I know Lady Gaga is not everyone’s cup of tea – and that’s ok because there is no accounting for art or taste. Certainly her recent tribute to David Bowie provoked mixed reactions. The key word here is ‘provoke’. I think it’s great when music moves people and brings out their passion – isn’t that one of the most important jobs of art? I’m a big fan of Gaga but I’m an even bigger fan of Bowie. Funny thing is, while Gaga’s detractors criticised her for being ‘cabaret’ and ‘crass’ in her tribute, that’s exactly what Bowie’s detractors used to say about him! I’m not implying Gaga has reached the artistic heights of the Starman, but I think if he is in fact looking down at us from the stars, he would have approved of Gaga’s Grammy performance.
I don’t think ‘cabaret’ is a dirty word. I was born with glitter in my veins and I believe that stripping away the ‘show’ and theatricality from our business has been part of its demise. I’m not a fan of mother-in-law jokes, faked emotion or jazz hands, which is what cabaret gets criticised for – but great cabaret is moving and capable of lifting us out of the ordinary. I think we need more cabaret in rock and roll, not less. Thank goodness for the flamboyant likes of Bowie and The Darkness. And now Gaga, following in their glam footsteps.
When we started sticking one man bands in corners of pubs, without stages, lighting and all the fanfare and pizzazz we used to expect from live performances, I think it was the beginning of the end. And of course there is a place for shoe-gazing, understated singer songwriter types but the reason they don’t appeal to me is the same reason I’m not a big fan of reality TV. I can look around me and see plenty of ‘real’ thank you. When I watch the box, I want surreal, wild imaginings, fabulous sets and costumes and other fruits of fantasy. I want heightened reality, not the everyday drama I can see if I look out my kitchen window.
So, here‘s to cabaret, old chum. And in that theme, here is my new music video, hot off the presses, the camp, cabaret-tastic world of the post-modern discoteque, ‘Disco Disconnected’
See you next time,
Oh, and tickets to the Sydney launch of the new album here.