rub salt in the disco wound.

Did anyone involved in this production ever listen to the original, could they have possibly understood the lyrics? Or did they just hear a song they liked, downloaded the lyrics from Google, and recorded their own stupid Brady Bunch cover.

I worry that some people vaguely think the struggle for gay equality is over, that somehow, the right to marry means that The Gays won and now we all can go back to not worrying. I got news for you. In living memory there was a time when simply being gay was illegal, not merely frowned upon or socially awkward. It was against the law and you could go to jail. Not just in some bum fuck rural outlier, but in London and New York. I worry that young people, young queers, think the fight is now about the right pronouns and including the right colors on the right flag. Our living an out life is not inalienable. A Supreme Court Justice recently included, in a draft decision for the court, the suggestion that attacking gay legal rights would be just peachy keen with him.

The kind of appropriation this cover represents, where the queer context of the song is erased, shows how easy it would be, in small encroaching ways, to shove us back into the good old days closet. Just like women and abortion, I can’t believe we’re still fighting this fight. Oh well. At least we know the words to the song.

Smalltown boys, naked edition:

Love them big boys.

You need to get out of the sun, baby.

Dappled.

It’s the peak of beachy weather. At least it is if you’re not living in San Francisco where it remains chilly.

oh, my dudes, I forgot to mention, on July 25, that it was the 15th anniversary of my little blog. Yay.

This seems to have been the first dick pic I published, from August 25, 2007. Another anniversary.

That first year, when I was much more apparently energetic, I cranked out fifty-four posts in one month.

I’m pretty sure I couldn’t think of 54 words now.

Like a Hole in the Head

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I need to preface this by explaining that I am so near sighted that when I wear my glasses instead of contacts, I have absolutely no peripheral vision.  None.  I go through life with literal tunnel vision.  The guy who taught Drivers’ Ed in my high school was shocked when he performed a standard test to make sure the 16 year olds he was preparing to launch into the world at the wheel of gigantic 1970s death machine autos could hopefully see what was coming their way off the starboard bow.   I scored so dismally low, he considered flunking me, but in the end must have decided “Oh, what the hell…” because I got my license and, to the best of my knowledge, never killed anyone.

Sos anyway, I was wandering out of the kitchen, mentally composing an email to our dear Diane von Austinburg and wondering what the other song Alphavile had besides Big in Japan and certainly not on the look out when I blammed into an open cabinet door.  I must have been cruising at some considerable speed since the blow knocked me to ground and took a pretty big chunk out of my scalp.

So what was the song by Alphville I was distracted by? Not that it takes much to distract me.  It was Sounds Like a Melody, which I recall was a favorite of my queer friends and me.  I’m not sure our enthusiasm would have survived seeing this video and the appearance of Martin Gold, their lead singer.  Those teef!  Dear god.  And parachute pants! I am sort charmed by the keyboardist’s sullen contribution, jamming with one pouty finger. And are those backup dancers roller skating through all the smoke machine output?

jerrycolthaymesmain

Obligatory naked guy.

One Simply Must Boogie Down

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In the midst of all the sad brouhaha over David Bowie’s passing, I ran across a mention someone made of the great show he did on Midnight Special.  I’m not including the video of it here because everyone else is already covering Bowie better than I ever could (if you do feel like trotting over to youtube to catch a peek, I’ll wait for you.  It really is quite something, in a loose, sloppy sort of way and shows Mister Bowie as a master of shiny peach blush.)

Mostly, I was amazed that Bowie had graced the show with his genius. If it had ever crossed my mind, I  think I would have classified Midnight Special as simply a disco phenomenon, but a quick peek at our old friend Wikipedia assures us they highlighted everyone from Tom Petty to the New York Dolls to Fleetwood Mac to Dolly Parton.  The list of guests is most impressive; apparently anyone who could stand up long enough to grab onto a mic was on it, LIVE.

As I remember it, the show was simply something you turned to on Friday nights when you were already too loaded to leave the house.  There you would be, stoned stupid, hoping for something toe-tapping only to be confronted with the Magic of Helen Reddy.

Here’s a little something that’s much more memorable.  Ish.  A sort of affordable version of the Jackson Family called the Sylvers and their deathless anthem Boogie Fever.

Now isn’t that better?  Footwork that defines the term “tight,” mauve velour, and a bass line serving up funk you could eat with a spoon.  My favorite is the drummer, with a blase look that explains more clearly than words that he is immune to said fever, and yet performing as flawlessly as a metronome.