London!

Posted 4 CommentsPosted in artsy fartsy, costume, fashion, gay, Gothic, gothixxx, los angeles, music, Uncategorized

byronbowie

I went to London last week to see the David Bowie Is exhibit at the V&A, to visit my sister Emily, and to experience 32 degree weather and a light dusting of snow during the week everyone usually calls Spring Break.  We hit Camden market, ate some local vegan food, enjoyed the Tate Modern, and thoroughly failed to get stage time, but the most important thing was the exhibit I flew across an ocean to see.

The Bowie exhibit had sold tickets by time slot, in order to have some semblance of crowd control.  It is currently sold out until it closes in August, so there’s not a lot of good to me telling you about it, but I am anyway.  In the traditional style of my family, my sister and I were late for our slot, because the exchange for the green circle line was inexplicably closed, and a very nice man with teeth that splayed out like a water spigot told us in a very friendly manner that there would be a bus along in only twenty-five to thirty minutes. Luckily, I got in without crying or striking any marble countertops with my wee fists.

Photos are prohibited at the show, which at first seemed like a bummer, but when LACMA opened the Kubrick show and anyone could take non-flash photographs, the flood of Instagram photos of dispensers from the Cordova Milk Bar made the whole thing feel less special.  Granted, the image is not the thing itself, but sometimes it feels like the thing.

The show itself was arranged in rough chronological order, but mostly as clusters of influences and connected things interesting information.  There were famous outfits, but also some amazing Berlin era paintings of his friend James Osterberg, instruments, handwritten lyrics, stage props and designs, and other ephemera. The show stayed away from salacious gossip about Bowie’s drug use, love affairs, and mental problems, but returned again and again to the theme that Bowie is an editor, collaborator, and borrower, always consuming, interpreting, and composing music and image that is consistently ahead of its time.

Speaking of Kubrick, Space Oddity was a pun on Space Odyssey.  Seems obvious now.

I was glad to see the SNL footage of Bowie with backup singers/prop managers Klaus Nomi and Joey Arias that was used in the great documentary The Nomi Song, but also amused to see photos and drawings of  English music hall artists that Bowie’s sculptural outfit was drawn from, which Klaus’ outfit was a simplified version of.

The Alexander McQueen jacket from Earthling that I had always rather assumed was a shiny vinyl thing was, in fact, a distressed and torn Union Jack frock coat- I had been seeing the white lining as “shine”- and of course, it was inspired by another of my favorite bands, Pete Townsend’s mod Union Jacket.

I learned that when David Bowie was writing Suffragette City, he was rocking a 26 1/2″ waist on cocaine.

Bowie has always been a fan of the mash-up and cut-and-paste surrealist method of songwriting, but in recent years, he’s written a program to do it.

Bowie’s a better mime than you are.

Also, the reason I just started seeing the amazing video for “Boys Keep Swinging” with Bowie in various drag aspects is because it was slightly too kinky for RCA records and they banned it.

The wiping-off lipstick gesture from the video was something that came from Weimar-era burlesque, and that would later be quoted in the video for China Girl (written by his friend James Osterberg), and later I would do it in high school, but it just annoyed my boyfriend Philip Montoro.

The Space Oddity cover used a photo of Bowie superimposed over a painting by Victor Vasarely.

The close of the show was a wall of “influenced by” images, including The Mighty Boosh’s Noel Fielding in his makeup and silver jumpsuit, Annie Lennox in all her androgyne glory, John Cameron Mitchell’s Hedwig, and dozens of fashion pictorials.  Many musicians have picked up and made careers out of things that Bowie used for a week or two and abandoned- I’m looking at you, Marilyn Manson! ( We love you!  Please be on Gothixxx!)

Selfridge’s now has a new David Bowie pop-up shop, though, so even though you can’t see the show, you can buy all the V&A stuff from the exhibit, as well as a specially curated collection of vintage from Decades in LA, and  three makeup looks by Illamasqua’s Alex Box!

And that’s a weird coincidence, because the other thing I made sure to do when I was in town was to take a makeup class called Drag Superhero at the Illamasqua store on Beak Street, where we did this amazing natural, no-makeup look!
birdguhl
It was a great deal of fun and I enjoyed working with my makeup artiste, a very darling fellow named Brett from Sheffield, where all the good music comes from.  When we were done, I was asked if I wanted a towel or remover to take the look off with, and I was a little surprised at their shock that I would walk back to the hotel with my “face” on.  I explained to them that I was not visiting weirdoland, that I had been weird for quite a long time, just never before on Carnaby street.

After going out for drinks, my sister Emily and I were plumb tuckered out and we went to bed.

sisters

Baby Ketten Forever

Posted Posted in costume, Gothic, karaoke, music, portland

I know I’ve mentioned the majesty of Baby Ketten and its benevolent overlord, John Brophy, on this page, but finally the New York Times Magazine has given Ketten its due.

 

  • Shawn Records for The New York Times

John Brophy, the mastermind of America’s greatest karaoke night, lives in a well-kept bungalow in a neighborhood of small homes in southeast Portland, Ore. When I visited on a weekday afternoon last spring, Brophy, then 36, wore a ringer T-shirt and dark jeans. His wrist was encircled by a half-dozen bracelets, and his dark hair swooped in front of his face. Like many Portlanders, he’s in a band, called Gingerbread Patriots, although currently the band is on hiatus — the “Shows” section of the Gingerbread Patriots Web site is empty but for the words “2009 will bring shows shows and more shows!”

John Brophy, the Baby Ketten K.J., at his Portland studio.

While his daughters, ages 10 and 15, did homework, Brophy and I sat on his bed in front of a flat-screen monitor as he showed me how he builds a karaoke track. Over the course of the next two hours, he would create a karaoke video for Radiohead’s song “Electioneering,” complete with snazzy graphics, Thom Yorke’s lyrics and Jonny Greenwood’s electrifying guitar solo, so that I could sing the song at the karaoke night he runs, Baby Ketten Karaoke. Rotating between private parties, bars and a pizza place, Baby Ketten is ecstatic, virtuosic and a little intimidating. At the center of Portland’s amazingly creative karaoke scene, it’s something close to a genuine artistic movement. And it’s ridiculously fun.

Every week, Brophy adds as many as 20 tracks to the Baby Ketten songbook. Some of these are songs he purchases from karaoke studios, not unlike any karaoke jockey, or K.J., in America. But many of them are songs hand-assembled by Brophy, much as he’s doing with “Electioneering” — B.K.K. originals that Brophy constructs either because the studios that recorded “official” karaoke versions did bad jobs, or because the song is such an obscurity that no studio has ever recorded a karaoke version. For example, if you’d like to sing Bikini Kill’s “Rebel Girl,” the Gregory Brothers’ “Bed Intruder Song” (with full Auto-Tune), Danger Doom’s “Sofa King” or Neutral Milk Hotel’s “In the Aeroplane Over the Sea,” Baby Ketten has them all. (I know: I saw people sing them.) Your local karaoke bar doesn’t.

To build his B.K.K. originals, Brophy scours eBay for old 45s with instrumental B-sides. He sometimes builds hip-hop songs by isolating the samples the original producers used and stacking them block by block, like Legos. He works on songs online with a network of like-minded D.I.Y. K.J.’s around the world. Sometimes, in a sound-dampened studio in his basement, he records whole tracks from scratch, playing the guitar and bass himself. He once drove himself crazy recording the bass for Joy Division’s “Transmission.” “That choppy bass at the beginning, I always thought it was early stuff, Peter Hook was unpolished, he was playing poorly,” Brophy told me. “But listening to it with headphones — it’s all intentional, he’s doing pulloffs.” He demonstrated on an air bass: “Dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun,” pulling his left-hand fingers off the fret with every single eighth note, a staccato exercise that looked exhausting for three measures, much less a four-minute song. “I don’t play bass like that, but I had to get as close as possible. Well, I didn’t have to.”

To build “Electioneering,” Brophy started with a French studio’s rerecording of the song as his template, then spliced the actual Radiohead song’s instrumental intro and outro (featuring Greenwood’s solo) onto the middle section of the track, with a dozen deft clicks of the mouse. He Googled the song’s lyrics. Then he stretched, clapped his hands together and prepared to “tap it out.”

In order to tell the program he uses to highlight each word of the lyrics during playback — when the bouncing ball, as it were, should bounce — Brophy must tap each syllable of the song lyrics in rhythm. Perched on the edge of the bed, Brophy listened intently, his finger poised above the space bar, as the song filled the room. As Yorke sang each syllable — I go for wards you go back wards and some where we will meeeeeeeeet — Brophy jabbed the space bar. Watching his rhythmic tapping, each finger landing just a millisecond before the beat, I was reminded of his demonstration of the intricacies of Peter Hook’s bass. This is just another way of making music: the space bar a string, a computer with 16 gigabytes of RAM an instrument, the actual singer off in the future — me, the customer, who would later that week look to Brophy’s video to guide me through the song.

Every so often, a city becomes a crucible of innovation for a particular musical form: a place where circumstances conspire to create a very special creative flowering; where mad geniuses push one another to innovate further and further beyond where anyone thought they could go. Seattle, 1990. The Bronx, 1979. Memphis, 1954. These moments changed American entertainment.

But what if a musical revolution wasn’t in grunge, or hip-hop, or rock ’n’ roll? What if it was in karaoke? Is it possible that one of the most exciting music scenes in America is happening right now in Portland, and it doesn’t feature a single person playing an actual instrument?

You may recall when you were younger that many nights achieved, for perhaps an hour or two, a state of euphoria so all-consuming that the next morning you could only describe the nights as “massive” or “epic.” Adventures were had. Astonishing things were seen. Maybe you stole a Coke machine, whatever. You would toss off these words — massive, epic — casually at brunch, annoying the middle-aged people sitting nearby who were grimly aware that even as those nights become few and far between, the price you pay afterward in hangovers and regrets is significantly greater. (If you are younger, you may be in the middle of a massive night right now, in which case you should stop reading this article. Put down your phone and go to it! This might be the last one.)

For me, those few such nights I get anymore revolve around karaoke. Something about the openness required to sing in public — and the vulnerability it makes me feel — allows me to cut loose in an un-self-conscious way. It’s hard, anymore, to lose myself in the moment. Karaoke lets me do that.

But I recently moved to Arlington, Va., with two children, and so I rarely go out at night to sing (or do anything). We have friends in Arlington, but not the kind of friends we had in New York — not yet. I sing whenever I can on business trips, with friends I browbeat into renting rooms at trusty karaoke spots like BINY or Second on Second. But for quite some time, I’d been reading Facebook status updates and tweets from acquaintances in Portland that suggested the city was some kind of karaoke paradise — a place in which you could sing every night in a different bar, and where the song choices were so outlandishly awesome that you might never run out of songs to sing.

My mission in Portland was to see if this could possibly be true. Portland does have dozens of karaoke bars, and over the course of six nights we did our best to visit them all. I sang Lee Ann Womack in a honky-tonk in far southeast Portland, Kanye West in a comedy club and INXS in a Chinese restaurant. I watched Emilie, my seven-months-pregnant sister-in-law, sing Melanie’s “Brand New Key” onstage at Stripparaoke night at the Devils Point, a teensy, low-ceilinged club on a triangular lot well outside Portland’s downtown, while a topless dancer worked the pole next to her. Afterward, the dancer — whose bare stomach featured a tattoo of a vividly horrible shark and the word REDRUM — gave Emilie a sweet hug.

And one night, I went with Emilie, her husband and my wife to the Alibi Tiki Lounge, which advertises itself as Portland’s “Original Tiki Bar.” Inside, the crowd seemed at first to be the familiar karaoke mix of wannabes and birthday celebrators you might find in any bar in any city. Someone sang “Sweet Caroline” almost as soon as we walked in. A drunken birthday girl couldn’t handle the Ting Tings song she’d chosen, so the K.J. switched midtrack to Rebecca Black’s “Friday,” which was more her speed.

But an hour in, a goofily dressed group gave an impressively committed performance of a Tenacious D song, one of them growling and snorting like Satan so enthusiastically that several audience members in the front row became visibly uncomfortable.

When they were done, I walked back to their table, where I sat down next to a guy with long straight hair and a top hat. “We’re all musicians,” the guy, Gregory Mulkern, said. He himself is a professional banjo player. “But we really love karaoke because you don’t actually have to care at all.”

“Karaoke in Portland is just different from other places,” said his friend Bruce Morrison. “There’s a lot of showmanship.”

Mulkern swept his long hair over his shoulders and put his top hat back on. “People in Portland,” he declared, “are sillier than in other places.”

In the corner of the booth, a woman with dark-rimmed eyes and black lipstick leaned forward suddenly and took my pen from my hand. She wrote a phone number in my notepad. “Do you know,” she asked, staring intently into my eyes, “about puppet karaoke?”

Chopsticks III: How Can Be Lounge is located between a heavy-equipment rental shop and a Hanson pipe factory. It’s the kind of awful nightspot where if your watch was broken, you could keep time by the diminishing height of the melting heap of ice dumped in the urinal in the men’s room. When the heap of ice read 10:00, Chopsticks III was jammed with 50 people or more: groups of women out for a night away; a dwarf with an Afro who submitted his power ballads under the stage name Micro; a group of four buddies whose Monday-night karaoke club requires them to sing any song a friend challenges them to, blind. Also, a troupe of puppeteers from a local children’s theater, their snakes, ducks and cowgirls laid carefully across a table in the back of the bar.

This was puppet karaoke.

A puppeteer brought a long green boa constrictor onstage and sang “Steal My Sunshine,” which turned into “Sssssteal My Sssssunshine.” (The puppet’s name, I found out later, is Señor Serpiente.) A guy who looked just like Dick Butkus approached the microphone warily, unnerved by how big and puppet-heavy his audience was; when he sang “Drift Away” by Dobie Gray, we went wild, singing along to every word, clapping in time on the break. During the awkward karaoke fade-out at the end, he beamed. “You guys are awesome,” he said, then went back to the booth where he’d been sitting alone, nursing a beer.

A singer named Big Dan took the stage and tore into a guaranteed karaoke mood-killer, Drowning Pool’s nu-metal “Bodies.” But such was the magic of this night that during the song’s first verse, the puppeteers crept to the edge of the dance floor, and when the chorus hit — “Let the bodies hit the floor! Let the bodies hit the floor!” — they flung their puppets upward, the bears and cowboys and pigeons and fish all falling with little felten thumps to the ground. Big Dan, dressed all in black and even bigger than his name suggests, giggled so hard he could barely finish the song.

And me? I sang John Cougar Mellencamp’s “Cherry Bomb,” and dancers danced, and all through the song I thought about how relevant its lyrics (about how once upon a time we had fun, and now the kids laugh at us when we talk about the good old days) were so very relevant to my personal situation, the way you do.

Later, I drove downtown. The beer had long since worn off, but I still felt as if I were buzzing with the evening I’d just had. This was why I came to Portland. I needed to sing one more song, work one more crowd. My phone’s battery gave up the ghost just after valiantly supplying directions to the bar featuring Karaoke From Hell, a live band that has been backing amateurs in Portland for more than 20 years.

Inside the bar, a woman with a clipboard fended off all the requests of “Don’t Stop Believin’ ”; I slipped her 10 bucks and a few minutes later sang “Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere,” with a tight rhythm section behind me. I thought I could keep singing forever, but the song’s only two and a half minutes long.

“You mention karaoke,” Danny Coble, a Portland K.J., told me, “and most people around the country have a certain picture — a 50-year-old K.J. with a flowered shirt, and he does Elvis impressions.” But in Portland, karaoke has attained a certain level of cool, thanks in part to the fact that it’s less the province of drunken bachelorette parties and more the territory of born performers scratching an itch.

“Portland has arguably more bands per capita than any other town,” Coble said. “Lots of people have two or three bands. But there’s never enough gigs, or no one comes to your gig, or you don’t have a drummer right now — so the city’s filled with frustrated performers.” In Portland, that bottled-up indie-rock performative energy comes out at karaoke night, where inventive song choice and onstage charisma are prized.

“Karaoke makes regular people rock stars, and rock stars regular people,” explained Caryn Brooks, the communications director for Portland’s mayor. Sometimes the singers are actual rock stars. Brooks has a vivid memory of the time in the late ’90s when, at the original Chopsticks, she saw Elliott Smith sing Billy Joel’s “It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me.”

“I don’t want you to overlook the Japanese connection,” pointed out her boss, Mayor Sam Adams. (His term ended Dec. 31; he’s best known to fans of “Portlandia,” the IFC sketch-comedy show, as Sam, the mayor’s assistant.) “I believe we’re the smallest market with direct flights to Tokyo. We have 148 companies in the region that are Japanese-owned.”

“Also, we like a nice cocktail,” Brooks added.

Portlanders have a complicated relationship with “Portlandia,” but most everyone I talked to agreed that the show, with its hide-and-seek league, extreme locavores and put-a-bird-on-everything crafters, gets one thing exactly right: People in Portland are passionate about their weird pursuits.

“Portland attracts creative people,” said Katie Behrens, a die-hard John Brophy fan — a self-described Ketten — on another night. “And when creative people do karaoke, they look for ways to make it better.” We were all drinking a beer on my last night in town, warming up for a night of Baby Ketten at a pizza place on Mississippi Avenue. Behrens is 27 and an aspiring comedian. That night she was between jobs. She was exuberant about her relationship with all the Kettens and with John in particular — “My record is 10 nights in a row” — describing him again and again as not just a K.J. but also a supportive friend who makes her a better singer, a braver performer, a better person. “My second family is Baby Ketten,” she said. “I’m part of something special. And I don’t have to sit by myself.”

At the pizza place, John and a friend were setting up his custom light stands and speakers. I tossed a couple of bucks in his tip jar and signed up for “Electioneering,” the Radiohead song I watched him make at his house, then bought a round for our table. “Let’s call Justin to the stage,” John announced, “for something I’ve never done before.” We heard the unmistakable bass line to the White Stripes’ “Seven Nation Army,” but the song was playing noticeably slowly — perhaps two-thirds as fast as usual. We looked at Brophy, who shrugged. A tall young man in a puffy jacket swayed up onto the stage, then kicked into the lyrics — but instead of imitating Jack White’s rock ’n’ roll keen, he sang in a rhythm-and-blues croon. The song was instantly transformed from dirty garage rock to bedroom soul. It sounded incredible, as if the song were written that way in the first place. When it was over, Justin bowed, accepting our applause, then replaced the microphone in its stand and walked out the door, never to return.

After that, my performance of “Electioneering” was somewhat beside the point, but thanks to watching Brophy build the track, I certainly knew the song cold. It’s amazing what a difference a great sound mix makes — Brophy mixes singers from his board on the fly, and there was no mud or muddle in the sound, just pealing guitars and me, doing my damnedest to put on a show. As soon as I was done, I put my name back on the list for the song I’ve been waiting more than 20 years to sing, a song I love, a song that scared the hell out of me. My favorite ballad by my favorite band; a song I assumed would never, ever be available at karaoke, because it’s a feedback-drenched, near-indecipherable dirge: R.E.M.’s “Country Feedback.”

But it would be a while before the rotation got back to me. Brophy’s policy, designed to make sure as many people as possible get a chance to sing, is that new arrivals are moved to the front of the line, so for the next two hours I sat at our table and watched the weird and wonderful karaoke scene in action. The comics critic Douglas Wolk sang Trey Songz’s “Bottoms Up,” tearing ferociously into the Nicki Minaj verse. Katie Behrens sang Dia Frampton’s “The Voice” version of Kanye West’s “Heartless” but lost her voice on the bridge. (Everyone cheered for her anyway.) A short woman in a wool cap and wire-rimmed glasses rapped Ice Cube’s “You Can Do It” with one of the tightest flows I’d ever heard. “That’s my sister,” said the woman sitting next to me.

“My neighbors are junk dealers,” she continued. “Not junk like heroin, junk like junk. They sell junk out of their yard. It’s the most Portland thing.” Addie Beseda had the short haircut that seems more common on women in Portland than anywhere else I’ve been, and seemed remarkably lucid for someone who, self-reportedly, had been celebrating the first day of a new programming job since she left work.

“Here’s the important thing to remember about Portland,” she said. “No one’s here to get rich. Unlike everywhere else in America. There’s a critical mass here of people here following their passions. Oh, it’s my turn, hold on.” She polished off her beer, jogged up to the stage and began what was, by a wide measure, the most amazing song I heard in my Portland karaoke odyssey: “Prisencolinensinainciusol,” a 1972 epic written in gibberish by the Italian performer Adriano Celentano, supposedly to mimic how English sounds to the Italian ear. It is like four minutes of “Jabberwocky” with a Continental accent and a mod beat. The karaoke version is a Baby Ketten original, of course. Addie nailed every syllable, then high-fived her fellow Kettens all the way back to our table. “So, yeah,” she said. “People from Portland do stuff like that.”

Portland isn’t just the capital of karaoke, I was realizing. The Japanese influence, the small-business climate and the abundance of bands don’t really matter. Portland is the capital of America’s small ponds. It’s a city devoted to chasing that feeling — the feeling of doing something you love, just for a moment, and being recognized for it, no matter how obscure or unnecessary or ludicrous it might seem to the straight world. It is the capital of taking frivolity seriously, of being silly as if it’s your job.

At his booth, John Brophy cued up songs and cheered singers on and ran the lights and made everyone sound great. He is on a mission. In the week I was in Portland, he K.J.’ed two nights of public karaoke and two nights of private parties. The other nights he went out to sing at other people’s clubs. (At that honky-tonk, he sang LeAnn Rimes’s “Blue” so beautifully that I nearly wept.) Friends stopped by the booth to say a few words, request a track, buy him a drink, drop a dollar in the tip jar. All night long he smiled in the dark.

Much later that night, I finally sang “Country Feedback.” It was everything I hoped it would be. I closed my eyes and turned my back on the crowd and sank to the floor and went Full Stipe, really. It was the first time I ever truly felt like a rock star.

Closing time approached, and it was my last night in Portland, and I really hoped it might never end. We were all part of the show, and so we were all trying to find the perfect last song to sing. At 2:20 in the morning, I stepped onstage and heard the repeated piano pattern that begins LCD Soundsystem’s “All My Friends.” That’s how it starts.

John Brophy and the six remaining singers joined me up there, all six of them much younger than I, as the people who are out at 2:20 in the morning tend to be, and I felt a twinge of sadness that this would most likely be the last time I was out this late in a while, and we all danced wildly through the song’s six and a half aerobic minutes of ecstasy and regret, enthusiasm and embarrassment.

“I wouldn’t trade one stupid decision,” I sang, “for another five years of life.” As the song says, to tell the truth, this could be the last time. If I made a fool, if I made a fool, if I made a fool on the road, there’s always this. I have a face like a dad and a laughable stand and I can sleep on the plane and review what I said. I sang: “Where are your friends tonight? Where are your friends tonight? Where are your friends tonight?”

A Very Gothixxx New Year

Posted Posted in artsy fartsy, Bridgetown Comedy Festival, comedy, costume, fashion, gay, Gothic, gothixxx, halloween, long beach, los angeles, music, portland, seattle

Bloodmeadow and Helfire compare notes from the holidays, answer viewer questions, and look forward to a spooky new year!

 

SS Coachella Jamaica

Posted 2 CommentsPosted in artsy fartsy, comedy, costume, fashion, gay, Gothic, gothixxx, karaoke, los angeles, music, portland, seattle, women

SS Coachella

Photo by Megan Helstone

In this post, I will try to answer all your questions about my first cruise ever, on the Celebrity Silhouette to Jamaica with Hot Chip, Warpaint, Pulp, James Murphy, Father John Misty, Sleigh Bells, Girltalk, Z-Trip, and the Black Lips, and some other people.

Q: Were PULP’s setlists different on the two legs?

A: Yes.  Here is the Bahamas setlist, as reported by the able Raymond Medina:

Do You Remember the First Time?
Pink Glove
Joyriders
Underwear
Something Changed
Disco 2000
Sorted for E’s & Whiz
Feeling Called Love
His ‘N Hers
Babies
Like a Friend
Party Hard
This is Hardcore
Sunrise
Bar Italia
Common People

And the Jamaica cruise went more like this, according to me and the ripped piece of notebook paper I found in a jeans pocket:

Do You Remember The First Time?

Monday Morning

Razzmatazz

Pencil Skirt

Something Changed

Disco 2000

Sorted For E’s and Whizz

F.E.E.L.I.N.G.  C.A.L.L.E.D. L.O.V.E

His n’ Hers

Babies

Like a Friend

Underwear

This is Hardcore

Sunrise

Bar Italia

Common People

Encore: Mis-Shapes

Q: What kind of fucking nerd cares about that sort of thing?

A: This one.

Q: When did you know you were at a Coachella event?

A: When I saw a girl with white denim cutoffs and a bra sitting in a whirlpool, watching James Murphy DJ.

Q: Did Jarvis Cocker make the traditional reference and remembrance that it was Jean Genet’s birthday on Dec 19?

A: Yes, but he did not perform any of “The Maids”, as I had hoped.

Q: Who is the hungriest member of Pulp?

A: Steve Mackey always seemed to be in the late-night buffet.  Always.

Q: What’s douchier-looking than taking photos or video by holding a giant Ipad up to your face?

A: Not much of anything.

Q: Was there cool-ass art on the boat?

A: Yes, some hilarious Christian Marclay pieces I’d seen at Seattle Art Museum years earlier, but also some Damien Hirst and Gilbert & George and Richard Serra- a very British selection, on the whole.  Really cool.

Q: Did you take bunk acid on the boat?

A: Yes, but in my defense, I thought the world was maybe ending.

Q: Did you really think the world was ending?

A: No, but I like acid, and I’m sorry it was bunk.  Frank Mojica wasn’t sure, but he was wearing an eyepatch at the time.

Q: Were the staterooms really big enough for four people to share?

A: No, not unless they really liked each other and didn’t mind sleeping with parts of them inside of their friends.

Q: Was it sad that you went stag?

A: No, I met up with a tremendous group of people and had many funs, including an opera singer, a fabulous girl from my town and a mentally deficient gap-toothed Scouse!

Q: Who are the most obnoxious members of any international group?

A: Australians!  I think it’s because they’re in the wrong hemisphere, and feel that there  are no repercussions for their actions.  That being said, they are very hot.

Q:  Did you get seasick on the boat?

A: No, but I could sometimes feel it move, which made drinking all the more sensible, so that I could feel like I do when I’m drunk on land.

Q: Did you at any time dress in future sailor drag and have your picture taken with someone handsome?

A: Yes.

Q: What was the saddest thing that happened on the boat?

A: When Girltalk was in conflict with Karaoke with members of Black Lips and Josh Tillman of Father John Misty.

Q: Remember when Pulp had the lightshow with the dolphin in it?

A: Yes

Q: Did they do that again?

A: It was a Santa, it was cute but kind of weird.  Also, please note that the neon PULP sign swayed constantly with the ship’s movement, which was strange!

Q: Does Jarvis really buy his shirts in the children’s section?

A: No, he has them custom-made, and he has a tiny JC embroidered right under his left nipple.  MMM!

Q: Did you see celebrities on the boat?

A: Har Mar Superstar, Perez Hilton, Haley Joel Osment and Thu Tran from Food Party were all on the boat!

Q: What song did Hot Chip end their set with when we thought the world was maybe ending?

A: Prince’s 1999

Q: How many bars did Virginia call it in?

A: Two bars.

Q: Who are the cutest and spookiest and rockin’est girls on earth?

A: Warpaint!

Q: What are your predominant thoughts when surrounded by young, wealthy hipsters?

A: I wish I was skinny enough to wear unflattering clothing.  Is shit-weed a type of weed?  Because that’s what it smells like in here.

Q: What does it look like when there’s a Coachella party on a pool deck in the middle of the ocean?

T60C2496 Lasers during The Gaslamp Killer on the SS Coachella 2012: Bahamas
Photo By Ivankay

Q: Is the cruise ship food as great as everyone says?

A: No, but it’s extremely available!  There is pleasure in walking drunk out of a show and eating french fries at 3 in the morning.

Q: Is it OK to have sex with the cruise staff?

A: NO.  Only band members and fellow cruise attendees, which is not fair, given how many of the waitstaff were hot Italians.  Apparently, if you sleep with a staff member (heh), they put you both out on a life raft labeled SHARK FUD to fend for yourselves.

Q: What do you do if someone breaks up with you before a cruise?

A: Find someone who looks just like them and have sex with them, it’s a lot simpler!

Q: What’s with Tom’s Shoes?

A: Well, the good news is that if you buy a pair, they also give one to a needy child, but they’re kind of shitty shoes.  I wish the hipster could wear the shitty shoes and the needy child could get some decent shoes.  They’re one step above the shoes Jesus wore.

Q: What was the funniest thing that happened the first day?

A: Overhearing a pretty hipster girl berating a barman for having Grey Goose as his top shelf, and then she mixed it with Red Bull.  Pick a lane, Amber!

Q: Did you find that, despite your own suspicions about yourself, you loved being on the beach in Jamaica?

A: No, the reef bit my feet and I don’t like being hot or dirty.  That’s why I never went to a Coachella in the first place!  And the lunch was served two hours after ordering, which meant that some of the people in our group had died.

Q: Were the two cruises, to the Bahamas and Jamaica, a financial success?

A: According to the rumors I heard, no.  Both legs went out at half capacity, which made for GREAT shows where people filed gently into their seats and respected each other, but apparently $5 million was lost on the venture.

Q: Will it happen again?

A: Again, rumor is that this cruise will happen again next year, but will likely leave from the West Coast (yay!) and just go to Mexico.  The Coachella Festival ran for 9 years before it turned a profit!

Q: Did you enjoy Jarvis’ Powerpoint lecture on song lyrics?

A: Yes, he pointed out that lyrics don’t really matter, which makes it strange that he became a lyricist- but Pulp has always been more about atmosphere than turn of phrase- he made me laugh with a Shakespearean reading of A Hard Day’s Night, which is by Livepool’s second most-popular band, the most famous and popular being Echo and the Bunnymen.

Q: What are some of the hilarious lyrics presented as possibly being obscene words to the Kingsmen’s Louie, Louie?

A: “Each night at ten, I lay her again

I fuck my girl all kinds of ways

And on that chair, I laid her there

I felt my boner in her hair.”

Q: What prizes did Jarvis hand out for a music quiz at the end of the lecture?

A: Pieces of clothing he no longer wears, including a suit worn, and torn, on the Jimmy Fallon show.  Amazing.

Q: Was Pulp the Most Important Band On The Boat to you?

A: Is it that obvious?

Q: Do you want to see Josh Tillman of Father John Misty sing R. Kelly on Karaoke?

A: YES