One thing that always puzzled me was the K-punk enthusiasm for Roisin Murphy and Moloko as a modern manifestation of glam.... Roisin as the true daughter of Roxy
I just didn't see it, couldn't hear it
To me they / she seem an archetypal example of that (mostly Brit, but not always) syndrome where all the right moves are made - in terms of presentation, rhetorical pitch, packaging, references, sound and influence palette etc - but something is missing
That syndrome / lineage would include Goldfrapp, Janelle Monae (where the checklist includes a whole set of political boxes being ticked), in an earlier era / taste-episteme Curve, and various others
The lack is precisely presence - the X Factor that makes a person magnetic, as opposed to merely attractive or easy on the eye.
That thing where you can't stop looking - that place where Fetish (in the idol sense) meets Car Crash.
Presence not meaning vivacious, having nothing really to do with being a lively or sparky interviewee. But something borderline unwholesome, a charisma/need related ultimately to narcissistic personality disorder.
So with the glam-in-theory types, you get all this cleverness arranged around it, even a kind of "excess" - but there's a fundamental modesty in terms of what's at the heart of the confection.
A pleasing, able, but fundamentally small voice. Even facially, a beauty that is too neat and regular
There isn't that force of self - the drive to be spectacular - to command an audience.
Nor that slightly disgusting / disturbing desperation for attention, the ravenous lust for exposure, to drink up the gaze of the entire world
(So none of them are Amy Winehouse either)
These are craftily curated projects, art-pop exhibitions - not exhibitionist art
This "good in theory" / "glam in theory" syndrome is one reason why certain seemingly obvious figures (self-conscious inheritors of glam - e.g. Scissor Sisters) are absent from the Aftershocks section of S+A where I hopscotch through various Eighties/Nineties/21st Century-so-far echoes of glam... because they don't cut the mustard, whereas other seemingly less likely figures (Nicki Minaj, Kanye, et al) seemed to have the spirit in full fierce force - that despotic drive - if not making the overt references and allusions, the neatly delineated lineage
And whatever you think of Lady Gaga, she blew the other glam-resurrectionists out of the water... she made the references and the quotations, yes, but she had also had the essentially vulgar voracity, that pushing of the self right in the centre of the world's attention, the sickness of the true star