I was faced with a choice, at a difficult age. Would I write a book, or should I take to the stage

Wednesday, August 15


I'm quitting this place for a while. I will almost certainly be back sometimes when I have something pop-related to bang on about, but I guess I am in a new phase of my life and I need to write some other things, not just about pop music, and I feel like I have painted myself into a bit of a corner with this blog. And I don't know if I even need to write about music anymore; there are so many better-informed people with more to say who are far more erudite and clever than I. Patrick. Adem. Edward. Claire and Alyson. It's also arguable that my work here is more or less done, because Robyn is shockingly at number 1 in the UK singles chart this week. I hope this is the harbinger of a new pop cycle where quality European pop is cherished by everyone. It's probably not. But there is an undeniably nice symmetry to my timing.

I'm going to have a new blog and I will concentrate on that. I think I need to grow as a writer and I also want to try to be honest with my words, for once in my life. I want to tell stories about what has been happening to me in the past year or so. Some of it is a bit scandalous and thrilling, and some of it will appear dull. But I want to write about it. The new blog won't be connected to Fop, but if you want to read it, just email me and I'll hook you up once it's going.

Finally: isn't the new Girls Aloud video a brilliant work of art? I have seen eyelashes like those on a guy working the MAC counter in a Parisian department store called Printemps. His were even bigger than the GA ones, and they gave me a lot to think about. They actually made me reevaluate my own existence. Just for a moment.


Saturday, July 7


I'm quite sure that I have listened to Happy Go Lucky by Steps over 50 times since the 'Buzz' album came out in 2000, and even though I guess I was struck by the PWL-trademarked 'merry and jaunty sadness' of the story built up by its lyrics, I never really considered it poignant or anything. I remember thinking more about the harmonies in the middle 8, on the "No, no, no!!" bits, and how pretty and magical that sounded. But the song didn't have a huge impact on me, to be honest. I don't know that I've ever been truly distraught by that particular contrast of beautiful, happy, harmonic music and lyrics expressing pain, desperate unhappiness, or even abuse of one kind or another. Admittedly, this kind of tension features in most of the pop music I have listened to since I was a very small child and therefore has never really shocked me in the way that people with indier tastes are disturbed when they are confronted by the sentiment expressed by 'Better The Devil You Know' or some other early Kylie single. But now, it suddenly all seems incredibly real and awful and abjectly terrifying, giving colour and a voice to feelings I have never had to negotiate for myself before, until this point in my life. The apparent stupidity of the words to this song are also revealing of the way that - particularly in England, but also in Australia - no matter what anyone says, people who are experiencing loss are expected to exercise restraint and be cheerful, lest they bring others down.

I can't stop thinking about this song. It is such a simple concept, the chirpy melody representative of the happy-go-lucky facade that the heartbroken narrator is being expected to maintain. For the most part, this kind of dated, chugging, mid-tempo European pop sound doesn't let you think too much about sad things as it hoists you into each cheery chorus. But you know, I think you actually do get a hint of the shocking extent to which a person can get their heart and their brain damaged by the end of a long relationship, the way the last line - "I do my happy go lucky so well, I'm even fooling myself --- " - ends the whole affair, cutting off into thin air and leaving what would otherwise be a determinedly happy melody on an incongruous and incredibly sour note, like harsh lights being turned on in a bar at the end of the night.

"Happy Go Lucky"

Love - all my love was yours. Of this I was so sure. I guess I never saw it coming baby. But now - I'm over the surprise, I'm wearing this disguise. So everyone can think I'm having fun, baby.

The world only sees me smiling. My pillow knows the truth every night - for that's where I hide my sorrow...

And they call me happy go lucky. They don't know my heart is dying inside! A smile's a frown turned upside down. I do my happy go lucky so well - I'm even fooling myself...

But now - I've put it to the test. I know it's for the best. In fact, it's good that you walked out on me, baby. I've -- I've learned how to survive - without you in my life - so why am I still talking 'bout you, baby?

The world only sees me smiling. My pillow knows the truth every night - for that's where I hide my sorrow...

And they call me happy go lucky. They don't know my heart is dying inside! A smile's a frown turned upside down. I do my happy go lucky so well - I'm even fooling myself! And they call me happy go lucky (GO LUCKY!!!). They don't know my heart is dying inside! A smile's a frown turned upside down. I do my happy go lucky so well - I'm even fooling myself!

No, no, no!! All my was love yours! No, no, no!! Of this, I was so sure!!!!

When I see the morning light, I put on this facade. It's all I have to protect my pride. It's all I've got. This smile, it's ALL I'VE GOT.


And they call me --- happy go lucky. They don't know my heart is dying inside! A smile's a frown turned upside down. I do my happy go lucky so well - I'm even fooling myself! And they call me happy go lucky (GO LUCKY!!!!!!). They don't know my heart is dying inside! A smile's a frown turned upside down. I do my happy go lucky so well - - I'M EVEN FOOLING MYSELF ----------------------------------------

You can hear it here: just ignore the unhelpful animation.

Saturday, June 30

'We're psychopaths' 'Has it transferred?'

Can you watch this amazing thing! BB-UK related.

Do watch all of it.


The idiot twins are now in the running to be my favourite ever housemate...

If you liked that, you also need this brilliant remix of their audition tape which the effortlessly brilliant Adem cleverly featured on IAR 10 days ago

"BARBIES, PINK, WOO." may yet feature in my professional email signature.

Thursday, June 28


I'm feeling a strange and urgent mixture of emotions about this:

Ricki-Lee Coulter wings it in style

From QConfidential

June 27, 2007 09:31am
Article from: The Courier-Mail

YOUNG Divas deserter Ricki-Lee Coulter has found a new pop music friend and will warble Hell No! on a specially made video clip with Coco, the cuckoo, on the Cartoon Network today.
Yes, she's working with animals.

The all-cartoon channel rarely has real people on air so Ricki-Lee's entry into the world of toons is a special moment in her career.

More special too because it's not a cover.

It was recorded at an Out of the Cage live event in Oz and has had some animation tweaking - that's for the cuckoo in the clip.

The former reality TV karaoke contestant, who Qconfidential last week revealed had quit the Young Divas to focus on her solo career, has also called on one of her former Idol mates for another video clip.

Ricki-Lee has Neighbours star Dan O'Connor appearing in a cameo role for her single Can't Touch It.

The shoot wrapped last week and the single will be released in the first week of August.

I was too upset when Ricki Lee resigned from the Young Divas to speak much about it, because I so desperately didn't want it to be so, and I knew it would be coming sooner or later. Then I felt an odd, bitter feeling about how deluded she is to think she can have a solo career in Australia, and considered it to be broadly emblematic of most people's inability JUST TO MAKE THE BEST OF SOMETHING MEDIOCRE WHICH IS ALL YOU WILL EVER HAVE IF YOU ARE TO BE BRUTALLY HONEST instead of constantly looking for something shinier and therefore better and with less Paulini involvement. We all have such wishes at times but don't you think it's a sign of maturity just to accept that life will never be the perfect Paulini-free tableau we believe we are entitled to and to just crack on and make the most of a fucking hilarious situation such as being placed in the cheapest but second most successful Australian girl band in history? Now you RIDICULOUS WOMAN, you have had to sing with a cartoon bird and it is very unlikely that this will have been a dignified experience for you.

What is going on in Ricki Lee Coulter's brain that would cause her to think that re-singing her own minor recent hit with a cartoon bird would be a great way to kick off mark 2 of her solo career? I also note the snide tone of the article, clearly written by a Young Divas hater but also someone who agrees with me about this particular issue ("The all-cartoon channel rarely has real people on air" is sardonically proffered as one of the many compelling reasons why Ricki Lee might feel proud of this latest career milestone.)

However, I mainly feel acutely embarrassed by this whole affair and everything associated with it - Ricki Lee, her management, the other Young Divas, the Australian music industry, the cartoon bird - it all causes me high levels of embarrassment and also anger. I feel so frustrated I want to kick something very hard and scream 'YOU ARE ALL IDIOTS! WHY DID YOU NOT ASK FOR MY VIEW ABOUT THE BEST WAY FORWARD FOR THE YOUNG DIVAS! I HAVE BEEN TAKING AN INTEREST IN THEM FOR SOME TIME NOW.' I am a gay after all and am really very good at rectifying situations such as the foregoing and I honestly believe that, if it were up to me, I could have sorted things out for Ricki Lee so she stayed on for another album, even if this meant putting up a netball ring for her on the side of the Young Divas tour bus and upgrading her BaByLiss equipment. A gay would also never suggest a female pop icon undertake a duet with a cartoon.

Anyway, this is just a massive wrong turn and whoever is responsible should be THROWN IN JAIL.

I sense that this post may have been a bit screamy and uneven and discontinuous so I will stop.

Sunday, June 10


Who wouldn't! Now I don't ask for much but I really must insist on showing you Therese's performance with The Attic - 'The Arrival' from this year's Melodifestivalen.

This song should have won Eurovision 2007 if anything was correct at all. I particularly think this effort would be pleasing to the wondrous Scott, To Be Certain, given his ardour for 'This Woman' by Anna Sahlene, surely last year's version of 'The Arrival' by The Attic featuring Therese. Let's get appreciating!

Saturday, May 26


Rather absently I picked up a little free in-house magazine in a music retailer in London today which I was delighted to see had a little piece half-arsedly attempting to push The Young Divas (aka The Young Beavers aka The Bin aka My Good Girlfriends) on a horrified British public.

This article's first sentence described the Beavers as a "hot Australian club act".

Let us dissect. Hot. Australian. Club. Act. Almost none of this is correct!

"Hot." No. Maybe in November 2006 they were hot for approximately 4 weeks. But more recently, Searchin' made number 37, yes? They are "hot" in the sense that Kate de Rouge likes to wear a lot of vinyl under the heavy studio lights for some reason. That is it.

"Australian." I can concede this one I suppose if they are taken as an aggregated product and not as individuals.

"Club." Oh, ho ho HO. PLEASE. Their singles don't have any remixes AT ALL beyond the (admittedly pleasing) 'extended version' that they tack on as a b-side to each one. I am not even aware of the Beavers playing a gay 'club', let alone having some sort of Armand van Helden-esque status in my home country (please do alert me if this has changed in my absence since January). They seem to be trying to market them in the same vein as a Kristine W. Here is a picture of Ms W being a Hot Club Act:

I would be pleased if they went down this route, the Beavers! Are they doing this!

"Act". Please refer to my last post on this blog.

I mean, I am obsessed with the Young Divas concept but even I am aware of this project's limitations.

Now Courtney Act:

is an ACTUAL hot Australian club Act. Where did she GO, the wondrous Ms Act! COME BACK. I am tired of 'new site coming soon'.

Sunday, May 20


But I'm serious! Do my good girlfriends, aka the Rubbish Bin of Aus.Idol-Related Pop, even exist anymore as 'recording artists'? I mean, obviously 'Searchin'' tanked but surely they would be putting 'Gloria' out quite soon to right the wrong? I can't believe a Google news search reveals exactly nothing about their prospects. Not long ago, such a search would yield page after page of helpful information about upcoming releases, daft things Kate de Rouge had seen fit to mutter in interviews to the Bendigo Times, fluffy articles about 'Which is the biggest bitch of the Young Divas' and other things that I would like to spend time carefully reading and sometimes printing out to have a little think about later, instead of completing my 'allocated tasks'.

The reason I am suddenly showing an interest is because I had a very interesting dream last night in which I had a long discussion with Paulini, who informed me that the second Young Divas album would be 'all 90s dance pop covers' apart from one song that De Rouge apparently insisted on writing herself called 'Ringworm' (a 'beautiful ballad'). The lead single will be a synth-pop cover of the Alex Party masterwork 'Wrap Me Up', according to Paulini, who also went on to express her concern for gays being marginalised by her awful religion. 'It's so backward really,' she was telling me. 'But I can hardly leave Hillsong now.' In the dream this seemed like a reasonable kind of appraisal so I didn't probe any further into what the fuck she really meant by this. Of course today I am like, where were my critical FACULTIES, what a stupid REMARK.

ANYWAY. Offensive Godbothering aside, can you imagine, at some point in October 2007, checking the ARIA singles chart on a Sunday and seeing this:

1 - 1 1 THE YOUNG DIVAS Wrap Me Up

would this actually be the chart position

In conclusion, if these bitches are still signed I'd be quite interested to know.