Sunday, 27 May 2012

Questioning Your Idols

As a person with feminist beliefs and also a vegan concerned about animal rights issues, it's inevitable that I will come across things almost on a daily basis that will conflict with my beliefs and sometimes it can be a really mish mash of feelings.

One of these points of contention occurs with some of the artists I play on my show and who are admire, for instance with said artist wears real fur or goes hunting. This can really put me off someone but sometimes it's a case of putting these said issues aside for the pure enjoyment of the music they're making- I don't have to 'like' the person behind the music- it certainly helps but for instance I've always enjoyed Madonna's music from an early age but she wears real fur and has been on pheasant shoots. I liked the person she was before she got into all that, and I still appreciate her music from the eighties and nineties- so I'll still play them even though I have ethical issues.

The most recent ethical issues really put me in a flummox, as this time was about someone I rate very highly- Amanda Palmer.

Not only is she such an amazing musician, but she done some pretty great things- like being open about not shaving, the whole 'rebellyon' issue in which her fans got their tummies out in protest to her record company wanting to make her look slimmer in one of her music videos. She also is very open and honest with her fans talking to them through her blog and Twitter, and making fans feel like they're her friends- and doing lots of awesome free gigs everywhere she goes.

All great right? Well then the first thing happened. Most of my friends who also are big fans didn't seem to have any problem with her Evelyn Evelyn project, but I felt really uncomfortable about it. I just didn't like the idea of her and Jason Webley dressing up as conjoined twins and selling it as 'art'. Then I found out that she laughed at the fact that she had upset disabled feminists with her idea.

I didn't agree with the project, so I just decided not to buy any of the Evelyn Evelyn music and put it to the back of my mind. Then, several weeks ago someone on my twitter feed was saying how she used to love Amanda Palmer but the music is ruined for her now because she's a 'hipster racist'

So obviously I was like "What???" so I looked at the link she had tweeted, in short Amanda had been talking about the use of advertising in things like music videos and T.V, and she had said somehting along the lines of "it's ok but only if it's for something ironic like the Ku Klax Klan"

Then not too long after I read that, The FWord posted a guest blog about Amanda Palmer being a feminist icon- there were dozens of comments- mostly negative- partially because the writer had sneaked in advertisement for the guitar company she worked for but also many, many comments linking to articles about both Evelyn Evelyn and the racism comment. To my surprise, there was hardly any positive comments and the article was taken down after less than a day.

All this happened and then Amanda started her Kickstarter project and announced in part of it that she would be doing a London show. I felt like I was split in two- I love her and know how great she is live and wanted to support her project, but all this negativity was making me feel uneasy. I saw the tickets go on sale and then sell out, as I couldn't make up my mind. And I didn't donate to the Kickstarter.

Then after all this overthinking and missing out on the tickets, just today with only a few days left of the Kickstarter I decided to donate after all.
Why? Well I don't think Amanda Palmer is a racist. I think the comment was a very stupid one to make but I don't think she intentionally set out to upset people. The Evelyn Evelyn thing and disablism I don't think I can ever see eye to eye with but the thing is I'm never going to agree with everything an artist does. I can't expect anyone whether in my life or a famous person is going to be flawless, it's easy to offend these days. I read another blog on The F Word about language and how certain words can happen people with mental issues and to be honest most of the things they mentioned are in such everyday use I had never thought of them before. Also because for me personally, the things I love about Amanda Palmer outweigh the negative.

Sunday, 20 May 2012

The Black Belles

Last weekend I went down to my local pub The Railway Hotel to check out a hotly tipped band called The Black Belles. When I first got the invite on Facebook, I hadn't heard of the Black Belles, so of course I looked them up, and got excited when I found out that they were an all female band, who also dress in a kinda witchy way, I looked up a few videos and liked what I heard.  I also discovered there was a big buzz around them, mainly because of them being discovered by the one and only Jack White and being signed to his record label.

On the night itself, you could tell this gig was a BIG DEAL. I had never seen the pub as full as it was on this particular night. You could barely breathe as it was so full- yes it was a free gig, but they have free gigs very regularly. We even saw other people we knew, and most of the people we spoke with hadn't even heard their music, they had just heard there was a buzz, so wanted to see what the fuss was about.

The Black Belles certainly have presence, most of them were quite tall, so the microphone stand had to be put on a box just so it was high enough- and they have this cool gothy look with matching hats and dark hair. I was completely enthralled by the drummer- she had a beautiful dress with skulls all over it and she played the drums with such passion.

I was really impressed with their sound and look forward to hearing more- here are some videos to give you a taster:

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Live Review: Garbage @ The Troxy 9/5/12

 Rating: 5/5

    1. Encore:
      The Troxy gig was a sold out gig so I was lucky to get a ticket, thanks to a good friend. It was after all their first gig in London for a whole nine years- and a lot of people had been waiting patiently for this moment- I didn't even see them the first time around despite being a long term fan, so to say I was excited might be an understatement.
      When Carina and I arrived at the venue, there was already a queue of people going around the block, mostly people in their twenties or thirties who were clearly long term fans- there was an air of anticipation as the doors opened and the queue marched slowly into the Troxy.  
      I had never been to The Troxy. It's a very nice venue, maybe slightly bigger than Brixton Academy roughly with both a standing area and a balcony for those with seating tickets.
      The 'support' act wasn't a band, but a female dj called Hanna Hanra, who is also the editor of BEAT and a features editor of I.D magazine amongst other journalistic pursuits. As a female dj myself, I can be very picky when it comes to dj's, but I really enjoyed her set as a good warm up to Garbage, especially as she played lots of female fronted bands including Joan Jett and L7- hooray! She also merged the music nicely together which is always a plus!

      As soon as Hanna's desk was pulled away from the stage, the anticipation for Garbage to come on stage slowly turned into impatience- every bit of movement on the stage would elicit cheering, and we would look on wondering which member of the band had appeared- but alas no one was on the stage yet.

      Then after what seemed like forever (but was probably only 20 minutes or so) the members of Garbage took to the stage, with the star of the show Shirley Manson the last to appear on the stage looking amazing despite fretting about breaking out in acne the same day on the Facebook page. She had also entered wearing very high heels but after a few songs, someone came and helped her put on some boots instead as she said "I thought I'd wear heels as it's a special occasion, but you know what, fuck it."

      The band went onto to play a set filled with hits including older tracks like 'Milk' and 'Stupid Girl', more recent songs like 'Cherry Lips' and a few tracks thrown in from their new album including both singles 'Battle in Me' and 'Blood For Poppies'

      The band played with style and aplomb, and with most songs it seemed like the whole crowd was singing along with them and jumping up and down in unison. There were songs they didn't play that I would have liked to hear, but they have such a great back catalogue it would have been hard to fit everything in. I left the gig eager to see them again, and hopefully it won't be in another nine years! 
Garbage release new album 'Not Your Kind of People' tomorrow (May 14th) and their next London date is at Brixton Academy on the 1st July. For more dates see their tour page. Were you at the gig? What did you think of the new songs?

Sunday, 6 May 2012


This coming Wednesday I'm going to see Garbage live for the first time- it's in support of their new album 'Not My Kind of People' that will be their first new studio album since 2003's 'Bleed Like Me'- that in itself is enough to be excited about, but I'm extra excited as I've liked Garbage for years and years. When I wasn't quite out of my pop music phase as a teenager, I think Garbage's 'Version 2.0' may have been one of the first rock/alternative albums I owned. I remember distinctly that I got it for one of my birthdays, and I had a birthday party- all my friends came round and we sat in the garden with music blaring out- we were playing something like one of the 'Now that's what I call music' compilations, when I got up, took the CD out and put in 'Version 2.0'- I remember at the time, my friends looking at me with horror! This was quite a contrast to my usual tastes back then, when Spice Girls and Hanson were my favourites.

It wasn't until a good few years later, when I started getting properly into rock music, that I went and got their debut album and this song became one of my favourites..

I don't know what it was exactly about Garbage that made me listen to them amongst the pop, but maybe it was something to do with one Miss Shirley Manson..
I had something about red-heads, perhaps as a red head myself, as my favourite Spice Girl was Geri as well and I didn't like them the same once she left..
Not only that. but Shirley always looked (and still does) so cool, such style and looks the kind of girl you wouldn't mess with!
Now years later, and obviously female fronted rock music is my main music of choice, so Garbage still remain..and Shirley Manson has only gone up in my estimation. She didn't get known until she was in her thirties, and she refuses to be moulded into something she's not, while Garbage were barely on speaking terms, she was contracted to do a solo album- this got cancelled after the record label didn't like what Shirley had recorded, they wanted her to be 'The Annie Lennox of your generation' and Shirley wasn't having any of that.
She's also done lots of charity work including an anti fur campaign for PETA and also has defended Madonna and the criticism in general the media gives to women in music.
So that's why I'm so bloody excited that I'll finally get to see her on's some more videos of my favourite songs and their latest..

latest release..

and I love Shirley's dress and look in this video..