Thursday, 29 December 2011

Music Cuts of the Year

Top five tracks of 2011 (in no particular order):
1) Yuck – Get Away
2) Summer Camp – Brian Krakow
3) Nicki Minaj – Super Bass
4) Florence + The Machine – Shake It Out
5) Lana Del Rey – Video Games

Album of the Year: Florence + The Machine – Ceremonials

Essential reading of 2011: Man in the Music: The Creative Life and Work of Michael Jackson by Joe Vogel

Super star of 2011: Nicki Minaj, for services to impeccable lyricism: 

“I'm the best now; anybody with some money should invest now / Soccer moms need to organize a pep rall / Your game over bitch, Gatorade, wet towel”

“I don’t sympathize, cause you a simple bitch”

“You know the real bitches love me, fuck the fake girls”

“I look like yes and you look like no”

“Ain’t on my period but I got a new pad”

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Friday, 2 December 2011

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

I Like... Michael Jackson's Bathroom / Julien's Auctions

More interior design inspiration and pictures of Jackson's LA home HERE

Monday, 21 November 2011

DIGITAL WORDS / Idol's Top Five: Music Tracks

Top five IDOL tracks of the week, HERE

My pick: Serenades - Oceans


Sit back, relax and surrender to the aquatic lullaby of Swedish duo Serenades.

Swedish indie rock outfit Shout Out Louds have temporarily lost their front man Adam Olenius to his latest project Serenades, which sees him teamed up with Markus Krunegard to produce atmospheric electro escapism.

Oceans, taken from the pair’s Come Home EP and available as a free download on their website, is awash with warmth and languorous allure. Combining layers of wistful vocals of gentle yearning with a sparse chiming piano and relaxed percussion, Serenades boast a richly textured, swooning sound that is downbeat yet optimistic, unassuming but striking. Oceans is also just a hint of what is to come with the duo’s album scheduled for a 2012 release. But if can’t wait until then and the stresses and strains of “grey town” living are getting you down, then check out Serenades live when they play two London dates next week.

Written for IDOL

Friday, 11 November 2011

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

DIGITAL WORDS / Review: David Gest's incomplete history of Michael Jackson

Please find my review of the premiere screening of "Michael Jackson - The Life of an Icon" HERE

I just want to stress that I have tried to find the positives in this film. I would not reccomend buying it to any Michael Jackson fans. You are really not missing out on anything apart from finding out what exactly a "David Gest Production" consists of... Don't give David Gest your money. The best part of this whole "event" was discovering just how smokin' hott Rebbie Jackson is, and seeing her carrying the coolest clutch bag, like, ever.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

DIGITAL WORDS / Oh My! single review

Read my review of Oh My!''s latest single HERE
Electro-pop duo Oh My! get their mockney and deadpan swag on with their second single Dirty Dancer

Songs about meeting boys and wearing new shoes on the weekend? Yawn. But in the hands of London-based double act Oh My! it’s a different matter. Made up of 19 and 20 year old Alex and Jade, not only do they have the sass and blunt put downs that would make Lily Allen proud: “Creative with your chat up lines, you’re staring at me like I’m in a shop, err, stop?” They’ve also got the mockney affectation to match too.

On this Patrick Swayze-referencing track, co-written by Example and featuring an appearance by Tinie Tempah sound-alike Scru Fizzer, Oh My! present themselves as a self aware version of 90s bubblegum double act Shampoo, and keep their tongue-in-cheek lyrics on the right side of downright dodgy cheekiness with their blasé delivery. This is brash, novelty, two-fingers-up pop – whether that be a girl power gesture to their gaudy pop foremothers the Spice Girls, or a fuck-off two-fingered salute, it’s up to you. Both sum up Oh My! pretty well.

Written for IDOL

Monday, 7 November 2011

DIGITAL WORDS/ Idol's Top Five: Music Tracks

Find the full five HERE
My choices run thusly:


Friends – I’m His Girl
If you’re not the Fresh Prince of Bel Air it’s difficult to pull off using the adjective “fly.” But I’m going to try anyway as “fly” is the only way to describe this retro 80s funk throwback from Brooklyn band Friends. A band who put cowbell accompaniment and slap bass to good use.


Amy Winehouse – Our Day Will Come
This cover of 1960s American doo wop group Ruby & The Romantics is one of the first couple of songs to have been unveiled as part of a posthumous Winehouse album release. It could have fitted in comfortably anywhere on Back To Black with its warming lilt and Amy’s effortlessly glossy vocals. Hopefully the full LP, Lioness: Hidden Treasures, which is scheduled for an early December release will unearth more unheard material of this high quality. Listen HERE.

Written for IDOL

Sunday, 6 November 2011

DIGITAL WORDS / Florence and the Machine "Ceremonials"

Read my review of "Ceremonials" HERE

Florence and the Machine make a grand re-entrance with the glitteringly grand Ceremonials.

Broken hearted women have made the three biggest pop albums of the 21st century; Back To Black, Lungs and 21. And so it falls to Florence Welch, now reconciled with the absent man who inspired her platinum selling debut, to demonstrate what one does after making your man and the entire world fall for you.

Lungs, of course, served Ms. Welch and her machine well; it saw her dominate two consecutive festival seasons and took her from self-sourced vintage stage clothes to being swathed in custom made Gucci creations for her increasingly high profile performances, including supporting U2 and, oddly, lined up next to Christina Aguilera and Jennifer Hudson at the Grammy’s in a salute to Aretha Franklin. However, as singles were continually re-released and her cover of You’ve Got The Love became inescapable, it felt as though we were risking becoming glutted by and with Florence and the Machine.

Now with the dust of the storm caused by Lungs settled, Florence’s second LP, Ceremonials, is set to create an even more potent tempest. Like Lungs, an album with a title perfect in its precision, an album all about the gusto within one woman’s capacity, Ceremonials is a title of equal accuracy. This is an album so defined in its musical vision that it plays out like a ritual in gothic chamber pop.

Ceremonials, in many ways, is a far more refined and cohesive version of Lungs. Whereas Lungs felt schizophrenic and disorderly without fully formed intention - perhaps because the artistic identity for Florence herself, as a glamazon, Romantic woodland nymph, had not been fully realised either - Ceremonials is an unquestionable whole. Familiar sounds remain and dominate, in the form of thumping and hounding tribal rhythms driving each track with gushes of strings and harps, but everything simply sounds bigger and better. It also feels as though Florence is now comfortable with the prowess of her own voice. The enormity of her belting vocals is undeniably impressive, but when she allows herself to relax she adds new shades to her melodramatic repertoire. The undulations of Never Let Me Go see Florence drift dreamily between ghostly verses and an explosive chorus. Whilst the vulnerable honesty of Breaking Down presents a far more gentle, but no less enchanting Florence.

Now that Florence and the Machine possess a sound so purified and singular it’s impossible to predict how it will evolve or what its next permutation will be, but it’s an exciting prospect.

Written for IDOL

Saturday, 5 November 2011

DIGITAL WORDS / Ben Carrigan "The Greatest Narrators"

Find my review of "The Greatest Narrators" HERE


Ben Carrigan, former drummer of The Thrills, steps into the spotlight with a refined and stylishly orchestrated debut solo album, The Greatest Narrators.

*Insert drummer joke here* I’m gonna go for this one: “What’s the advantage of using a drum machine over a drummer? You only to punch the rhythm into a drum machine once.” Anyway, put all those drummer jibes and clichés aside. Ben Carrigan, previously the drummer of melodious indie rockers The Thrills, has released his debut solo album; a far removal from his previous musical life.

The Greatest Narrators sees Carrigan taking centre stage with his compositional skills on an LP that combines skilfully mastered pop with filmic grandeur. Ben proves himself to be a man of many talents on an album that he wrote, arranged, recorded and mixed himself, with an unexpectedly soulful and soothing voice to boot. The arrangements throughout are rich and copious but kept strictly to pop song structures and time frames, forming three minute bursts of secure romantic orchestration.

Ballads are clearly Carrigan’s strong point as they dominate the album, but each decorated with flourishes of homely harmonicas or melancholic piano. The quivering, almost hesitant, opening vocals of Small Towns (That Heal Big City Wounds) make for a graceful and emotive starting point to a track that modestly progresses into a gentle burst of rolling drums and luxurious strings. Even during the more up-tempo moments of the album, there is a persistent and charming amount of sophistication to Carrigan’s work; We’ll Talk About It All Tonight is a brisk, light-hearted yet gentlemanly number.

The Greatest Narrators is an ambitious album, for sure, but Ben Carrigan’s Scott Walker-inspired cinematic pop is deftly crafted in its feeling of ease which makes for rewarding and tranquil listening.


Written for IDOL

Thursday, 3 November 2011

I Like... A good ol' megamix / Immortal

F.Y.I. The part where fans chanting "Michael" over and over forms the beat to Billie Jean is what it sounds like inside my head 24/7.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Saturday, 29 October 2011

October: Beauty Buys – FRENCH PHARMACY SPECIAL

Life dream #3 – to run my own Parisian pharmacy.
It’s a well known, scientifically proven fact that the best skincare known to mankind can all be found in French pharmacies. They have all the best shit in there, stacked high and wide in a setting that sees staff situated behind a counter doing important medical stuff, I’m sure, so they can’t ask you if you need help or pressurise you, A.K.A. department-store-assistant-syndrome. Whilst on a recent whistle-stop trip to Paris I frequented three pharmacies in as many days, just to make sure I wasn’t missing out on anything. So here are the products that have made me swear eternal allegiance to French skincare.


1) Lierac Paris Masque Pureté €19.90
This purifying face mask comes in the form of a lightweight mousse that needs to be applied to dry skin. It’s an excellent reviver for dull or problem skin as it works to provide deep down purity, mattified skin and tightened pores. Upon application you can feel it instantly working, with a tingling sensation that lasts for a couple of minutes. The instructions advise leaving the product on for ten minutes, but I was feeling sorry for myself the other day so left it on for an hour, and whadayaknow? My skin looked and felt mighty fine afterwards.

2) Bioderma Créaline Eau Dermatologique approx. €3
I have no record of how much this water in a can was, but €3 seems like a fair guess. This is just a light, hydrating mist to use on irritated skin or just when your face needs some extra hydration. Spritz after cleansing and again after applying moisturiser as an additional refreshing step in your skincare regime.

3) Bioderma Créaline H2O Solution Micellaire €11
This no-fuss makeup remover is often hailed as the product to stock up on whilst in France. I must now verify that the preceding statement is in fact 100% true. This stuff is so good I can only assume that it’s actually holy water. Saturate a cotton pad with this and swipe your makeup off in an instant. It’s fragrance free and neutral pH. Essentially, it’s water but way better.

4) Bioderma Sébium Hydra €9.20
I got a bit enthusiastic with the Bioderma products, but they really are a skincare revelation. This is a moisturiser designed for gross oily skin types like myself. It regulates excess skin oil without scrimping on keeping skin soothed and silky at the same time. The only drawback of this product is that it’s only 40ml. I’ll be restocking. Roger that.

5) Vichy Purete Thermal Exfoliant Creme €11
I always exfoliate before applying a face mask because I read somewhere once that it helps the face mask to get deeper into pores and thus work a whole lot better. So I’m combining this with product une this month. This exfoliator combines a rich and creamy texture with a generous douse of skin smoothing beads and, as with all Vichy skincare it’s paraben free, plus there’s some antioxidant vitamin E in there too. So, overall, totally beneficial to one’s face.

6) Sanofi Aventis Avibon €7.90
No, I did not buy this because Gwyneth "Goop" Paltrow recommends it on her unobtainable-lifestyle blog/bible. I read about this unassuming tube of magic in a summer beauty supplement with Elle magazine earlier this year. They raved about it as an anti-ageing miracle worker due to it being made up of such a high level of Vitamin A. This rich skin balm in fact contains, yes, an outrageous amount of vitamin A, which you’re sure not going to find in such an excessively potent form anywhere else, lanolin and vaseline. Whether it works on wrinkles, I can neither confirm nor deny, but I can reliably inform you that it does work well on spots, acne scars and general fed-up skin that needs a wakeup call. This stuff is pretty thick, so I layer it on as a night time ablution and it works wonders by morning with its skin healing properties. F.Y.I. You’ll need to ask for this from a member a staff as they keep it behind the counter. Sneaky.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

DIGITAL WORDS / New Navy

Click here to read my review of New Navy's debut EP "Uluwatu"
Written for IDOL

Sunday, 16 October 2011

PRINTED WORDS / The Thrills and Patti Smith Compilations

Uncut | Take 173 | October 2011

The Thrills
2002-2007
EMI Catalogue
***
Going back to Big Sur with Dublin's lost psych-poppers
The title of this gathering of singles and favoured albums tracks reads like a headstone, and acts as a sad reminder of The Thrills' premature end. With a brand of Americana that melded Beach Boys-style melodies together with the melancholia of The Smiths, The Thrills were much more than a mere summertime band. "One Horse Town" and "Big Sur" - the easy West Coast grooves from 2003's Mercury-nominated debut So Much For The City - are still irresistible. Their later work, particularly "Whatever Happened To Corey Haim?", offers a similar warm exuberance, but with added maturity and string orchestration.
Kate Allen


MOJO | 215 | October 2011
Patti Smith
****
Outside Society
Sony CMG
Single disc comp selected by the high priestess herself, in no-nonsense chronological order from 1976's punk landmark Gloria to a 2004 sparse and countrified cover of Smells Like Teen Spirit. KA

Thursday, 13 October 2011

I Like... Soujourns / "Paris! Paris!! Paris!!!"


Yeah I saw the sights and absorbed the culture (see my breton jumper below) and blah blah blah, but the best part of my all too short trip to Paris was getting to see Captain EO.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

I Like... Amazing books on Michael Jackson / "Man in the Music: The Creative Work and Life of Michael Jackson"


I put a few questions to Joseph Vogel, the author of the best Michael Jackson book I have read... well, ever.

Read my interview here courtesy of the Michael Jackson World Network.

You can order "‘Man in the Music: The Creative Work and Life of Michael Jackson" here. I strongly suggest you do so.

My review of the book will be appearing in the near future.

In the meantime, find out more about Mr. Vogel and his work here.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

I Hate... Flaking out / "And nothing makes me happy, Not even TV or a bunch of weed"

This "blog" hasn't been up to much recently due to general despair and my uphill, one man battle against this mountain of art and knowledge:

"Blogging" to resume when my life does the same.

Monday, 5 September 2011

I Hate... Yet another birthday / "I don't like being twenty-two. I hate it more than anything in the world."

Oh great, another year of my life gone and depleting levels of elasticity in my skin. Joy.
How to celebrate this year? Here's what's on the agenda:
- Rise at 5am for an early morning music news editing shift.
- Read Aristotle's Poetics from front to back.
- Cry (if I have time.)
- Eat curry.

Saturday, 27 August 2011

I Hate... Global Live Events / "Don't play the fool for the rest of your life"

Are tribute concerts ever a good idea? Unequivocally, N-O. In what way, in which universe, in whose mind does recruiting a haphazard group of “talent” to perform songs of an artist that they can never do justice to seem like a wise or fitting way to commemorate someone’s talent and life? This rant is of course sponsored by Global Live Events Michael Jackson Forever Tribute concert. With each and every development of this most ill-advised of events, my skin crawls, my blood boils, I excrete a cold sweat of rage and start to yank at my face with frutration. Like so:
Right from the get-go this concert was clearly the ultimate defacement to Michael Jackson and all that he stands for. Firstly, Chris Hunt of Global Live Events seems to be barely able to keep a smug grin from his face as he announces (with a terrible play on song titles, which I’m sure he put more thought into than this disaster of a tribute) that he will be insulting a musical legacy. This unseemly individual also crassly handed Katherine Jackson a hefty cheque to deposit into the saving funds of Michael Jackson’s children. Of course, this seems like a marvellous gesture, but he decided to do so at a press conference which simultaneously embarrassed Mrs Jackson and marked him out as an industry leech if ever there was one. Secondly, the line-up is an embarrassment. Smokey Robinson, you should know better. The thought of Alexandra Burke, Pixie Lott, Christina Aguilera defacing Michael’s music is actually unbearable for me. Thirdly, Global Events seem to have done everything in their power to make a joke out of their own cause; not only did they make Craig David (WTF?) the premier act to be confirmed, but they also booked Kiss to play. Good idea – Gene Simmons only stated that he thought Michael Jackson was a paedophile. I know, why don’t we just get Tom Sneddon and Diane Dimond to compere the show and that will really offend Michael Jackson fans everywhere? And the latest laughable update? Beyoncé is to perform... via a video link.

It is with much relief that Michael Jackson's fans and estate have both denounced this joke of a tribute. I hope that the Estate of Michael Jackson sues the ass out of Global Live Events for the use of Jackson’s intellectual property without their permission, and I hope fans will congregate and simply bask in the joy of being Michael Jackson fans and being together in Las Vegas in December for the first ever official Michael Jackson Fan Fest.

Thursday, 25 August 2011

DIGITAL WORDS / Idol Interview - Hannah Makes Things

Read my Idol interview with the young queen of trinket-jewellery-cool, Hannah Nuttall HERE.

Here's a couple of my favourite charms that she makes.
Browse and buy HERE.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Monday, 8 August 2011

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

I Like... Awards and Whiskey / MOJO Honours List 2011

I'm chaperoning at the Glenfiddich MOJO Honours List tomorrow night (21/07/11).

Follow all the rock 'n' roll antics of the highest order on MOJO's Twitter and Tumblr pages from 5.30pm GMT onwards.

If you know what good music is and what's good for you, you'll be digitally tuned in.

**UPDATE** - See pictures and speeches from the night HERE

Being in the same room as a Beatle and a Beach Boy felt good.

Sunday, 17 July 2011

DIGITAL WORDS / "Francois sais pas, Flashe no deux"

Blondie live at Somerset House
Read my review HERE


Written for THE FLY

Saturday, 16 July 2011

DIGITAL WORDS / Wireless 2011

Read my review of the Pulp headlined final night of Wireless HERE
Written for IDOL

Thursday, 30 June 2011

I Like... Results / "The ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function"

Bachelor of Arts Part 2 grade = FIRST

Hard work paying off feels awful nice.
Just the small matter of dissertation research to contend with now...

Monday, 20 June 2011

PRINTED WORDS / Lady Gaga 'Born This Way'

F.Y.I. - I was unhappy with the edit of my review which was printed in Spark. Here's the full monster:
She promised to bring us ‘the album of the decade’ and with it brought a surreal promotional campaign as if from the mind of Salvador Dali; appearing on the red carpet of the Grammy’s in an egg incubator, popping out of a coffin wearing a patent prosthetic pregnancy bump live on stage, and styling herself as 21st century, couture Mary Magdalene for her latest music video. Yet aside from these sumptuous shock tactics, the first two singles taken from Lady Gaga’s second album missed the number one slot in the UK charts. Is Lady Gaga’s saturation point on the horizon? Forget her not – ‘Born This Way’ is the result of Gaga’s transformation from fame-hungry pop starlet to a self-aware tastemaker.

The dominant theme of ‘Born This Way’ is a message of unashamed self-love, with Gaga in her self-appointed role as the voice of and preacher to the disenchanted and disenfranchised. Sometimes she unquestionably hits the mark; ‘Americano’ is a mariachi electro response to the unremittingly strict immigration policies in Arizona, but at other times falls flat – the bubblegum sentiment and chorus of ‘Bad Kids’ is as patronising and unconvincing as the picture-perfect cast of Glee lamenting their social pariah status at McKinley High week on week. Having been recently named the world’s most powerful celebrity by Forbes, can Gaga keep playing the outcast card when she’s the focal point of popular culture? She certainly makes her impassioned intentions clear with her riveting proclamation of self-empowerment on ‘Hair’ (‘I just want to be free, I just want to be me’), even if her vigour does push her vocals into questionable Bonnie Tyler territory.

Luckily the album’s title track and lead single was something of a false start; just when it looked as though all the Madonna comparisons had swallowed her whole (the accusation of ‘Born This Way’ bearing more than a passing resemblance to ‘Express Yourself’ reduced Lady Gaga to tears in a recent interview), Gaga proves she’s at her best when she puts her own failsafe formula of molten dance-pop over a narrative of love gone woefully wrong to work (‘Judas’). Similarly, Gaga revisits the sentimental tone of ‘Speechless’ on the amplified power ballad ‘Yoü and I’ which shows her free of pretence and exercises her noticeably enlarged vocal range. She truly hits her stride on ‘Schiße’; the most instantaneous moment of smack-you-in-the-face Gaga greatness on this bilingual rave-disco oddity. However, there are moments of either laziness or self-indulgence when Gaga becomes a pastiche of herself, take ‘Government Hooker’ which opens with thirty seconds of disorientating operatics but descends into clinical electronica and a series of buzz phrases (‘Put your hands on me, John F. Kennedy’). Likewise, the smut of ‘Heavy Metal Lover’ with the request for ‘your whisky mouth all over my blonde south’ lacks the tongue-in-cheek knowingness of ‘bluffin’ with my muffin.’

Despite this album not containing as many unquestionable occasions of pop revolution as the likes of ‘Paparazzi’ and ‘Bad Romance’ have made us accustomed to when it comes to the output of Miss Germantotta, she artfully bookends the album with tracks that keep her reputation as an innovator intact. ‘Marry The Night’ is an unassuming opener, but is all the more enticing for its unaffected nihilism and copious anthemic sound. Closing the album is ‘Edge Of Glory’; not one for subtlety Gaga professes herself to be, ‘On the edge of glory... hanging on a moment of truth’ on this exhilarating specimen of synth-pop on a stadium scale.

And hanging on the edge of glory is where ‘Born This Way’ leaves Lady Gaga. Although her second album does show outstanding progression from ‘The Fame’, it doesn’t quite propel her over the periphery into the oblivion of eternal greatness, or whatever it is that lies on the other side of being the most powerful pop star on planet earth.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

I Like... Unexpected New Music by Morrissey / 'Everybody has a date with an undertaker'

THREE NEW TRACKS BY MORRISSEY. THREE NEW TRACKS BY MORRISSEY. THREE NEW TRACKS BY MORRISSEY.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

I Like... Adoration / 'Don’t let your idols be anything but inspirational'

Meeting Michael Jackson was obviously the coolest thing that could happen to a human being, let alone someone who has spent their life dedicated to a man they have never met but know they share some kind of boundless, semi-divine affinity with, an affinity which causes them to scream, cry and just generally melt into a pool of emotion which I imagine afterwards nigh on drowns them. It’s this sudden outburst of sensation that makes watching footage of MJ fans meeting their hero so god-damn heart warming. So here’s a rundown (in no particular order) of my favourite ‘Meeting Michael Jackson Moments.’

1) I like the polite but direct requests of this female fan; she asks for a hug and she gets one, proving the maxim of ‘If you don’t ask, you don’t get’ to be unequivocally true. And then her admirable composure disappears after not only a prolonged hug but also a kiss, and expresses her joy with a fellow fan/friend in a series of non-linguistic but nevertheless reasonable squeals. I also admire the second female fan who takes it upon herself to deliver the message of an entire nation to Michael Jackson. I’m not sure who elected her to do so, but she does so without losing her cool, something which many fans fail to do.


2) The passion runs so high in this clip that it’s kind of confusing; does she want to meet Michael Jackson or doesn’t she? What biologically happens that makes her legs collapse at the sight of Michael Jackson? I don’t know, but the reverence shown by this young lady is commendable. She doesn’t just cry, but she heavily weeps. And I don’t think MJ wanted her to genuflect before him, but the fact that she does so anyway is just lovely. Oh yeah, and there’s a massive gorilla in the background.


3) Another example of emotion gone wild here. To say the least, it must be odd for fully-grown men to begin jumping, twirling and yelping like a Teletubby in front of you, but MJ deals with it well by standing at a healthy distance.


4) My gosh – to stumble across Michael Jackson not only at Disneyland but whilst exiting the Peter Pan ride is like going on safari and spotting rare exotic creatures in their natural habitats. The woman filming sums it up nicely, ‘Oh my word.’

5) So from natural surroundings (for Michael Jackson) to the highly superficial setting of a meet and greet signing. At first this woman seems timid, but she quickly pulls herself together to propose to the King of Pop. Since he takes the ring and does not decline her offer, if I were her I would consider the two of us legally betrothed and I would change my last name to Jackson with immediate effect.


6) Finally, meeting Michael Jackson before a huge crowd of your, no doubt envious, peers must feel just great. Exhibit A: Oh to have been the female fan plucked from the crowd to embrace Michael on stage. I have no idea how the selection process for this privilege worked but I know I would have fought to the death for it – no kidding.

Exhibit B: this fan seriously goes out on a limb here. Presumably he is an MJ fan (why else would he be risking his life to meet him otherwise?) so he must know how important showmanship and perfect performances are to his hero. But despite this knowledge, this fan invades not only the stage but manages to jumps on board Michael’s famous cherry-picker crane; a dangerous decision but one which ultimately pays off as he spends an extended amount of time with Jackson and is even prevented from a fatal fall by Michael. Meeting your idol is one thing, but having them prevent your untimely death is another.


So what have we learnt? In order to get the most out of meeting Michael Jackson these rules are clear; firstly, be direct, concise and clear. If you want a kiss/to be wed/to profess your love, then do so quickly as this was/is the 20th/21st century and unfortunately people do not have time to listen to your feelings in the form of epic love complaints anymore. Secondly, take risks. If you put your life in danger to meet your hero then at least you can rest peacefully in the solace that your final moments were well spent. And, most importantly, let it all out. Don’t hold back – this is one of those once-in-a-lifetime moments, so bring every emotion you have ever felt with you and be ready to unleash every single of one them simultaneously.

For trustworthy and knowledgeable information on Michael Jackson and fan interaction experiences pick up a copy of It's All About L.O.V.E.: Michael Jackson stories you were never meant to read.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Friday, 27 May 2011

I Like... Freedom / Summer Reading, in celebration of my freewill



Reading list of pleasure (in no particular order):

1) 'The Obama Movement: Why Barack Obama Speaks to America's Youth' - Joseph Vogel
2) 'Metamorphoses' – Ovid
3) ‘On Michael Jackson’ – Margo Jefferson
4) ‘Surf Beat: Rock 'n' Roll's Forgotten Revolution’ – by Kent Crowley

Friday, 6 May 2011

I Hate... Exams / Lockdown

See you on the other side *massive sigh*

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

I Like... Access All Areas / The Libertines – There Are No Innocent Bystanders


The glittering embers of hope for a Libertines reunion were simultaneously stoked and dashed last week at the premier screening of ‘The Libertines – There Are No Innocent Bystanders’ as part of the East End Film Festival. All four members were billed for attendance, but alas Pete Doherty was noticeably and sorely absent, which perhaps acted as the catalyst for Carl Barât’s dismissive answers to questions of the band working together again beyond their appearance on the red carpet that night. Barât being put into awkward situations and corners would turn out to be a motif for the film itself as well.

The Libertines’ long time photographer Roger Sargent (who provided all the shots for ‘The Libertines Bound Together’) filmed the band during their phase of cuteness and cuddles as they announced their reformation for the Reading and Leeds festival 2010, their rehearsals and also sat them down individually for some frank interviews. Throughout the narrative of the band’s reunion are snapshots of their origins. But alas, Barât is made to stroll down memory lane alone, visiting the sites of their glorious and debauched past. Why the rest of the band couldn’t, or didn’t, join him to visit the infamous Albion Rooms, the alley where they filmed the video for ‘Up The Bracket’, which has since become a place of homage for Libertines fans and is decorated with lyrics and messages of adulation and appreciation, is left to be pondered.

Equally awkward is the light that Pete Doherty casts his fellow frontman in. When questioned about his drug use, that lead to his ejection from the band and their subsequent demise, Doherty retorts, unfazed, that if Carl had simply asked him to stop taking drugs, then he would have. Unfortunately even the most compelling of friendships is no match for deadly addictions – a biological fact which Doherty seems frighteningly unaware of. Cut to an exasperated Barât who gives his touching and truthful opposition to the lure of heroin.

But aside from the Class A kitchen sink drama, there are numerous more warming and personable elements to the film; Pete strolling down the street sipping from a jug of Pimms, Carl inviting his doctor, who evidently has never heard of The Libertines, to watch the band play, and John Hassall keeping up the image of being lucky to have been caught up in the storm as he admits he gained his place in the band by the virtue of owning numerous guitars, which proved all too irresistible to the starry eyed duo living next door to a brothel. Plus footage of the band carefully crafting their setlist and their endless pacing up and down the dressing room before their warm-up gig at The Forum shows that they do truly care about what they’re doing, and the fans they are doing it for. Sargent’s candid access to the band creates the same stomach altering feeling of precarious excitement which pervaded the festival crowds waiting for them back in August.

As ever, the question is still ‘What next?’ Well, according to Pete Doherty, he’s ready to get the band back together at the drop of a Trilby, it’s just Carl holding them back – once more laying responsibility and blame right on his doorstep. As Pete’s no-show exemplified, The Libertines are still as fraught and fractured as ever, and certainty about them evades even this access-all-areas documentary.

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Friday, 25 March 2011

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

I Hate... The End of Glamorous Reigns / Queen Elizabeth


Elizabeth Taylor was a shining star of grace, intelligence and generosity, not to mention the ridiculous abundance of beauty she had at her disposal.

And let us not forget that she first knighted Michael Jackson the King of Pop (as well as Rock and Soul), she gave him elephants for his birthday, organised his first ever Christmas and, most importantly, was a lone but loud voice who supported Michael Jackson when he needed it most.

Monday, 21 March 2011

Friday, 11 March 2011

I Hate... Anniversaries / 'Just look over your shoulder, honey'

I'm sad.
Two years ago today I got a ticket to see Michael Jackson.
Yes, I remember this sort of stuff.