Thursday, April 21, 2016



The second video is billed as a great story but it's annoying, less because it's a description of asshole behavior than it's an awed description of asshole behavior. And I have a hard time thinking Prince had never heard Fela until 2004. Everyone I knew who was listening to either of them in 1981 was listening to both.

Brilliant pop stars are in a situation always verging on tragedy. Fame and genius become mixed together. And there's the genius of Barnum and the genius of music, which are related but not identical. Prince was a brilliant, fragile, sexy motherfucker.

Dirty Mind
It won't last.

From the Super Bowl.  I couldn't find a good embeddable video of the performance without commentary.




Brilliant pop stars are in a situation always verging on tragedy. Fame and genius become mixed. And there's the genius of Barnum and the genius of performance. Barnum was a stage manager not the lion jumping through hoops; Prince became both. And unlike most pop stars he was a brilliant musician.

Bowie's performance as persona was more interesting than what became Prince's pop theatrics, but Bowie was more actor than musician. Dirty Mind came out as Bowie was fading into celebrity, but Dirty Mind wasn't pop. And when Prince became pop, it was with all the seriousness that Bowie gave up on.

See also Marie Lloyd and Thérésa.

Actors and musicians are different, and fans are not peers. Prince indulged celebrity and shied away from it. He needed and wanted to be commercial, and wanted also a more serious respect. His allegiances were divided. It may have worked even more than people thought.

He was the first "pop" performer, absent the pretensions of rock and roll and the underground (self-styled or not), and the non-commercial intellectualism of post war jazz, that interested me. He was the first serious entertainer, in the sense of Hollywood, Vegas, and Broadway, in the age of spectacle.

a bit more here.

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