POEM – ‘Worromot’

POEM – ‘Worromot’

KEEP TREATING A MAN LIKE DIRT
AND HE WILL CRUMBLE TO DUST
KEEP QUESTIONING THE BOY
AND YOU’LL DILUTE AND CRUSH THE ANSWER.
LOOK AT HIM THE WRONG WAY
HE’LL TURN THE UGLINESS IN ON ITSELF
LOOK AT HIM AND SNEER
AND HE’LL CRUMBLE BEFORE YOUR VERY EYES.
IF HE FEELS LIKE NOTHING
WHY MAKE HIM NEGATIVE?
IF HE REACHES OUT FOR HELP
HE’S DROWNING NOT WAVING.
WHAT LITTLE LIGHT HE HAS IS SHADED
WHAT LITTLE HOPE HE HAD AS FADED
YOU SHRUG YOUR SHOULDERS CALL HIM JADED
WHY CANT THE BOY JUST CHEER UP?
DON’T BOTHER WITH THE FUNERAL
HYPOCRITICAL BOW OF THE HEAD
THE DIRT UNDER YOUR FINGERNAILS
WILL BE THE ASHES OF THE DEAD.

Michael Jackson 1958-2009

Michael Jackson 1958-2009

The subject of the death of The King Of Pop seems to be being covered in a million different ways. You have the hardcore fans going to his home, you have the bloggers arguing about his worth and his place in the musical hierarchy and the usual ‘He was just bonkers’ comments. Basically the same mix of opinions that he brought out in people when he was alive.. Wow, just writing that sentence sounds odd –The King Of Pop is dead.

We will never see his like again. Not in terms of talent or albums etc, just that he came along at a certain time, before the internet changed everything, when single sales were still buoyant, when the chart was important. In the eighties the holy trinity of Jackson, Prince and Madonna ruled the pop world, they seemed indestructible and everything they did was important news. All three created controversy, all three were judged by the most conservative parts of society and all three produced some of the greatest pop songs ever.

The most affecting things I have read on the net in the last day or so are people’s personal memories, not arguing over which was the best album (My vote still goes with Bad) but remembering dancing around to Beat It, or trying to learn to moonwalk. It seems Jackson has a special place in the memories of a lot of people.

For me the mention of Jackson takes me straight back to EPCOT Center in Florida, me and my sister laughing and playing in the fountains randomly spitting water up into the air like liquid bullets. This was outside a movie theatre, a 3D movie theatre showing only one movie, Captain EO, a film that you literally could not watch anywhere else in the world. It starred Jackson, a variety of humorous characters and a terrifying space queen who would fly out of the screen and hover just in front of you. I can still hear her claws rattling together and remember closing my eyes on a number of occasions. Jackson was mesmerising in this film, larger than life, it was an absolutely magical experience. I spent the rest of my youth with my Captain EO poster proudly displayed on my wall.

I remember the week Bad came out, getting the cassette, sitting in the back of the car reporting to my parents on the brilliance of each track, one by one, as they blasted out of my personal stereo (nice big orange headphones) for the first time. I remember sitting in front of Top Of The Pops, the week they premiered Black Or White – not only an epic new Jackson video, but Macaulay Culkin too and some amazing effects, I sat there transfixed, how was he coming up with this stuff.

I remember when John Landis’ Thriller video was released on VHS and I rented it, all ready to enjoy some Jackson greatness, only to totally freak out the first time I saw his yellow eyes, flinging the tape out of the player and returning it instantly, replacing it with the less disturbing action of Landis’ The Blues Brothers.

And the odd stuff? Come on, if you had an unlimited pile of cash and someone said “Hey, do you wanna pet monkey to hang around with?”, would you really turn around and say “No, no, it’s terribly cruel?” or would you jump at the chance to have the little guy running around the place dressed in a variety of hilarious outfits? I don’t think it’s crazy, it’s just a fantasy that he had the opportunity to make come true. The same with Neverland. What a place! No one thinks twice if a superstar spends two million on crack for him and his posse, but when a man builds himself a theme park to enjoy away from the adoring hordes, he’s odd? Again, I don’t get it. News reports are even finding it odd that he had his own collection of collectable soft toys, man they are clutching at straws there, what he did was create a business model that every other pop idol has aspired to and repeated with lesser results since. Nobdy said KISS having their own dolls was strange, so why is a Jackson endorsed snake an oddity?

Michael Jackson will remain one of the most important figures in popular music. Was he as good as Elvis? As groundbreaking as The Beatles? The genres are different, the times are different, Jackson should not be compared to these other icons. It’s best you just press PLAY and listen to ‘Beat It’ for the millionth time and try for the millionth time to pull off that perfect Moonwalk whilst raising a glass to The King Of Pop. Just don’t spill it.

CD – Jonas Brothers ‘Lines, Vines & Trying Times’

CD – Jonas Brothers ‘Lines, Vines & Trying Times’

You do sometimes have to wonder whether Nick, Kevin and Joe Jonas ever sleep. In the last year, we’ve had the 3D movie and subsequent soundtrack, the Jonas’ written Demi Lovato’s record and the J.O.N.A.S. tv show – and work is underway on Camp Rock 2. This could of course mean that after the uber success of last album proper ‘A Little Bit Longer’, they might decide to rest on their laurels with fourth album proper, the brilliantly titled ‘Lines, Vines & Trying Times’. Not a bit of it.

If you’ve been following the exclusive Facebook webcasts you’ll know that the band has employed a string section for this record, giving it a much bigger sound as well as summoning the services of a massive female star who was kept a secret until the album’s release.

Album opener ‘World War III’ features great rock guitar and a screechingly attitude filled Nick vocal. It’s brilliant and leads into the album’s two singles, the on edge ‘Paranoid’ and the Peter Pan tribute, ‘Fly With Me’. Other highlights are the stomping ‘Poison Ivy’ featuring a chorus that wriggles around in your head like an epileptic worm and the beautiful ‘Black Keys’, which is essentially this album’s ‘When You Look Me In The Eyes’. Beautiful.

Already getting column inches, ‘Much Better’ is a great track that focuses on fame and the ups and downs that have come with it, pointedly focussing on relationships. ‘Now I’ve got some enemies, and they’re all friends suddenly, BBFs eternally I’m not bitter.’ Um, I think maybe you are Joe, even thought sonically it’s one of the most up tempo on the album the lyrics are cutting, even taking a direct swipe at Joe’s ex Taylor Swift with the lines ‘Now I’m done with superstars and all the tears on her guitar, I’m not bitter’. Man, I’d hate to hear him when he is bitter!

When 30 seconds of ‘Beyond The Storm’ were premiered on the webcasts, it sounded like a great Nick ballad, but was made more interesting when it was revealed there would be a special guest vocalist. Now obviously after ‘Much Better’, it seemed unlikely that Joe would be on his cell to Taylor Swift anytime soon, so the smart money was on Demi Lovato who was a touring partner and whose album the boys worked on. Then came the Jonas Brothers curve ball…’Beyond The Storm’ is actually a duet between Nick Jonas and ex-girlfriend Miley Cyrus, added extra pathos, emotion and power. Ouch.

No, it’s not all ballads, there’s the country tinged ‘What Did I Do To Your Heart’, which is apparently Kevin’s favourite track and wouldn’t be out of place on Taylor’s ‘Fearless’ ironically. Then there’s ‘Don’t Charge Me For The Crime’ – this is the track most likely to surprise people, at least those willing to open their minds and see Jonas as more than clean cut boys. It’s the story of Nick getting involved in a car chase after helping a friend who it turns out pulled off an armed robbery. It features guest rapping from Common and is a storming attitude filled track.

This is followed by the brittle and beautiful ‘Turn Right’ – strings, a heartfelt Nick performance (“You might fall off the track sometimes, but I’ll see you on the finish line”) and a definite tearjerker, which shows the variety on show, coming directly after the Common collaboration.

For the first time, Lines Vines & Trying Times sees a Jonas Brothers album coming out simultaneously worldwide and with the world tour already sold out (including a Wembley show that is currently seeing tickets on the net going for up to 200 pounds…) it can only see them getting bigger, if that’s possible. And they deserve every ounce of it, no matter what your soulless ill-informed friend flogging his ‘cooler’ bands may tell you. There’s a reason why they are the biggest band in the world and it isn’t the Disney dollar – put simply ‘Lines, Vines & Trying Times’ is a fucking brilliant pop record, unlikely to be rivalled this year.

POEM – Girl 3/4

POEM – Girl 3/4

YOU HAVE WHAT I NEED TO BREATHE
A BEAUTY THAT THEN MAKES ME CATCH IT.
YOU HAVE A SMILE THAT LIGHTS UP THE DARK
A TOUCH THAT ELECTRIFIES EVERY SECOND.
YOU BRUSH YOUR HAIR ASIDE WHEN TALKING
AND I AM SPELLBOUND AND TRY NOT TO STARE
BUT I WANT TO LOOK AT YOU FOREVER
WHEN THE WORLD ENDS I STILL WANT TO BE LOOKING AT YOUR EYES
A MAGICAL HEARTBEAT
CREATED BY A MAGICAL GIRL
WHO I LOVE WITH ALL MY HEART.

DOCUMENTARY: A World Of Pain

DOCUMENTARY: A World Of Pain

It’s not often that the BBC would give an hour of prime time to the dark subject of self harm, but thanks to Meera Syal, the documentary ‘A World Of Pain’ did just that. Whilst obviously the actress was instrumental in getting the programme made, she was also the weakest link for reasons we will discuss.

Firstly Syal has no direct link with self harm. She has never done it, her kids don’t do it, her friends don’t do it, nothing. The onlyreason she knows anything about it is that she researched it for one of her books. Now that’s not to say she cant form a valid opinion and co,e up with good points, but instead she decided (though whether she realised she was doing it is debatable) to patronise at every opportunity, sometimes even coming across as offensive. After hearing the harrowing story of one sufferer, all she follows up with is telling the story of when she was at school and noone did it. Then going back to her old university, “Look at me! Look at me!”, get back to the subject in hand, Meera for goodness sake.

Her shock at seeing pictures of wounds on youtube is ruined when she stupidly proclaims “She’s written on her arm in blood!” – NO, she has bladed the letters into her arm and the blood has risen through the wounds spelling out the words ‘I’m Fine’. Those are two very different things. She also falls into the trap of dismissing famous people who self harm as if their pain is less – showing Blake Fielder-Civil’s marks and Amy Winehouse’s lacerations, she exclaims that people are more open such as “Amy Winehouse’s apparent self harm” APPARENT? How much more real do you want it to be?

Basically she seems to treat those in the film in a very patronising fashion, the surprise at how one explains her action being impressive “For one so young” and being surprised that one girl goes to a group meeting ‘that even includes a few boys’. Stop the press, men do it too, which she could have researched more if she hadn’t spent a great deal of time bleating on about the Asian community, changing the whole focus and flow of the documentary. What was more annoying was her questioning all the studies that have been done into it, because she didn’t do it and her friends don’t, so how can the figures be true? That helps noone, does it? She should be celebrating that the research is being done.

Oh well, they did wait 35 minutes before playing The Smiths and didn’t at any point blame Marilyn Manson or Slipknot which made a nice change…