Tuesday, February 13, 2018

karma Camille-ion

"A further landmark in ]Prince and Michael Jackson's] uneasy rivalry came when [Quincy] Jones suggested to Jackson that Prince duet with him on the title track of his Bad album. "So we invited [Prince] over to Michael's house at Hayvenhurst. He came in and he had an overcoat on, and he had a big white box labeled camille. He called Michael 'Camille.' " Prince, it seems, had brought a gift for his host. "The box had all kinds of stuff—some cuff links with Tootsie Rolls on them. Michael was scared to death—he thought there was some voodoo in there. I wanted to take it, because I knew Michael was gonna throw it away."
- interview with Quincy Jones, GQ

"The conceptual and technical masterstroke of “Girlfriend” is the gender-morphing of Prince’s vocals... pitch-shifted to create the feminine alter-ego Camille....  Prince-watchers instantly grasped that this was the wholly logical, yet completely unexpected and surprising, extension of his androgyny, his compulsion to dissolve borderlines and barriers....  In another sense, the artificially high-pitched Camille voice was simply a technological expansion upon what Prince already did vocally: sing falsetto in the soul ‘n’ funk tradition of Al Green, Curtis Mayfield, Marvin Gaye’s “Got to Give It Up,” where the “the sound of a woman coming from a man,” as critic Michael Freedburg wrote, served “to demonstrate to his intended lover that he understands her fears and desires as if he were female himself..... "... These forcibly etherealized vocal sounds generally connote the angelic, the extra-terrestrial, the cosmic and otherworldly. They can also be the sound of those who feel alienated from mundane normative existence, who feel like they are from some other place.

"Some Prince-ologists say that the singer chose the name “Camille” for his alter-ego after a 19th century French intersex person generally known by the name Alexina Barbin but who later called themself Camille. Barbin was brought up as a girl but was reclassified as male at the age of 22 and came to use “Camille”—in French, it can be both a female and male name—to describe the masculine phase of their short life.... Partially reproduced in a 19th century medical paper, Barbin’s memoirs were rediscovered and published in 1980. Philosopher Michel Foucault, who was gay, wrote an introduction celebrating Barbin as a sort of exemplar of the sexual misfit, whose biography spoke to and for all those “virile women” and “passive men” who live in a “happy limbo of nonidentity.” But Barbin’s story leaned more to the tragic: grappling externally with uncomprehending medical and religious institutions, and internally with persistent feelings of “vague sadness,” “inexpressible uneasiness,” and “strange perplexity,” culminating in lonely suicide at the age of 30. If it is in fact true that Prince’s “Camille” was inspired by Barbin’s tale, it’s possible that he didn’t get it from the republished memoir but from the 1985 movie Mystère Alexina.

"Prince originally intended to release a whole album of material using the Camille alter-ego and the pitch-shifted, feminized vocal sound. But the self-titled, eight-song LP Camille was scrapped, with most of the tunes resurfacing later as album tracks or B-sides..."

from my Pitchfork memorial to Prince.

The mystery deepens - was "Camille" really Michael Jackson, the androgyne king of pop, whom Prince admired, envied and wished to dethrone?  Would the Camille album have been his attempt at magical substitution, displacement, even incorporation, of his rival?

Saturday, February 10, 2018

glam / anti-glam quotes (12 of ???)

SR: New Pop seems in retrospect to have involved a step backwards in terms of women-in-pop. You had some striking and "strong" female performers, like Annie Lennox, but it was back to the format of female as front person with the music being done by the band, or their case, the guy... 

Gina Birch / Raincoats: "Yeah. I mean, after The Slits and that whole era, there was nothing interesting really until Riot Grrrl. Madonna and Annie Lennox--they were icons in a way. But they were more the hero than an inspirational force. Whereas you saw The Slits and that made you want to be creative. You see Annie Lennox and wow, she's brilliant, she sings fantastic. But there's that real distance. It's much more the showbiz model."

SR: But then you later had a bit of postmodernist New Pop type moment with Dorothy--you and Vicky's post-Raincoats band. Signed to Chrysalis Records and based around a
 kind of post-feminist idea of playing games with archetypes of female glamour. 

Gina Birch: ""Yes, Dorothy was my showbiz moment! The main thing behind it was CindySherman. I just thought her photographs were fantastic. I liked the thought that each picture told a certain story and had a certain look.  She could be a professor or someone really glamorous. Judith Williamson had written a fantastic article on Sherman's work in Screen magazine--about this idea that when you wake up, you decide what you're going to wear and that decides what person you're going to be that day. I really liked the fact that you could put on this item of clothing and throw off your personal shackles--all the kind of introspection that went into lyrics like "she looks embarrassed" on Odyshape--and just be whatever character I wanted to be. And it was very liberating to be, you know, a sex kitten if you felt like it.  For our press shots, we based it on this photograph of Joan Crawford where she was signing these glammy photographs of herself. I liked this idea that you can construct whatever image you wanted. And in many ways that's what Annie Lennox and Madonna did."

from Totally Wired: Postpunk Interviews and Overviews

Motown versus Motown

"Being a woman is both feeling female, expressing female and also (for the time being at least) reacting against what a woman is told she 'should' be like. This contradiction creates chaos in our lives and if we want to be real, we have to neglect what has been imposed on us, we have to create our lives in a new way. It is important to try and avoid as much as possible playing the games constantly proposed to you" - Ana da Silva, Rough Trade information booklet on The Raincoats

Friday, February 9, 2018

glam / anti-glam quotes (11 of ??)

“Here’s to the ones who dream, foolish as they may seem. Here’s to the hearts that ache; here’s to the mess we make.”

Mia: "Maybe I'm not good enough".

Sebastian: "Yes, you are."

Mia: "Maybe I'm not. It's like a pipe dream." 

Sebastian: "This is the dream. It's conflict and it's compromise and it's very, very exciting." 

how much do i hate La La Land? let me count the ways

the weak, weak songs - very milky-toast indeed

the weaker singing

that embarrassing tap dancing

the way the movie has its critique and eats it 

(“That’s L.A.—they worship everything and they value nothing”)

while still promoting the fame-chase ideology

the way it congratulates itself on avoiding the happy romantic ending (while having the "they achieve their career dreams" happy ending)

then there's the retroizm running through the whole thing

the "jazz"

the meta-showbiz aspect

(not so much "an ode to Hollywood as much as it is an ode to these kind of odes" says Rich Juziak - referencing the director's inspiration from Singing in the Rain - without either the rain or the singing - also minus the pzazz, the panache, the razzle, the dazzle, the humanity, the humour, or the deep intelligence. and very minus the astonishing dancing and great tunes)

glam / anti-glam quote (10 of ??)

“A man's alter ego is nothing more than his favorite image of himself.” 

― Stan Redding, Catch Me If You Can: The True Story of a Real Fake

“It's not what a man has but what a man is that's important. This car is fine for me. It gets me around. I know who I am and what I am, and that's what counts, not what other people might think of me.” 

― Frank W. Abagnale, Catch Me If You Can: The True Story of a Real Fake

"Sometimes it's easier livin' the lie" - Carl Hanratty, from Catch Me If You Can (movie) 

Frank Abagnale, Jr.: 
"Brenda, I don't want to lie to you anymore. All right? I'm not a doctor. I never went to medical school. I'm not a lawyer, or a Harvard graduate, or a Lutheran. Brenda, I ran away from home a year and a half ago when I was 16."

Brenda Strong: 
"Frank? Frank? You're not a Lutheran? "

[dialogue from from Catch Me If You Can (movie) ]

glam / anti-glam quotes (9 of ???)

I'm in with the in crowd, I go where the in crowd goes
I'm in with the in crowd and I know what the in crowd knows
Anytime of the year, don't you hear? Dressing fine, making time
We breeze up and down the street, we get respect from the people we meet
They make way,  day or night
They know the in crowd is out of sight

I'm in with the in crowd, I know every latest dance
When you're in with the in crowd, it's so easy to find romance
Any time of the year, don't you hear? If it's square, we ain't there
We make every minute count, our share is always the biggest amount
Other guys imitate us, but the original is still the greatest

Got our own way of walkin'
We got our own way of talkin', yeah

Any time of the year, don't you hear? Spendin' cash, talkin' trash
I'll show you a real good time, come on with me
Leave your troubles behind

I don't care where you've been, you ain't been nowhere
Till you've been in
With the in crowd

Billy Page / Dobie Gray / Bryan Ferry, "The 'In' Crowd'"

Thursday, February 8, 2018

glam ./ anti-glam quotes (8 of ????)

"Oh, you mean nutty! Yes, he's a nutcase. Most of these titled fleabags are. Rich nobs and privileged arseholes can afford to be bonkers. They're living in a dreamworld, aren't they sir? Life's made too easy for them. They don't have to earn a living, so they do just what they want to. We'd all look pretty crackers if we went about doing just what we wanted to, wouldn't we? Eh?"
                 -  Tucker the butler (played by Arthur Lowe) in The Ruling Class, 1972