Polanski

Saturday, 3 October 2009 21:48
apolla: (Default)
I am an Errol Flynn fan. Most of you know this, but it's something I feel should be laid out in the open before I say another word.

I am disgusted with the so-called good and allegedly great of Hollywood right now. The news is full of Polanski again, just as it has been in the past, and every commentator, blogger and tweeter that has nothing else to say is passing judgement on Polanski in some form.

I have nothing to say about Polanski. There is nothing to say. He drugged and raped a thirteen year old child and was found guilty of that crime. As Bill Hicks and his friend Jimmy Pineapple used to say: Case. Fucking. Closed.

I am not here to pass judgement on Famous Respected Film Director Roman Polanski, because it's already been done. I am here to pass judgement - inasmuch as it's in my power to do so - on Hollywood.

Many people have rushed to sign up to the Free Polanski crusade. (The link is in French but has been translated by various news sites). The jokes about Woody Allen signing it so write themselves... but there are people on this list that I respected this time last week.

David Lynch. Neil Jordan. Jeremy Irons (who fucking played Humbert Humbert in the Lolita remake for fuck's sake!) Gilliam. Scorsese. Women like Tilda Swinton, Natalie Portman and Kristin Scott Thomas.

Fuck me. Hollywood has always been a pretty insular community most interesting in protecting its own but this is a new and fascinating low for them. They've been covering up scandals exactly like this for as long as Hollywood has existed... but I don't think they've ever stood up so publicly for 'one of their own' after it all came out before.

This from the same 'community' that still scorns Elia Kazan for naming (already known) names during the dark days of HUAC.

Hollywood does not like outsiders attacking any of their number. Jon Stewart's Baldwin Brothers and Chris Rock's Jude Law jokes made most of us laugh when they hosted the Academy Awards, but they didn't go down well in the Kodak itself. Sean 'Po-Faced Douche' Penn even tried to correct Rock on the Jude Law score during the show!

Please allow me the opportunity to repeat again: Roman Polanski drugged and raped a child. He pleaded guilty. He then ran away. Is that clear? Excellent.

By the way, one name on the list really leapt out at me: Harrison Ford.

Yes kids, INDIANA JONES IS STICKING UP FOR A LAW-DODGING CHILD RAPIST. Let us be clear and unambiguous. The petition has not been exposed as a fake and there is no reason currently to believe it is. It's not on Wikipedia, after all... To be understood: HAN SOLO believes that Roman Polanski's liberty is more important than the concept of justice. This from an actor who has made a living playing morally upright characters who strive for justice in various ways.

That's going to make watching Air Force One a different experience, isn't it? It'll still suck, of course.

None of this would matter except that Hollywood (the idea, the concept, rather than the geographical location) continually touts itself as right-on, forward-thinking, the people with the right answers. The guardians of artistic standards (yes I know, try not to laugh) and so sure of themselves as right that the conservative right hates them for their left-leaning liberal smugness.

Well, I feel as if that's been thoroughly shot in the foot this week. Not so much shot in the foot as shot in the foot, turned gangrenous and then amputated above the knee with a hacksaw.

I've never really thought that Hollywood had the answers or was always right, but I still laboured under the belief, as a dedicated movie fan, that most of the people there were trying to make good movies that had a point, that they were trying to change the world through art, for the better.

Well... there's a lot of names not on the list (and given the circumstances, Big Jack Nicholson and Anjelica Huston are notable absentees perhaps)... but a lot of the people on the list or who have otherwise spoken in Polanki's defence are important in Hollywood. Directors. Producers. Weinsteins.

As I said at the top, I'm an Errol Flynn fan. EF's statutory rape trial knocked the Second World War off front pages at the time. The difference between Errol and Polanski is three-fold: Flynn wasn't accused of having to drug anyone; the females in question were 17; he was acquitted.

I don't say this to excuse Flynn. I know his tastes ran to girls considered underage at the time and in at least one case, a girl who would be considered underage now. My point isn't even that I have always taken to understand that his cases were about statutory rape and not necessarily about him forcing anyone to do anything. The argument was then as it likely is now, that a good many 17 year old girls in 1942 would've quite happily let Flynn in. That's not even my point and I'm starting to make excuses for the old cunt and he doesn't deserve it.

No, my point is this: Errol Flynn was a terrible human being. A total bastard. I watch his films anyway. It doesn't follow that I condone his actions: I don't. That said, it is possible to separate the 'art' from the human in many cases. What I love, what I always have loved, is Errol Flynn the idea, the guy up on the screen who never really existed. That's fine, as long as I understand that what I care about, what I always enjoyed, was a myth wrapped up in a legend hidden in fiction.

You don't have to defend the human to accept that his or her 'art' or whatever skill, is important to you, or that you find it interesting or enjoyable. It is possible to say 'Roman Polanski made some great films that I really enjoy, but as a human he is despicable and deserves the full weight of the law on his head.'

That said, I'm talking about the fiction. In real life, over 100 people have surrendered the high ground for a cause I simply don't understand. It will be difficult to accept much Harrison Ford ever has to say ever again. I will now watch Scorsese movies with a new eye because they didn't have to stick up for Polanski. By defending the indefensible, they have endangered their art in the eyes of sane people, because there will likely be a lot of second-guessing from here on. Because it's one thing to be despicable... and yet another to defend the despicable. (I make no comparisons in terms of which is more reprehensible, just observe that they're different).

I judge you, Hollywood, and on this score I find you deeply wanting. Deeply. I have stuck up for you pompous bastards for a long time because I cared about the movies. If I can move past the shit Errol's done through the years and still enjoy his films then I must be pretty open-minded and able to put real life aside...

But you're talking in real life right now and you're being douchebags. You're just plain wrong. There isn't a single movie in the entire history of the world that justifies anyone evading justice. If Bogart had been found guilty of a such a crime, I would say he deserved the penalty as laid down, regardless of the fact he's in Casablanca, The Maltese Falcon and The African Queen. I'd still watch Casablanca but he would need to serve his punishment. It's called justice and a lot of the time it's complex and full of grey areas.

This is not complex and it's not full of grey areas. Polanski was found guilty of a heinous crime and ran away. I judge you, Hollywood Elite, for defending him and calling for him to continue to evade justice just because he made a few films that someone decided were important and he had a pretty shit life.

TL;DR: So, Hollywood Fails on a truly Epic level and I am not surprised.

Polanski

Saturday, 3 October 2009 21:48
apolla: (Default)
I am an Errol Flynn fan. Most of you know this, but it's something I feel should be laid out in the open before I say another word.

I am disgusted with the so-called good and allegedly great of Hollywood right now. The news is full of Polanski again, just as it has been in the past, and every commentator, blogger and tweeter that has nothing else to say is passing judgement on Polanski in some form.

I have nothing to say about Polanski. There is nothing to say. He drugged and raped a thirteen year old child and was found guilty of that crime. As Bill Hicks and his friend Jimmy Pineapple used to say: Case. Fucking. Closed.

I am not here to pass judgement on Famous Respected Film Director Roman Polanski, because it's already been done. I am here to pass judgement - inasmuch as it's in my power to do so - on Hollywood.

Many people have rushed to sign up to the Free Polanski crusade. (The link is in French but has been translated by various news sites). The jokes about Woody Allen signing it so write themselves... but there are people on this list that I respected this time last week.

David Lynch. Neil Jordan. Jeremy Irons (who fucking played Humbert Humbert in the Lolita remake for fuck's sake!) Gilliam. Scorsese. Women like Tilda Swinton, Natalie Portman and Kristin Scott Thomas.

Fuck me. Hollywood has always been a pretty insular community most interesting in protecting its own but this is a new and fascinating low for them. They've been covering up scandals exactly like this for as long as Hollywood has existed... but I don't think they've ever stood up so publicly for 'one of their own' after it all came out before.

This from the same 'community' that still scorns Elia Kazan for naming (already known) names during the dark days of HUAC.

Hollywood does not like outsiders attacking any of their number. Jon Stewart's Baldwin Brothers and Jude Law jokes made most of us laugh when he hosted the Academy Awards, but they didn't go down well in the Kodak itself. Sean 'Po-Faced Douche' Penn even tried to correct Jon on the Jude Law score during the show!

Please allow me the opportunity to repeat again: Roman Polanski drugged and raped a child. He pleaded guilty. He then ran away. Is that clear? Excellent.

By the way, one name on the list really leapt out at me: Harrison Ford.

Yes kids, INDIANA JONES IS STICKING UP FOR A LAW-DODGING CHILD RAPIST. Let us be clear and unambiguous. The petition has not been exposed as a fake and there is no reason currently to believe it is. It's not on Wikipedia, after all... To be understood: HAN SOLO believes that Roman Polanski's liberty is more important than the concept of justice. This from an actor who has made a living playing morally upright characters who strive for justice in various ways.

That's going to make watching Air Force One a different experience, isn't it? It'll still suck, of course.

None of this would matter except that Hollywood (the idea, the concept, rather than the geographical location) continually touts itself as right-on, forward-thinking, the people with the right answers. The guardians of artistic standards (yes I know, try not to laugh) and so sure of themselves as right that the conservative right hates them for their left-leaning liberal smugness.

Well, I feel as if that's been thoroughly shot in the foot this week. Not so much shot in the foot as shot in the foot, turned gangrenous and then amputated above the knee with a hacksaw.

I've never really thought that Hollywood had the answers or was always right, but I still laboured under the belief, as a dedicated movie fan, that most of the people there were trying to make good movies that had a point, that they were trying to change the world through art, for the better.

Well... there's a lot of names not on the list (and given the circumstances, Big Jack Nicholson and Anjelica Huston are notable absentees perhaps)... but a lot of the people on the list or who have otherwise spoken in Polanki's defence are important in Hollywood. Directors. Producers. Weinsteins.

As I said at the top, I'm an Errol Flynn fan. EF's statutory rape trial knocked the Second World War off front pages at the time. The difference between Errol and Polanski is three-fold: Flynn wasn't accused of having to drug anyone; the females in question were 17; he was acquitted.

I don't say this to excuse Flynn. I know his tastes ran to girls considered underage at the time and in at least one case, a girl who would be considered underage now. My point isn't even that I have always taken to understand that his cases were about statutory rape and not necessarily about him forcing anyone to do anything. The argument was then as it likely is now, that a good many 17 year old girls in 1942 would've quite happily let Flynn in. That's not even my point and I'm starting to make excuses for the old cunt and he doesn't deserve it.

No, my point is this: Errol Flynn was a terrible human being. A total bastard. I watch his films anyway. It doesn't follow that I condone his actions: I don't. That said, it is possible to separate the 'art' from the human in many cases. What I love, what I always have loved, is Errol Flynn the idea, the guy up on the screen who never really existed. That's fine, as long as I understand that what I care about, what I always enjoyed, was a myth wrapped up in a legend hidden in fiction.

You don't have to defend the human to accept that his or her 'art' or whatever skill, is important to you, or that you find it interesting or enjoyable. It is possible to say 'Roman Polanski made some great films that I really enjoy, but as a human he is despicable and deserves the full weight of the law on his head.'

That said, I'm talking about the fiction. In real life, over 100 people have surrendered the high ground for a cause I simply don't understand. It will be difficult to accept much Harrison Ford ever has to say ever again. I will now watch Scorsese movies with a new eye because they didn't have to stick up for Polanski. By defending the indefensible, they have endangered their art in the eyes of sane people, because there will likely be a lot of second-guessing from here on. Because it's one thing to be despicable... and yet another to defend the despicable. (I make no comparisons in terms of which is more reprehensible, just observe that they're different).

I judge you, Hollywood, and on this score I find you deeply wanting. Deeply. I have stuck up for you pompous bastards for a long time because I cared about the movies. If I can move past the shit Errol's done through the years and still enjoy his films then I must be pretty open-minded and able to put real life aside...

But you're talking in real life right now and you're being douchebags. You're just plain wrong. There isn't a single movie in the entire history of the world that justifies anyone evading justice. If Bogart had been found guilty of a such a crime, I would say he deserved the penalty as laid down, regardless of the fact he's in Casablanca, The Maltese Falcon and The African Queen. I'd still watch Casablanca but he would need to serve his punishment. It's called justice and a lot of the time it's complex and full of grey areas.

This is not complex and it's not full of grey areas. Polanski was found guilty of a heinous crime and ran away. I judge you, Hollywood Elite, for defending him and calling for him to continue to evade justice just because he made a few films that someone decided were important and he had a pretty shit life.

TL;DR: So, Hollywood Fails on a truly Epic level and I am not surprised.

apolla: (Default)
I started writing a follow-up to my surprisingly well-read post about the attitude towards women in rock music... and then I started reading Shakesville back a bit to catch up. To cut down and make a long story short, I ended up reading a column by Janice Turner of The Times (not The London Times, would-be-pedants, The Times). She had done one of those 'Let's Bring Back Feminism!' posts that so often still feels like lip-service and just inspires a bunch of men to say "Oh but women do it to women!" or "Oh, but women do it to men!" as if those truths (and yes, they are true) render male-on-female misogyny acceptable...

Anyway, I was looking for her email address to reply, because I didn't want to write a comment on the article itself, and I ended up on a post entitled The fans killed their idol. They always do. You can imagine that such a title caught my eye for all kinds of reasons. The article it belonged to turned out to be a thousand words of bile spat at fans.

At one point she admits she doesn't even understand fandom:

I have never, even as teenager, understood fandom, can’t see the point of worshipping someone who is no more than a poster on the wall — and doesn’t even know you exist. Love their work, fancy them rotten: yes. Scream until you faint at a gig, write them loopy letters: never.

I would argue she has the meaning of 'fandom' wrong. Also, given the subject of my last post, this woman is equating fandom with crushes/fancying/whatever. Which is a part of it, but only a part. We knows this, precious! How can she not understand fandom and yet attack us.

Sorry, for a second I forgot that she's a columnist, and for a Murdoch paper at that. Girl's getting paid for this bullhockey when fandom works on dedication, passion and the love of a thing.

She doesn't understand that fandom isn't all the same. We know that, don't we? We know that there are tinhatters, which she seems to think make up the entirety of fandom. I am amused that she thinks there's just one fandom. We're ALL THE SAME, KIDS! The Harry Potter fans are the same as the Pride and Prejudice fans are the same as the Halo fans are the same as the Supernatural fans are the same as the Twilight fans.

Oh. I see. That woman has lumped me and you in with the Twihards. This. Means. War.

Anyway, back to her rather than my undiluted rage. Ms Turner seems to think that 'fandom' is about screaming until you faint, writing 'loopy letters' -

Hang on a second. Are all letters sent to a writer/actor/musician/whatever therefore 'loopy'? According to The Internets, Paul Henreid was buried with a fan letter from the days before he was famous and which meant a great deal to him - enough to share coffin space. That doesn't sound loopy to me.

Where was I? Right: 'fandom' is about screaming until you faint, writing loopy letters, slipping the object of your affection drugs, holding vigils outside hospitals, etc etc. Fandom is about obsession and idolatry. This woman, who clearly knows nothing about us and admits she has no understanding of us, calls us vampires, feeders, jackals and bores.

She may have us on the bore score... No, seriously... I am seething and once more reminded that 'outsiders' have no more understanding (and/or empathy) of those of us in 'fandom' than I have understanding of quantum electrodynamics. I don't even understand the Wiki page for quantum electrodynamics. Some of the words make sense, but not the order they're in.

A cynic such as myself would respectfully suggest that Ms Turner is blaming fandom (there can be only one!) because the other option is... er, to blame the media of which she is a part. Fandom, after all, cannot fight back. We're too busy being self-abasing or humiliated.

Fans didn't kill Michael Jackson. Photographs splashed on newspapers of him sleeping in hyperbaric chambers killed him. Lazy hacks calling him Wacko Jacko killed him. Parasitic hangers-on killed him. Ms Turner says 'any wise counsel he might've received' when the whole point was that he rarely received any! The people around him were too busy looking out for themselves. Twas the people around him and the media that killed the goose that laid the golden eggs.

Ms Turner also makes the dreadful mistake (from my point of view) of invoking the Great Morrison. You just knew how I'd react, right? Well, with resigned non-surprise, actually. Hacks and morons reduced the old man to a penis joke in a graffiti covered grave years ago. To a point, they're right. I mean, it wasn't journalists that smothered Jim's grave in graffiti. The mistake Ms Turner makes is assuming that we're all the same. I have even less patience for the moronic Doorzoids than she does, I assure you. I also know Doors fan who are sane about it. Some even just like the music and can leave it at that.

Then, she broke my heart, just a little: fans have no investment in a star’s fate. God, really? I love being told how I feel and think. I really do. She's so wrong. So wrong. I'd wager that 98% of us, where we care about a person's own life at all, would say we want them to be happy and healthy and contented. Am I wrong? Maybe with the percentage. I might be being generous to us... 

You know something? To the likes of Ms Turner, who doesn't understand, this will seem obsessive and hyperbolic but hey: My life has been coloured permanently by Jim Morrison's death. Do you know why? Not because I'm a mad fucking fan, but because of the absence of his work. The songs unwritten, the work undone, the creative (and apparently potentially political) growth. That man could've been the conscience of a generation, but his death rendered him a mute dick joke or poster-boy. My life without Jim Morrison is so different to one with him (and by that I mean simply with him and his work in the world, not with me personally.) that I cannot truly imagine what he could've done. I hope and try to believe that had he survived, he would've been truly great. Or he could've sold out like every other rock and roll musician. I wonder what the Morrison equivalent of Clapton's 'Wonderful Tonight' or Thumbs-Up's Frog Chorus would've been...

She's just so wrong. If anything, we sometimes have too much investment in their fates and are left disappointed. That's an argument we could - and do - make of ourselves and our brother and sisters in The One Fandom. I honestly, truly believe that MOST of ANY fandom woul say they care a great deal about a star's fate - incidentally, not all fandom is even about celebs, is it? - and for that person's highest interest, not our own.

Moreover, she describes fandom as passive. I can still remember the Popular Culture Studies class with legendary Professor Ray and his impassioned defence of fandom. Fandom is anything but passive! We do not just take in everything at face value. We challenge and question and criticise everything - sometimes when it's not required. Fandom is not just sitting around waiting to hear what Brangelina's doing next. The reason I love ONTD (even though it's been shark jumping recently) is precisely that: it challenges and snarks and doesn't let people get away with the shit that they're peddling, the consumerist shit, the fake and the nonsense. Fandom is about creativity - it's about engaging with whatever chosen text, whether it's a record or a movie or a TV show or a game. We write fanfic, we do art, we discuss and deconstruct. That's not passive.

There is no One Fandom To Rule Them All. There's no one type of fan. She should know that. She should also know that feeling sorrow for a hero's death is not vampiric.

The people Ms Turner describes are not fans. The man who murdered John Lennon with four bullets in the back was not a fan. The people who sent their children to Michael Jackson's house for what she calls 'suspect sleepovers' and then held him to ransom were not fans. The people who give Pete Doherty drugs when they know he's an addict are not fans. They're fools, madman and obsessives, but they're not fans. We need to tell Janice Turner that.

TO THAT END! I was going to write an angry email to her, but I thought better of it. What I would like - REALLY LIKE - is to hear what you all have to say. Ask your fandom friends too. I want to speak on behalf of as many of us as I can, because I'm not representative of The One Fandom or any fandom, for that matter. Please, ask so that I can respond to this vitriolic attack on our world. Maybe it doesn't matter much in the grand scheme of things, maybe she's had plenty such replies since the column was published in July, but I feel I want - and should - do this.

So please! Let me know what you'd like me to say, to include.

apolla: (Default)
I started writing a follow-up to my surprisingly well-read post about the attitude towards women in rock music... and then I started reading Shakesville back a bit to catch up. To cut down and make a long story short, I ended up reading a column by Janice Turner of The Times (not The London Times, would-be-pedants, The Times). She had done one of those 'Let's Bring Back Feminism!' posts that so often still feels like lip-service and just inspires a bunch of men to say "Oh but women do it to women!" or "Oh, but women do it to men!" as if those truths (and yes, they are true) render male-on-female misogyny acceptable...

Anyway, I was looking for her email address to reply, because I didn't want to write a comment on the article itself, and I ended up on a post entitled The fans killed their idol. They always do. You can imagine that such a title caught my eye for all kinds of reasons. The article it belonged to turned out to be a thousand words of bile spat at fans.

At one point she admits she doesn't even understand fandom:

I have never, even as teenager, understood fandom, can’t see the point of worshipping someone who is no more than a poster on the wall — and doesn’t even know you exist. Love their work, fancy them rotten: yes. Scream until you faint at a gig, write them loopy letters: never.

I would argue she has the meaning of 'fandom' wrong. Also, given the subject of my last post, this woman is equating fandom with crushes/fancying/whatever. Which is a part of it, but only a part. We knows this, precious! How can she not understand fandom and yet attack us.

Sorry, for a second I forgot that she's a columnist, and for a Murdoch paper at that. Girl's getting paid for this bullhockey when fandom works on dedication, passion and the love of a thing.

She doesn't understand that fandom isn't all the same. We know that, don't we? We know that there are tinhatters, which she seems to think make up the entirety of fandom. I am amused that she thinks there's just one fandom. We're ALL THE SAME, KIDS! The Harry Potter fans are the same as the Pride and Prejudice fans are the same as the Halo fans are the same as the Supernatural fans are the same as the Twilight fans.

Oh. I see. That woman has lumped me and you in with the Twihards. This. Means. War.

Anyway, back to her rather than my undiluted rage. Ms Turner seems to think that 'fandom' is about screaming until you faint, writing 'loopy letters' -

Hang on a second. Are all letters sent to a writer/actor/musician/whatever therefore 'loopy'? According to The Internets, Paul Henreid was buried with a fan letter from the days before he was famous and which meant a great deal to him - enough to share coffin space. That doesn't sound loopy to me.

Where was I? Right: 'fandom' is about screaming until you faint, writing loopy letters, slipping the object of your affection drugs, holding vigils outside hospitals, etc etc. Fandom is about obsession and idolatry. This woman, who clearly knows nothing about us and admits she has no understanding of us, calls us vampires, feeders, jackals and bores.

She may have us on the bore score... No, seriously... I am seething and once more reminded that 'outsiders' have no more understanding (and/or empathy) of those of us in 'fandom' than I have understanding of quantum electrodynamics. I don't even understand the Wiki page for quantum electrodynamics. Some of the words make sense, but not the order they're in.

A cynic such as myself would respectfully suggest that Ms Turner is blaming fandom (there can be only one!) because the other option is... er, to blame the media of which she is a part. Fandom, after all, cannot fight back. We're too busy being self-abasing or humiliated.

Fans didn't kill Michael Jackson. Photographs splashed on newspapers of him sleeping in hyperbaric chambers killed him. Lazy hacks calling him Wacko Jacko killed him. Parasitic hangers-on killed him. Ms Turner says 'any wise counsel he might've received' when the whole point was that he rarely received any! The people around him were too busy looking out for themselves. Twas the people around him and the media that killed the goose that laid the golden eggs.

Ms Turner also makes the dreadful mistake (from my point of view) of invoking the Great Morrison. You just knew how I'd react, right? Well, with resigned non-surprise, actually. Hacks and morons reduced the old man to a penis joke in a graffiti covered grave years ago. To a point, they're right. I mean, it wasn't journalists that smothered Jim's grave in graffiti. The mistake Ms Turner makes is assuming that we're all the same. I have even less patience for the moronic Doorzoids than she does, I assure you. I also know Doors fan who are sane about it. Some even just like the music and can leave it at that.

Then, she broke my heart, just a little: fans have no investment in a star’s fate. God, really? I love being told how I feel and think. I really do. She's so wrong. So wrong. I'd wager that 98% of us, where we care about a person's own life at all, would say we want them to be happy and healthy and contented. Am I wrong? Maybe with the percentage. I might be being generous to us... 

You know something? To the likes of Ms Turner, who doesn't understand, this will seem obsessive and hyperbolic but hey: My life has been coloured permanently by Jim Morrison's death. Do you know why? Not because I'm a mad fucking fan, but because of the absence of his work. The songs unwritten, the work undone, the creative (and apparently potentially political) growth. That man could've been the conscience of a generation, but his death rendered him a mute dick joke or poster-boy. My life without Jim Morrison is so different to one with him (and by that I mean simply with him and his work in the world, not with me personally.) that I cannot truly imagine what he could've done. I hope and try to believe that had he survived, he would've been truly great. Or he could've sold out like every other rock and roll musician. I wonder what the Morrison equivalent of Clapton's 'Wonderful Tonight' or Thumbs-Up's Frog Chorus would've been...

She's just so wrong. If anything, we sometimes have too much investment in their fates and are left disappointed. That's an argument we could - and do - make of ourselves and our brother and sisters in The One Fandom. I honestly, truly believe that MOST of ANY fandom woul say they care a great deal about a star's fate - incidentally, not all fandom is even about celebs, is it? - and for that person's highest interest, not our own.

Moreover, she describes fandom as passive. I can still remember the Popular Culture Studies class with legendary Professor Ray and his impassioned defence of fandom. Fandom is anything but passive! We do not just take in everything at face value. We challenge and question and criticise everything - sometimes when it's not required. Fandom is not just sitting around waiting to hear what Brangelina's doing next. The reason I love ONTD (even though it's been shark jumping recently) is precisely that: it challenges and snarks and doesn't let people get away with the shit that they're peddling, the consumerist shit, the fake and the nonsense. Fandom is about creativity - it's about engaging with whatever chosen text, whether it's a record or a movie or a TV show or a game. We write fanfic, we do art, we discuss and deconstruct. That's not passive.

There is no One Fandom To Rule Them All. There's no one type of fan. She should know that. She should also know that feeling sorrow for a hero's death is not vampiric.

The people Ms Turner describes are not fans. The man who murdered John Lennon with four bullets in the back was not a fan. The people who sent their children to Michael Jackson's house for what she calls 'suspect sleepovers' and then held him to ransom were not fans. The people who give Pete Doherty drugs when they know he's an addict are not fans. They're fools, madman and obsessives, but they're not fans. We need to tell Janice Turner that.

TO THAT END! I was going to write an angry email to her, but I thought better of it. What I would like - REALLY LIKE - is to hear what you all have to say. Ask your fandom friends too. I want to speak on behalf of as many of us as I can, because I'm not representative of The One Fandom or any fandom, for that matter. Please, ask so that I can respond to this vitriolic attack on our world. Maybe it doesn't matter much in the grand scheme of things, maybe she's had plenty such replies since the column was published in July, but I feel I want - and should - do this.

So please! Let me know what you'd like me to say, to include.

So.....

Tuesday, 2 June 2009 00:14
apolla: (Default)
"If you're so pro-life do me a fucking favour, don't block med clinics. Lock arms and block cemeteries. Let's see how fucking committed you are to this premise." from Bill Hicks on Abortion

If you maim or murder in the name of being pro-life, you lose. Shut up, go home, sit down. Case. Fucking. Closed.

So.....

Tuesday, 2 June 2009 00:14
apolla: (Default)
"If you're so pro-life do me a fucking favour, don't block med clinics. Lock arms and block cemeteries. Let's see how fucking committed you are to this premise." from Bill Hicks on Abortion

If you maim or murder in the name of being pro-life, you lose. Shut up, go home, sit down. Case. Fucking. Closed.

Oh my me

Tuesday, 2 October 2007 21:30
apolla: (OTP)
Numerical, I think.

1. I think I might become the new Bill Hicks. Y/N?

2. I get the feeling that actually, Bob Dylan is the greatest of bluffer-piss takers in history.

3. Stephen Fry's documentary about HIV is breaking my heart.

4. There is a part of me that really does think putting the entire world out of my misery is a really good idea.

5. Seriously, this programme is really, really making my soul sting.

6. Dylan said after Love and Theft: "these so-called connoisseurs of Bob Dylan music...I don't feel they know a thing, or have any inkling of who I am and what I’m about. I know they think they do, and yet it’s ludicrous, it's humorous, and sad. That such people have spent so much of their time thinking about who? Me? Get a life, please. It’s not something any one person should do about another. You’re not serving your own life well. You’re wasting your life."
I'm no Dylanophile, but i think he's probably right. How do I cut myself free of the ties that bind?

7. No, honestly, I want to weep and sob and scream for these poor people with HIV/AIDS. I also want to beat the idiots who don't look after themselves (and by extension other humans) around the head with a shillelagh.

8. Mind you, I've eaten at the restaurant he's doing an interview with an expert at.

Oh my me

Tuesday, 2 October 2007 21:30
apolla: (OTP)
Numerical, I think.

1. I think I might become the new Bill Hicks. Y/N?

2. I get the feeling that actually, Bob Dylan is the greatest of bluffer-piss takers in history.

3. Stephen Fry's documentary about HIV is breaking my heart.

4. There is a part of me that really does think putting the entire world out of my misery is a really good idea.

5. Seriously, this programme is really, really making my soul sting.

6. Dylan said after Love and Theft: "these so-called connoisseurs of Bob Dylan music...I don't feel they know a thing, or have any inkling of who I am and what I’m about. I know they think they do, and yet it’s ludicrous, it's humorous, and sad. That such people have spent so much of their time thinking about who? Me? Get a life, please. It’s not something any one person should do about another. You’re not serving your own life well. You’re wasting your life."
I'm no Dylanophile, but i think he's probably right. How do I cut myself free of the ties that bind?

7. No, honestly, I want to weep and sob and scream for these poor people with HIV/AIDS. I also want to beat the idiots who don't look after themselves (and by extension other humans) around the head with a shillelagh.

8. Mind you, I've eaten at the restaurant he's doing an interview with an expert at.
apolla: (LZ II)
Picture one legendary quiz show for students on BBC2, University Challenge.

Imagine the music round: "Name the lead guitarist on this song."

'Whole Lotta Love' plays.

Snotty Cambridge Type buzzes in: "Is it Jeff Plant?"

Clare dies laughing.

Snotty Oxford Type buzzes in smugly: "Is it Robert Plant?"

Clare dies of despair.


I weep, honestly weep, for the future. For that, they get the George Harrison Eyebrow o' Doom.
apolla: (LZ II)
Picture one legendary quiz show for students on BBC2, University Challenge.

Imagine the music round: "Name the lead guitarist on this song."

'Whole Lotta Love' plays.

Snotty Cambridge Type buzzes in: "Is it Jeff Plant?"

Clare dies laughing.

Snotty Oxford Type buzzes in smugly: "Is it Robert Plant?"

Clare dies of despair.


I weep, honestly weep, for the future. For that, they get the George Harrison Eyebrow o' Doom.
apolla: (Percy)
You all know that one of my greatest heroes is Robert Plant. He was and remains a stone fox of a fellow, has managed to remain a half-decent human being in the face of depravity of Zeppelin-sized proportions, has a healthy sense of humour towards the nonsense of Zeppelin-sized proportions. Most importantly of all things, he has always strived to make the music he loves, album sales be damned. The music is the thing, right?

He's also, as I've always said, one of the best blues singer-screamers this country has ever produced, black, white, green or red.

I have, in some ways, also spent a certain amount of time 'apologising' for Led Zeppelin. "Yeah, they were overblown, but..." "Yeah, his voice is high and scratchy but..." or a really big one: "Yeah, The Zep did nick a riff or ten from old blues songs, but..."

I've always been able to justify the stealing of blues stuff the same way they do: It's what the blues guys have always done anyway and they did new things to them and yeah, some of them got stiffed money wise but their music got to more people than it otherwise might have...

The same old stuff the minions do for their sometimes undeserving overlords. I did it because I loved Zeppelin, because I (mostly) believed in what I said. They did take old music and make something newer and exciting. Harder.

Then as you might know, I recently found myself listening to a pre-Zeppelin band called The Small Faces. They never made it that big in America, but their lead singer Steve Marriott founded Humble Pie with Peter Frampton, and you shoulda heard of the Pie. They were the kinds of Mod back in the day, and in fact were so popular that Steve's famous mod haircut got copied by lots of people and wigs were sold down Carnaby Street claiming to be 'Steve Marriott wigs'. They were mod and pop kings and even brought Australia and New Zealand to an outraged standstill while on tour with their mod rivals The Who.

Steve Marriott was another of Britain's truly great soul singers. I mean, this boy was about as short as me and had more power in his lungs than most turbo-charged cars. That voice could move mountains. I've liked the Small Faces for a very long time, but only putting the Essential Collection (less All Or Nothing, unfortunately) onto my now-fucked iPod kicked me into real gear. That and getting the book of Steve's life.

Then I got Tin Soldier: The Steve Marriott Anthology the day it came out. Three discs spanning Steve's entire career, from his early prodigal days with the Small Faces (he was 21 when he quit, I believe. This after Ogden's Nut Gone Flake, one of the top five psychdelic albums. Seriously.) and through his superstar stadium-playing days with Humble Pie to the last fifteen years of his life spent with a revolving door of bands usually playing pubs and clubs.

Tin Soldier included some Small Faces stuff I hadn't heard before. Including the following song:

The Small Faces - You Need Lovin'

I know what you're thinking. You're thinking you've heard it somewhere before, that they must have stolen it from somewhere. Sure. They nicked it from the same place as these guys did:

Led Zeppelin - Whole Lotta Love.

FYI: The Small Faces broke up while Robert Plant was still pissing on people's shoes. They couldn't have stolen it from LZ unless they were actually time-travelling hedonistic gits.

It's not the song so much that galls me, although it does. Musicians have been nicking songs off each other all the time. A whole bunch of bands did Hey Joe all around the same time Jimi Hendrix did the definitive cover. One cover version of a Beatles song came out before the Beatles one did.

It's not that. It's not even that the guitar part was stolen by Bowie for Jean Genie. It is the performance of the vocal part. It is almost exactly the same as that which would make Percy a legend a few years later.

It's not just that Robert's band stole the song, it's that Robert stole the way to sing it. He did that and the song was HUGE. I mean, Led Zeppelin II  made those guys into the plane-using groupie-shagging superstars they were and the record did it on the back of Whole Lotta Love.... and the damn thing was stolen off Steve Marriott!

Robert Plant is a legend and a hero already who has been able to live life at a high standard since the early 1970s. I won't deny he's had his share of sadness and hard times... but Steve Marriott watched Rod Fucking Stewart take his band, knock the 'Small' part off the name and become massive. He watched Peter Fucking Frampton leave Humble Pie and destroy the middle class' collective soul with Frampton Comes Alive!. He watched Roger Daltrey rule the world from a similar stature and less voice. He watched Robert Plant take that performance, right down to the fucking phrasing, and become the 1970s' most tightly-jeaned singing star.

Steve, by the way, thanks to horrible management during the early Small Faces' days (Don Arden, Sharon Osbourne's evil fucker of a dad) and incompetent-turned-horrible-management-record-company Immediate (Andrew Loog Oldham, the old Stones maanger), spent most of his career either nearly-broke or entirely broke. He even wrote a song about it called 'Theme from Skint'. (Skint is cock-er-nee for totally and completely broke.)

I don't believe Steve ever really cared all that much about money- he was happy so long as he could get up on a stage (any stage- stadium or pub, he didn't care) and sing and play his guitar. He was about the music, and that is something I respect eternally. However, he was screwed over time and time again. The Small Faces' catalogue is now in better hands and the rights have been returned at last to the people in the band. Too late for Steve (died in a fire in 1991) and Ronnie Lane (died of MS-related pneumonia in 1998). Incidentally, the people I work for, The PRS, helped the band in their fight for their rights.

I'm getting off the point. The point is this: Robert Plant is/was/ever will be my hero but he plagiarised one of my other heroes. Granted, I've never had the same level of affection for Steve, but what I lacked in affection I always made up in oodles of respect. He has to be heard to be believed, I'm telling you.

So what do you do when faced with the truth of where your hero got one of his greatest/most famous performances from? Well, you find it very hard to listen to a song you once loved. It's hard to hear, hearing inside your head another blue-eyed soul screamer doing the same thing, and not as high or scratchy. I've lost so much respect for Robert on a musical level, and that's so important to me.

It's one thing to spout shit about fairies and Tolkein. It's another to steal off your contemporaries in such a blatant way. I can only surmise that the Small Faces version wasn't heard widely at the time, cos there's no way the old git from the Midlands would've got away with it.

And now I wonder about everything else he does and has done. Sure, Perce has marched to the beat of his own Arabic drums for years now and I've always liked that about him... but it has me second-guessing him. How original is the stuff he's doing? Is it just that I haven't heard what he's stolen already? Or if it is original, is his determination to be so different a reaction to a previous time in his life when he did the worst thing a singer can do to another one?

I've rarely said this about any of the horrible little bastards who occupy my life and iPod, but here it goes: I'm disappointed in him. I'm so fucking dismayed. Sure he was young and inexperienced and all that other bollocks, but so was Steve when he recorded it.

You stole what he did, Robert. I wonder if you have ever felt bad about it. Should we be lucky enough to converse, I will ask you. I don't care if it offends you, because I need to know. You're my hero, man. Jim Morrison sexually assaulting Janis Joplin, Philip smacking his wife... somehow these things matter less. What you did was about the music. You stole it, became a massive star and he died in a fire when on the brink of a potential come back. I wonder if you ever met, ever talked about it. You stole it and I can't ever forgive you for it. Sorry.

However, I did just see the pictures of Robert at the Polar Music Awards in Sweden (one with Anni-Frid from Abba, oddly) and he is still a stone fox. A stealing one.
apolla: (Percy)
You all know that one of my greatest heroes is Robert Plant. He was and remains a stone fox of a fellow, has managed to remain a half-decent human being in the face of depravity of Zeppelin-sized proportions, has a healthy sense of humour towards the nonsense of Zeppelin-sized proportions. Most importantly of all things, he has always strived to make the music he loves, album sales be damned. The music is the thing, right?

He's also, as I've always said, one of the best blues singer-screamers this country has ever produced, black, white, green or red.

I have, in some ways, also spent a certain amount of time 'apologising' for Led Zeppelin. "Yeah, they were overblown, but..." "Yeah, his voice is high and scratchy but..." or a really big one: "Yeah, The Zep did nick a riff or ten from old blues songs, but..."

I've always been able to justify the stealing of blues stuff the same way they do: It's what the blues guys have always done anyway and they did new things to them and yeah, some of them got stiffed money wise but their music got to more people than it otherwise might have...

The same old stuff the minions do for their sometimes undeserving overlords. I did it because I loved Zeppelin, because I (mostly) believed in what I said. They did take old music and make something newer and exciting. Harder.

Then as you might know, I recently found myself listening to a pre-Zeppelin band called The Small Faces. They never made it that big in America, but their lead singer Steve Marriott founded Humble Pie with Peter Frampton, and you shoulda heard of the Pie. They were the kinds of Mod back in the day, and in fact were so popular that Steve's famous mod haircut got copied by lots of people and wigs were sold down Carnaby Street claiming to be 'Steve Marriott wigs'. They were mod and pop kings and even brought Australia and New Zealand to an outraged standstill while on tour with their mod rivals The Who.

Steve Marriott was another of Britain's truly great soul singers. I mean, this boy was about as short as me and had more power in his lungs than most turbo-charged cars. That voice could move mountains. I've liked the Small Faces for a very long time, but only putting the Essential Collection (less All Or Nothing, unfortunately) onto my now-fucked iPod kicked me into real gear. That and getting the book of Steve's life.

Then I got Tin Soldier: The Steve Marriott Anthology the day it came out. Three discs spanning Steve's entire career, from his early prodigal days with the Small Faces (he was 21 when he quit, I believe. This after Ogden's Nut Gone Flake, one of the top five psychdelic albums. Seriously.) and through his superstar stadium-playing days with Humble Pie to the last fifteen years of his life spent with a revolving door of bands usually playing pubs and clubs.

Tin Soldier included some Small Faces stuff I hadn't heard before. Including the following song:

The Small Faces - You Need Lovin'

I know what you're thinking. You're thinking you've heard it somewhere before, that they must have stolen it from somewhere. Sure. They nicked it from the same place as these guys did:

Led Zeppelin - Whole Lotta Love.

FYI: The Small Faces broke up while Robert Plant was still pissing on people's shoes. They couldn't have stolen it from LZ unless they were actually time-travelling hedonistic gits.

It's not the song so much that galls me, although it does. Musicians have been nicking songs off each other all the time. A whole bunch of bands did Hey Joe all around the same time Jimi Hendrix did the definitive cover. One cover version of a Beatles song came out before the Beatles one did.

It's not that. It's not even that the guitar part was stolen by Bowie for Jean Genie. It is the performance of the vocal part. It is almost exactly the same as that which would make Percy a legend a few years later.

It's not just that Robert's band stole the song, it's that Robert stole the way to sing it. He did that and the song was HUGE. I mean, Led Zeppelin II  made those guys into the plane-using groupie-shagging superstars they were and the record did it on the back of Whole Lotta Love.... and the damn thing was stolen off Steve Marriott!

Robert Plant is a legend and a hero already who has been able to live life at a high standard since the early 1970s. I won't deny he's had his share of sadness and hard times... but Steve Marriott watched Rod Fucking Stewart take his band, knock the 'Small' part off the name and become massive. He watched Peter Fucking Frampton leave Humble Pie and destroy the middle class' collective soul with Frampton Comes Alive!. He watched Roger Daltrey rule the world from a similar stature and less voice. He watched Robert Plant take that performance, right down to the fucking phrasing, and become the 1970s' most tightly-jeaned singing star.

Steve, by the way, thanks to horrible management during the early Small Faces' days (Don Arden, Sharon Osbourne's evil fucker of a dad) and incompetent-turned-horrible-management-record-company Immediate (Andrew Loog Oldham, the old Stones maanger), spent most of his career either nearly-broke or entirely broke. He even wrote a song about it called 'Theme from Skint'. (Skint is cock-er-nee for totally and completely broke.)

I don't believe Steve ever really cared all that much about money- he was happy so long as he could get up on a stage (any stage- stadium or pub, he didn't care) and sing and play his guitar. He was about the music, and that is something I respect eternally. However, he was screwed over time and time again. The Small Faces' catalogue is now in better hands and the rights have been returned at last to the people in the band. Too late for Steve (died in a fire in 1991) and Ronnie Lane (died of MS-related pneumonia in 1998). Incidentally, the people I work for, The PRS, helped the band in their fight for their rights.

I'm getting off the point. The point is this: Robert Plant is/was/ever will be my hero but he plagiarised one of my other heroes. Granted, I've never had the same level of affection for Steve, but what I lacked in affection I always made up in oodles of respect. He has to be heard to be believed, I'm telling you.

So what do you do when faced with the truth of where your hero got one of his greatest/most famous performances from? Well, you find it very hard to listen to a song you once loved. It's hard to hear, hearing inside your head another blue-eyed soul screamer doing the same thing, and not as high or scratchy. I've lost so much respect for Robert on a musical level, and that's so important to me.

It's one thing to spout shit about fairies and Tolkein. It's another to steal off your contemporaries in such a blatant way. I can only surmise that the Small Faces version wasn't heard widely at the time, cos there's no way the old git from the Midlands would've got away with it.

And now I wonder about everything else he does and has done. Sure, Perce has marched to the beat of his own Arabic drums for years now and I've always liked that about him... but it has me second-guessing him. How original is the stuff he's doing? Is it just that I haven't heard what he's stolen already? Or if it is original, is his determination to be so different a reaction to a previous time in his life when he did the worst thing a singer can do to another one?

I've rarely said this about any of the horrible little bastards who occupy my life and iPod, but here it goes: I'm disappointed in him. I'm so fucking dismayed. Sure he was young and inexperienced and all that other bollocks, but so was Steve when he recorded it.

You stole what he did, Robert. I wonder if you have ever felt bad about it. Should we be lucky enough to converse, I will ask you. I don't care if it offends you, because I need to know. You're my hero, man. Jim Morrison sexually assaulting Janis Joplin, Philip smacking his wife... somehow these things matter less. What you did was about the music. You stole it, became a massive star and he died in a fire when on the brink of a potential come back. I wonder if you ever met, ever talked about it. You stole it and I can't ever forgive you for it. Sorry.

However, I did just see the pictures of Robert at the Polar Music Awards in Sweden (one with Anni-Frid from Abba, oddly) and he is still a stone fox. A stealing one.
apolla: (Queen Maeve)
Keith Richards hurt in 'tree fall'

My first question is this: "What the fuck was Keef doing up a tree?' No wait, I don't think I want to know.

Get well soon, idiot.
apolla: (Queen Maeve)
Keith Richards hurt in 'tree fall'

My first question is this: "What the fuck was Keef doing up a tree?' No wait, I don't think I want to know.

Get well soon, idiot.
apolla: (Night Life)
So, you might know that I met a guy called Scott Gorham the other day. I am not here to brag a bit more, in fact, I am here to talk about something more serious.

It was, when I actually think about it, a very odd experience. Brilliant because I got his autograph and exchanged a question with him. Sad because he chose to stop posing for pictures just as I was about to step up. Elating because this is a real rock hero and deflating because it was only an autograph and a moment.

Because like every other fan, I have this feeling that I am different to all the others. More important. Special. Something that separates me from the yelling morons with their faded Bad Reputation t-shirts. Something that makes me a bigger, better fan than anyone else. This isn't something limited to Thin Lizzy or even music. It's the same with everything that has fans. The football fans who claim to have been to thousands of games or the baseball fans in possession of certain baseballs. The fans of Certain Sci-Fi Films That Shall Remain Nameless who queued for tickets earlier than anyone else and saw it more times than anyone else. The Elvis fans who claim to have bought more over-priced tat than the others, the Marilyn Monroe fans who dress up. The Jim Morrison fans who make pilgrimage to Pere-Lachaise. The caravanners who have the biggest caravans or who've visited more sites. The hikers who walk further. The monarchists who own more tea towels or who have been in the hallowed presence of the most royals. The Buffy fans who can remember the most trivia. The Harry Potter fans who bitch loudest/know exactly what an Irish Phoenix is/wrote the OMGmostpopularficevar/I'll stop here cos of who I'm writing to right now.

You get the idea. Part of being a fan isn't just loving something/someone, it's about being seen to do so and being seen to do so more than anyone else. Rock fans are infamous for it. Remember Barry in High Fidelity? The guy who despises you for not knowing as much as him about music and tears you down for knowing as much/more. Fans are funny, funny people.

Part of this came to me while watching The Perfect Catch earlier, but most of this ran through my head on Friday, the Day After Meeting Scott Gorham. Now, I've met Philomena Lynott, Philip's mother. I've met Brian Robertson and I've met Eric Bell, two of the other guitarists. All in the space of one heady afternoon in which I realised a few things:

-There are many, many more Thin Lizzy fans than I ever really believed still existed.
-A lot of them are, outwardly at least, 'bigger' fans than I am. The woman with the tattoo of Philip's face on her arm. The guys who took their collections of Lizzy records to be signed. I realised there's actually a real community going on there.
-I am not even close to being as obsessed as a lot of other people, and I am of the opinion that love and obsession are not quite the same things.
-I also realised that I did not want to meet these people as a fan, I wanted much more to meet them on a more equal footing, as a fellow musician if possible. That I didn't want to just be a fan, grinning ridiculously into the camera as they stand beside me with a sort of strained grin on their face. I wanted to be able to converse with them on important subjects (music, obviously) and for them to be interested in what I had to say because they had some sort of respect for me in turn.

On Thursday, I met Scott Gorham. While fans of things may claim to never choose favourites, they always do. In Lizzy terms, the Prettiest Guitarist That Ever Was ranks below only Philip Lynott as far as I'm concerned. Not for being pretty, but for being consistently cool and decent in the face of overwhelming odds, for being willing to be 'the guy on the left' when the guy on the right was showboating his arse off. So it stands to reason that I should've been over the fucking moon to see him grasping my shiny purple notebook and asking how I spelled my name.

Sure, it was cool, but at the same time I was very 'blah'. Now as you know, I'm very blah about most things in the universe. Birth, life, death all flash past me with barely a quirk of an eyebrow. And although I rushed around a little trying to find a pen (he had his own) and trying to sort out my camera (fallen to the bottom of my bag)... I was remarkably cool in the face of Gorham. Then, as I stepped up to have my picture taken with him and he moved away...

And I didn't really mind. I mean sure, I was a little disappointed that I wouldn't have that small proof of the moment, but I didn't really mind. Honestly, I'd just spent a couple of hours of my life squashed against an amp on the stage (still got a bit of ringing in my ears) staring up at him and John Sykes, ripping my throat out trying to hear myself screeching the lyrics along with them over the sound of said amp. He'd acknowledged me when he was on stage, smiled at me a couple of times. More than that, he'd played a great gig. Why the hell shouldn't he piss off? He had the decency to come over and talk to us despite the cold and slight rain. Some of the fans had been yelling at him to come over even after he'd waved that he going to come over. Smoe of them, from hearing them talk, had been at the show the nights before and had hung around outside then. Why should he waste his night talking to people he talked to the night before and the night before? Perhaps I'm still sane enough to have an inkling as to what it's like for him. John Sykes didn't bother doing anything but get into the car and get chauffeured away... and even that's not entirely unreasonable. They're human beings who get tired and pissed off and hungry and whatever it is you humans do. 

More than that, I didn't like very much the feeling of hanging around outside the stage door. Mostly because I feel like I should be the one coming out of the stage door, but that's a different drama for another day. I felt alternately like a groupie (must've been the fact I was wearing a dress for once) or like an insane fan. I know it seems like it, but my entire life is not Thin Lizzy. My entire life may be rock and roll, but not just my boys. I would never buy a guitar just so it could get signed by Scott Gorham, even if it was a cheap Les Paul copy. The whole thing seemed wrong, somehow, somehow predatory. Perhaps it never used to be like this in the old days, but if anyone knows the old days are gone, it's me. 

Do I yet make sense? While I can laugh and joke about having Scott Gorham's autograph, while I can feel glad that I've at least exchanged words with him, it's not really the point. Because I am different to all the other fans. I am special. I am not like all the other fans. I'm not saying that they should see it that way, but I don't want to be just another fan with a trophy autograph. I want to be a musician and have great conversations with my heroes. I want to see that my heroes are the same as me and yet also great. I was not disappointed by my hero, which is more than many heartbroken fans can say. He wasn't a bad guy. He was thoroughly cool to the gaggle of people there. He answered my question with the same evasive non-answer he always gives, and the same for everyone else. Can you blame him? He's been doing this since 1974 for Lizzy. He's been answering the same questions about Philip since 1986. 

It must be the most infuriating thing to be a hero, or a legend, or a basic celebrity in many ways. In ways that riches do not make up for. We treat them like public property or like old friends, when they are neither. We know something of their lives, so we think we know them, when we do not. Knowing what a person eats for breakfast, having seen them come out of Starbucks or filling a car with petrol, or hearing them speak about their addiction/adultery/new movie does not give us any insight into their real selves. It just feels like it does. I don't know Scott Gorham any better than you know Jake/Tom/Heath/Whoever. Or in fact, any better than I know Jim Morrison or Errol Flynn or Philip Lynott or John Lennon. I have always known that the more I learn about these guys, the less I truly know them. I know enough to know that I don't know them at all. We are given fragments of their lives. Fragments that they let us see and which even when added all together do not create a true or full picture of a person.

This is something I know. I also know this: it is still possible to love them. Even when you're in possession of some of the bad fragments too. They are always distant and sometimes it's not a bad thing if we can accept it as the way it is.

It was cool to meet Scott Gorham, to share a few words with him. Should we meet again, it'll be cool. If he should recall "C L A R E, like the county" then I should likely be pleased as the proverbial Punch. But meeting Scott Gorham did not change my life. It did not bring stars falling from the sky, fairies were not resurrected, my heart did not stop. It was cool, but if you think it even compares to the way the music makes me feel... you have no concept of what it truly means to be a fan. Real fans? Proper ones? They know that it's the music that really counts. That while the people who made it are important, they still don't compare to the music.

So funnily enough, the concert itself was more elating than the moment Scott Gorham asked how I spell my name. God love you Scott, and your hair and the California drawl, but it was always the guitar I cared about.
apolla: (Night Life)
So, you might know that I met a guy called Scott Gorham the other day. I am not here to brag a bit more, in fact, I am here to talk about something more serious.

It was, when I actually think about it, a very odd experience. Brilliant because I got his autograph and exchanged a question with him. Sad because he chose to stop posing for pictures just as I was about to step up. Elating because this is a real rock hero and deflating because it was only an autograph and a moment.

Because like every other fan, I have this feeling that I am different to all the others. More important. Special. Something that separates me from the yelling morons with their faded Bad Reputation t-shirts. Something that makes me a bigger, better fan than anyone else. This isn't something limited to Thin Lizzy or even music. It's the same with everything that has fans. The football fans who claim to have been to thousands of games or the baseball fans in possession of certain baseballs. The fans of Certain Sci-Fi Films That Shall Remain Nameless who queued for tickets earlier than anyone else and saw it more times than anyone else. The Elvis fans who claim to have bought more over-priced tat than the others, the Marilyn Monroe fans who dress up. The Jim Morrison fans who make pilgrimage to Pere-Lachaise. The caravanners who have the biggest caravans or who've visited more sites. The hikers who walk further. The monarchists who own more tea towels or who have been in the hallowed presence of the most royals. The Buffy fans who can remember the most trivia. The Harry Potter fans who bitch loudest/know exactly what an Irish Phoenix is/wrote the OMGmostpopularficevar/I'll stop here cos of who I'm writing to right now.

You get the idea. Part of being a fan isn't just loving something/someone, it's about being seen to do so and being seen to do so more than anyone else. Rock fans are infamous for it. Remember Barry in High Fidelity? The guy who despises you for not knowing as much as him about music and tears you down for knowing as much/more. Fans are funny, funny people.

Part of this came to me while watching The Perfect Catch earlier, but most of this ran through my head on Friday, the Day After Meeting Scott Gorham. Now, I've met Philomena Lynott, Philip's mother. I've met Brian Robertson and I've met Eric Bell, two of the other guitarists. All in the space of one heady afternoon in which I realised a few things:

-There are many, many more Thin Lizzy fans than I ever really believed still existed.
-A lot of them are, outwardly at least, 'bigger' fans than I am. The woman with the tattoo of Philip's face on her arm. The guys who took their collections of Lizzy records to be signed. I realised there's actually a real community going on there.
-I am not even close to being as obsessed as a lot of other people, and I am of the opinion that love and obsession are not quite the same things.
-I also realised that I did not want to meet these people as a fan, I wanted much more to meet them on a more equal footing, as a fellow musician if possible. That I didn't want to just be a fan, grinning ridiculously into the camera as they stand beside me with a sort of strained grin on their face. I wanted to be able to converse with them on important subjects (music, obviously) and for them to be interested in what I had to say because they had some sort of respect for me in turn.

On Thursday, I met Scott Gorham. While fans of things may claim to never choose favourites, they always do. In Lizzy terms, the Prettiest Guitarist That Ever Was ranks below only Philip Lynott as far as I'm concerned. Not for being pretty, but for being consistently cool and decent in the face of overwhelming odds, for being willing to be 'the guy on the left' when the guy on the right was showboating his arse off. So it stands to reason that I should've been over the fucking moon to see him grasping my shiny purple notebook and asking how I spelled my name.

Sure, it was cool, but at the same time I was very 'blah'. Now as you know, I'm very blah about most things in the universe. Birth, life, death all flash past me with barely a quirk of an eyebrow. And although I rushed around a little trying to find a pen (he had his own) and trying to sort out my camera (fallen to the bottom of my bag)... I was remarkably cool in the face of Gorham. Then, as I stepped up to have my picture taken with him and he moved away...

And I didn't really mind. I mean sure, I was a little disappointed that I wouldn't have that small proof of the moment, but I didn't really mind. Honestly, I'd just spent a couple of hours of my life squashed against an amp on the stage (still got a bit of ringing in my ears) staring up at him and John Sykes, ripping my throat out trying to hear myself screeching the lyrics along with them over the sound of said amp. He'd acknowledged me when he was on stage, smiled at me a couple of times. More than that, he'd played a great gig. Why the hell shouldn't he piss off? He had the decency to come over and talk to us despite the cold and slight rain. Some of the fans had been yelling at him to come over even after he'd waved that he going to come over. Smoe of them, from hearing them talk, had been at the show the nights before and had hung around outside then. Why should he waste his night talking to people he talked to the night before and the night before? Perhaps I'm still sane enough to have an inkling as to what it's like for him. John Sykes didn't bother doing anything but get into the car and get chauffeured away... and even that's not entirely unreasonable. They're human beings who get tired and pissed off and hungry and whatever it is you humans do. 

More than that, I didn't like very much the feeling of hanging around outside the stage door. Mostly because I feel like I should be the one coming out of the stage door, but that's a different drama for another day. I felt alternately like a groupie (must've been the fact I was wearing a dress for once) or like an insane fan. I know it seems like it, but my entire life is not Thin Lizzy. My entire life may be rock and roll, but not just my boys. I would never buy a guitar just so it could get signed by Scott Gorham, even if it was a cheap Les Paul copy. The whole thing seemed wrong, somehow, somehow predatory. Perhaps it never used to be like this in the old days, but if anyone knows the old days are gone, it's me. 

Do I yet make sense? While I can laugh and joke about having Scott Gorham's autograph, while I can feel glad that I've at least exchanged words with him, it's not really the point. Because I am different to all the other fans. I am special. I am not like all the other fans. I'm not saying that they should see it that way, but I don't want to be just another fan with a trophy autograph. I want to be a musician and have great conversations with my heroes. I want to see that my heroes are the same as me and yet also great. I was not disappointed by my hero, which is more than many heartbroken fans can say. He wasn't a bad guy. He was thoroughly cool to the gaggle of people there. He answered my question with the same evasive non-answer he always gives, and the same for everyone else. Can you blame him? He's been doing this since 1974 for Lizzy. He's been answering the same questions about Philip since 1986. 

It must be the most infuriating thing to be a hero, or a legend, or a basic celebrity in many ways. In ways that riches do not make up for. We treat them like public property or like old friends, when they are neither. We know something of their lives, so we think we know them, when we do not. Knowing what a person eats for breakfast, having seen them come out of Starbucks or filling a car with petrol, or hearing them speak about their addiction/adultery/new movie does not give us any insight into their real selves. It just feels like it does. I don't know Scott Gorham any better than you know Jake/Tom/Heath/Whoever. Or in fact, any better than I know Jim Morrison or Errol Flynn or Philip Lynott or John Lennon. I have always known that the more I learn about these guys, the less I truly know them. I know enough to know that I don't know them at all. We are given fragments of their lives. Fragments that they let us see and which even when added all together do not create a true or full picture of a person.

This is something I know. I also know this: it is still possible to love them. Even when you're in possession of some of the bad fragments too. They are always distant and sometimes it's not a bad thing if we can accept it as the way it is.

It was cool to meet Scott Gorham, to share a few words with him. Should we meet again, it'll be cool. If he should recall "C L A R E, like the county" then I should likely be pleased as the proverbial Punch. But meeting Scott Gorham did not change my life. It did not bring stars falling from the sky, fairies were not resurrected, my heart did not stop. It was cool, but if you think it even compares to the way the music makes me feel... you have no concept of what it truly means to be a fan. Real fans? Proper ones? They know that it's the music that really counts. That while the people who made it are important, they still don't compare to the music.

So funnily enough, the concert itself was more elating than the moment Scott Gorham asked how I spell my name. God love you Scott, and your hair and the California drawl, but it was always the guitar I cared about.
apolla: (The Doors)
Fans threaten to boycott 007 film.

Bitch, please, fuckwits.

I can only think, off hand of two people I'd like to see as Bond less than Daniel Craig. Clive Owen and Robbie Williams, if you were wondering.

I really do think that Daniel Craig, who is both blond and apparently a big girl's blouse, will make a truly fucking awful Bond.

But I might get proved wrong. Casino Royale is a decent enough story that it might not matter. Of course, it also might... not least because if Orson Welles isn't Le Chiffre, I might have issues (he was the one truly stupefying thing in the spoof Casino Royale back in the day, even moreso than Niv.)...

I think Daniel Craig is a terrible idea for Bond... but I might be proved wrong. And the only way to find out is to watch the damn thing. I even listened to the offensively awful Swing When You're Winning by Robbie Williams before tearing him a new one. It's nice to be proved so comprehensively correct...

Anyway, these people are doing nothing but giving Eon and their Bond a shedload of new and free publicity. They're not helping their own cause.

I love James Bond, I really do. I find good things in all of them. Even in Moonraker, although I'd have to think really hard on it. Even the dodgy Lazenby was not without redemption although I'm glad he didn't return for a second outing. I might yet find something to love about the new Casino Royale... I personally doubt it will be the star, but stranger things have happened.

No foolish fan boycott will change what's going to happen.
apolla: (The Doors)
Fans threaten to boycott 007 film.

Bitch, please, fuckwits.

I can only think, off hand of two people I'd like to see as Bond less than Daniel Craig. Clive Owen and Robbie Williams, if you were wondering.

I really do think that Daniel Craig, who is both blond and apparently a big girl's blouse, will make a truly fucking awful Bond.

But I might get proved wrong. Casino Royale is a decent enough story that it might not matter. Of course, it also might... not least because if Orson Welles isn't Le Chiffre, I might have issues (he was the one truly stupefying thing in the spoof Casino Royale back in the day, even moreso than Niv.)...

I think Daniel Craig is a terrible idea for Bond... but I might be proved wrong. And the only way to find out is to watch the damn thing. I even listened to the offensively awful Swing When You're Winning by Robbie Williams before tearing him a new one. It's nice to be proved so comprehensively correct...

Anyway, these people are doing nothing but giving Eon and their Bond a shedload of new and free publicity. They're not helping their own cause.

I love James Bond, I really do. I find good things in all of them. Even in Moonraker, although I'd have to think really hard on it. Even the dodgy Lazenby was not without redemption although I'm glad he didn't return for a second outing. I might yet find something to love about the new Casino Royale... I personally doubt it will be the star, but stranger things have happened.

No foolish fan boycott will change what's going to happen.
apolla: (OTP)

Burton to 'join' Worlds Cast.

In it, the BBC 'inform' us that Richard Burton is to be digitally 'resurrected' for the new stage show version of Jeff Wayne's The War of the Worlds.

This is the opposite of news. This is olds. Not only have I known for some time, I've already got my tickets booked, know that Jeff Wayne's daughter will be featured as Carrie, the Journalist's great love, and that Parson Nathaniel will be played by Russell Watson. The latter brings joy to my mama who loves RW and dread to me, who has a slight affection for the man who sang Nathaniel in the original.*

And this is news? I can only assume that they're struggling to fill space now that Celebrity Big Brother has been put down for this year.

Try harder please, Auntie. We pay your bills, remember.

* I refer of course to Philip Lynott, and the 'slight affection' is of course sardonic understatement. And he also renders the mood icon relevant. Love you, dear boy.

apolla: (OTP)

Burton to 'join' Worlds Cast.

In it, the BBC 'inform' us that Richard Burton is to be digitally 'resurrected' for the new stage show version of Jeff Wayne's The War of the Worlds.

This is the opposite of news. This is olds. Not only have I known for some time, I've already got my tickets booked, know that Jeff Wayne's daughter will be featured as Carrie, the Journalist's great love, and that Parson Nathaniel will be played by Russell Watson. The latter brings joy to my mama who loves RW and dread to me, who has a slight affection for the man who sang Nathaniel in the original.*

And this is news? I can only assume that they're struggling to fill space now that Celebrity Big Brother has been put down for this year.

Try harder please, Auntie. We pay your bills, remember.

* I refer of course to Philip Lynott, and the 'slight affection' is of course sardonic understatement. And he also renders the mood icon relevant. Love you, dear boy.

Profile

apolla: (Default)
apolla

October 2012

S M T W T F S
 12 345 6
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
28293031   

Syndicate

RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Sunday, 24 September 2017 06:56
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios