Tuesday, January 16, 2007

I love the sort of spin artists put out when set adrift from major label affiliation. See, for example, Darren Hayes, who announces on his site that after 'declining' major label interest (hmmm) he's going it alone to release, gulp, a DOUBLE ALBUM on his new 'indie' label. I SMELL HUBRIS. Kate Bush double album? Yes. Darren Hayes double album, no.

Speaking of Darren Hayes, I attended a small Too Close For Comfort viewing evening a few weeks back. For those not attuned to all things Darren, this was an In Bed With Madonna-style doco made during his first solo tour (remember Insatiable?) that was shelved by his label when they saw that it was less than flattering. He's now released it on his own, after adding a self-deprecating commentary about his past excesses.

These include:

1. Refusing to hug raging European fans because he's afraid of catching the flu.

2. Engaging in excruciating The Office-style fun and games with worn-looking PAs, who barely conceal their contempt.

3. Doing a ghastly and tragic slow costume 'reveal' as his show begins.


4. Making earnest commentary about how he always prefers others to take the limelight, even though lengthy 2-hour documentary suggests otherwise.

I think the reason Darren (Dazza?) has never worked for me as a pop star, apart from the music, is because he's constantly talking about the art of pop stardom. He doesn't have that all-important aloofness (although ironically he keeps talking about it). He also exemplifies how difficult it is for a man to ape a kind of Madonna/Mariah style of performance (these are the kinds of stars he idolises): if a man toys with commonly feminised codes, which I think he sometimes does, rather than providing a kind of visual power, this effeminises and weakens. It's not fair but it does. E.g. I think it would be very hard for a guy to have a kind of Kylie-style concert extravaganza (although as drag, yes). Michael Jackson could do it, but he presented himself as asexual. To switch into thesis mode, 'successful' masculinity is dependent on the fiction being maintained that one is not aware of being looked at, or of performing, whereas the kind of pop Darren pursues is all about being looked at.

It is for this tragic reason that I can never be a pop star, and could only ever, perhaps, become a William Baker type.

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