Monday, February 13, 2012

The Grammy's and all that rubbish

(Language warning, Mum stop reading)

I didn’t watch the Grammy’s because they were not broadcast on free TV in Australia – I assume they were on Pay TV but that’s a whole level of evil I don’t engage in. As such, I just got the highlights from the news shows. I’m genuinely glad Adele won a lot of trophies, she's a singer who has obviously touched a chord with many but remains undeniably human and remarkably unaffected by her fame. I can’t say I’m a fan of all of it but there’s no denying those pipes and there are a few good songs on that record. Bon Iver won for his lame record but at least he had the good grace to be uncomfortable accepting it.

I don’t have much to say on Whitney Houston’s death as her music was not part of my life or musical vocabulary apart from its mainstream ubiquity. Reading some blogs, I’m astounded by how many people are suddenly proclaiming to be Whitney Houston fans (Stereogum I’m looking at you but should I be surprised that a bunch of Bon Iver fans would claim to love Whitney) but what I’m more disturbed by is how many people seem to relish this death. Those cuntish vultures who work for sites like TMZ and trade in other people’s misery are having a field day which is despicable. Even in death these people can’t be left in peace. As much as I love music and film, I hate celebrity culture and the slow motion death seemingly egged on from the sidelines like we’re on the edge of a school yard fight but instead of shouting “fight, fight, fight” we’re yelling “die, die, die.” Patton Oswalt made the comment that whoever is surrounding Lindsey Lohan should be trying harder to help her and it’s true we can see these celebrity train wrecks dying before our eyes. I wonder if she dies whether TMZ etc could be held culpable as an enabler – doubt it but god I hate those fuckers.

Finally, good to see Chris Brown make a come back after beating a woman within an inch of her life three years ago. Fuck that! And fuck that guy! For a well reasoned analysis on why we should all be uncomfortable with this, please read this well thought out piece on it. And if you don’t agree, read this and tell me I’m wrong – the most disturbing thing you’ll read all day I promise you. Makes me so, so sad but because someone produces shitty R'N'B music does not give them a free pass for hitting women - he should be shunned and exiled.

Seems I’m in a mood today. I'll try and lighten up for the next post...



  1. Well, I'm sure you know my take on it. Here in America, the media has gone on overdrive- last night on the regular news there was several segments about it, then, most of the entertainment news shows, meanwhile the talk radio news shows have a new blurb about it every 15 minutes, etc.
    Cintra Wilson came up with a great descriptor of fame a few years ago:a grotesque crippling disease.I've had it out with some Fanzine writers over the very matter of what you're describing- the biggest blow up was between me and Greg Weeks at the Big Takeover. He did an interview with Chan Marshall where she very clearly broke down- lost her grip on reality. I thought it was a bad drug reaction, and intervened shortly after - and found that she was having a real meltdown, possibly a psychotic break. After I got her to her therapist, (she didn't want the hospital) I reamed out mr Weeks. End result, I was persona non-grata at The Big Takeover, and stayed that way for about 3 years.I got in trouble for calling out a fanzine writer for not taking care of his interview subject! That was one of the last straws between me and my old media life. (To be cont'd)

  2. Now, I'm going to drop some names here, but it's only a result of my jobs- I'm not trying to claim any indie rock cachet for myself- like Lee Majors, I'm just the unknown techie who makes the rock stars look good. See, it started when I did- I liked Jan Beahm better known as Darby Crash. I didn't fall for his cult leader bullshit, but I did think he was cool. Well, the night he died, I, like everyone else who knew him, was worried about him- he clearly had very publicly been in a bad way.Very few of us went looking for him, though. Then, he died, we never got there on time, and people started re-writing history. Next thing you knew, everybody knew him, everybody loved him, and 'he died for our sins". I got bitter about that, so at age 16, I totally quit thinking about ever becoming a rock star, actor or anything- Instead, I really concentrated on everything I could to be backstage. So, years later, I'm doing sound at a club in Tucson AZ, and Nirvana played. Kurt was in a state. The kid was Whacked out. To end the show, he just took off his guitar, and sat down on the edge of the stage, facing the audience, and nodded off. I just thought "you poor kid", and eventually scooped him off stage, before the next band played. After the gig, I looked for the rest of the band, and couldn't find them. They had left for the next stop. I found out later that they thought he was asleep in the van. So,he slept on my couch, and the band collected him a few hours later. My thought at the time was that if that kid didn't get better friends, he's gonna die. When I heard he was with Courtney, I wrote him off as dead. In a non-gossipy way, I honestly thought the only good person around him was Dave Grohl: I knew Scream, and the Stahl brothers, and I thought they were good people, so Dave must be, as well. But Courtney already had a body count at that point, just ask Falling James.So much for the band of brothers myth about Rock stars, huh? Finally, years later, I'm at my friend Kimber's place, and she gets a guy from Heatmiser to play an accoustic show. I had no idea about Elliott Smith at the time, I just knew that Heatmiser was a great rocknroll band, so I did the sound. Smith was drunk and miserable, quoting Rimbaud and Baudelaire, and fading out. Kimber was really distraught, so I stopped the show, with the audience mad ,and tried to talk with Smith, but he got mad, wouldn't have it, so I let him go, and finished out the set. Afterwards, Kimber told me that she was really worried about Elliott, that Heatmiser was breaking up, and that Elliott was too fragile. I didn't exactly blow it off, but I didn't know what I could do. Soon I think everybody could see and hear just what a fragile little guy he was, and the fact that no one did anything, exept Kimber, that time, and just watched him slowly die, while they celebrated his sadness and madness- that is what finally caused me to snap at Greg with Chan. Elliott wasn't dead yet, but everyone was waiting for it to happen, and here we go, again. It was one of the dozen or so events that drove me out of Rocknroll entirely. I went into Event management- now I handle celebrities and so on, but only very distantly. I concentrate on politicians and business magnates. Believe it or not, by and large, I find them to be a better class of people. I mean, it's saying something that Al Sharpton strikes me as a better person than Dave Matthews- and I'm not speaking in metaphor. Why that is I think boils down to what Ricky Gervais recently said-
    I guess I always wanted to be eminent. That's the old word for fame, by the way. Being known for something. Being known for being good at something. Maybe even the best at something. "Fame" used to be fused with "respect" in some ways. That's what distinguished it from infamy. But not any more.

  3. Well, I appreciate your candid take on it. For me, my brushes with the famous have been few and far between but there have been people in my life who I gave up on who've died and that is always to my great shame. A hard lesson in some respects and mistakes were made but whatever the reason, I essentially watched a friend slowly kill themselves with drugs. Sometimes there's nothing you can do but I always regret I didn't do more. I can only imagine what the stress of fame would do to someone who is fragile and not coping. There was a few Cat Power shows in Sydney where she lost it on stage and obviously had a break down - fortunately I missed those. Anyhow, so when it's played out large for our entertainment purposes it just really riles me that we as a society and a community of people can condone it and allow it to happen. I'm sure our news cycles are not different to yours and that celebrity scandals have become a major part of our so called serious news shows is ultimately deflating. I don't know what the answer is but there has to be a better way than this...