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.

We Like To Party Hard.

I like to boogie. Everyone should. Music is food for the soul and whatever you’re into you should get into it. I’m no international jetsetter but I’ve partied in some fantastic clubs and places around the world, and been to some jawdropping venues in places as cool and diverse as Berlin, Barcelona, Marbella, Marrakesh, Rio, Rome, Amsterdam, Stockholm and of course Ibiza. Yet despite being accepted in some of the most impressive venues in the world and partying with some of the coolest people to the best Dj’s alongside some of the most beautiful South American and Eastern European prostitutes that a wealthy man’s money can buy; the only place I have ever had issues getting through the door is in England!

“This is England not Ibiza, now f**k off.”

This bizarre irony baffles me. How is it that despite being accepted at great venues with great music and beautiful people, when I’m in my own country and I go to some dive in some shitdog town filled with pissed up knobheads and overweight, trampy, women drinking alcopops, that I have to suffer the indignity of some moronic meathead questioning my attire. I’m stood outside a venue and there is a paramedic who is trying to get some sense out of a drunken inbred looking twat who’s lumpy fat skank of a girlfriend who has just been ejected from the venue, has spewed up and passed out face first onto the pavement into a pool of her own vomit – and the doormonkey is telling me that I can’t get in because I’m wearing a hat!

No trainers, no Prada, no Stone Island, no Armani, no t-shirts, no shirts, no jeans, no sportswear, no stripes (I shit you not) – you really have to hear it to believe it. You could say that this is just what to expect in a provincial small town where to ‘put a donk on it’ is the pinnacle of musical innovation, but “no stripes” came at the door of a Manchester venue that has been rated as one of the top 10 clubs in the world! Either way it’s still no excuse.

“Sorry love if you don’t put them away your gonna have to leave.”

I went to a club in a little town about an hour up the coast from Barcelona. The venue was designed like an aeroplane that had crashed into the side of the mountain it was set in. It had a long outdoor balcony that jutted out off the edge of the hillside and was full of beautiful little Spanish people. We strolled into this busy venue, unquestioned, at around 3am, paid €5 entry, sat on the balcony smoking weed and drinking large vodka red bulls, then staggered home in the early hours of the morning without getting attacked or rained on. I’ve been on nights out in England where people have ran screaming for the exits because a gun fight broke out. I’ve been to a venue where a man was sexually assaulted in the toilet. I’ve been to a venue where I watched a gang of ugly skanks beat the living shit out of some other girl with wine bottles. I’ve been to places in England where there have been mass brawls, stabbings, beatings, rapes, deaths, Premier League footballers pulling their cock out and pissing on the floor – the lot. None of these incidents were caused by someone wearing a hat or a stripey top.

Shorts, trainers, hats and even stripes! Security here is shoddy and any minute now some dancing is gonna break out

I went to a venue that was hosting a Circo Loco night in Manchester. This venue (now closed) had a reputation for not being Black-Guy friendly, but having been to the original Circo Loco at DC10 in Ibiza I was looking forward to it. The excuse for refusal of entry that my Kenyan friend and I were given was that we weren’t dressed right. I suggested that it was impossible to change the colour of your skin for a night out, which didn’t really help. However, if you have been to DC10 in Ibiza, not dressing right – not being right – is par for the course. Muscle bound ravers dressed as women and people in clown masks are just some of the acceptable outfits that are allowed. It is the sheer unbridled hedonism and joy of the music that makes the night world famous – but apparently not at Area 51.

How to party at DC10 in Ibiza – but don’t try this at home!

So you think to yourself, I’ll stay away from places like Royston Vasey and avoid the normal city centre clubs and opt for the expense and exclusivity of a Celebrity Slush Pit. But it’s an English disease I’m afraid and these ‘exclusive’ venues are not immune – and it isn’t necessarily the punters you have to be wary of. Panacea is the spot for the rich and famous in Manchester, yet a few years ago the club manager Joe Akka battered an old man outside the venue leaving him with a fist sized dent in his skull. This guy was an ex-stuntman who had survived that perilous industry all his life, but it seems going for a few drinks in England was a stunt too far.

Then there are the ‘celebrity’ punters themselves. Earlier this year The Circle Club was the scene of a brawl involving everyone’s favourite footballer El Hadj Diouf (they even hate him in his home country of Senegal and neighbouring Gambia). The Circle Club is another regular for what we now call celebrities – soap stars, footballers and… erm… reality TV people I guess. It’s actually a cool little venue with very nice doormen. But after an ‘incident’ where a man was left bleeding from the neck in the street, they now have to serve their drinks in plastic cups and stick champagne bottles firmly to tables so that they cannot be used as weapons. Classy!

I don’t know what the fuck is up with us, but it isn’t just binge drinking. Perhaps it’s just the genetic remnants of our raping and pillaging Viking ancestors, I really don’t know. So I asked an English friend of mine who has been living in various places in Europe over the last 10 years. He told me that in places like Holland, Spain and Germany there is a genuine fear of the British. The Spanish think we are “loco”, the Dutch think we are “cool” but “fucking crazy man”, the Germans just think we are shit at football, but our women are an easy lay.

Another night of fun and frolics in the UK!

I can’t say for certain that other nations don’t have weekly nightmarish scenarios played out in their bars and clubs, but I can say for certain that I never have a problem with doormen or violent, drunken idiots in those other countries. I can also say that there are some great little spots to go out in England, but you have to know where they are. In my experience, if you follow the crowd that follows the music they love and stick to those intimate little nights that have a following, you’re in relatively safe hands. Avoid anywhere that serves drinks in plastic cups, has a team of doormen at the door or pools of vomit outside. A good venue with a good crowd doesn’t need an army of sted-swallowing, UFC obsessed, pseudo-gay doormen manning the entrance. Look for two, well-built blokes, dressed in black who are smiling and enjoying their work. The other option is to get some tunes playing at one of your mates’ places, invite your friends around, get some drinks and drugs in, and enjoy good company. If you need to get laid then get on the phone to some hookers, give them some sniff and they’ll probably stay the night and do one or two of your mates for free. That’s what they do in Amsterdam anyway, but that’s another country.

Great Nights Out – Newcastle (England) or Stockholm (Sweden) – you decide.