Sunday, November 29, 2020

glam / new wave (6 of ???)

No idea this was ever a single, let alone a video

Is "Red Light" the Banshees's version of "The Model"?

She falls into frame
With a professional pout
But the Polaroid's ignite
Upon seeing their subject
And the aperture shuts
Too much exposure
Voyeur sucks into focus
Floodlit the glossy kiss-pit
But as emulsion drips down - down
The aperture shuts
Too much exposure
Come into this room
Come into this gloom
See the red light rinsing
Another shutterslut wincing
The sagging half wit sister
Pretty, pretty picture
Of an ancient nipple shrinking
That kodak whore winking
'Til the aperture shuts
Too much exposure

One would have to say "opticality" (if that's even a word) is an obsession in Banshees music

A surprising - yet absolutely logical - detour into showbiz retro-swank 


"Put your lips at my command"


Camille Paglia could write an essay about the symbol-ogy within the "Right Now" video - mirrors, gold, Cleopatra, silent movie femme fatales, burlesque, swing, Mel Torme, glitterballs



"See them staring"

All eyez on me

Still a superior analysis of Siouxsie's evolution, I think  - from The Sex Revolts

If Nico felt herself stranded in the desert, then Siouxsie Sioux's
renunciation of oceanic feelings was a means to power. The first Banshees
album, The Scream (1978), contains some of the most unfluid, fleshless rock
music ever created, stringent and staccato. 'Metal Postcard (Mittageisen)'
fetishises the inhuman perfection of metal, which Siouxsie declares will 'rule
in my master scheme'.  'Jigsaw Feeling' explores sensations of alienation from
the body: the imagery of fractured organs and limbs, the sense of a
disassembled bodily identity, resembles the hysterical un-body that figures in
Lydia Lunch's songs. In 'Jigsaw Feeling', the Ice Queen cracks up: Siouxsie
oscillates between 'feeling total' and being 'split in two'. It is only her
dazzling, frozen exteriority that keeps the psychotic interior contained. Later
in her career, songs like 'Christine' and 'Eve White/Eve Black' dramatise the
schizophrenic's struggle not to 'shatter kaleidoscope-style'.

'Regal Zone' (from 1979's Join Hands) is the ultimate ice statement:
Siouxsie stands 'alone in a Regal Zone', erect and intimidating. Similarly,
Siouxsie's early image--S/M dominatrix clothes, peek-a-boo bras that exposed
the breast but were far from titillating--invited the voyeuristic gaze only to
punish it. Her image, her sangfroid vocals, her commanding demeanour all
signify 'Look, Don't Touch'.  Siouxsie doesn't want to be made of fleisch (that
evocative German word that means both flesh and meat), she wants to be made of
metal or ice, impenetrable, invulnerable.

This desire to be obelisk or basilisk (the mythological cold-blooded 
reptile whose glance was lethal) had a sinister side.  Siouxsie wasn't just the first 
woman to take on glam rock's androgyny; in the early days of the Banshees, she also 
followed through glam's flirtation with fascism, to the point of wearing a 

For most punks, the swastika was a shock tactic or cheap nihilism, but for 
Siouxsie, fascism's fascination seems to have run a little deeper. In a 1985 
interview with Blitz, she recalled that 'when I was fifteen or sixteen I used to 
go  out of my way to have very unattractive hairstyles, very short, geometrically 
very ugly, cropped and very frightening to the opposite sex... I think I always 
knew the way I wanted to live... was completely as a fascist. I mean, I call 
myself a fascist personally, I like everything my own way.'
Monumentalism--the desire to be as imposing as a statue--is proto-fascist 
because it's a flight from the liquidity of female biology, of nature. Like the 
Futurists, Siouxsie's aesthetic fetishised stark contours and severance; in 'Desert Kisses' 
(from 1980's Kaleidoscope) she even wrote a song of outright hydrophobia, 
where 'tidal fingers' hold her in their 'deadly grip'. Although she gradually 
distanced herself from the Banshees' early flirtation with fascism, Sioux continued to 
take on magisterial and forbidding female archetypes, like the dominatrix and the witch.  

On 'Arabian Knights' (from Juju, 1981), she updates Grace Slick's posture of the 
stern matriarch who passes judgment on men's wicked ways, excoriating Islam's 
patriarchal enslavement of women behind the veils of purdah, where they're reduced to the
role of 'baby machines'. In 'Monitor' she's an imperious dominatrix, commanding
her plaything to 'sit back and enjoy'.

 As her career developed, Siouxsie found her way to more 'feminine' images
of power. At the same time--surely no coincidence--her lyrics ooze moisture.
With A Kiss in the Dreamhouse (1982), the Ice Queen melts; proto-fascist rigour
softens into luxuriant, langorous decadence. From the ornamented Klimt-inspired
cover image to the heady haze of neo-psychedelic sound, the album was all lush
sensuality and blissful blur. The opening 'Cascade' has Siouxsie enswirled in
droplets of fragrant sound, 'like liquid falling'. In 'Green Fingers',
Siouxsie's even able to imagine women's proximity to nature as a magical source
of strength, not vulnerability.  Supernaturalism rather than anti-naturalism
becomes the new model for the Banshees, as the earthly lore of the witch
supersedes the glacial terrorism of the Ice Queen. With its Rites-of-Pan flute,
'Green Fingers' recalls the psychedelic classic 'The Garden of Earthly
Delights' by the United States of America, in which Dorothy Moskowitz sings
ominously of 'venomous blossoms' and 'omnivorous orchids' that lurk within a
girl's eyes; love is a Venus fly-trap whose nectar lures man to a sticky end.

Siouxsie revels in similar imagery of deadly voluptuousness in 'Melt',
where sex is blissful bondage, 'tiny deaths' that leave the man 'beheaded'.
'Slowdive' imagines swimming and swooning in carnal confusion, taking the
plunge into the uncontrol of desire, bathing in flesh.  'She's A Carnival'
offers a less sinister vision of the psychic fragmentation that once threatened
Siouxsie. She celebrates the idea of the self as a benignly chaotic polyphony 
of unruly desires and clamorous voices.  Fascism fears the mob, but in 'She's a
Carnival' Siouxsie imagines mingling and merging with a festive multitude, in
the spirit of Dionysus. Where once Siouxsie's musical alter-egos were sharply
etched against the landscape, now she's "spinning in a dizzy haze", and her
forbidding glare is replaced by "a smile like Mardi Gras".

On the next album, Hyaena (1984), 'Swimming Horses' is outright oceanic
rock, a song inspired by seahorses. Still, Siouxsie's interest in
gender-bending (women should be strong, men should be as weak as the
incapacitated, 'melting man' of 'Melt') persists: Siouxsie was struck by the
fact that it's the male of the seahorse species that gives birth.  She clearly
likes the idea of women being freed of the burden of fecundity. 

By 1991's Superstition, Siouxsie completed her trajectory from the vampire woman of her
Goth goddess prime, to the vamp of 'Kiss Them For Me'. Here, Siouxsie modelled
herself on '40s movie idols like Rita Hayworth, who played strong and sometimes
sinister female roles.

To this I would add only that the explosive tension in the sound / image of Siouxsie and Banshees (Creatures too)  stems from  the opposed pull of the Dionysian - the tribally tumult of the  drums, the dervish churn of hypnotic rhythm   - which is in stark contrast to the frozen poses of the classical-Appollonian extremism    - wildness / madness / frezy versus statuesque control and poise

Their love of Can, a band without image or theatrics or even stage presence really

Years ago on MTV I saw live footage of the band, in the early 90s, that was unbelievable in its churning Dionysian intensity. 

Friday, November 20, 2020

cream of glam



bonus proto-glam

Cream, not to be confused with Creem, being a short lived UK rock publication

more glammy Cream

Cream, the band, are the antithesis of glam - certainly musically. 

glam / new wave (6 of ???)

No idea this was ever a single, let alone a video Is "Red Light" the Banshees's version of "The Model"? She ...