Tuesday, 25 October 2016

A Pete Burns (R.I.P.) Interview

Interviewing Pete Burns is difficult. Not because the Dead Or Alive frontman and Big Brother’s Bit On The Side star isn’t at all times charming, engaging and forthcoming. He really is. But because he clearly subscribes to the Quentin Crisp philosophy of interviews: say what you have come to say. So here’s Pete Burns answering almost none of our questions but being incredibly fascinating and entertaining all the same. Enjoy.

Holy Moly: So Pete, we’re talking to you specifically because you’re appearing at the rescheduled Hit Factor Live gig at the O2, on December 21. Dead Or Alive are arguably the most important act that…

Pete Burns: “You know, I don’t know if I can accept that. But we were absolutely the first ones who put Stock Aitken & Waterman on… obviously they’d had a hit record with Divine before us – You Think You’re A Man. And I’d approached several other producers, one of them was Bobby Orlando who worked with Divine on Native Love, and he was ill. And another was Patrick Cowley who produced Sylvester and he was also ill. So to be perfectly honest, SAW were like a third choice.

“Our record company CBS did everything to obstruct us working with them because they said Pete Waterman wasn’t a producer, he was just a travelling DJ. So basically, it’s like old folklore, I personally took a bank loan to record three tracks with them to start it going. And the minute Waterman heard Spin Me he said to them all, ‘This is our number one.’

“It didn’t make any difference to me because a number one wasn’t anything I really thought about. And when it went to the record company I think there was something like a four month delay before they’d agree to release it, because they said it wasn’t a hit. And then look what happened.

“I think it still holds the record for being the longest time to get to number one. Because at the time the chart people Gallup held it back because it was selling about 82 percent 12”s. One of the reasons why I still feel we took a slight dip in promotion was because at that time nobody at any major labels got any royalties on 12” records.

“So just as we started to take off, Spin Me had finished, Lover Come Back and Something In My House were hits and I just thought this is ridiculous – 82 percent 12”s and they’re saying they’re only for promo purposes (they were selling, at that time, for about two pounds or something). And we took them to court and it was a year-long battle and we set a precedent in the music industry, and from then on acts got full royalties on 12” sales.

“No one knows about that and I’m not blowing my own trumpet but I certainly had some points to prove. Because I was relatively successful as an indie act before I went to Stock Aitken & Waterman and I’ve just bored you to death, ask me the next question…

HM: You’ve answered about five questions in one go.
What I was going to say is, Pete Waterman and engineer Phil Harding have both said that PWL would not exist if it hadn’t been for You Spin Me Round (Like A Record) so how does it feel to…

PB: “I think Pete Waterman himself acknowledges that. But also, at some point during our second album with them, Mad, Bad & Dangerous To Know, I was like, ‘Oh will you right me a song?’ And they were like, ‘No, you can write them yourself.’ And they wouldn’t write anything for me. And I was getting lazy and I really liked what they were writing at the time for Mel & Kim.

“And so I wrote the second album and then I think by 1990 I’d really had enough of it all. And I went on to great success in Japan and that was fantastic because it was highly overpaid for very little work. And then maybe by 1998 I’d kind of had enough of it really. I still do occasional gigs but I do them only because I want to do them.

“I don’t know, I think there’s only a certain amount of time where you can feel creative, and you’re full of youth and optimism. And then all of a sudden all of the corporate interference: ‘Oh this is not the right cover photo for America’ and all that… and I just though oh fuck this I can’t be bothered anymore.

“All I ever wanted out of my career was maybe a Top 20 and then I’d get to make another album and then maybe a Top 10. A number one didn’t even come into my consciousness.

“I had a pretty weird experience the other day. I was doing an interview for a pretty major German TV show that goes out on New Year’s Eve, and there was about six people in the room… hang on, I’m gonna answer one of your questions here… there was about six people in the room speaking pigeon English, and I’m fluent in German, and they said, ‘We want a really honest answer. How does it feel to have got to number one?’ And I answered them, ‘It’s a complete fucking nightmare. Because everything you do after that is deemed a failure.’ The room froze because I was supposed to say ‘Ooh it was lovely…’ But we were having Top 10s after that and everyone was saying, ‘Oh that’s a flop.’

“I’m sorry that Spin Me wasn’t the last single off that album, or something. But I can’t complain as it’s still covered by loads of people, it still brings in money… but I’m focusing on TV work now. This Hit Factory Live gig is like a one off, because Pete Waterman himself asked me if I’d do it.”

HM: Do you feel that having a hit like that is both a blessing and a burden? On one hand everyone wants to have written a song that will outlive them, but at the same time when you die you’ll be the You Spin Me Round guy…

PB: “I really got angry about it at some point, thinking ‘fucking hell let me grow up!’ Because when I’ve been approached to perform it at those Here And Now gigs, which I’ve never done, it’s like being forced to wear your school uniform when you’re fucking 54, which I am.

HM: You’re not, are you?

PB: “Yes I am. It’s hard work, you know. It’s constant exercise and a lot of work with scalpels, but we move over that…

“But what I love about TV work is you’re taken in a lovely car and you’re put in a really luxurious dressing room (that’s if you get a reputation as a diva which I have – which is not true but I milk it) they call you to go on set, 11 o’clock you finish. You get your paycheck and you’re delivered home in a lovely car before midnight. It’s not like having to fly round the world meeting and greeting imbeciles on kids TV shows, talking about your latest video.

“I don’t know how people, when they’re mature and grownup, can actually be in the pop industry.

“I was with Rough Trade and I had my own independent label as well, in the early eighties. No corporate people leaning over me. Because they really did say, ‘This is not the right photo to launch you in the American market. Maybe we shouldn’t put you on the cover in the American market…” It went to fucking number eleven in America; I’d never even been there. And then I followed it with a number one dance single, so I did very well in America despite my pictures.”

HM: You mentioned Divine. What else were you listening to when you changed the sound of Dead Or Alive to what became known as the Stock Aitken & Waterman sound?

PB: “Can I just say that actually was our sound. Actually, I did The One Show maybe last year and it was about Stock Aitken & Waterman and they actually got their hands on the original demo that me and Steve had done and you practically couldn’t tell the difference. That was our sound.”

HM: Pete Waterman often calls you a genius and says you didn’t really need them… but what I was wondering was what informed that sound. What were you listening to?

PB: “Sylvester, Divine – the Bobby O stuff, particularly Native Love, that was the one that moved me. I’d say that they were the records that really jolted me. And there was one that SAW did that had 70s synths on it, Hazell Dean - Whatever I Do (Wherever I Go), I really liked that one. I kind of didn’t pay attention to what was going on.

“It’s like now. My partner, my husband of nine years, he has a 16-year-old daughter and I get to hear what’s current in passing, through his daughter. And you know what, I wouldn’t fucking know one of Girls Aloud if they came up and spat in my face, but I know if I hear their records that it’s Girls Aloud. I have no interest in celebrity culture; I’ve never suffered from media sickness. It’s not me being rude, I genuinely don’t know who most people are.

“Obviously I know of Lady Gaga and Madonna, but I’ve never really been aware of who anybody was. So I listened to Bobby O stuff and Sylvester and that’s kind of where the ball stopped. Other things… you might not have heard of them, D Train – You’re The One For Me, Sharon Redd… they were what I was listening to.”

HM: My first memory of Dead Or Alive is seeing you on Top Of The Pops when you were doing That’s The Way (I Like It) and my father, a very religious man, looked up from his paper and said, “He sounds like he’s having an orgasm.”

PB: “Oh fantastic. Oh that’s wonderful. Why thank you. Give your dad a kiss from me!”

HM: Which is the kind of reaction a popstar should provoke…

PB: “Yeah, you know at that time I agreed. But now, popstars schlopstars. I’m not criticising it, it’s what’s going on now, but I found the last run of X Factor very interesting. There are people who can sing but it seems like they are now the cart is pulling the horse.

“I remember making a stand during our lawsuit over the 12”s that without artists there would be no record companies. It’s changed a lot now, the record companies have got complete control.”

HM: Listening to the songs on Mad, Bad And Dangerous To Know it was real take-no-prisoners songwriting…

PB: “Thank you, I appreciate that. I’m very proud of that one. Recording that was very very difficult because I was writing the tracks in one room while they [SAW] were producing the tracks in another. They were having tremendous success. They’d got Mel & Kim they’d got Bananarama, they’d got Rick Astley. But they were having internal disputes so I didn’t want to go back after that, it was a sour atmosphere.

HM: You didn’t need to go back, did you? Your next album Nude you produced yourself….

PB: “Absolutely. That album is completely raw and it’s over produced but the great thing was we literally had budget to burn, but when Nude was gonna be released in this country they objected to the cover, in all senses. And we had artistic control, which I don’t believe any artist gets these days, so I wouldn’t change the cover. I don’t even think it got released in this country and if it did it was buried… But guess what, you get double royalties in this country so it really didn’t bother me.

“I don’t mean to sound blasé and ungrateful. As I say, I started out as an indie act. My first gig was headlining at a huge festival with New Order, called The Futurama Festival in Leeds. About 12,000 people – that was my fourth gig. I jumped in at the deep end. As an indie band it’s so much less complicated.

“It’s a bit like, the record company view you as though you’re Cinderella and they come down the chimney and give you tickets to the ball. I swear to god, no one came down my fucking chimney. Not only did I make my own dress to go the ball, I pushed my way in on the fucking guestlist!”

HM: And your reward was to be literally chased out of Liverpool…

PB: “Oh definitely. I got a phone call saying, ‘Guess what, it’s number one.’ I thought, ‘Oh fuck.’ I had a really nice home in Liverpool, overlooking one of the parks. I left the building, went over the street to get a cab and this bunch of schoolgirls ran at the cab, kicking the cab and punching it, going: ‘Get out of Liverpool, we’re ashamed of you.’

“It seems strange now. I’m not holding any bitterness but I’m always getting asked to go up there and do a gig and I’d not refuse to go because of that incident, but from the age of 15 I couldn’t wait to get out of there. It had nothing for me.”

Source: Pete Unique

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

48 Sexes


plus la science avance et plus les chercheurs tombent des nues. Non, les femmes ne sont pas physiologiquement prédisposées à la crise de nerfs ni à l’amour. On peut les laisser lire des romans ou conduire des avions, sans danger. Non, la masturbation n’entraîne pas la surdité ni l’anémie. Dès lors, pourquoi enfermer les  «fricatrices» à l’hôpital Sainte Anne ? Non, l’homosexualité n’est pas une forme grave de dégénérescence héréditaire. La castration chimique dès lors ne s’impose plus. Non, les sadomasochistes ne sont pas des fous. Inutile de les interner. Au 19e siècle, de nombreuses pratiques, de nombreux désirs avaient été constitués en maladie. Au 20e siècle, progressivement, les médecins sont obligés de réviser sans cesse les nomenclatures internationales que sont le Manuel Diagnostique et Statistiques des troubles mentaux (ou DSM) de l’American Psychiatric Association et la Classification Internationale des Maladies de l’Organisation mondiale de la santé. Ce qui semblait évident il y a 100 ans ne l’est plus aujourd’hui. Alors pourquoi ne pas envisager l’idée que nos certitudes actuelles reposent  aussi sur des préjugés ?
Nos certitudes actuelles c’est qu’il y a seulement deux sexes, et qu’entre les deux se trouvent des ratés. Ce que les chercheurs découvrent c’est qu’il a deux pôles, entre lesquels se déploie un large spectre d’individus dont le développement —lors du processus de différenciation sexuelle de l’embryogenèse—s’est effectué suivant d’infinies variations…  Dans les années 50, Alfred Kinsey (fondateur de la sexologie) disait que l’hétérosexuel 100% hétérosexuel constituait une infime minorité par rapport aux personnes qui, dans leur enfance et leur adolescence, ont découvert la sexualité avec des camarades du même sexe… Les premiers émois… Maintenant, les biologistes disent à peu près la même chose du sexe : il n’est pas «pur». Le mâle 100% est aussi rare que la femelle 100%. En réalité, nous serions tous à hauteur de 10, 20, 30 ou 40% constitué par des marqueurs biologiques de l’autre sexe. Voilà pourquoi il serait temps d’accepter de compter au-delà de deux.


Author / Source:
Agnès Giard -  «Il n’existe pas 2 sexes (mâle et femelle) mais 48»

Monday, 9 May 2016

‘Cocky’ by Julia Serano

Julia Serano – ‘Cocky’

We’re often told that we’re living in a man’s world. And in this culture, no image represents power more than the phallic symbol. And if the penis equal power, then I am illegally armed. And my body full of freckles and feminine curves is like a stealth bomber. I fly just under everyone’s radar, but only because they choose not to see me.

Only because nobody wants to believe, that a sweet, petite, green-eyed girl like me, could ever possibly be packing heat. They say it’s not the size of the wand, but the magic that it does.

Well, after many months on oestrogen, my penis is pretty darn small. But she has supernatural powers – she’s like some pissed of ancient Greek Goddess.

My penis changes the meanings of everything.

And because of her, every one of my heterosexual x-girlfriends, has slept with a lesbian.

And every guy who hits on me these days could be accused of being gay.
Because my penis bends everyone who’s straight, and she can make the most entitled cat-callers and womanizers scurry away with their tails between their legs.

All because of six small words: I used to be a man. And being a transsexual, I realize that most people see my female-ness as a facade – it’s an elaborate hoax.

But I am more real than any of them could ever hope to be. I’m more real because, unlike them, my gender’s not base upon what other people think of me. And that may make me an object of ridicule, but I am not the butt of anyone’s jokes.

Because I know that people make fun of trannies because we are the one thing they fear the most.

I am more badass than any gangster, more dangerous than an entire marine corps. My penis is more powerful than the cocks of a million alpha-males, all put together.

Because when a man is defined as that which is not female, and a woman is defined as that which is not male, then I am, the loose thread – that unravels the gender of everyone around me.

They say it’s not the size of the boat, but the motion of the ocean.
Well my penis gives most people sea-sickness.
She makes them dizzy, because most people are not secure enough in their own masculinity or femininity to survive a night in the sack with me.

My penis turns simple sexual pleasures into political acts. She turns biological possibilities into cold, hard facts. My penis is the curiosity, that you’ve been told will kill your cat.

See, my penis can be deadly, especially to me.

And I’ve heard almost every True Crime Story about what frightened macho boys do to trannies. Every bludgeoning and mutilation, bodies beaten beyond recognition.

And I’ve imagined it all happening to me, first person. And every time I get up in front of a crowd to perform one of my “outspoken word pieces” I can feel myself morph into a slow moving target.

And after the show, when I walk back to my car, I’ll be holding my breath, half expecting that inevitable ‘blow’ to the back of the head. And sometimes I wonder why it hasn’t happened yet.
And sometimes I wonder why they don’t just get it over with.
 And sometimes I wish I was just dead. I wish I was dead.

See, I never wanted to be dangerous, and I spent most of my life wishing I didn’t have a penis.

And I used to hate my body for not making any sense to me.
And these days I often hate it for being so inbetween.
And some days I can hardly get out of bed because my body is so weighed down with ugly meanings that my culture has dumped all over me.

See, I’ve been made to feel shame and self-loathing, so that everyone else can take comfort in what their bodies mean.

And if I seem a bit cocky, it’s because I refuse to make apologies for my body any more.
I am through being the human sacrifice offered up to appease other people’s gender issues.

Some women have a penis, some men don’t.
And the rest of the world is just going to have to get the fuck over it.

And if I’m destined to be the loose thread that unravels the gender of everyone around me, then I’m going to pull and pull and pull, until everyone is exposed, until they all finally see that all along, they were merely wearing the emperor’s new clothes.

And I know that people don’t like it when I turn the tables on them.
What the hell else am I supposed to do?
Play a hand from a deck of cards that was stacked against me?

And if I seem a bit cocky,  it’s because I spent my entire life being backed into a corner. And like a frightened animal pumped full of adrenaline, sick of hunger and hiding I’m finally desperate enough to come out fighting.

- Julia Serano



No Suture! Art, Music, Gender & Random Topic Snippet-logs, Since 2005 …

No Suture!                         Art, Music, Gender & Random Topic Snippet-logs, Since 2005 …