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Michael Jackson, Media Convergence and The Decline of the Global Superstar

I’m hesitant to contribute to the disgusting, inane circus that has been in motion since Michael Jackson died, but perhaps it’s a way into larger issues. Of interest to me is the (multi)media coverage surrounding this event and the idea of global, musical superstardom. The last time I remember witnessing this kind of coverage and global attention over a death was for Princess Diana. While at least a few hours were devoted to Michael Jackson’s death as “breaking news” on CBC’s Newsworld channel on the day he died, the first fifteen minutes of the CTV evening news broadcast the following night (in addition to at least five minutes more specifically about his autopsy and a couple minutes celebrating his career at the very end of the broadcast) was still devoted solely to Michael Jackson. My reaction to all of this coverage is still frustration and disgust; the world does not stop when a celebrity dies, and it is completely self-indulgent and useless to cover it to this extent, not to mention the hypocrisy of praising a man that was mercilessly derided and/or ignored for the last third of his life.

However, this time, Facebook, Twitter, texting, YouTube, and even Google as a whole, were also jammed with messages to crashing point. And that lengthy breaking news broadcast on CBC Newsworld was greatly bolstered by reports from not only so-called experts in the field, but also from sources like Twitter and Facebook. The mass media’s dependence on new media, especially of this nature, is pointing to a new media convergence that is both liberating and alarming. Do we need this many perspectives to contend with, and how much is verified before stated on air? Immediacy in any breaking event is always a waste of time because details will settle and change, and these social networking platforms are probably the most immediate forms of media there ever were. The crash of these technology-based social networks ostensibly shows an active rather than passive collectivity, meaning rather than experiencing a historical moment together via the exact same channels (limited to a few mass media networks), people wanted to reach out and create their own moment, their own reportage and rapport; however, this crash of systems also points to some intense displays of cultural capital, something a lot of these social networks are built upon. The reasons for this unprecedented crash are likely manifold, but it then raises the issue of the subject matter that prompted it.

The Pitchfork obituary makes some interesting, valid points about Michael’s role as a superhero and then as a cartoon. There’s something about his level of success and fame that made him completely unreal, and most people’s reactions to his death confirm it. There seems to be a lack of belief that this could possibly happen. I first heard about it while at a bookstore; a worker was running around the store telling his colleagues that Michael Jackson was dead, and everyone he told initially brushed it off with a nonchalant “You’re kidding.” And most reactions caught by the media and personal new media are ones of shock, as though Michael Jackson was always there and would always be there like some immortal. Where did this sense of superhuman come from?

Despite his earlier success in the 70s as part of The Jackson 5, there was something very essentially 1980s about the creation of Michael Jackson; he was a fixture of the cultural zeitgeist by being a brand and an overblown music video aesthetic in a nascent globalization. It’s no coincidence that his career glory years were bracketed by that money-hungry, visually loud decade. He was the living embodiment of the “American Dream” and represented all of the nation’s ideals and hopeful potential: rags-to-riches, creative innovation, celebration of the individual and his/her achievements, erasure of racial barriers. It’s when he started erasing his own race that he began reflecting a different side of America: self-destructive excess, worship of the artificial, delusions of grandeur, mob mentality and tabloid fascination with the grotesque and “different.” I firmly believe there won’t be another global musical superstar like Michael Jackson; not because no one will ever be as talented or exceed his level of talent, but that the media climate will never be so conducive to producing one ever again. Nor a shockwave like this.

The world is imploding into fractured pieces as much as people want to believe that the web of the Internet is pulling us closer together in a global village. No artist can hope to have the same impact Michael Jackson and even other, less famous, 80s pop stars had worldwide. Our sources for information and entertainment are divided into niches and people are increasingly creating their own information channels and entertainment. We are now all living in pockets that are dominated by cult artists, or we get bombarded by too many mainstream artists to care too deeply. Marketing ploys have made most of us very cynical and suspicious, making it a massive challenge to maintain brand loyalty. So many things are free and immediate that we don’t place too much value on anything or anyone. We are so easily connected and space and time have been so effectively tamed, we stopped feeling awe at sharing cultural objects and moments. Live 8 was by no means as culturally significant and as historically memorable as Live Aid.

In addition to his representation of America and the multiple channels through which he was sold and promoted, Michael Jackson’s global superstardom was a product of the fact he was non-threatening, a characteristic that often defines the genre of music he was purported king of. In spite of some of the bizarre, hard-edged, or spooky performances he gave in his music videos, there was always something of a child playing at adult roles about him; he wasn’t really going to fight in the streets, he was playing dress-up to be “bad,” and when he attacks you as a zombie it’s all in the name of make-believe. His Peter Pan syndrome, which ultimately became an exercise in entrapment and self-harm, spoke to a deep-seated, sometimes unhealthy, need for the rest of us to remain youthful and responsibility-free just like the myriad advertisements told us to be. And like mean-spirited children, the media and large parts of the public took part in the incessant bullying and gleeful picking and poking at Michael Jackson. By disintegrating and rotting with excess and mental illness, he showed us our face in the mirror more than any trite song ever could. And we didn’t like it. We only like to see the positive side of the zeitgeist. It was all fun and games until we lost an idol.

I probably shouldn’t be surprised that the most blogged about artists on The Hype Machine for the last few days have been Michael Jackson and The Jackson 5; however, after having read through many posts about him, I am a bit surprised how overwhelmingly positive and sympathetic they are. It’s as though people are desperate to forget the fact he hasn’t been top-of-mind for so long and hasn’t been at the top of his game for so much longer. And considering I’ve rarely seen Michael Jackson tracks posted on the blogs that are part of The Hype Machine, it somehow feels a little bit like too little too late. He had become so beyond comprehension, and we were all so desensitized to outrageous behaviour, that the media couldn’t even be bothered with him anymore – for all intents and purposes he had disappeared off the radar, even after announcing the continuing excesses of the 50-date O2 engagement. He had figuratively died a slow death for the past twenty years.

True to Morrissey’s Paint a Vulgar Picture, the response of unprecedented spiking sales for Michael Jackson music, downloads and otherwise, just seems more cynical than celebratory to me. There’s something tawdry about this financial tribute, and as with the amount of people coming forward with texts, tweets, and posts, I begin to wonder how much is genuine and how much of it is just not wanting to be left out. It’s yet another part of why I was reluctant to write this post at all.

In the global reaction to his death, it seems people are most sad because of nostalgia and ties to their own youth. I was born in the same year of Thriller’s release, but I obviously still grew up being very aware of Michael Jackson. My awareness of his music was probably first through the Dangerous album, which some of my friends and/or family members had, and the song Black or White, which always seemed to be playing at the roller rink when I was a child. I also have vague memories of seeing the Thriller video at a young age (maybe at Halloween), and back when music television still showed music videos, I would watch 80s weekends, which were dominated by Madonna, Duran Duran, and of course, Michael Jackson. Videos like Billie Jean, Beat It and Thriller became iconic to me at a later date, but they did still form part of that cultural touchstone in a way that I can’t imagine any music video becoming now. There’s no doubt that I love the music videos that my favourite artists are producing, but the likelihood that I could mention them to anyone else in the world and have them understand and know what I’m talking about is remote. They will never become global reference points, nor will they create moments of waiting for a music video world premiere like the one above this post. I’m by no means some huge Michael Jackson fan, and I wouldn’t consider him among my musical heroes, but I definitely acknowledge that Thriller is and was an important album, and Billie Jean is still genuinely one of my favourite songs.

As a society, we project a lot onto celebrities, but you can’t be a global superstar if the globe ceases to have any meaningful weight as a concept. The very networks that heralded his death to crashing point are the very same technology that is heralding the death of global superstardom. After all, Michael Jackson didn’t change the world, he merely reflected it. He was the King of Pop, but when all the world is a popularity contest, it’s impossible to crown another one. The world’s stage is groaning under the surplus of “stars.” There will never be another Michael Jackson because the world is a different place.

Billie Jean – Michael Jackson

Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough – Michael Jackson


Twitter-Pated: Music and Information Overload

twitter network

Information is killing me. My brain buzzes with bloat and there are nights when I can’t sleep for it. In the last few years, I’ve had more panic attacks and woken up feeling like I’m forgetting something than ever before. It’s like I can no longer keep track of all the details. The devil definitely lives there, taunting me with my insignificant cerebral capacity. Between the number of books, fiction and non-fiction, that I read, the Web sites and blogs I visit, the daily advertisements and mass media I consume, and the copious music I listen to, I feel like I’m drowning in a sea of trivia and connections. I have a crazy need to organize myself somehow, and in doing so, I can now see that I seem to crave hierarchies when surrounded by networks. And both ways of organizing information are seemingly natural for humans, especially since both types exist within our biology. However, technology and new access to information and its architecture are affecting me more than I can possibly affect them, and the activities I love are being forever changed by them, not necessarily for the better.

I’ve come to the realization that computers have re-wired my brain and altered the very way I communicate. Computers have encouraged me to be non-linear in my thought processes and not only through the infinitely hyperlinked world wide web. I may not have had a computer until my first year of university, but I did have a shoddy word processor through high school, and so since I’ve been writing essays and papers, I’ve composed my thoughts in non-linear fragments – you can always go backwards and forwards in a digital copy. My essay-writing style is such that I plug in all citations and quotations first before building the argument around them. I’ve worked without an outline for so long now that I didn’t really think about how strange it was. Until I attempt to write a prolonged linear thought with a pen on paper. I then look back at my bulleted fragments and singular lines and realize that I haven’t actually written one fluid thought or argument at all. I’ve become so accustomed to composing piecemeal on the computer – my mind darting in and out and around thoughts while multi-tasking – that I cannot form a fluid piece on paper. Not only has my writing process been affected by technology, but my consumption of music has as well.

Last summer, I wrote a post addressing this issue of listening to music in pieces via something like iTunes and shuffle functions. MP3s have made it possible for music to be a non-linear experience. Perhaps to balance this non-linear chaos, I use what could be constituted as OCD methods of organization. For my physical copies of music, I first place them on the shelves alphabetically by artist name. If the artist is a single person, I file it by the last name. Within artist, I order them by release chronology – studio albums, then live or bootleg albums, then singles. Compilations are filed under the name of the compiler; for example, any compilation released by NME goes under “n.” This anal sense of taxonomy extends to my digital collection as well; I’m still in the process of creating the database that holds all of my thousands of tracks in it. While I may not have nearly as much music as some fans, I need these systems to gain control of an otherwise spiralling-out-of-control glut of music in my life. I initially thought that it was the mass media giving me too many options and polluting my brain with “choice” regarding music; that has completely changed, yet stayed the same.

I rarely take note of music by any mass media source, yet I still feel like I’m being pummeled by the tsunami of possibilities and new artists. If anything, the choice has just escalated exponentially with the Internet access to independent labels and artists and their myriad promotional tools, including MySpace, Bebo, Facebook, and Twitter pages in addition to e-newsletters, bulletins and forums. I can’t hope to keep up. I can’t even keep track of my favourite artists. Along with this proliferation of music and access to it, the innate human need for taxonomy and labelling takes over and creates a ludicrous number of hybrid, hyper-hyphenated genres like anarchist-folk-rock, Bhangramuffin, blackened death metal and 2-step garage to cope with it (Paul Morley actually just recently made a radio series on the subject of these fragmented genres and what they actually constitute – I don’t think it’s a coincidence that these sub-subgenres grew exponentially as access to music grew). And while MP3 blogs and their aggregators have been quite helpful in terms of filtering music choices, they are becoming more and more like otakus.

Otaku is a Japanese term for people who obsessively collect information about the things they’re fans of; however, according to Speed Tribes: Days and Nights with Japan’s Next Generation, a book by Karl Taro Greenfeld, otakus can very often end up collecting information just for the sake of having and then sharing rarities in a bid for increased (sub)cultural capital. Some may not even really be real fans, but more like people who get off on being able to access information that no one else can. Many MP3 blogs wield music as informational power without any particular connection to the music being discussed or featured, and with very little discussion or commentary, period. I can’t really criticize this method of blogging because as I learned while writing my MA thesis on it, everyone’s got a different purpose for his/her MP3 blog; some are just using it as a global mixtape or broadcast with music being the primary content. But the result of all this is the fact that music has become just more information to process, transfer and file. My bigger problem with this style of MP3 blog is the fact it places the onus of persuasion on the MP3s alone; I don’t have time to download every track I see on blogs to have each of them try to convince me of their worth. I actually need a little more rhetoric in order to survive. As alarming as the idea of depending on rhetoric, the art of persuasion, is, it is necessary. As a species, humanity has come to use filters throughout time to cope with the influx of information; these rhetorical filters have come in the form of social mores, religion, educational systems, culture, government and mass media. We can’t possibly learn/know everything, so we break off into specialist fields and expertises and come to rely on the power of others’ arguments to make sense of the world and process it.

I, myself, have gotten caught up in the subcultural capital gone mad. I’ve tried to keep tabs on bands I discovered via blogs, via MySpace, via the promotional emails in my inbox, and it’s all driven me to distraction. When I was a teenager, I listened to full albums all the time on my stereo and thus learnt them as coherent pieces. Rarely do I get to spend that kind of time on one album anymore, let alone really “learn” a record. I’m too busy slogging through thousands of possible life-changing bands and what Kathleen Hall Jamieson calls “the normalization of hyperbole”; everyone is vying for attention, including musicians, which can only lead to exaggeration and disappointment, and eventually, apathy and cynicism. Because of digital technology and the advent of the MP3, music has increasingly been treated as information, as binary code to be collected and stored rather than simply enjoyed. And with it, you become expected to keep track of all of these disparate pieces, including their daily communiques via services like Twitter, in order to maintain dialogue and your own music collection.

Twitter has made a communication model from the sound bite, something that most people aren’t capable of making interesting in the first place. How much do I need to know about each artist I listen to? How many are worth being that interested in? When do you stop being interesting and end up being trivial? I can’t even bring myself to follow someone like Stephen Fry on Twitter. If Stephen Fry isn’t interesting enough to keep minute-by-minute tabs on, then who is? Are we all really that bored and strapped for finding new information that we need to get updates on strangers’ mundane details? I don’t have enough time to process the information I come into contact with on a daily basis let alone the updates on people, famous or not. I don’t want to watch people live abbreviated lives and engage with art in short, transient bursts anymore. I don’t want to keep contributing to the trivia virus – it blows the networks of my brain and makes them useless for actual thinking and literate linearity. Between back catalogues and new discoveries daily, I’m getting more music than I can effectively comprehend. I want to be able to make the leap from mere perception to consciousness more than I currently do. This may mean having to extricate myself from the superhuman race on the information superhighway, and I think I’m okay with that. I may end up not knowing as much as others or being quite as up-to-date and cool, and I may even still occasionally have the nagging feeling that I’m missing something, but perhaps I can then practice this quality over quantity method in my music listening and collecting as I try to do in my blogging. It’s for the sake of my own sanity.

As much as music is numerically encoded and is probably one of the most mathematical arts, it should not be reduced to ones and zeroes. I wouldn’t mind being waylaid by the occasional information highwayman/woman. As long as their music stands and delivers.

Useless Information – Apparat

Blogspot – Paul and the Patients


Snakecharming the Masses: The Stills Live at the Pyramid

The Stills Pyramid 3

I wasn’t intending to attend The Stills’ show at the Pyramid this past Saturday because they were the latest casualty of my concert budget. Up until very recently, I was living on $200 a month and my parents’ love, so I knew I couldn’t see every band that came through. And despite having bought The Stills’ debut album several years back, they had been one of those bands I lost track of and perhaps the majority of their songs weren’t grabbing my attention in the way other bands’ were. At any rate, I did go and see The Stills at the Pyramid courtesy of winning a contest via Winnipeg music blog Painting Over Silence and the people at Arts & Crafts. I’m very glad I did, and I’ll tell you for why – I appreciate The Stills much better live than I do when I listen to them on CD. They are an incredibly dynamic, passionate force onstage, giving their songs fuller body and energy than I’ve found on the records themselves. And watching the effect they were having on their hardcore fans was fantastic – a tight knot of people were dancing, pumping their fists and hugging each other as the music took them over. They were truly under the spell of the band, which is always wonderful at a live show. And this is after the show began an hour later than scheduled.

The Stills Pyramid 2

Backlit by vertical, eye-searing orange lights that complemented their drumkit emblazoned with the Oceans Will Rise cover art, The Stills launched into their set with the ratatat percussion of Snakecharming The Masses (Dave Hamelin on an extra snare drum stage right) as they turned what could be a repetitive song into a mesmerizing performance. They then did one of my favourite songs from Logic Will Break Your Heart, Lola Stars and Stripes, before returning to the tracks off their latest release, including Snow in California, Panic, Dinosaurs, Eastern Europe, Hands on Fire, I’m With You, and Everything I Build (which was dedicated to their opening band Gentleman Reg and sung with a weary tenderness). While I appreciated the fist-pumping anthems and harder rocking of many of the songs, I really loved the wall of sound created on songs like Snow in California and Hands on Fire; the melodic dexterity and gentle, building beauty of both songs were highly memorable for me. Interspersed through the set, there were also a few songs from Without Feathers, including In the Beginning, Helicopters and She’s Walking Out, which seemed to get a post-punk makeover when live in contrast to their more Americana-based original album incarnations. They ended the set proper with the anthemic one-two punch of their recent singles Being Here and Don’t Talk Down, and interestingly, returned to their debut album for the encore that featured Of Montreal and Still in Love Song.

The Stills Pyramid 1

Overall, the band is brilliantly co-helmed by Tim Fletcher and Dave Hamelin, who switch off on lead vocals (Hamelin’s softer croon and Fletcher’s impassioned howl) in the seamless fashion that all three guitars in the band interplay to create a sense of sonic warmth like a brightly glowing, smouldering ember in the post-punk darkness. At one point in the encore, all three guitars were aimed at the audience in true aural assault; in fact, I’m sure several of the people at the edge of the stage got to look down the barrel of a fretboard multiple times during the performance. There were also several rather breathtaking stop-on-a-dime kind of endings to songs that required an impressive precision. It was the last night of their current tour, and while the venue was relatively small, the masses that were there were duly impressed, some with their arms swaying and darting in the air as though from the depths of a snake basket.

I also have to mention how much I loved Gentleman Reg, the opening band from Toronto. In their case, it was love at first listen. As I’ve said before, there aren’t many opening acts I get so instantly attached to, but Gentleman Reg was one of those bands. Their beautifully crafted pop songs paired with vocalist, Reg Vermue’s fey, emotive voice are a perfect blend of bittersweet romanticism and wit. Vermue’s vocals are so unique and memorable that they still resonate somewhere at the centre of my solar plexus, and the music is twee, folky, and soulful all at once. Prefacing the song Rewind with a comment about how it was the only slow ballad they were going to play and that it was time for people to go to the washroom or get a drink, Vermue launched into one of the prettiest, affective songs I’ve ever heard, and the line “There’s no point in going back/When our masterpiece is crumbling” lingered in my mind as I went home. I also distinctly remember the wispy, synthy, disco-driving We’re in a Thunderstorm, the cheeky You Can’t Get It Back, the charming sing-song of Falling Back, and their self-proclaimed “Internet hit,” Give Me the Chance to Fall. Additionally, Vermue delivered rather humourous banter, which straddled the line between camp and laconic, between songs, including stories of a girl requesting that they play a Britney Spears song the night before in Regina and of shopping in West Edmonton Mall, where he threw out his back and where keyboardist, Kelly McMichael, bought a new dress. They are shortly going to be touring with Nina Persson’s non-Cardigans project A-Camp, so if you’re in one of the cities they’re hitting, make sure you check them out, and for those of us here in Winnipeg, they will be returning for Folk Fest. Buy the latest album, Jet Black, which is stunning, and then go back and collect the pre-Arts & Crafts back catalog – I know I will.

Snow in California – The Stills

Everything I Build – The Stills

You Can’t Get It Back – Gentleman Reg

Rewind – Gentleman Reg


Everyday is Like Sunday, Except for Blue Monday and Ruby Tuesday, and…Well, Friday I’m in Love: Weekly Mix #59

Here’s the first weekly mix at this new home. To run with themes of renewal, why not have a spring mix? It’s definitely not feeling like spring where I am (especially after the ridiculous snowstorm that raged for a few days this past week), but I can dream of rainier, greener days ahead. For some reason, spring usually puts me in a twee frame of mind, which you’ll discover as you work your way through this compilation.

It starts off with a blossoming energy before eventually tapering off into the crackling static and serenity of a particularly wonderful thunderstorm. This one’s called The Tulips Are Too Excitable.

Run Into Flowers – M83

The Divides of March – Soundpool

Ouais – Stuck in the Sound

Country – Empire of the Sun

April Fools – Rufus Wainwright

Lisztomania – Phoenix

Language of Flowers – Pale Saints

Got Apprehension – The Close Lobsters

April and May – Eggstone

The Fallen Aristocracy – Northern Portrait

Printemps – Coeur de pirate

Frames on the Wall – We Swim You Jump

The Centre of My Little World – Another Sunny Day

Spring Came, Rain Fell – Club 8

Semi-Babe – Pop Levi

When You Walk, It Makes No Sound – Matt Kanelos

Maps – Peter Broderick

Hide and Seek (DVW Spring Remix) – Imogen Heap

In the Flowers – Animal Collective

Before the Storm – The Deer Tracks

Rain – Paniyolo


…Is New Again


…and let’s return to business as usual.

Journey to New Hope – A-ux

A New Way of Life – The Sound

New Days, New Ways – Twins


Orange Juice for Charity

This will be a short post, but I felt like it deserved attention. I don’t know about you, but I’ve been incredibly frustrated over the years about not being able to get a hold of Orange Juice albums. The only album consistently available is the greatest hits compilation The Glasgow School, and it definitely isn’t the definitive Orange Juice collection. However, now you have a chance to own all those extra tracks you’re missing and give to charity. The Vinyl Villain, a music blogger from Scotland, revealed in his latest post that he will make you customized CDs of any of the Orange Juice tracks he owns for £6 per copy – £5 of which will be going to The Quarriers, a Scottish charitable organization that provides support and care for adults and children with a disability and young people with housing support needs. He’s got pretty much everything an Orange Juice fan could want, including b-sides, Peel sessions, and Radio One sessions. I, myself, intend to gather up all the tracks that I’m missing from the three main Orange Juice albums.

So, if you’re an Orange Juice fan and fancy buying some music for a good cause, pop over to the above link.

Felicity – Orange Juice (Radio One Session 1981)


Music Can Be Funny and Comedy Can Be Musical: The Mighty Boosh and Flight of the Conchords

I’ve been an avid (read: obsessive) fan of the offbeat BBC comedy The Mighty Boosh, starring Julian Barratt and Noel Fielding, for awhile now. I’ve only just discovered the HBO series Flight of the Conchords, starring New Zealanders Jemaine Clement and Brett McKenzie. I feel like I’m a bit backwards (not a particularly uncommon feeling for me) in embracing the cult British comedy, which is hugely popular in the United Kingdom but far less known in North America, and only just discovering the similar Flight of the Conchords which is popular enough in North America to get slots on late night chat shows like David Letterman and Craig Ferguson (although looking at what I just wrote, I realize I’m such an anglophile that I type “chat shows” rather than “talk shows” without thinking, and suddenly my actions seem clearer to me). However, my point to this post is how brilliantly music can be combined with comedy. Both The Mighty Boosh and Flight of the Conchords have that incredible ability to perform this kind of alchemy and produce comedy gold.

The Mighty Boosh on a break from filming “The Nightmare of Milky Joe”

Anyone who likes one of these two duos is bound to like the other. Both are quirky and use equal parts surrealism and pop culture reference (especially musical ones that true music obsessives like myself can guffaw at). Besides mentioning music regularly, both duos also incorporate at least one sequence of original music into each episode. Flight of the Conchords, and, to a slightly lesser extent, The Mighty Boosh create a context for these musical interludes by being in bands in the show. Both pairs have a seamless rapport and true musical ability (more than I’ll ever have). Their music is far more creative than most of the tripe passed off as legitimate music, and they’re wittier and weirder than someone like Weird Al Yankovic. While The Mighty Boosh have Gary Numan flying them in his plane to the tundra (Gary Numan has a pilot’s licence…imagine that), Flight of the Conchords has insecurity-fuelled dreams featuring David Bowie in his Ziggy Stardust days, Ashes to Ashes period, and even his stint in Labyrinth (a personal favourite of mine). Music deserves to be lampooned and these shows do it better than any other. In the process, it gives us pretentious music fans and hipsters something to truly laugh about. And I dare you not to laugh at (or at least be completely disturbed by) a Rick James-like transsexual merman who lives under the sea (see “The Legend of Old Gregg” by The Mighty Boosh – my favourite episode).

Flight of the Conchords in “Bowie” episode

Despite the pathetic state of television these days, both of these shows have definitely struck a chord with me (the bad pun wasn’t intended, but considering I refuse to re-write the sentence, I guess it is intended after all). I highly recommend purchasing the DVDs for the first season of Flight of the Conchords and all three series and the live show of The Mighty Boosh (The Mighty Boosh is only available in Region 2 at the moment, but they are worth buying a new DVD player for). While I may have been disappointed with the final episode of the latest season of The Mighty Boosh, the remainder of their work is so hilarious and mad that I already pre-ordered the latest season from

I’ve included a track from each duo. The Bowie song by Flight of the Conchords still makes me have a bit of a Depends moment (“do you need my jumper, Bowie?”) and is one of the best impressions of Bowie I’ve ever heard. Bouncy Bouncy is off the Party episode of The Mighty Boosh – it is what Barratt and Fielding call a crimp – watch the show and you’ll get it.

Bowie (Live) – Flight of the Conchords

Bouncy Bouncy – The Mighty Boosh

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Gigs Attended

Arcade Fire w/ Bell Orchestre + Wolf Parade (2005)

Arctic Monkeys w/ Reverend and the Makers (2007)

Austra w/ Young Galaxy + Tasseomancy (2011)

Big Audio Dynamite (2011)

Billy Bragg w/ Ron Hawkins (2009)

Billy Idol w/ Bif Naked (2005)

Bloc Party w/ Hot Hot Heat (2009)

Buzzcocks w/ The Dollyrots (2010)

Damo Suzuki (2012)

David Bowie w/ The Polyphonic Spree (2004)

Diamond Rings w/ PS I Love You + The Cannon Bros. (2011)

Diamond Rings w/ Gold & Youth (2012)

Dragonette w/ Ruby Jean & the Thoughtful Bees (2009)

Frank Turner w/ The Cavaliers (2010)

Frank Turner w/ Into It Over It + Andrew Jackson Jihad (2011)

Franz Ferdinand w/ Think About Life (2009)

Gang of Four w/ Hollerado (2011)

Good Shoes w/ The Moths + The Envelopes (2007)

Hot Hot Heat w/ The Futureheads + Louis XIV (2005)

IAMX w/ closethuman (2007)

IAMX w/ Coma Soft + The Hourly Radio (2007)

Interpol (2007)

Janelle Monae w/ Roman GianArthur (2012)

Joel Plaskett Emergency w/ Frank Turner (2012)

Jonathan Richman (2011)

Keane w/ Lights (2009)

Lou Reed w/ Buke and Gass (2011)

Manic Street Preachers w/ Fear of Music (2007)

Manic Street Preachers w/ Bear Hands (2009)

Manic Street Preachers at Wanaja Festival (2011)

Mother Mother w/ Old Folks Home (2009)

Mother Mother w/ Whale Tooth (2011)

Mother Mother w/ Hannah Georgas (2012)

MSTRKRFT w/ Felix Cartal (2008)

Muse (2004)

Nine Inch Nails w/ Death From Above 1979 + Queens of the Stone Age (2005)

of Montreal w/ Janelle Monae (2010)

Owen Pallett w/ Little Scream (2010)

Patrick Wolf w/ Bishi (2007)

Prince (2011)

Pulp w/ Grace Jones, TV on the Radio, The Hives, The Horrors, Metronomy, Devotcka, Vintage Trouble (2011)

Rufus Wainwright w/ Teddy Thompson (2010)

Snow Patrol w/ Embrace (2005)

Snow Patrol w/ OK Go + Silversun Pickups (2007)

Sons and Daughters w/ Bodies of Water (2008)

Stars w/ Thurston Revival (2006)

Stars w/ The Details (2008)

Stars (2010)

Steven Severin (2010)

Stroszek (2007)

The Antlers w/ Haunter (2012)

The Flaming Lips w/ Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti (2010)

The Jesus and Mary Chain w/ Nightbox (2012)

The Killers w/ Ambulance Ltd (2004)

The New Pornographers w/ Novillero (2008)

The New Pornographers w/ The Mountain Goats (2010)

The Ordinary Boys w/ Young Soul Rebels (2006)

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart w/ Suun (2011)

The Rakes w/ The Young Knives (2006)

The Raveonettes w/ Black Acid (2008)

The Stills w/ Gentleman Reg (2009)

The Subways w/ The Mad Young Darlings (2006)

Tokyo Police Club w/ Smoosh + Attack in Black (2008)

TV on the Radio w/ The Dirty Projectors (2009)

Yann Tiersen w/ Breathe Owl Breathe (2011)

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The only certain thing that is left about me

There is no part of my body that has not been used

Pity or pain, to show displeasure's shame

Everyone I've loved or hated always seems to leave


So I turned myself to face me

But I've never caught a glimpse

Of how the others must see the faker

I'm much too fast to take that test

The Smiths Queen is Dead

A dreaded sunny day

So let's go where we're happy

And I meet you at the cemetry gates

Oh, Keats and Yeats are on your side

A dreaded sunny day

So let's go where we're wanted

And I meet you at the cemetry gates

Keats and Yeats are on your side

But you lose 'cause weird lover Wilde is on mine

The Clash London Calling

When they kick at your front door

How you gonna come?

With your hands on your head

Or on the trigger of your gun


Charles Windsor, who's at the door

At such an hour, who's at the door

In the back of an old green Cortina

You're on your way to the guillotine

Here the rabble comes

The kind you hoped were dead

They've come to chop, to chop off your head


Then you came with your breezeblocks

Smashing up my face like a bus-stop

You think you're giving

But you're taking my life away


Won't someone give me more fun?

(and the skin flies all around us)

We kiss in his room to a popular tune

Oh, real drowners


Don't walk away

In silence

See the danger

Always danger

Endless talking

Life rebuilding

Don't walk away

Walk in silence

Don't turn away in silence

Your confusion

My illusion

Worn like a mask of self-hate

Confronts and then dies

Don't walk away


You don't want to hurt me

But see how deep the bullet lies

Unaware I'm tearing you asunder

Oh there is thunder in our hearts

Is there so much hate for the ones we love

Tell me we both matter don't we

The Associates Affectionate

I don't know whether

To over or under estimate you

Whether to over or under estimate you

For when I come over

You then put me under

Personal taste is a matter of gender


I wake at dusk to go alone without a light

To the unknown

I want this night inside of me

I want to feel

I want this speeding

I want that speeding


You'll never live like common people

You'll never do what common people do

You'll never fail like common people

You'll never watch your life slide out of view

And dance and drink and screw

Because there's nothing else to do

Vanilla Swingers

All I have is words, words that don't obtain

And I feel I'm a stain on your horizon

So I stay away - it's easier that way

And there won't be no-one I need to rely on

Is it him, is it me

Or is there something only I can see

How did I get here, why do we blow around like straw dogs on the breeze

I'm a special one, what they used to say

But I've to stay on, finish levels-A

You don't need exams when you've read John Gray

The Indelicates American Demo

And nobody ever comes alive

And the journalists clamour round glamour like flies

And boys who should know better grin and get high

With fat men who once met the MC5

And no one discusses what they don't understand

And no one does anything to harm the brand

And this gift is an illusion, this isn't hard

Absolutely anyone can play the fucking guitar

JAMC Darklands

And we tried so hard

And we looked so good

And we lived our lives in black


Plucked her eyebrows on the way

Shaved her leg and then he was a she

She says, hey babe,

Take a walk on the wild side

Said, hey honey, take a walk on the wild side


Hide on the promenade

Etch a postcard:

How I dearly wish I was not here

In the seaside town...that they forgot to bomb

Come, come, come - nuclear bomb


Back when we were kids

We would always know when to stop

And now all the good kids are messing up

Nobody has gained or accomplished anything

Wire Pink Flag

Prices have risen since the government fell

Casualties increase as the enemy shell

The climate's unhealthy, flies and rats thrive

And sooner or later the end will arrive

This is your correspondent, running out of tape

Gunfire's increasing, looting, burning, rape


Well, maybe there's a god above

But all I've ever learned from love

Was how to shoot somebody who outdrew you

It's not a cry that you hear at night

It's not somebody who's seen the light

It's a cold and it's a broken hallelujah


And what costume shall the poor girl wear

To all tomorrow's parties

For Thursday's child is Sunday's clown

For whom none will go mourning


My body is your body

I won't tell anybody

If you want to use my body

Go for it


Oh it's opening time

Down on Fascination Street

So let's cut the conversation

And get out for a bit

Because I feel it all fading and paling

And I'm begging

To drag you down with me

Mansun Six

And you see, I kind of shivered to conformity

Did you see the way I cowered to authority

You see, my life, it's a series of compromises anyway

It's a sham, and I'm conditioned to accept it all, you see

Japan Gentlemen

Take in the country air, you'll never win

Gentlemen take polaroids

They fall in love, they fall in love


We just want to emote til we're dead

I know we suffer for fashion

Or whatever

We don't want these days to ever end

We just want to emasculate them forever

Forever, forever

Pretty sirens don't go flat

It's not supposed to happen like that

Longpigs The Sun

There's no perfume I can buy

Make me smell like myself

So I put on perfume

To make me smell like someone else

In bed

Calvin Harris I Created Disco

I got love for you if you were born in the 80's, the 80's

I've got hugs for you if you were born in the 80's, the 80's


Does his makeup in his room

Douse himself with cheap perfume

Eyeholes in a paper bag

Greatest lay I ever had

Kind of guy who mates for life

Gotta help him find a wife

We're a couple, when our bodies double

Simple Minds Sons and Fascination

Summer rains are here

Savaged beauty life

Falling here from grace

Sister feeling call

Cruising land to land

No faith no creed no soul

Half a world away

Beauty sleeps in time

Sound and fury play

Bloc Party Silent Alarm

North to south


Running on


As if to say, as if to say

He doesn't like chocolate

He's born a liar, he'll die a liar

Some things will never be different


LCD Soundsystem

Well Daft Punk is playing at my house, my house

I've waited 7 years and 15 days

There's every kid for miles at my house, my house

And the neighbors can' the police

There's a fist fight brewin' at my house, my house

Because the jocks can't...get in the door

Johnny Boy

I just can't help believing

Though believing sees me cursed

Stars Set Yourself

I am trying to say

What I want to say

Without having to say "I love you"

Josef K Entomology

It took 10 years to realise why the angels start to cry

When you go home down the main

Your happy smile

Your funny name

Cocteau Twins Bluebell


Doesn't she look a million with her hairagami set

Hair kisses 'n' hair architecture

Yes, she's a beautiful brunette angel from heaven with her hairagami set

Hair kisses 'n' hair architecture

Augment a beautiful brunette

New Order Power Corruption

How does it feel

To treat me like you do

When you've laid your hands upon me

And told me who you are


You must let her go

She's not crying



Feeling like I'm waiting

Modern times



Hating to distraction

Just leave them alone


Girls in the back

Girls in the back

Puressence Don't Forget

They say come back to earth and start getting real, yeah

I say come back to earth and start getting real

I know I can't


So I walk right up to you

And you walk all over me

And I ask you what you want

And you tell me what you need


The problem of leisure

What to do for pleasure

Ideal love a new purchase

A market of the senses

Dream of the perfect life

Economic circumstances

The body is good business

Sell out, maintain the interest


Sitting in my armchair thinking again and again and again

Going round in a circle I can't get out

Then I look around thinking day and night and day

Then you look around - there must be some explanation

And the tension builds

Psychdedelic Furs

India, India

You're my love song

India, you're my love song

In the flowers

You can have me in the flowers

We will dance alone

And live our useless lives

Ladytron Light Magic

They only want you when you're seventeen

When you're twenty-one

You're no fun

They take a polaroid and let you go

Say they'll let you know


No consolation prizes

Spit out your lies and chewing gum

Cut off your hair yeah that's it!

If you look like that I swear I'm gonna love you more


All the neighbors are startin' up a fire

Burning all the old folks, the witches and the liars.

My eyes are covered by the hands of my unborn kids

But my heart keeps watchin' through the skin of my eyelids


Prince charming

Prince charming

Ridicule is nothing to be scared of

Don't you ever, don't you ever

Stop being dandy, showing me you're handsome