Throwback Thursday: Chaka Demus & Pliers – Murder She Wrote

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Here heralds the beginning of a new segment called Throwback Thursday, where we celebrate some of the best songs you had temporarily forgotten about. The first song to kick off this new series is Murder She Wrote by Chaka Demus and Pliers, which you will all remember from your childhoods as being the theme tune to a classic murder mystery series starring Angela Lansbury [citation needed]. I requested for this to be played at my friend’s house party on New Year’s Eve last year, only to find that my boyfriend’s friend had never heard of Chaka Demus and Pliers before, which I found deeply troubling on a psychological level very surprising.

As the lyrics clearly state, this one is dedicated to the girls with the angel faces and the devil hearts.

New music Monday: Lorde – Royals

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What does a track need in order to become the undisputed song of the summer? What special ingredients need to be thrown together to create a Call Me Maybe-level monster hit? Perhaps a belter of a chorus, a hilarious dance routine, a nice video with lots of pretty young ladies with their breasticles out? Could a sophisticated slow jam like Lorde’s Royals – a grower, not a show-er – ever beat the likes of Get Lucky and Blurred Lines to the top of the charts and into our collective hearts? Probably not, but if you ‘crave a different kind of buzz’, as the sixteen year old New Zealander sings, you could do a lot worse than to download this sparse and soulful finger-snapper. Sometimes it’s the still waters that pull you in the deepest. I felt similar things about Kendrick Lamar’s Swimming Pools, and I was drowning in that one for months.

Oh, go blue yourselves

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Portia de Rossi

Also this week in ‘let’s give thin and beautiful famous women a hard time about how they look because oh isn’t it so sad how they feel they need to look a certain way to stay famous and successful’ news, there are apparently some Arrested Development viewers who feel that Portia De Rossi’s weight loss and possible plastic surgery is ‘distracting’ them from being fully engrossed in the new season; as though having a nose job, a bit of botox and an eyebrow lift somehow inhibits her ability to play a 40something spoilt and shallow sexually desperate youth-obsessed rich bitch with more money than sense?

5 pieces of pop culture that helped me through hard times

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Persepolis (2007)

Of all the scenes in the film adaption of Marjane Satrapi’s autobiographical graphic novel, the one that made the biggest impression on me was when the teenage Marji takes to her bed after she discovers her boyfriend has cheated on her.  She is upset that he betrayed her, upset that she ever loved him, and upset that she’s upset.  She is distraught that, after a life of hardship, spending her adolescence escaping the shadows of oppression and tragedy – the Iran/Iraq war, being separated from her parents in her early teens, the torture and murder of her favourite uncle – breaking up with some spotty twerp has driven her to attempt suicide.  Among the lessons that Persepolis helped teach me is the realisation that our emotions don’t react in predictable ways.  It is easy to imagine that that day you experience a tragedy is as tough as it gets, and each day after that is a little easier.  It doesn’t work like that.  You can fight through a war and let teenage heartache knock you for six.

So What – Pink

I can’t imagine how hard it must be to tell everyone you know that you’re splitting up with your husband after only a couple of years of marriage.  I especially can’t imagine how hard it must be to tell everyone who knows you that you’re splitting up with your husband after only a couple of years of marriage when you’re one of the most famous pop stars in the entire world.   With that in mind, it takes gigantic ladyballs to not only release a song about it (with the opening line ‘I guess I just lost my husband, I don’t know where he went…’) , but also to release a video for that song in which you sing it to said husband and mime strangling him (and also appear naked from behind while doing some sort of T-Rex dance?  And have a 1990s Nicholas Cage doppelganger set fire to your hair?  Whatevs, it’s a weird video.)  One time when I was feeling very low, I put this song on repeat for about an hour and a half and told myself that I’m still a rockstar too goddammit.  Bonus awesomeness: they’re now married again, and have a baby together.

Beginners (2011)

I watched this film for the first time on New Year’s Day, 2012.  Having had a few friends over the night before, I spent the day alone, hungover and tired, eating re-heated leftover mozzarella sticks in a filthy apartment, thinking about New Year’s Resolutions and all of the uncomfortable self-questioning that comes with them.  That evening, I downloaded this wonderful little movie about an elderly man (Christopher Plummer) who comes out as gay after his wife of 44 years passes away, and chases love with all the energy and enthusiasm of a man a quarter of his age.  The film is based on director Mike Mills’ own experiences of his father coming out at the age of 75.  Watch it next time you’re feeling inadequate about what you have achieved during the short time you have been on this earth.

Invisible Monsters – Chuck Palahniuk

‘”Now,” those Plumbago lips say, “You are going to tell me your story like you just did.  Write it all down.  Tell that story over and over.  Tell me your sad-assed story all night.”  That Brandy queen points a long bony finger at me.

‘”When you understand,” Brandy says, “that what you’re telling is just a story.  It isn’t happening anymore.  When you realise the story you’re telling is just words, when you can just crumble it up and throw your past in the trashcan,” Brandy says, “then we’ll figure out who you’re going to be.”‘

I want that whole passage tattooed inside my eyelids.

Peep Show

This British sitcom is perfect for when you have done something you regret and need to put it into perspective.  Next time you do something awful and/or embarrassing, you should try what I shall call ‘The Jez Test’: assessing your actions against those of Jeremy from Peep Show to see which is worse.

The Jez Test:

  • Have you tried to run over your girlfriend’s lesbian fiance accidentally on purpose?
  • Have you accidentally killed your girlfriend’s dog, set fire to it to dispose of the remains, and eaten a bite of its charred leg in front of her?
  • Have you bested a love rival by pooing in the pool of the gym he works at, and blaming it on him?

No?  It’s probably fine then, you shouldn’t worry about it.

15 shows within shows that should exist in the real world

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All My Circuits (Futurama) – long-running robot melodrama

Skirmish (I’m Alan Partridge) – military-based quiz show on UK Conquest, presented by Alan Partridge

The Sideboob Hour (Family Guy) – reasonably self-explanatory

Everybody Loves Hypnotoad (Futurama) – reasonably self-explanatory

Tlentifini Maarhaysu (Look Around You) – reasonably self-explanatory.  (I’m not sure whether it’s meant to be a regular series or just a special event for St. Frankenstein’s Day – it is broadcast before the St. Frankenstein’s Day service at Dracula’s Cathedral)

Terrence and Phillip (South Park) – Canada’s most famous exports are best known for their gross-out humour, but they do occasionally foray into drama – as in the suspense-filled Not Without My Anus.

Albi the Racist Dragon (Flight of the Conchords) – everyone’s favourite racist (not any more!) dragon teaches Bret and Jemaine how to be less prejudiced (and that dragon tears turn into jelly beans).

Monkfish (The Fast Show) – fast-paced drama about a tough, uncompromising detective/doctor/Spanish detective/veterinarian/pair of detective identical twins.  His old-fashioned, chauvinist values may have fallen out of favour in recent years, but boy, he knows how to get results (we assume – we only ever see the bit where he rushes to the crime scene and tells a random woman to put her knickers on and make him a cup of tea).

Skanky Housewives (Rick and Steve) – animated parody with none of the plausible storylines, likeable characters or good taste that Desperate Housewives was burdened with.

Queen of Jordan (30 Rock) – can something really be called a parody when it’s less ridiculous than the show it’s parodying (The Real Housewives of Atlanta)? Nevertheless, I WOULD WATCH THAT.

Cookie Party (The Sarah Silverman Program) – it’s about cookies.  Viewers get to phone in and vote for their favourite cookie.  And that’s it.  Every woman I know would watch this.

Pet Surprise (Black Books)Pet Surprise?  What’s that?  Oh you know the thing, they take the dog out for a walk, it thinks it’s a normal walk, but when they come back, the kennel has a patio and french doors, and they take the blindfold off, and he’s like “Oh my god!”  Who wouldn’t watch that?

Estonia’s X Factor (Vic & Bob’s Lucky Sexy Winners) – because these guys won it:

TGS with Tracy Jordan (30 Rock) – mostly for Prince William and Prince: Time-Travelling Fart Detectives, which deserves its own spin-off.

Absolutely anything else from 30 Rock: Los Amantes Clandestinos, Dealbreakers, MILF Island, Bitch Hunter, Are You Stronger Than a Dog?, America’s Next Top Pirate, Right On, The Joey Montero Show, Alfie and Abner, The Gruber Brother and Nipsey, The Vondella Show, America’s Kidz Got Singing, Gold Case, Grizz n’ Hers and God Cop.