There’s Something About Madonna

Madonna Inn #2

Madonna was in the news [again] recently at the centre of controversy [again] for [another] lewd and raunchy stage performance. To be honest, this isn’t at all surprising as Madonna’s whole career has centred around sexual controversy in a series of masterfully, orchestrated, attention grabbing, performances.

Madonna has been the dominatrix of the media for years. For three decades she has controlled her own controversy like it was a muted, masked, gimp at the end of a leash; and in doing so she has become a multi-millionaire and achieved legendary pop status. Her most recent media hype came during her MDNA Tour in Los Angeles where she performed a ‘striptease’ on stage in support of the young girl who was shot by the Taliban in Pakistan for promoting women’s rights to education. Well why not? Any rational person would find Madonna’s actions perfectly appropriate to the cause wouldn’t they? Only just last week I considered uploading a sex tape on YouTube of myself with a prostitute and three grey squirrels to draw attention to my blog… oh, and highlight the plight of… of… erm… yeah, the plight of the Syrian freedom fighters – yaay!

I’ve never been a huge fan of Madonna’s music, although I have nothing against the woman herself. As 50-odd year old women go – aside from her vampire-white, tissue paper skin – Madonna is looking good; and I’m sure the dirty old mare still knows a trick or two in the bedroom (I certainly wouldn’t kick her out of bed for menopausal sweating). I’ve always had a soft spot for  women who are unfairly labelled as ‘slutty’. I find women who are open about their sexual proclivities tend to be open and honest about everything else. And they are great fun. It’s just that Madonna’s pseudo-erotic publicity seeking routines are getting a little bit predictable and tired. Times have moved on and Madonna isn’t ahead of them anymore. Not only that – elderly feminine rights aside – she’s old and it just looks so desperate, sad, and glaringly cheap.

You can’t really knock Madonna’s achievements. She is pop-royalty, for sure. I was a kid when she first broke onto the scene in 1982 and for me that style she had made her look accessible. She was like the older, precocious, teenage chick at the school disco, who would take you by the hand to the toilets, pull you into a cubicle, remove her chewing gum, unzip your pants and give you a blow job with a smile. She was energetic, rude and playful, but instead of being considered as slutty, she was just a liberated, horny, 80’s chick. A throwback to the hippy-chick of the sixties, but with brighter colours, more makeup, more hair dye and more cleavage. Her music wasn’t really any good, but she was shagging John ‘Jellybean’ Benitez, one of the most successful producers of the time, so she was onto a winner. With MTV pumping out of TV screens 24hrs a day, pimping out pop-music for all it’s worth with flesh, neon, flashing lights and trashy fashion, this horny Italian-American chick in raunchy outfits, thrusting and gyrating and bouncing around like she just wants to party, singing stupid songs with catchy beats and lyrics about material girls living in material worlds getting touched for the very first time – this was the dawn of the age of decadence and excess – Madonna had arrived whilst the rest of the world had come.

Sex sells, and for the remainder of her long and successful musical career, Madonna sold sex like nobody else could (Madonna also did some acting and film stuff, but she wasn’t very good). She milked the tit of sex marketing for every last drop – hetero sex, homo sex, group sex, dirty sex, sleazy sex, kinky sex, inter-racial-religious sex – stage shows, videos, risqué clothes, even a book – Madonna used anything that was left to the imagination to sell herself and she did it very, very, well.

After all the sex and erotica Madonna did on and off stage in the 80’s and 90’s she decided to become a mum. But for all intent and purposes, her public image was more like a nun. Despite a past of promoting decadence and debauchery, she named her first daughter after the one the world’s most famous religious shrines, Lourdes. She then married British film director Guy Ritchie, gave birth to son Rocco and moved to England where she attempted to adopt the mantle of landed gentry, even going as far as buying her own little in-house African – a baby boy she ‘adopted’ in Malawi and named David. But it seems the Noughties were a confusing period for Madonna. This was a period where she attempted to be an English wife, an orphan rescuer and a Kabala spiritualist, but still found time to give Britney Spears a tongues-in kiss on stage to grab some attention. But what is it all about? What is Madonna’s message? Does Madonna really have a message? And if she does have a message is it simply, “Buy my records, come to my shows and look at me, damn you”?

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I really don’t know what Madonna’s message has been over the years. After all that slutting about on and off stage, the whole English Ma’am period seemed like some sort of penance. A last snatch (no pun intended) at respectability before entering middle age. But clearly she’s fallen off the wagon. The publicity lure of the lewd and lurid is too much of a draw for the world’s greatest exhibitionist, and even at the age of 54 she still feels the need to strip off and gyrate around the stage in front of thousands of people. Why she still does it I can only guess. She certainly doesn’t need the money or the fame, so perhaps she just needs to be seen. I just can’t figure out what the deep message is that she’s promoting. Sting was a muso-eco-warrior, Bono has his politics, 50 Cent has his street cred and Noel Gallagher has Man City. Madonna has conical bra’s and extravagant outfits, spiritualism and muscular body image, extravagant outfits and gay friends, concerns for poverty in Africa and sexual liberation, lots of hairdo’s, lots of sex and lots of publicity – but where has she been going with it all?

Apart from sex, erotica and publicity, I can’t really see a common thread in Madonna’s ethical causes, which is what makes me wonder if there really is any. Sure she has inspired millions across the globe and will legitimately lay her claim as one of the 20th centuries greatest female icons and exponent of sexual liberation, but I just find no ethical cohesion in it all. The positive stuff seems simply to be a bi-product of the marketing of Madonna and her pathological need for celebrity attention. If she had have retired and opened a legal whorehouse in Nevada and campaigned for reform in the laws governing the sex industry and greater efforts to combat sex trafficking around the world, I would have felt like I understood the woman better and had a greater respect for her. But all I see is someone who is pushing an envelope that was opened and had its contents exposed years ago. Someone who is in denial of an intractable fact of the female aesthetic – youth is beauty. This is something that is embedded in the biological gene pool of the human species and not even Madonna can change that – but then again maybe she isn’t, I just don’t know. I just wish she would stop. Just go away and leave me with the images of the 80’s and 90’s. Continually being reminded that Madonna is still performing the same sex routine messes with my sense of chronological equilibrium. Go and sit by a piano and do acapella covers to old classics, just stop thrusting your gusset out at us all for chrissakes.

* I have deliberately refrained from including pictures of Madge in this post, you know what she looks like.

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Young, Gifted and Dope

I’ve spent many years working around young people and I think it’s great the way they interact with technology. If you are a parent you’ll know that children demand all kinds of stuff that they tell you they ‘need’. If you are a conventional parent, you will give your children that stuff – eventually. Not because they really do need it, and not because it will make them happy, but probably out of peer pressure. The other parents that you know got their children that stuff and because you don’t want to lose face you got that stuff for your child too didn’t you? Go on, admit it. Well in the words of Lawrence Krisna Parker (aka. KRS One) ‘Make sure you got what you need and keep at a safe distance the things that you want. It’s want’s that get you into trouble.”

A 5 year old doesn’t need their own flat screen TV in their bedroom any more than an 8 year old needs a state of the art laptop to do their homework on, or a 12 year old needs a smartphone with GPS and super quad core processer and the capacity to store over a thousand telephone numbers. They all want them though – no – they demand them.

If you get your child a 37″ LED Smart TV to hang in their room, they will use it to watch the variety of mind-polluting garbage on TV in between bouts of playing health and mind defeating video games. You may buy them the latest MacBook Pro or sleek touch screen tablet in the belief that they are utilising the latest software to do all important school and college work. They aren’t; they’re either watching porn or spreading rumours on MSN and Facebook – that’s why someone threw a brick through your window last night and left a turd wrapped in flaming newspaper on your doorstep this morning. If you get your child the latest, fully loaded smartphone, that has a music player, calendar, organiser and alarm notifications, as well as Facebook and Twitter and the capacity to download hundreds of thousands of apps that perform a whole host of amazing functions like converting units of measurement, translating languages, giving map directions, first aid advice – you can even get an app that helps you set your own training regime and tells you how well your fitness routine is developing – but most of your spoilt, misguided, little shits won’t even answer that phone that you bought when you call. And as they rise up through their teens, they’ll either forget every appointment they have, or just never turn up to anything on time. They’ll also lose the ability to write properly, because after texting in acronymical, abbreviated, code for so long, they will be barely able to write a message in their own language let alone a foreign one. As for using the GPS, they can’t find anywhere unless you give them money and put them in a taxi.

A group of young people utilising the advanced technology at their disposal to laugh at a YouTube video of their friend Ashley who stuck his pet terrapin up his bum as part of a drinking game and then started crying because its head came off when he tried to pull it out – these kids will go far – unlike Ashley’s terrapin. Although the video did go viral and now agents are emailing Ashley to interview him. But Ashley never answers his emails because he only communicates via Facebook and BB.

I jest to some degree, but young un’s – are you fucking stupid? Your laptops, tablets, mobile phones – such magical tools of technology at your fingertips that the mere possession of would have had you burnt at the stake for heresy (that’s heh-reh-see, not hearsay) a hundred years ago – and all you want to do is update your status and take photos!

Updating your status is less likely to put money in your pocket than setting up your email and responding to enquiries from professional people. Proliferation of gossip only earns you income if you write for a column in a magazine or for some media organisation (FYI – this is not going happen if you never respond to your emails because you’re too busy responding to shit on Facebook and Twitter).

Unless you’re doing it for a living, proliferation of gossip (look up ‘proliferation’ with your Dictionary app… Yeah, you haven’t got one installed have you?) is more likely to earn you a smashed glass in the face one night when you’re out on the town, because you spread some uncorroborated nasty rumour on Twitter about some guy that some girl that some friends don’t like, gave head to in a toilet, and he only had a small penis that looked like Jeremy Kyle smiling. The fact that nobody knows if the rumour is true isn’t important – the scar left on the side of your face after getting viciously glassed and having the wound stitched up by a tired and irritated doctor in ER will be pretty important though.

Charging your phone helps to make the battery power increase which makes your phone work. Not losing your phone helps you to use it.

If you’re a parent with a child and you buy that kid some expensive phone that does all manner of magical, wondrous things, but he/she never answers it, is always late for everything and has his/her head buried into it 24/7 – take it off them and give them a £10 burner. Better still, take it off them, smash it into a thousand pieces, take a photo of those pieces with your smartphone and share those photos with your friends and theirs on Twitter and Facebook – that’s if you know how. The agony of your child not being able to share in this distribution of banality will have the same affect as torture, and you will be in a great position to coerce your child into doing all those things the little shit should do for you anyway. That’s unless they go all Columbine on yo’ ass and then you’re in trouble.