URGENT REVIEW: Kylie Minogue - Timebomb


WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KYLIE (again)

Tip: Playing the song whilst reading this blog post will transport you into the smoking area of Heaven.

Right, simmer down all, we've got a new Kylie song to discuss. It's been out for six days but how the fuck would we know - we've been getting pissed on the Heath for four days having potato salad fights and playing frisby with Caroline Quentin. Pop stars need to tell us these things. What is this culture of just chucking lead singles onto YouTube like corn into a chicken pen. We need warnings, we need Kylie's face blown-up and concaved into a tube tunnel.

So, Kylie is the latest pop titan to push out a London video. We're talking Kylie clattering down Old Compton St grinning at clones, Kylie zooming backwards at high speed down Oxford Circus a la Ray Of Light sending Costa cups shitting up the windows of Uniqlo, Kylie storming up and down the changing rooms in New Look, Kylie over-taking the N29 bus, Kylie debating with Nick Clegg, if you look carefully you can even see Amy Winehouse leaning against a pillar box (parts of Kylie's videos are filmed several years prior in order to keep her looking whatever abstract age she is supposed to be - 43? 38? 10? I've stopped sending cards)

I don't know why everyone's obsessed with bagging themselves a video in London, it's not as if the Diamond Jubilee and the London Olympics are going to drive iTunes sales amongst pre-pubescents in Connecticut. If someone has written about this academically then please link me up. What's the London obsession? Use your own back yard! I think Usher should buck the trend and film his next video in the Scottish Highlands, kilt billowing, with porridge product placement and Tilda Swinton on bag pipes.

"And to everyone who's going on about how they've all got these London videos, like Britney and Rihanna and what-not can I just point out that, yes, that is the case, but this is nothing new. This pond-hopping fascination defined the 1960s, thanks to The Beatles and Andy Warhol's Velvet Underground parties and of course the increase of air travel." - An old man I overheard talking on a bench yesterday by the Men's Pond on Hampstead Heath.

Quite interesting. If you'd like to re-read it in the voice of Ursula in the Little Mermaid you'll get the full effect. But yeah, apparently being obsessed with London is nothing new so Katy Perry may as well cancel her flight.

I quite like Kylie's video, especially the bit where she marches into some kind of back street refuse collection point wearing a tight denim skirt and throws herself against the wall and pokes her arse out like "Go on". We've all been there.

And the video's certainly better than Will.I.Am's London offering, what a joke, sat on the Southbank with a piano dressed like what I'm sure he thinks is topically monarchist but looks exactly like the people giving out cheese samples in the foyer of Morrisons:


I told Will he should have had Tower Bridge turn into a transformer. You expect a certain level of laser guns and Lego Technics when you watch a Will.I.Am video these days, anything to distract us from remembering that Fergie's not in it. He's gone round the wrong section of Hamley's hasn't he, his sunglasses are too dark, the nana.

STOP DEVIATING! BACK TO KYLIE! HERE SHE IS! DOING A DANCE! WHOO!

I don't like the aftermath of hope mixed with doubt that follows a new Kylie song either, that fortnight in which you pray the song will crystalise into some kind of timeless classic but deep down you know it's going to melt like an ice cube into that iTunes music library puddle of all her other material, where it will wait patiently for some kind of middle-aged self-elected DJ to come along at a future party in your kitchen and go "Ooh let's av that all yer luvvers one, ah I like that one, and then let's av La La La, and ooh Timebomb - wazz at? Let's av that, is that the one that goes Dance doobee doobee Dance?"

I really like Timebomb. I think it's sexy, fast-paced and has a great thumping loop, I'm sure many-a-blogger has compared it to poppers and I've already fallen into that dangerous trap of overplaying it. All of Kylie's songs get overplayed, she's such a premature ejaculator in that sense, which is why her album tracks often stand a better chance of longevity. Although I was out in G-A-Y Late last night and they didn't even play this, they're still playing All The Lovers which came out (astonishingly) just over two years ago.

Upon first hearing Timebomb I was in the garden and suddenly longed for like, a shag, on the lawn - this is an early indicator for me of a good pop song. The second time I heard Timebomb I was sat in the kitchen with my phone and I nearly hired a bouncy castle, crate of baby oil, and tore out the back five pages of Boyz magazine, gave them to the cleaner Mrs. Bishop and said "ALL OF THEM".

This is what we pay Kylie for. Three minutes of relentless, headless, explosive pop crackle that somehow dismantles your head and pours vodka and Disney Princess shower gel in. And the beat of Timebomb is pretty fucking heavy for wee Kylie, I bet even Robyn raised a drawn eyebrow when she first heard it in her timber house.

Timebomb is basically a smash-your-face-on-the-patio beat that combines the bass guitar clunk of Bodyrocker's I Like The Way You Move (a favourite of Wills and Kate apparently) with the death fuzz of Benny Benassi's Satisfaction (who hasn't copied that song this year?) all soaked in the gloop of whatever Madonna did last week and then dotted with a few gay "whoops" that echo Kylie's former song Nu-Di-Ty (a classic).

Back to the Timebomb video, another thing that surprised me was how Kylie's car in it is surprisingly anonymous:


Like yeah it says "Carrera" which faintly rings some kind of Scalextric bell in my head, but it's not the full-on advertising that we're used to. We're used to seeing Taio Cruz flapping a products and services brochure. I'm pretty sure Kylie used Lexus exhaust pipes for smoke machines on her last tour. Perhaps this is a new refined Kylie who doesn't want to dirty her hands with brands? Also, for the record, Kylie looks good on a motorbike - which also features in the video. Everyone loves a good motorbike scene, Gaga, Prince, Eddie Izzard, and probably Cher.

So. We've got time for one more paragraph, and that is my alternative video pitch for Kylie's Timebomb.

My alternative music video for Timebomb is set at Ascot and has Kylie raging in on a chariot, with a cavalry of naked men, and as they crash into a large open-plan outdoor catering area, Lords tumbling onto the floor in confusion someone coughs "What's going on?" and then Celia Imrie takes a cigarette out of her mouth and plainly says "It's Kylie" whilst The Queen looks on in horror. Then the song starts. Kylie grabs Prince Harry by the lapel of his tux and starts making out with him whilst Danni takes care of the singing. The naked men follow suit and start grabbing miscellaneous Etonians, donning their hats and tonguing them. Cash starts falling from the sky and then everyone breaks into a giant cross-dressed dance routine led by Boris Johnson in an Oscar De La Renta gown and with side-scenes of James Middleton in a Galliano headpiece, tights and heels throwing his leg over a hay bale. Then Clare Balding has a subtitle rap break. Then Kylie speeds off in a car laughing with Prince Harry in his pants on the backseat covered in meringue. Intercepted with shots of champagne flowing in front of sunshine and piles of cash still raining from the sky. Then Camilla chuckles and says "That was rather fun actually". Quick shot of two Etonians making out in a stable. And CUT. Now that would a be a London pop video Will.I.Am.

I give Timebomb 9 out of 10.

Ask me again in two weeks.

See ya. Wouldn't wanna be ya. xx

@jackcullenuk

P.s. We didn't really play frisby with Caroline Quentin. That was all just shameless star-fucker lies.


Uni Lad Mag: The Closet Man's Crumpet?



In February my attention was drawn to a student site called Uni Lad when the BBC ran a story stating that Uni Lad were accused of trivialising and making jokes about rape. Charges dropped and apologies seemingly accepted, three months later Uni Lad remains a wasp nest, thick with contentious stories that drink in the degradation of women. But Uni Lad had me a little bit hooked...

Firstly the name appealed. Uni Lad. I collect rare gay books and "Uni Lad" sounds just like the kind of pulp fiction that the Gay Man's Press distributed in the late 70s. You can picture it can't you. "Uni Lad": A young man's first term at university, the shared bathroom, sitting on the end of the bed knocking a cricket bat in, receiving essay feedback from a beady-eyed professor called Greaves. "Place your hands on the desk please Coleman."

Secondly I was disgusted by how despicable Uni Lad finds women who don't fit a certain template. Uni Lad flits between treating women like a University Challenge topic, and treating them like a pest. Uni Lad seems to forget that women make up half of the population. Sometimes Uni Lad hates girls with the real frothing of a Parisien designer having a hissy fit. More often Uni Lad's anger fancies itself as being quick-witted and comical, painting women as hapless charladies in the way that Somerset Maughan might have (but instead the jokes are never funny and have absolutely no aplomb).

There was something distantly familiar about Uni Lad. Then it hit me. The closet! Uni Lad is the blog embodiment of a bad teenage closet.

Which goes like this. Shout about women whilst craving cock. Slag off women, big up men, and describe women doing inappropriate things that you long to do - chiefly sucking cock. With its thirst for penis talk and constant discourse over naked men, could Uni Lad operate as an online anti-depressant pill for closet-cases? Is Uni Lad's loud racketing of banter a method of off-setting inner sexual turmoil and confusion? Is Uni Lad's incessant sharing of photos of men in compromising poses a way of building up a guilt-free porn stash? Is Uni Lad's attack on women a thinly-veiled jealousy? "Oh my!" I thought. Is Uni Lad ran by a bunch of rancid closets? Or even worse than the closet - a group of completely unwittingly repressed gays?

I'm sure that many lovely heterosexual men look at Uni Lad, enjoy its volley of tits jokes and comment on its photos without ever considering homosexual activitiy, unaware that they are feeding the maggots of closet trickery, because those readers are actually straight. (And someone could write a thesis on how Uni Lad damages the reputation of those straight men, confining them to its own small screwy two-dimensional fake-tanned puppet of masculinity that is animalistic, pumping with inaptitude and suffocatingly patriarchal - *and breath*). But inbetween Uni Lad's central narrative of ear-splittingly low-intellect fraternity threads another - blatant gayness.
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So I followed Uni Lad on Twitter for one month, May 2012, noting down the symptoms of the closet as and when they appeared. It is May 25th now, and I've had enough. The closet is such a poisonous and exhausting world. And remember - this is ONLY from May, and ONLY from Twitter. There's no time for the rest! For all I know Uni Lad's website might be an impressive exhibit of car crash editorial, flying high on some kind of inverted Warholian scale. Although I have my doubts.
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Here's my Top 10 Symptoms of The Gay Closeteria, as exhibited on Twitter in May 2012 by he who goes by the cock-thumping name of UNII LADDDDDDDD:

1) Directly inciting gay sex:

On the 3rd of May Uni Lad shared this picture with the caption "When spotting turns gay"



I showed this to my straight friend James. He said: "What - is the guy famous? Is it from a hidden camera show?". "No James, this photo in itself is supposed to be funny". James: "Oh"

Men in the closet enjoy talking about homosexuality A LOT. They're not getting it, so they're talking it, whilst genuinely straight boys are usually non-plussed about gay sex. Personally I encourage everyone to talk about gay sex to their hearts content. So does Uni Lad.

On the 21st of May Uni Lad tweeted about Brighton saying: "Brighton is full of sluts, but be careful of the willy-loving men, they are well disguised". I read out this to my straight friend Tom. He said: "Does he mean gay sluts? Brighton is the gay capital of Europe right, or is that Bournemouth? My advice would be don't go to gay bars and you'll be fine." I love the jaunty wobbly image that Uni Lad paints of "willy-loving men", like a Mr. Men character called Mr. Willy or something. Closet madness.

2)  Dicking around

A good way to vent the closet's thirst is to channel your horniness through jokes and games. On the 23rd of May Uni Lad tweeted this photograph running with the caption "Brave soldier lads dicking around". Can you think of a more gay sequence of 5 words? I can, but I'm massively gay.

I quite like this photo. It's hot. It's very, er, laddish. "Now let's take another one naked, THAT WOULD BE FUNNY, har har, *stomach is melting, please let me kiss your nipple*, har."

3) Touching the penis

Uni Lad likes to publish content related to touching men's cocks. Their first tweet in May was a rather poetic one: "That horrible wank when, as you finish, the camera zooms in on the man's penis". A non-sensical and fascinating thought that appeared on their Twitter out of nowhere. A symptom.

Uni Lad then shared this photo of a human Twister outfit which has been comically skewed to ensure a 75% chance of the player getting to fondle the boy's genital area:

I showed this to my gay friend Paul, he said: "That's fucking amazing, I wanna play!" I then showed it to my straight friend Ben, who said: "I don't think many girls would play that? But it's a good idea, probably designed by a paedophile"

4) Analysing the sexual performance of men

Uni Lad kindly takes it upon itself to understand the male sexual performance thoroughly. On the 15th of May Uni Lad tweeted: "During intercourse the male thrusts an average of 60 to 120 times"
...painting a mental tableau of a man thrusting forwards and backwards with a hard-on, his face perhaps lost in the intensity of sex...

Uni Lad then followed this up with "How many thrusts do you manage?". Classic closet-fodder here. Getting other men to confide in sex, to talk about their bodies, to confide in their bodies, to talk about their bodies having sex...

5) Focusing on semen

Sticking to their healthy interest in science, Uni Lad tweeted: "At around 15 calories per serving, sperm contains the same protein as the white of a large egg."
- Wow, thanks?

Interestingly egg whites are what boys eat for breakfast when they're body-building. This tweet is basically gay porn delivered in the voice of Stephen Fry. I love it.

Which brings me swiftly onto...

6) Uni Lad's adoration for Stephen Fry

Stephen Fry is great, and I in no way seek to claim him as gay community property, but he is a gay man that closet-cases can openly revel in, because Stephen Fry is public property. Uni Lad  really indulges in Stephen Fry, even though if Stephen Fry ever saw Uni Lad he would be completely repulsed by it. During May there were two Stephen Fry based tweets from Uni Lad. One focused on Fry's witty retort in the face of homophobic abuse: http://twitpic.com/9jiaex

So to be clear, I'm not saying liking Stephen Fry means you're a closet-case. Stephen Fry is for everyone. But. It's interesting isn't it...

7) Things going into mens arses

Life doesn't get more homosexual than the male anus being penetrated. Male anal penetration, whilst not part of all gay men's lives, has definitely got a placecard on the top table. (Not that I want to deter straight women from surprising their boyfriend occasionally with an unannounced thumb. He's got a G-spot there, let him use it). Anyway, Uni Lad loves a good joke about an object going into a bloke's arse.

Like this:


HAR HAR HAR! Fancy that! A thing going into a man's arse! HAR HAR H, oh wait, my boyfriend's calling me... brb.

8) Employing a niche gay referential framework

At its best Uni Lad reveals gifted insight into gay culture. Now I might be wrong here, but aren't glory holes something more for the gay man's scrap book? They started off in toilets, a same-sex enviroment, and I'm sure since then they have made a cameo in the odd straight porno or wo, but basically, my father doesn't know what a glory hole is, and my gay friends who are my father's age definitely will know what a glory hole is. Uni Lad posted this on the 12th of May:



Adding the joke "And is that a glory hole beneath the sign?". No. No it isn't. There's a glory hole in your local MacDonalds, but you knew that already didn't you Uni Lad?

9) Hating Caitlin Moran



Uni Lad is based in Plymouth, and I don't know how things go down there. But in London Caitlin Moran goes down pretty well. Sure, she's not for everyone, but by and large people want to buy Caitlin Moran a pint and chat to her about Bjork. So why does Uni Lad dislike Caitlin Moran? Is it the same reason that closet-cases dislike intelligent inquisitive women? The closet is a scary place. Once out of it you realise that A) the men you get are a lot hotter, and B) Caitlin Moran isn't that scary after all, I think she just wants stupid men to shut the fuck up and give clever girls their turn at making the odd global decision.

The Uni Lad Vs. Caitlin Moran saga is ongoing...

10) Things that only gay men consider

Sometimes Uni Lad shows its gay achilles heel. I relished these moments when they sprang up on Twitter throughout May.

On the 3rd of May they tweeted: "In the FHM shoot I swear Tulisa has been airbrushed". It was as if Perez Hilton had taken over the Uni Lad account. My mind was thrown back to boarding school, boys in the dorm tent-poling over the Maxim 100 Sexiest Women, and then me there on my bed thinking "Wow, Jeniffer Ellison's skin is so perfect, I wonder if it's been airbrushed?"

You've got to love Uni Lad for these 'true colours' moments.

Uni Lad shared this bizarre image which combines Finding Nemo with Carly Rae Jepsen's song 'Call Me Maybe'. I've shown this to six straight boys and not one of them was remotely interested! I think Uni Lad might have misjudged this one. Sometimes you accidentally open a closet door:


But then Uni Lad tweeted someone saying "You're about as useful as Anne Frank's drum kit". And the closet door was slammed tightly shut again.

Anyway.That's enough about Uni Lad. You get the idea. One month following @UniLadMag on Twitter. Uni Lad is a website that thinking people loathe, but a website that for me was an intriguing uber-cult-gay masochistic journey, a horse hair vest of itchy closet nostalgia, and a learning curve too - like who knew Plymouth has a university? And not only that, a university fulls of UNI LADS.

Here's to Uni Lad! Like unicorns, but even more phallic, and harder to find.

Let's finish with Uni Lad's favourite song 'Call Me Maybe'. I love the gay twist in the video, I wonder if Uni Lad does too? And I wonder if Carly is airbrushed at all in this...


Gay 1950s Fashion Show in London



The YouTube channel Vintage Fashions has just uploaded this video of a mens beachwear show from 1951. The outrageous and daring display contains leopard print thongs, geometric design high-rise trunks that reveal part of the buttocks, as well as other flambuoyant designs that are both progressive for a post-war era and ahead of their time by a good ten years.

As equally alarming as the clothes is the setting and the attitude of the models. Looking like Tarzan-esque gigolos the models parade around a very intimate "closet" style catwalk whilst stiff upper-lipped spectators sit only inches away, making the whole affair not unlike a hen night style male strip show:



Taken from the British Pathe film archive, you can watch the video here:



The narrator hands over his commentary to the fashion designer who he says is called Dale Cavanagh. I've done a little bit of online research and cannot find any reference to this designer, but instead only one called John Cavanagh. I'm not sure if this is therefore a mistake in the newsreel?

I can't find any documentation of John Cavanagh designing forward-thinking gay fashion items like this though, only more refined pieces and high society womenswear. Of course many fashion designers fluctuate between making fun collections that are close to their heart and more serious collections that pull in cash from haute couture clients.

Also in the video is a humorous piece that says "Battersea Park" on the front of the crotch and "South Bank" across the arse. A predecessor to the tongue-in-cheek slogans and text-play of contemporary gay designers John Galliano, Jeremy Scott and Henry Holland.

John Cavanagh designed a collection of clothes for the Queen's Coronation in 1953, whilst the gay collection in this video is clearly tied into the 1951 Festival of Britain (which is probably the reason British Pathe got away with filming such an eye-raising little fashion show!). This is perhaps further evidence then that the designer Dale Cavanagh who is showcased here is in fact John Cavanagh?

I'd be really interested to hear from anyone who knows their mens fashion history? In the meantime I'll keep my eye on the YouTube comments. Watch the video in full on YouTube here.

Visit British Pathe's free fashion video archive here: The British Pathe Fashion Archive