Monday, March 9, 2009

In a World Gone Gaga...

To create or maintain any kind of notoriety on the Internet these days, a disgusting place where many a schmuck will fight dirty for your precious and usually undeserved attention, the most important thing is to have your finger on the pulse of current events, or at least to make it seem like you do. With so many 'blogs' and 'bloggers' in circulation, peddling their opinions like side walk street vendors, there's absolutely no point following the writings of someone who is a few steps behind everyone else, trudging sweatily behind the latest bandwagon.

So while this is something I'm aware of, I want to talk today about an album that came out last year, has recently become quite popular and is disappointingly, but not surprisingly, being received meekly (or downright negatively in some cases) by the increasingly bland Irish music scene. This woman came into my life late last year through a recommendation from my girlfriend and is responsible for the first album I've genuinely been consistently excited about since Duke Specials 'Songs of the Deep Forest' in 2006.

Lady GaGa - The Fame

By now, I'm sure we all know who Lady GaGa is. Love her or hate her, she has embedded herself into the consciousness of the public, something that has become increasingly and inexplicably difficult of late. 'Just Dance', the first single taken from 'The Fame', began circulating youtube sometime in mid to late 2008 and before long had gratuitous amounts of youtubers flocking regularly to her channel, revelling in the talent they felt they had discovered. For awhile it seemed like Lady GaGa would be the best kept secret in the history of pop music. 'Just Dance' proved too powerful a force for even the Internet hoards to hold on to and in early 2009, the track found its way into radio rotation in the UK & Ireland and would go on to rise to (and stay at) number one in the singles charts for a number of weeks.

The album, 'The Fame', soon followed suit and found itself sitting on the top of the album charts all over the world. And why shouldn't it? It is, after all, an album that many artists in many genres have been trying to create for several years. A bold claim perhaps, but 'The Fame' showcases a wide, but not schizophrenic, range of influences that the Lady has assimilated into one style, definitively her own. Listening to 'The Fame' from beginning to end, you'll hear the charm and elegance of Christina Aguilera, the grit of MGMT, the dirty glamour of Shiny Toy Guns, all woven together with the pop sensibility of a 'HITS OF THE 80s' box set. 'Just Dance', 'Pokerface' and 'I Like it Rough' have all the ingredients necessary for an instant number one single, while 'Paparazzi', 'Starstruck' and 'Paper Gangster' show that GaGa can ground herself in the increasingly popular minimalist production of modern hip-hop and fill a dance floor just as easily as Rhianna or Kanye. 'The Fame', 'Boys Boys Boys' and 'Summerboy' are unapologetic in their sugar-sweet pop, and are sure to crack a smile from even the hardest of the Lady's cynics. 'Again Again' and 'Brown Eyes' seem a little out of place initially, but taken on their own terms they present a more vulnerable side to the songstress that is absent from the other tracks. 'The Fame' as an album addresses the issues that have marred its predecessors and effectively does away with them. In many ways this is the first techno/electro/pop album to perfectly capture the credibility of Justice/Jurgen Vries style instrumental dance music and the instant accessibility of pop music. In short, Lady GaGa can and will give you everything you want, if you'll only let her.

Unfortunately, it seems as if the Irish music industry is determined not to let her. Despite the fact that her album is clearly the most innovative thing to happen to pop music in the last 5 years, it has been met primarily with two or three star reviews from Irish critics. It's not surprising really, how could such a carefully constructed, culturally relevant mélange of pop styles ever be appreciated in a country where Republic of Loose and Bell x1 dominate the airwaves with bland, repetitive, soulless singles, lapped up hungrily by the art-starved and culturally oblivious.

In a masterful throwback to my original paragraph, Ireland is becoming the 'out-of-touch blogger'. We are still wallowing in the sea of musical mediocrity that the rest of the world has successfully broken free of. If 'The Fame' were to released in roughly around 5 to 10 years time, I don't doubt that the Irish music journalists would rave about it. But by that time the rest of the world will have discovered, embraced and held several festivals in the name of 'the next big thing' about three times over.

TL;DR: Buy 'The Fame' if you haven't already, then write to hot press and tell them they're rubbish.


The Twilight Saga

Alright its first post time. Lets see how I do.

The thing with blogs is, they’re essentially useless. Unless you take great enjoyment out of reading about the grievances of other peoples lives there’s really no logical reason for you to bother with a blog. That said there are plenty of people who for some reason like to argue with these ‘bloggers’ under the assumption that not only should the blogger in question care what they think, but that they should care what he/she thinks to begin with.

The topic I’m about discuss is going to attract a lot of these people (provided anyone ever finds this and bothers reading it, which is highly unlikely), so if you insist on arguing with anything I’m about to say, you should know that unless your argument is presented intelligently I will not bother with it. Hell I probably wont bother with it anyway but try your luck, you never know.

The Twilight Series by Stephanie Meyer

Alright I’ll put my hands up, I have a problem with the way character designers and writers in nearly every medium treat vampires. For some reason, girls cant control their hormones when within five feet of the word vampire so the idea of the glamorous, handsome, eloquent vampire has become the standard model. I don’t personally understand the attraction to a ..’thing’..that would just as soon eat you as rape you, but hey I don’t get chocolate ice cream either, it’s just not for me to understand.

What I do understand though is that this formula for vampires has become so popular with girls (some guys too, it has to be said) that there is absolutely no incentive for anyone to try and write a vampire character with any real depth anymore. These days you can just shite on for 400+ pages about how devilishly handsome this guy is and the chicks will be queuing round the corner stamping on each others faces to get their randy hands on it.

I’m getting a little misogynistic here aren’t I? Okay I apologize for the generalization but you have to understand how confused I am by this new fad to even veer into that potentially fatal theme of discussion. One by one, all the intelligent women in my life have fallen for this twilight thing. They’re no less intelligent for it, one of them actually acknowledges that the books are horribly written but none-the-less ploughed through the four books in the space of a week.
All that said, there's absolutely nothing wrong with literature that appeals to teenage girls in this way. It’s a market that needs to be filled and twilight does it in excellent fashion. Plus the key demographic for these books is not men of my age, so its safe to assume I was never going to understand their popularity (or existence) before the first word was pressed to the first page.

In this spirit, I’m not going to look at the objective quality of these books. I’ve already made my opinion on that well known to plenty of people(against their will, i apologize). What I wish to illuminate to you dear reader is the inherent problem with products that do not know what demographic they want to aim for. ‘Conflicting Demographics’ if you will.

Twilight is essentially the perfect book series’ for girls aged 16-19/20. The characters are likable (to an extent, i guess…maybe…except Bella), the plot is simple and there's a love story between a human girl and a vampire who sparkles in the sun at the center of it all. Perfect holiday fodder for girls of the aforementioned age group.

*Spoilers coming so if you haven’t read all four books skip to the very end now.*

However, I was watching the late late toy show last night and saw a girl who couldn’t have been more than 12 years old talking about how amazing these books are. Let me break down some of the more prominent plot moments for you:

Book 1: Absolutely nothing happens.

Book 2: Edward and his whole family bugger off leaving Bella alone and suicidal despite the fact that he spent the entirety of book 1 making her absolutely dependent on his and his families protection. His excuse for buggering off? To protect her from himself.

Book 3: Bella begs Edward repeatedly to fuck her. Edward steadfastly refuses to spoil her
‘virtue’ despite the fact that once a girl begs you to fuck her more than once, she has signed away her virtue to the Italian mafia in exchange for condoms and bondage rope.

Book 4: Edward finally caves in and fucks her (only after they’re married of course) and lo and behold Bella somehow gets pregnant to a lifeless fluid less being of 107. If this wasn’t fucked up enough, the baby grows within her unbelievably fast, breaking Bella’s spine and pelvis in the process (an extended metaphor for Meyers feelings on abortion perhaps?) and the only logical conclusion to all of this is that Edward naturally tears her uterus open with his teeth to get the baby out. No, I’m not making this up.

If I got the chronological order of these events wrong, they still happened so shut up.

Now my question at the end of all this is simple. Should 12 year old girls be reading about these things? The relationship between Bella and Edward is abusive to say the least (at one point Bella actually uses the wife beater line,"he only does it cause he loves me"), Bella is shown to be many things, one of which a teenage girl desperate for some fucking, and book four sees an agenda against abortion and the abusive male tearing his pregnant wife open with his teeth to save their child that shouldn’t really exist in the first place.

Oh and the werewolf character ‘imprints’ on the baby. Meaning that he has basically bought her, and when she turns 6 (apparently at 6 she will look and behave like an 18 year old or something) he will fuck her. This is met with mild, jovial disapproval from the childs parents.


These books are dangerous. Meyer does not understand her audience. If pre-pubescent girls are reading these with limited understanding of whats going on, they’ll still inevitably empathize with the main characters and believe it or not, stuff you read at that age does leave an impression on you for life, or at least your adolescence.

Nothing can be done about it now, the film has happened (and apparently is better than the books from what I’ve heard although I can’t imagine that would have been difficult) and the merchandise is rolling out as quickly as the money is rolling in. There are enough fans to form a small army and Meyer has already published another book that despite being terribly written (again) her ‘twilighters’(their term, not mine) have lapped up hungrily. She is no doubt set for life.

I should thank the twilight fandom really, they’ve certainly made the final fantasy fandom seem less crazy. I don’t think any of us thought that was possible.

TL;DR: Twilight: turning girls into whores and final fantasy fans into Kayne west.


It Begins...


Somehow, in the twisted labyrinth of shit that is the internet, you have stumbled upon this blog. Quite frankly, you picked a piss-poor time to do it because I haven’t written anything of any value yet. I politely ask you not judge this blog as a whole based on this post alone, as this is nawt but a start. In the coming weeks/months/til I lose interest and do something else, I will smother this page with opinions and critiques, questions and answers and just about anything I can think of, that said I dont tend to do an awful lot of thinking, so I’m also willing to discuss anything that you, fine reader, feel needs discussing.

I’m being terribly rude. Allow me to introduce myself.

My name is Andy Kavna. This is my blog, ‘Pleather 4 Breakfast'. Now, formailities out of the way, I have absolutely nothing left to say. So rather than ramble on I’ll cut this post short and bid you adieu, ’til hopefully next time I’ll have something to talk about.

TL;DR: New blog. This ones shit. Come back and do my work for me. love xxx.

Yours deliciously,
Andy Kavna