You don’t want me to review Katy Perrygig, do you?
A real music critic with the Observer authority, Alice Fisher, went to this same gig and wrote a very positive review of this show (despite the online version uses a photo from another date, ah).
It is not the world going mad for a pop girl, it’s just me being the usual arty-depressed-literate indie-kid (yes for indie, once upon a time for kid) that can’t get fun out of pop music magic. I never did, I fear I never will, whatever. For normal human beings Katy show is fun.
I think it is better for you to enjoy the pictures (where else can you get Katy Perry live shot on B&W film?) while reading one of my aspiring* essays in poor English trying to rationalize the irrational. Come on, I see you are looking forward to this.
Katy Perry came to a worldwide success with the catchiest song since Rihanna‘s Umbrella. Difference is that I Kissed a Girl is a better song and she is a better singer.
Katy is not a plastic baby doll but a real baby doll and her lyrics are so cleverly written to instantly appeal to a worldwide audience that spans from very young girls to (im)mature boys.
Most important, the lyrics are perfectly written to make anyone angry from gay communities to radical feminists, from conservative religious group to her favourite target: dull, self-centred boyfriends.
“This was never the way I planned, not my intention
I got so brave, drink in hand, lost my discretion
It’s not what I’m used to, just wanna try you on
I’m curious for you caught my attention
I kissed a girl and I liked it
The taste of her cherry chapstick
I kissed a girl just to try it
I hope my boyfriend don’t mind it
It felt so wrong, it felt so right
Don’t mean I’m in love tonight
I kissed a girl and I liked it
Us girls we are so magical
Soft skin, red lips, so kissable
Hard to resist, so touchable
Too good to deny it
It ain’t no big deal, it’s innocent”
[I Kissed a Girl – Katy Perry]
Axiom is simple: boyfriends are selfish, mindless creatures. Katy remembers this to “her girls” every 3 songs. I look around and I am almost convinced she has a point. They not only paid a ticket to get 90 minutes of insults, but have also to look very happy standing next to their euphoric girlfriends. Then I think again.
Self-harm? Not at all. Just teenager love on springtime hormonal peak.
They know the after show is worth a thousands slurs. When sex occupies 95% of your mind(less) space there’s nothing cheaper to get a dose of insolence then having your girlfriend on a cheery mood on the way back home.
Manic Street Preachers hit If You Tolerate This Your Children Will (May!) Be Next has quite an interesting, unexpected, alternative meaning here.
Boyfriends tonight jump and dance, simulate fun to a single Ur So Gay, written to offend. Is the song that infuriated the biggest crowd.
It’s a gem. Not only because it starts with the best affront since Jagged Little Pill and ends with the most forbidden word to put in a girl’s mouth.
These verses contains some pearls, I haven’t read anything so amusing in years.
“I hope you hang yourself with your H&M scarf
While jacking off listening to mozart
You bitch and moan about LA
Wishing you were in the rain reading Hemingway
You don’t eat meat
And drive electrical cars
You’re so indie rock it’s almost an art
You need SPF 45 just to stay alive
You’re so sad maybe you should buy a happy meal
You’re so skinny you should really Super Size the deal
Secretly you’re so amused
That nobody understands you
I’m so mean cause I cannot get you outta your head
I’m so angry cause you’d rather MySpace instead
I can’t believe I fell in love with someone that wears more makeup than
You’re so gay and you don’t even like boys
No you don’t even like
No you don’t even like
No you don’t even like… penis”
[Ur So Gay – Katy Perry]
Now, achieving the result of making legions of people angry about something as innocent as a very well written pop song is marvellous. She has my esteem despite I belong to the “you’re so indie-rock” bunch.
It brought enough media coverage to start collecting records (not albums, awards). Accordingly I Kiss a Girl is USA 1000th number one hit since Billboard and Bill Haley.
No, I won’t start a rant about the decline of USA empire, don’t worry!
Reading about her interesting past has been much more interesting and very instructive.
In a “previous” pious life, Katy Perry was a gospel singer, daughter of two protestant pastors who even recorded a Christian album as Katy Hudson.
Her parents once banned rock music at home. Her lovely daughter became a massive worldwide popstar.
If nothing else, this is useful evidence that the best way to aspire people emancipation is to grew them up in a strong religious set of “moral values”.
A lesson worth a thousand “how to raise your kid” manuals.
There is more. The same parents, as far as google goes, now seem to approve the daughter pop career, proving how an angelical baby turning into a material girl, as long as earn millions, gets lubricated enough to slip through the very immaterial gate of heaven.
The reaction of an “Evangelical Christian community” (Planetwisdom.com) is a wonderful icing on the cake: “What a sad picture of a lost child who has been swept away by the carnal pleasures of the world. We need to be lifting this gal up in prayer. While we’re at it, let’s toss up a prayer for her parents, too. Not to mention the countless young girls who will buy into this lesbian chic message.”
Finished praying? Good.
Now, in addition to highlight the negative meaning given to a positive adjective “pleasure”, isn’t it wonderful how this “communities” denigrate their own members?
They are convinced that a few lyrics are enough to hijack their young girls’ souls. What opinion of them do they have?
The scary bit is that the same mechanism (and the same opinion) is what drives them to try to “buy into” their bigot boring message the very same young girls. There is not even carnal pleasure in this alternative package.
It’s a weird world with a sure aftermath: more popstars to come.
Katy Perry music contains nothing even remotely dangerous in the satanic sense that evangelicals see even in jam jars. Her pop recipe is a cleverly balanced mix of light feminism, rants about boyfriends, female sympathy versus male dumbness, lipstick flavours, fat cats and corporate merchandise.
On the first row I cannot count a single girl without a kind of cat tattooed on her hand, whiskers painted both sides of her nose, fake cat ears on their head and a cherry lipstick ready in hands.
A cat mask is for sale at the merchandising stall for the outrageous sum of 15£.
Along with the mask a variety of items that ridicule Accessorize.
Starting from 5£ (cherry lipstick, stickers, posters) 20£ (I counted at least 7 different T-shirts) 35£ (double sided “hot and cold” T-shirt) to 50£ (fifty pounds for a hoody!) you’ll definitely get your pink thing to think pink.
My social(ist) attitude is annoyed by the combination of Katy Perry items sold to kids at such ridiculously inflated prices and her attack on stage to the tube strikers for having hold up the fans on the journey to the gig.
People fighting for their job versus a popstar worring for the comfort of her fans.
Isn’t this a worse propaganda of wrong values than singing pretty innocent verses, my dear evangelic communities?
Despite the 3 hours I needed to get to Shepherds Bush and 3 more to get back home, I will always be sympathetic with strikes.
The gig. In opposition to the Observer critic, I found that with just one album out, the gig suffered lack of hits. Midway through the set I realize that it wasn’t just me yawning.
It is not Miss Perry’s fault. She did well. She has at least three catchy pop songs out of just one album, which is well above today’s average. She prepared half a dozen of sagacious chats to entertain in between songs, she steps down to joke with the first row overjoyed fans which makes her look more pop less star.
A giant inflatable lipstick and a lovely fat cat join the pink flamingos on stage for the big final.
At the end of the day, considering that Britney Spears‘ Circus is live tonight at the O2 Arena (even accessible via the Jubilee line which is working!), my admiration goes to all the girls who were “bought into this lesbian chic message”, painted their own posters, challenged the strike, ignored the Spears and convinced their insipid boyfriends to change their mind and join them.
Katy Perry, in contrast to her rival, has the voice to sing her songs, live.
On stage men, despite silly pink suits, play real instruments and are not used as fake slaves to simulate sex domination.
“You change your mind like a girl changes clothes
Yeah, you change your mind like a girl I would know
And you always think, always speak cryptically
I should know that you’re no good for me”
[Hot ‘N’ Cold – Katy Perry]
You may have noticed I don’t shoot many pop acts.
Photography-wise one of the reason is that they are usually staged in big arenas where tenths of photographers are relegated miles away from the stage forced to use huge telephotos from the soundboard. Distance doesn’t work for me, I need to be close.
The Shepherds Bush Empire allows us on the pit, which is why I decided to go.
Apparently not just me. A dozen of photographers plus three security guys stand in the narrow line between the barrier and the stage waiting for the start!
There is not space to move. Fact.
What to do when there are many of us in a small place?
Get there early, find a good spot and don’t leave it. It is a bit as when there is no-pit.
My favourite place is central but slightly on a side. Which side is up to your intuition.
Do the homework, check online photos to know how the stage looks like to know what to expect.
Be polite with other photographers, because in such a packed situation you can easily put yourself between the artist and someone else lens. We already have the bloody microphone in the middle, let’s not complicate things!
Be patient. Artists move on stage but in this conditions you can’t follow them. When they are far, simply wait. Running after them will only let you lose your place to get annoyed when realizing they just stop 20 seconds later where you were an instant before.
Kneel down, change lens, look at details for some unusual angles.
Photographing photographers (with the artist) is usually a winner since deliver quite different images. Well a baby doll helps, I give you that!