“You can keep it pure on the inside. And you know what you believe to be right.”

18 01 2012

Have you ever been made to feel so small and worthless due to a comment someone made? Maybe they called you “fat.” Or maybe they called you “stupid.” Or they insulted you because of the colour of your skin or religion. You feel ashamed of who you are don’t you? You want to fight back, but that bit of fight you have in you just goes. It fails you because you have no idea what just happened.

Yesterday afternoon, I was waiting in line with my mum. In front of us were two young lads. Probably a few years younger than me, I’m 25 so they weren’t that young I suppose. Anyway, they weren’t exactly using the most eloquent language. I think they were probably part of that disgusting generation who think it is okay to use the word “gay” to describe something awful. So they were talking, and one of them looked at me. He then turned to his friend and said, “I fucking hate gay people. They’re all disgusting.” I didn’t say a word. I just felt any ounce of pride I had of being gay just die. It totally died. My mum’s face was filled with rage. I had to stop her from saying something, because if she started- she wouldn’t stop. Sometimes, I think she is more proud of me being gay than I am. I guess right now that isn’t hard. Thing is, I have walked around cities in England with friends (that are gay) and never once have any of us had shit said to us. Cities tend to be more open minded. Nobody really pays any attention to you. I currently (and hatefully) live on the Isle of Man- if anyone wants to take me away from here, please do. I’ll be forever in debt to you- I’ll pay you back with hugs, cups of tea and my friendship for as long as you want. I’ve been back here since the end of November. I’ve never felt so uncomfortable walking down the street- day or night. Headphones in, look at the ground as I walk. I’m 25 years old- I shouldn’t have to go back to hating who I am again.

So, what has this got to do with music? Well, I’m going to give you some songs that since yesterday have made me feel less shit about this. It hurts, of course it does. I wish I could shrug it off, like I usually do. You see, I can handle being called ugly or whatever- I won’t ever argue with that. But to call someone disgusting just because they happen to like people of the same sex in a romantic way? FUCK YOU. Seriously. What’s disgusting is your small minded minds. What’s disgusting is how you judge people. Never ever judge a person, ever. You do not know what they are going through. If that person is a “twat” maybe they have a reason for being like that. But seriously, to hate someone based on colour, religion, sexuality- ANYTHING. It is just vile.

I once thought Society was moving forward, but it is apparent that it is going backwards. It is going backwards quicker than anyone of us could imagine. There is no sense of unity and help anymore. More and more young people are taking their lives because they cannot deal with being gay or they bullied for being gay. I didn’t come out whilst at school because I know my life at school would’ve been worse than it was with bullying. I would’ve ended up being another statistic. We need to protect and provide comfort for those that are struggling. Being gay is NOT a bad thing. Do NOT disown your kids for being gay, do NOT taunt a kid because they are gay, and STOP making it okay to use the word gay to describe things that are bad. There are other words that you could use, by using the word gay- it just shows how uneducated and small minded you are. It has to end.

Living day to day is a challenge for most of us, we don’t need to be made to feel so worthless and ashamed for who we are by people who are evidently projecting. You cannot catch homosexuality. Stop being afraid. People are people. Be kind, and be gentle. We all go on about accepting ourselves and one another- but how can we when in the same breath, others are being out down by being true to who they are?

My mum told me, after I came out to her : “Always be true to yourself, and always be happy. Do not live a lie, because if you do that- then you’re not living.”

I don’t care if you are gay,straight, black,purple, orange, yellow, green, Muslism, Buddhist, Christian, Jewish, Atheist, Sikh, Hindu- whatever. I do not care. If you’re a good person and true to yourself- then that is all that matters.

So, these are songs by artists that just mean a lot. Especially right now.

Finally, to quote Shirley Manson :

“I would say I’m pretty well at ease with my sexuality, but I’m an individual before I am a female.”

The Organ.

30 08 2011

As I was on the train, followed by the bus full of drunken wankers yesterday- I was listening to one of my favourite bands ever- The Organ. The split up a year after I got into their music. It broke my heart, I don’t talk about it. It’s like when The Long Blondes split up- the wound is still open and it hurts a lot to mention it. They are two bands that never should’ve split up. Purely selfish reasons as I adored their music and just wanted so much more. However, there’s solo projects and past releases to ease the pain.

The Organ was in a way, the female version of The Smiths. How so? Listen to the lyrics. Katie Sketch, aside from having one of the most distinctive and gorgeous voices ever- was and still is a bloody brilliant lyricist.

Their music in some parts is sheer loneliness and desperation; I suppose that’s what can make them appealing to some. Even the vulnerable need something to lean on even if they don’t wish to admit it. I love The Organ because they came at a time where there was nothing like them. They came at a time where the Riot Grrrl movement was starting to fade out (I firmly believe it exists, it’s just underground) and something else was needed. However, after The Organ called it quits in 2006 nothing else really emerged. I suppose now you can say that Warpaint are the band to inspire females to get into music and start a band. Of course there are other female bands, but Warpaint are the ones doing it RIGHT at the moment.

The Organ had some amazing lyrics and their songs were divine and highly heartbreaking.

I suppose I adored The Organ so much because of the lyrics. Love, Love, Love is probably one of my favourites. I have no idea what Katie Sketch intended with it, but my take on it is- wanting to find love, find love and your/their stupidity causes it to be destroyed. It’s an easy song to relate to-like all of their songs. That’s the beauty of music; you can create your own meaning. Make it your own.

My favourite lyric penned by Katie Sketch has to be, “Our hearts didn’t come together, but I saw the two collide.” I’m not entirely sure what it is about this specific line, but it just captured my heart the very first time I heard it. Grab That Gun is such a glorious album; there are no bad songs on it at all. I believe it should be included in those lists of albums you need in your life that various publications like to annually create. It was the only full length album the band ever released, and it’s such a shame because it was just a blueprint of what the band could’ve truly become.

As they only released one album, it is so easy to want more from them. That’s what happens when you become emotionally attached to a band that then split up. Yes, I am also aiming that at The Long Blondes.

The Organ, I feel, will always be the underdogs- so highly underrated; it’s just ever so unfair that a band with such talent was just overlooked.

Steven Smith is a song that I adore, and probably because it is a tribute to the genius that is- Morrissey. Certain lines in the song, if you’re a Morrissey fan make you grin slightly because you feel it too. I really love the last part of the song, “When everything is quiet, the ringing in our ears will be awfully violent. And then there will be silence.”  It is quite a sullen line, but I just love the feel I get from hearing it. You can imagine driving around with just the city lights bouncing off the pavements, it just creates a desolate feeling- but that isn’t always a bad thing. As they give off such feelings of loneliness in their songs, it makes the actual feeling less painful and daunting.

The Organ could’ve been as big as The Smiths- who knows. All I know is that they are one of the most important bands to have ever existed.

I didn’t want to touch on this specific fact due to it not being anything to do with the music. However, with the amount of “out” lesbians in music being close to scarce, bands like The Organ just made it slightly easier. Of course homophobia exists in music as does sexism- but put The Organ against any band regardless of gender and sexual orientation- and they are just as good, probably better. They had something, they had this spark in their music that just got to you in ways that you thought were unknown and thought you couldn’t feel.

The power in Katie Sketch’s lyrics still overwhelm me, even though I’ve listened to them so many times- I still get that same feeling. Their song, Brother has such a euphoric build-up in it, it just takes you over. You have to just shut your eyes and allow yourself to feel so vulnerable and weightless to truly feel the real essence of the song.

Bands such as The Organ made me feel slightly more comfortable with who I am. I’ll always have a twinge of uncertainty with regard to who I am, but it keeps me going- as does music by the likes of The Organ.

Sexuality In Music.

13 08 2011

I’ll just get to the point here- why are straight singers never referred to by their sexuality? Yet if a singer is bisexual, lesbian or gay- their sexuality is named before they are.

I’m not a fan of her music at all (she can sing, I know- I just don’t like her songs) but any time I have read anything mentioning Jessie J, the fact that she is bisexual is mentioned first. Why is it important?

Why isn’t it ever written, “Heterosexual singer Florence Welch…..” Why must the fact that someone isn’t straight be announced before their name? It’s beyond ridiculous.

I’m not someone who gives a shit about the sexuality of artists I like. I love The Horrors- do I care if any members are gay? No. Do I care who they are going out with? No. Do I care about their music and only their music? Yes. 10% yes. Their personal life is their personal life. It’s not my business; it’s not your business. It’s highly irrelevant to what they do.

Maybe there is still a hint of homophobia within the music industry, but nobody will ever bring it up. Something tells me no one would have been able to shut Beth Ditto up if they told her to not mention her being a lesbian when the band got big with the release of Standing In The Way Of Control. However, on the flip side of this- it can be a good thing. Knowing you have strong figures such as Beth Ditto that are open with their sexuality can make someone feel more at ease with their sexuality. If it wasn’t for the Gossip I honestly would have struggled a hell of a lot more with being a lesbian. Maybe I’d still be “in the closet.” I have no idea; all I know is that Gossip made it so much easier for me to accept who I am. However, I do not and will never use my sexuality to define who I am. I don’t apply for jobs and say “I am a lesbian, give me a job.” Let’s be honest, if I did that I probably would never have any chance with ever getting a job. There’s still homophobia around, if anything I feel it is a lot worse than it used to be.

There are so many ways to look at this. One thing that pissed me off more than anything was Katy Perry’s I Kissed A Girl. To some, it’s just a song. To others, it’s a mockery. It’s tacky and offensive. The lyrics to start with are awful and the meaning is even worse. It’s basically saying, “I’m not really gay/bisexual, I just kiss girls when drunk.” There are people that do this, and it’s just pathetic. They have no hint of lesbianism in them- but they will do it when drunk or to impress a guy. Yeah, girl power right? Fuck off. It’s just drunken fun? Drunken fun is stealing trolleys or kidnapping your friend’s dog and refusing to give it back (I’ve done neither.) Drunken fun is not taking the piss out of someone’s sexuality. Does Katy Perry know what the struggles the LGBT community face? No, because she’s straight. She doesn’t know what it’s like to be called various expletives based on who you fall in love with. This isn’t a personal dig at her, if I was going to do that- I’d dedicate a whole article to her. I don’t like her music, and I Kissed A Girl just sums up stupidity and desperation.

Moving on.

One singer in particular that I admire and have done for such a long time is Holly Miranda. I’ve loved her since she was in the band The Jealous Girlfriends. I love her voice. It’s quite bluesy and it grips you. I just think she’s fantastic. Is she super famous? No. But she should be. She’s currently working on a new album. Something that struck me about Holly Miranda was what she said about her sexuality, “I have no problem being out, but I don’t think it has anything to do with my music. I like who I like. I don’t want people to not listen to my music because of that and I don’t want people to listen to my music because of that. I haven’t had to deal with it in a professional way very much yet.” This is how it should be. She should be known based on her musical talent not her sexuality.

Would people care for Elton John or George Michael if they weren’t gay? Is that what sells them? Have they used their sexuality to sell records? I could name drop a certain person who I feel has done this, but- there’s no point. Let’s just say, their name is part of a Queen song. Has the penny dropped? It should have.

I’m fully aware that I am alone with my thoughts and feelings with this, but I’d be a bit of a wanker if thought and felt like everyone else really. Then again, that seems to be an issue with most.

What I am trying to say is that music should not have a gender or sexuality. It shouldn’t have a colour.

Do lesbians feel they cannot listen to straight singers because they are not straight? Do black people feel they cannot listen to Classical music because they’re not white? It’s all the same thing. Sell your music based on your talent (if you have any) not on parading around half naked, pretending to be “bisexual” to sell records. If you have to rely on a gimmick to sell your music- then stop. Just stop because you are preventing those with actual talent of making it.

Will anyone ever pay attention to bands that are openly gay such as  Uh Huh Her, The Cliks, Sick Of Sarah? Will anyone regard The Organ as one of the greatest female groups ever? No. Probably because they are gay. It’s a shame but homophobia is still alive and polluting peoples minds. However, singer kd lang has made her mark. Not by being a lesbian but by having one of the strongest voices ever.

I could easily go into a rant about how lesbians seem to love certain singers and bands. I really don’t get it. Not because I’m a pretentious oik, but because I don’t get it. I don’t think that because Spiritualized are one of my favourite bands that I know more about music than you or that I’m better than you. Far from it. So far from it. I’d like to know why people buy into what is forced upon them.

It becomes like a uniform almost. Gay men are forced to “enjoy” the music of Madonna and Lady Gaga. Lesbians are forced to “enjoy” the music of Pink and Paramore.

Personally, I don’t give a shit what anyone listens to. I like what I like, you like what you like.

Music unites people, so stop segregating it by labelling a musician based on their sexuality before you write their name.