Or to be more precise, here’s a very awkward interview with an out-of-drag Glenn Harris Milstead on the British music television show The Tube, from 1983, which is followed by an excellent performance by Divine of her club hit “Shake It Up.”
While it’s understandable that straight-laced, square TV presenters might not know what to make of Divine (whose very raison d’être was to make people laugh by overturning preconceptions of gender and beauty), you would expect the producers of a supposedly hip, youth-oriented TV show like The Tube to be a bit more switched on.
Instead we get an interview by the bumbling Muriel Grey in which she suggests that Divine is insecure, repulsive, and somehow an affront to women. The hapless Grey comes across as the dullest of squares in this clip, which I guess is a danger to be considered when you go up against a glamor icon like Divine, but unfortunately Grey has previous form in conducting cringe-worthy interviews.
Thankfully, Milstead takes it all in his rather large stride, and reacts with the grace befitting a true star:
When asked how he felt about the fact he’d received £400,000 to make Caravaggio in 1986, and the director of Chariots of Fire, Hugh Hudson had received 4 million to make his film, Derek Jarman replied, ‘Fortunately, I’m one hundred times more intelligent than Hugh Hudson, so it doesn’t matter.’
It certainly didn’t matter as Jarman’s output, during his 20-year career, pisses from a great height on Hudson’s work. What Jarman would have made of this year’s London Olympics, with its recurring reference to Chariots of Fire, would certainly have been interesting. Yet, Jarman was never fooled by his position as an outsider, he was well aware that there ‘is a complicity between the avant-garde and the establishment, it’s symbiotic, they need each other,’ as he explained to Peter Culshaw in the NME, April, 1986.
‘..all avant-garde gestures have been appropriated by just those people they sought to undermine. Dada was conceived as a full-scale assault and now Dada sells for millions. But what people never point out about me is that I’m probably the most conservative film-maker in the country. I’m not talking about Thatcherite-radical conservatives, who are anti-traditional and destructive, and who see progress as heaven, I mean more like the conservatism of groups like the Green Party.’
The artist Caravaggio fascinated Jarman, because ‘he was the most inspired religious painter of the Middle Ages and was also a murderer.’
‘Imagine if Shakespeare had been a murderer - it would completely alter the way we see his plays. [Caravaggio] was particularly taken to heart by the Romans because he painted real people. The girl next door was Mary Magdalen. Or in Death of a Virgin he painted a well-known prostitute as a virgin. It was the equivalent of Christine Keeler being put up over the high altar at Westminster Abbey.’
Jarman felt a tremendous parallel between Caravaggio and his own life, and he believed that ‘the cinema of the product precludes individual voices…’
‘...and I think unless one can put one’s own voice into a film, then there’s an element of dishonesty in it.’
In this short interview Derek Jarman talks about his life and films, Caravaggio, The Last of England and War Requiem, taken from Spanish TV’s Metropolis from 1989.
While one more rendition of “Bohemian Rhapsody” might be enough to drive one to Queen overload (as if that is humanly possibly), when we remember that “Western Music” is forbidden in Iran, and homosexuality is punishable by death, the sight of Iranian men and women (badly) singing a Queen song takes on new meaning.
In 1979, the Islamic Revolution spurred a rejection of all things “Western,” and rock ‘n’ roll was one of its causalities. Until the 90’s, all rock music was banned. Today most Iranian rock bands operate underground or flee to other countries to play (like New York’s own The Yellow Dogs). Some rockers skirt the rules by placing traditional Persian poetry over classic rock melodies. Others play instrumental music (metal is big), or write fairly “safe” lyrics in Farsi and submit them for approval from the Ministry of Culture.
So why were the Iranian representatives for the World Choir Games able to perform Queen? Well, Freddie Mercury, also known as Farrokh Bulsara, was Parsi, a Persian ethnic group that commonly practices Zoroastrianism. Growing up in India and Zanzibar, Mercury’s Zoroastrian funeral was noted after his death, but his ethnic identity was never a secret. Illegal Queen bootlegs have been floating around Iran forever, but in 2004, the first legal classic rock album was released, Queen’s Greatest Hits.
There were even translations of the songs in the liner notes, though “Bohemian Rhapsody” already had the Arabic word for God (“Bismillah”) proclaimed by the protagonist in a plea for redemption. Love songs (and presumably “Fat-Bottomed Girls”) were cut, but Mercury’s heritage and underground Queen fans greased the wheels for the Ministry of Culture. With a bisexual frontman and a sound steeped in American rock ‘n’ roll, Queen’s connection to the Persian world has been lauded by Iranian rockers since the beginning.
We couldn’t let the occasion of Lady Bunny’s birthday pass without doing a post to mark it (even if it was yesterday.) She ain’t no spring chicken, but she’s as rulin’ as ever.
And here’s the proof, some seldom-seen footage of Lady Bunny performing in 1986, filmed by New York nightlife chronicler, and friend of DM, Nelson Sullivan. The “psychedelic disco” act is called SHAZORK and also features Sister Dimension and DJ Dmitry (later of Deee-Lite.) Who knew Bunny could sing this well? And I love Sister Dimension’s smurf-like outfit!
Covergirl are part of a new wave of politically-minded, queer/gay/femme/whatever-core bands that are popping up all over the UK (and the world, in fact) and sowing the seeds of a new, healthy, d.i.y. underground scene.
Covergirl take their musical cues in part from post-punk and post-disco, mixing up raw guitars and wailing synths with insistent, driving rhythms. Their outlook comes from Riot Grrrl, punk 7"s and zine-culture, but by way of the no-budget-yet-glamorous catwalking of RuPaul and the queens of Paris Is Burning. Their name, in fact, comes from a RuPaul song, but don’t let that fool you. The band has more in common with the ripped-up-punk-drag of RuPaul 25 years ago than it does with today’s polished TV host.
I was lucky enough to catch Covergirl live in London a few months ago (when they bizarrely asked Joyce D’Vision to open for them) and can report back that they are blinding. Now Dangerous Minds is lucky enough to get a world exclusive from the band, the premiere of their new video “Ice Father Nation”. On top of which, I sent Covergirl’s co-leader Andrew Milk some questions to get his head around for our readers:
Describe Covergirl to me in a dozen words or less:
A post-punk-party band. Serious about having fun.
What was the inspiration to form the band and when did you start?
I think we started in 2010, I guess spurred on by our other bands having recently broken up or being on hiatus at the time and wanting to do something new.
Can you tell me a bit more about Tuff Enuff, the label this is coming out on?
‘Tuff Enuff Records’ has appeared out of the Riots Not Diets collective in Brighton. Our friend Toby runs it and puts on awesome gigs/film screenings and more! ‘Ice Father Nation’ is taken from their first ever release, “Why Diet When You Can Riot”, a compilation 12”. I’m sure they have plans to release more. their website says ‘descended from Irrk’ - which is a legendary, but little known queer/feminist record label some amazing people ran in the early/mid-Noughties. Serious pedigree!
Who else is featured on the release?
Halo Halo, Ste McCabe, Skinny Girl Diet - so many amazing bands, you can check them all out on the bandcamp page.
I’ve heard a lot about Power Lunches, the venue featured in the video - can you tell me more about it?
It’s an independent venue in East London, run by a pal of ours. She’s a musician and wanted a space that worked as an affordable practice room/gig venue where you could get great and healthy food instead of the usual things you’d eat as a cash strapped musician (crisps and a Tesco sandwich.) A pretty specific dream, but what’s the point of putting the hard slog in if it’s not for something you’d really want for yourself? it’s a cafe/bar upstairs and an ‘intimate’ sweat box of a venue downstairs. Lots of bands and promoters have got behind it which is great. it’s our home away from home.
And how is the East London scene in general at the moment? How are the Olympics going down there?
The Olympics are weirdly not affecting us that much, it does feel a little quiet but i think that always happens this time of year, people stay out, drinking in parks, not putting on or going to gigs. Also i think the same amount of people left London as have come in… So if you’re not in the vicinity of the Olympic Village or whatever, it’s pretty empty. The weirdest thing is being able to see this nuclear glow covering Stratford from the balcony of my flat.
Andrew also runs the rather fine Milk Records, who have released music by Woolf, Trash Kit, Ultimate Thrush and the mighty Divorce. You can check Milk Records here, but in the meantime, here’s the video for Covergirl’s “Ice Father Nation”:
“5 years ago, I was disowned via letter when I came out to my father. This is how hate sounds.”
If you’re having trouble reading the letter, you can find a larger version here.
The most popular response came from the father of an adopted gay son, who goes by the handle, newvideoaz, apparently his first post on reddit. I think you’ll agree that it’s a pretty remarkable retort:
I’m the adoptive dad of a kid who came out when he was about 15. Yeah it’s sometimes difficult when this happens because no parent wants to see a kid we love get hurt - and like it or not - being gay can mean some people will wish you ill simply for who you are.
And that’s hard for any parent. But it’s no excuse.
As an adoptive parent, I’m not my kids “father.” That’s biological. But I am his Dad. Because “Dad” isn’t something that’s actually biological, it’s something you have to earn.
With my son , I started to earn it the day he was born, but it was pretty easy until his second year when he had an accident and got hurt. The doctor in the ER strapped him to the “papoose board” to immobilize him and was about to start stitching up his head when he told me it was time for me to let go of his little hand. He looked up at me and whatever he saw in my face, he instantly said “or you can stay I guess.” I have no clue what he saw, except the fact that getting me to let go of that tiny hand was about as possible one of us jumping up through the ceiling to the moon.
The lesson for me that day is that any idiot can be a father (and clearly many are) but you’ve got to EARN being a Dad.
When my son came out to us, same deal. I was concerned, because I never had to deal with it before in someone I love. But we simply hooked him up with 1 in 10 and went on with our lives.
So here’s the opinion of someone who’s been in your dad’s shoes, but didn’t have his sad mental baggage.
Your dad failed a really huge parenting test. Period.
So now he’s self selected to be your father, but not to be your Dad. That sucks. And the really sad thing is that he has absolutely no freaking clue about the real value of what he’s tossed away.
He’ll always be your father. That’s biology. But biology is fickle. We know this because while he has perhaps passed a lot to you via DNA, he did NOT pass along intolerance or stupidity. He can “disown” you in his brain all he likes, but that doesn’t mean much because he’s already proved that whatever his strengths might be, he’s allowed his thought processes and natural instincts to become seriously flawed. How you feel about him. Hurt, sad, angry, disappointed, that’s yours to shuffle as you see fit.
But trust me, this is about him, not you. I actually hope that someday he gets a change to look deeply in his heart and comes to understand how horribly, terribly he screwed this up. If so, he’ll maybe have a chance to start some personal redemption and healing. But he needs that. You don’t.
Cuz there’s nothing wrong with you. At all.
Stay strong. Take care. The world is changing fast. And for more people than ever, gay and straight, it’s changing more toward love and away from fear - at least in this particular area.
As they say on the Internet: ONIONS!
Of course, reddit being reddit, a couple of quipsters threw in some zingers:
“You should to his funeral and read that letter as your speech.”
“This would be the greatest ‘fuck you’ ever. Oh my god I’m so giddy right now.”
“And have it buried with him.”
“Burn it. And while it’s on fire, throw it in his casket. That guy doesn’t deserve the casket he’s in.”
Can’t say I disagree. What a fucking small-minded dickhead. I sincerely hope that he is made aware of how he’s being ridiculed. He, at the very, very least deserves that knowledge.
Yes, you read that correctly: A fucking idiot in a pink shirt who closely resembles a young Rip Taylor decided to protest marriage equality and the General Mills corporation’s support of gay rights by attempting to burn some Cheerios… before it all goes horribly wrong.
As one commentor wrote:
“He had to buy those Cheerios first, before torching them… I wonder if it occurred to him that in doing that he was supporting the company he was protesting against.”
I don’t really think much of anything ever occurs to goofy cereal arsonist Colonel Manboobs here…
People turned out to support Chic-fil-A this week because of their principles and beliefs, that much should be obvious by now. Less obvious is just what those principles and beliefs are, exactly.
Well, here’s our chance to find out, thanks to YouTube uploader Liberalegg. She describes this video in her own words:
I ask people at Chick-fil-A some simple questions. At least… I thought they were simple enough, until they tried to answer.
In terms of the name calling, this video was not intended as hard-hitting journalism. It was just something funny for my friends, I never expected so many people to see it. I think the video would have been more effective had I allowed them to speak for themselves.
I apologize for the background noise; captions are available (just press the little cc button at the bottom right of the player).
Indeed, this video IS better with captions, as the sound is slightly off in parts. And also, because it means we get to hear and see the COMPLETE IDIOCY of the people involved in this “movement.”
There’s not much more to be said, as these people are saying it all themselves. Just sit back and have a good laugh: