Did you know that ‘Breaking Glass‘ the 1980 film directed by Brian Gibson and starring Hazel O’Connor, Jonathan Pryce and Phil Daniels was co-produced by Dodi Fayed? yes he’s the chap who was Princess Diana‘s boyfriend when she died. He was killed in the same car crash in Paris in August 1997. I wonder if anyone has rolled this film into the conspiracy theories yet? I’m sure that it’s only a matter of time!
Lady Gaga – MEN Arena Manchester – Tuesday 11th September 2012 September 12, 2012
Some months ago I bought tickets for Catwoman and I to go and see Lady Gaga on her Born This Way Ball show. Well the time finally came around and we were there at the MEN last night. I should say up front that as far as the music goes I have been a fan of Gaga for a while so I was certainly looking forward to seeing her. But first there was the little matter of the Darkness who were on stage when we arrived at the MEN. I have unfinished business with these guys. I saw them at the Reading Festival back in 2003 when they were easily the highlight of Saturday afternoon. In fact highlight would be an understatement, they blew the opposition away. However the following year they were elevated to headliners and they truly sucked the big one, they were awful. So whilst I was pleased that they have got back together I was a little apprehensive. In my opinion they are easily back to their best and their new album is pretty good too. Catwoman wasn’t so keen and claimed that the volume almost had her ears bleeding! possibly a little exaggeration there!
After Justin and the boys left the stage we were promised a 30 minute wait for HRH Gaga, this stretched to about an hour which is never a good thing is it? Gaga’s entrance though did tick all the right dramatic and spectacular boxes. The curtains dropped to reveal a stage set that was part Disney princess castle and part Hammer Horror film left over. She then made her way onto the stage on the back of what can only be described as a very posh pantomime horse. For most of the gig the band were hidden away in the castle; shades of Bowie’s theatrical excursion across the USA in 1974 for the Diamond Dogs tour.
I felt that all of Ms Germanotta’s influences were on show during the evening. Bowie in the theatrical element, Freddie Mercury in how she tried to manage the crowd and I suspect her loyal little monsters won’t like this; Madonna for all the costume changes and a bra with two guns pointing from it. I can’t believe that didn’t have it’s roots in Madge’s now iconic cone bra from a few years back. How did all this rate? 9 out of 10 for the theatrical set, 4 out of 10 for crowd control and 8 out of 10 for costumes. Including one dress that allowed her to move like a Dalek, now that was cool!
Her songs are very strong and the dancers and the band are also very good. All the hits were rolled out “Born This Way”, “Just Dance”, “Bad Romance” and “Alejandro” to name but a few. It wasn’t her fault but I do believe the sound from her head mic could have been better. It certainly improved when she used a hand-held or one in a stand. Keeping up the scoring theme I will award her 10 out of 10 for the songs and 8 for the singing and the dancing, including the Lady herself, gets an 8 from me. So if I add all those scores together that would be 47 out of 60. Which is not a bad score is it? However I need to adjust it with at least a minus 30 for all the pretentious crap she spouted not so much between songs but in the prolonged talking part of the show. It’s right that a good artist should change the tempo of a performance but what she did was effectively grind it to a halt just to talk bollocks for what seemed like ages. I know that one of the dancers had suffered a family bereavement, but even so this was way, way over the top.
Constant questions about whether we ‘give a fuck’ or not tend to grate after a while. For the record I purchased tickets and I own her albums so I do give a fuck. My question to Gaga is do you? The little monsters worshipping mother monster is all well and good but her pontifications were almost cult like and a little bit Dubya in the sense that you’re either with us or you’re not, no in-between. I was with her, but now I’m not. So I assume that this make’s me the Gaga equivalent of a ‘cheese eating surrender monkey’
Also how many times did she have to tell us that “Born This Way” was written at the MEN during her last major UK tour. Once would have been enough. Then there was the new song about Princess Diana. It sounds like a reasonable song, but the spoken introduction which went on and on and on added nothing to it and would have struggled to raise a laugh or excitement from someone afflicted with a disease that means they laugh all the time.
She has a fixation for Disney Princesses and a clear dislike for Barbie which surprises me given how bland, insipid and devoid of controversy most Disney princesses actually are. It was quite amusing to see Ms Germanotta struggling to rip Barbie’s limbs off though. Overall I was disappointed I expected more from someone who I still believe has much potential and talent. But she really does need to take her head out of her, albeit rather nice, arse and get real before I would ever consider seeing her again.
“When you’re sure you’ve had enough of this life, well hang on” October 3, 2010
A recent survey undertaken by PRS for Music sought to discover the songs that make us men cry. A total of 1,700 men were polled and the results make somewhat interesting reading I think. The top ten is shown below, with a few comments from me. Click here to read a report on the results in the UK free newspaper, the Metro.
1. Everybody Hurts – REM – A great REM song taken from the classic ‘Automatic For The People‘ album. It was written by drummer Bill Berry, although he didn’t play drums on the track, that was done by a drum machine. He also said that the song was aimed at teenagers. In 2006 the song was voted 4th in a poll by Channel 5 to discover ‘Britain Favourite Break Up Songs’
2. Tears in Heaven – Eric Clapton – A very sad song in many ways. Clapton wrote it with Will Jennings after the death of his four-year old son Conor in 1991. The boy fell from the window of a friend’s apartment in New York
3. Hallelujah – Leonard Cohen – Now this one is a classic and has been covered by many artists. X Factor winner Alexandra Burke reached number one in the UK with, at best a very mediocre working of the song and at its worst would easily make music purists cry. In my opinion the best version is easily that of the late, great Jeff Buckley and that version can indeed bring tears to my eyes
4. Nothing Compares 2 U – Sinead O’Connor – She will always have my respect for tearing up a photo of the pope on US TV, I bet that made a few people cry with rage though. It reached number one in the UK in 1990. The song is actually a cover version of a song written by his royal purpleness, Prince. It was recorded and released by the Family in 1985, this was simply a vehicle to enable Prince to release more of his material.
5. With or Without You – U2 – This was the first single from ‘The Joshua Tree’ in 1987 and became their first US number one song.
6. The Drugs Don’t Work – The Verve – This was the band’s most successful UK single and reached number one in 1997, having been released the day after Princess Diana died. It was written by lead singer Richard Ashcroft about his own drug habit and also about the death of his father.
7. Candle In The Wind – Elton John – I really do prefer the original version of this song, it was about Marilyn Monroe and was taken from the album ‘Goodbye Yellow Brick Road‘ However, sadly, in my opinion, the version that most people remember is the rewritten version for Princess Diana’s funeral in 1997, although in its defence it did raise millions for charity. Incidentally I reckon that must be the first time Princess Diana has been mentioned more than once in any of my posts.
8. Streets of Philadelphia – Bruce Springsteen – Bruce wrote this for the first mainstream movie to tackle HIV/ AIDS, ‘Philadelphia’ from 1993. The song won the best original song Oscar. It reached number one in many countries, although not in the US or UK. It has also been known to occasionally open my tear ducts too.
9. Unchained Melody – Todd Duncan – whilst the article lists the Todd Duncan version, which was taken from the 1955 prison film; ‘Unchained’ it is probably the Righteous Brothers version that most people know. That version was recorded in the sixties but became a massive hit again when it was used in the 1990 film ‘Ghost’. It has been recorded by more than 500 artists including, Jimmy Young, Elvis Presley, the Supremes, U2, the Smashing Pumpkins and there was also an excruciatingly bad version by Pop Idol muppet Gareth Gates.
10. Angels – Robbie Williams – As regular readers of this blog know, I am definitely not a Robbie fan and I particularly dislike this song. I really don’t get it, I mean “I’m loving angels instead”? Instead of what exactly?
There are a few songs that can make me blub, many by Johnny Nash, Bob Marley and Jeff Buckley. But perhaps the one that does it the most is “Sailing” by Rod Stewart. It was always my Dad’s favourite song and we played it as his funeral back in 2001. What songs make you cry?
Finally let me finish with a classic video for one of my favourite songs about crying. It’s “Cry” by Godley and Creme
Two posts in a row, wow I haven’t done that in ages! Just a few more ‘onthisdays’ today (July 13th) dear readers
Another entry for that bunch of pensionable rockers the Rolling Stones on this day in 1963 they played their first ever gig outside London. They appeared as the support band to the Hollies at the Alcove Club in Middlesborough in the north east of England.
On this day in 1965 Paul McCartney received five Ivor Novello awards at the Savoy in London, he arrived late as he had apparently forgotten about the engagement. John Lennon refused to attend, presumably in protest at something! Sticking with the Beatles on this day in 1969 the band’s single “The Ballad Of John And Yoko” was banned by more than 100 US Radio Stations because it contained what US Radio authorities saw as offensive in the line “Christ you know it ain’t easy”. Bloody hell these guys were easily offended weren’t they?
July 13th 1997 saw Anthony Kiedis off of the Red Hot Chilli Peppers undergo five hours of surgery after a serious motorbike accident.I recently read Kiedis’ superb autobiography entitled ‘Scar Tissue’ it is one of the most brutally honest rock biographies I have ever read. He deals very openly with his addictions and relationships. I never knew much about him before I read the book and now I have immense respect for him. If you read no other music books, read this one! Incidentally in the book he describes how it took five doses of morphine to kill the pain from the motorbike accident, largely due to an intolerance built up from prolonged heroin use. Anyway here are the RHCP’s with “Scar Tissue” live from Slane Castle in Dublin, well not actually live this one hot minute but obviously live when it was recorded!
On this day in 1985 Duran Duran became the first artists to have a US number one single with a James Bond theme when they reached the top of the pile with “A View To A Kill“. Personally I thought that their performance of the song at Live Aid was abysmal, which brings us to………..
……… on this day in 1985 at 12.01 UK time Status Quo kicked off the Live Aid extravaganza which was largely put together by Bob Geldof and raised millions for famine relief in Africa. It was a joint event where Quo kicked off at Wembley Stadium, the US show was at the JFK Stadium in Philadelphia. The shows were viewed by more than 1.5 billion people in 160 countries (that is quite a bit more than view my blog each day!). For me the best performances on the day were Queen, U2 and David Bowie (well I would say Bowie wouldn’t I?) Here is Mr Bowie with “Heroes” from that very show! Incidentally Bowie gave up one of his song slots to air a hard hitting video of the famine victims in Africa which was soundtracked by the song “Drive” from the Cars. It was truly heartbreaking. What were your own favourite memories of Live Aid? Were you there?
Hello there dear readers how the devil are you on this fine Saturday (March 28th)? probably better than Britney I should wager. I have had the feeling for some time that she is being pushed back into centre stage way too early. I really don’t believe she is well yet and this clip suggest that I may be right. She was filmed at a gig on March 24th while singing “Do Something” she skips across the stage and shouts ‘Merry Christmas’ to the audience. Who is actually looking after her welfare is what I’d like to know? It seems to me that too many people will keep milking their Britney cash cow until she can’t be milked anymore. Click here to get to the clip from the NME site. But I would also be interested to know what you think so feel free to comment.
Just one birthday to cover today, it’s the big 40 for Cheryl James. Who is she? Well she is Salt off of Salt-N-Pepa. Pepa was Sandy Denton and the pair were joined in the band by Deidra ‘Dee Dee’ Roper also known as DJ Spinderella. Their first big chart hit was with “Push It” in 1987 which reached number 19 in the US and number 2 in the UK. The song was originally a b-side and started to gain a lot of radio airplay after it was remixed by San Francisco DJ Cameron Paul. The song has been covered and sampled by many other acts, indeed Girls Aloud played the song live on their 2008 tour. “Let’s Talk About Sex” also reached number 2 in the UK, sadly they never made number 1 in either the UK or the US but did reach the summit in other countries including the Netherlands and Germany. They also had a UK number 3 hit when they joined EnVogue for “Whatta Man”. But here they are with my fave “Let’s Talk About Sex”
On this day in 1992 more than $100,000 worth of damage was caused at the Irvine Meadows Amphitheatre, California after Ozzy Osbourne invited the first two rows of the audience up on stage with him. Several others feeling somewhat left out also took up the offer and as the numbers grew the band were forced to leave the stage. Here is Ozzy with a classic solo single “Perry Mason”
On this day in 2001 The artist formerly known as Sean Combs, Sean Puffy Combs, Sean John, Puffy, Puff and Puff Daddy amongst others told MTV that he now wanted to be known as P.Diddy. Then in 2005 he changed his stage name agin, this time to Diddy. Did he? Yes he Diddy! How soon before he joins Ken Dodd’s Diddy Men? Here is Mr Diddy whatever with “I’ll Be Missing You” which bizarrely became the theme for the period of Princess Diana’s mourning. I thought that was a remarkably strange outpouring of grief for the UK, what happened?