Sunday, 21 October 2012

The Lady versus the Virgin Mother (the Second)


Dear Mum,

I’ve no doubt you were pleased with Tuesday’s Great British Bake Off result, because, well, they were all lovely boys. With Strictly back on our screens, and Louis Smith channelling Patrick Swayze, it will (undoubtedly) be enough to fill the GBBO void.

Aside from the Bake Off, this month has seen a number of face offs...

On TV: Johnny Ball vs the camp chap off of ITV Breakfast. In politics: Boris vs David, Mitt (the muppet) vs Barack (the dude). In the world of music: Madge vs Gaga.

Speaking of music, I was a lucky bunny to be taken by Dad to see the Beach Boys at their final 50 year anniversary tour a few weeks back.

We jived to all of the greats – Get Around, God Only Knows, California Girls, Barbara Ann, Help Me Rhonda. They were simply fabulous, their harmonies were amazeballs, their energy exceeding mine.

There are many times when the older - the classic - originals are simply the best.

Look at Muse, the Queen-inspired rock band with a front man who looks remarkably like the cockney rat in Chicken Run. They are a top notch band – amongst my favs – but if I was deserted on a remote island, and the ticking crock of rock demanded that I choose between Muse and Queen to listen to on the island, and for all eternity, I’d pick Queen every time.

Fortunately, I’ve not yet met the ticking crock and had to make this tricky choice.

But there are occasions where new is simply better. And here I turn to Madge and Gaga.

I am not the first to compare them. It’s only natural. Both are woman who experienced fame at a young age. Both are pop icons, fashion icons and gay icons.

Lady Gaga is, undoubtedly, as nutty as a very fruity, extra nutty, fruit cake with added fruit (Warning! May contain nuts).

Her range of ‘outfits’ – the meat dress, a wedding dress, a massive egg – have proved this along with some of her lyrics (“I want your psycho, your vertical stick” springs to mind).

But is she brilliant? YES. No manufactured X-Factor guff here. Her sound was new, her look very certainly new and her charming balance between being innocent and darkly unbalanced is very refreshing.

What a gem!

She’d sung a duet with Beyonce, for heaven’s sake, and gone on a night out with Caitlin Moran. Ergo, I’m a fan.

And then there is Madonna. A lady I don’t argue was a star and produced brilliant songs. But now she just needs to put a cardigan on.

She has put her high heeled foot in it several times in the past month. Firstly, she waved a (toy) gun around on stage. A little controversial but arguably forgivable. After all, Gaga threw up on stage this month. In both cases, a rather unnecessary addition to any performance but we’ll give them the benefit of the doubt.

Secondly, she called Obama a black Muslim and, after receiving necessary opposition to this, labelled the remark as ‘ironic.’ No Madge, this is not ironic. This is factually wrong and a downright stupid thing to say.

And stop using the F-word. It’s not becoming.

Finally, after the unbelievable cruel shooting of Malala Yousafzai, a 14 year old activist, by Taliban gunmen, Madge dedicates a song to the young Pakistani woman and proceeds to grope herself on stage.

It’s enough to put you off your rum baba. No one wants to see this. Ever.

More importantly, it is simply superfluous, embarrassing and utterly tasteless. Not only to link this unfathomably brave child with a sexual act, but to associate yourself with someone who is beyond comprehensible courage. You’re not worthy Madge.

The media is discussing women in the public eye a great deal, and the balance between being visually appealing and a respected figure is a great cause of discussion.

It’s not impossible to achieve both. Look at Nigella, look at Mary Berry, look at Fern Britton.

All classy, intelligent, charismatic women who behave appropriately, as a person of any age should.

You could take a leaf out of their books, Madge. You might be the saviour of pop music but this doesn’t make you untouchable. 

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