Random Play by Graham Reid

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Random Play: Life? In the Fast Lane

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  • Stephen Judd,

    Surely the most compassionate thing we can do for the Britneys of this world is ignore them.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    It occurred to me that while it probably is a call for help, Britney's head-shaving could also be seen as a rational way of shaking off all the people who have their grubby paws on her; of taking herself out of the game. No one can make her the pop princess now.

    The degree of paparazzi pressure she endures is astonishing and must be very hard to bear. It's not just traditional media sticking cameras in her face now, but internet-based crews trailing her everywhere. It's really creepy.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22743 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    Someone on another site I frequent pointed out that this is a very basic response to feelings of loss of control. You can control your body, so you shave your head, get tatooed, whatever, thereby reaffirming your autonomy.

    /goes back to compassionate ignorance

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • Robyn Gallagher,

    Thanks, Graham, for writing that. It was intelligent and thoughtful, and there's not a lot of that kind of writing surrounding Britney at the moment.

    I've been thinking a bit about Britney and another famous baldy pop lady, Sinead O'Connor.

    Sinead shaved her hair off when she was a young, budding pop singer because she felt her record company were pushing her to sex herself up. So as a skinhead, her voice and the songs she sang had to stand on their own, and indeed they did.

    Britney however, doesn't have a strong a voice as Sinead. In fact, it could be argued that part of her overall talent as a pop star is her silky golden locks. So by shaving off her hair, she's removed part of what made her talented and famous.

    I want to cheer Britney for what she's done, but I can't quite do that because she seems to be not quite right in the head and in need of some help. I just hope she gets better.

    Raglan • Since Nov 2006 • 1946 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    I can't help but feeling that a part of the Britney fall is the inevitable, with someone as manufactured as her (and she was despite the "co-writes" little more than an image and a person who provided part of a vocal to a digital machine), realisation that it's more or less over. The money is still there, and the grasping paparazzi, but the career is over bar a slow ugly decline.

    Then there is the cynic in me that says that this is part of the new repositioning of Britney..all of this...she has a new album due and its no secret that Jive is wanting to rebrand her as a bad girl.

    But, that said, I don't think there are many left in the fast collapsing American msuic industry able to pull such a thing off (there are no more Don Kirshners out there) so I tend to lean towards the first explanation.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • Robyn Gallagher,

    And she’s only 25.

    For some perspective, when Madonna was 25, she had only just released her first album. She didn't turn into a megastar until, aged 26, her second album was released.

    Britney, however, debuted with a worldwide number one single, aged 17.

    Raglan • Since Nov 2006 • 1946 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    Britney, however, debuted with a worldwide number one single, aged 17.

    yes and they'd (the machinery that made that single) been working very hard towards that for a very long time. There is of course too, a vast gulf between Madonna's role in her own career and Britney's.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • Juha Saarinen,

    I thought Britney did the head too, after discovering that mowing the undercarriage generated sizeable press coverage...

    Since Nov 2006 • 529 posts Report Reply

  • merc,

    Mawp. Wasn't Britney a Mouseketeer, along with Christine Aquilliera and Justin T. See it was all planned from wayback, poor sods, no wonder they want to...
    "get loaded and be free." C U real soonnnnnnnnn.

    Since Dec 2006 • 2471 posts Report Reply

  • WH,

    Totally agree David. Why do we feel entitled to make savage personal judgments about people we have only glimpsed at through the lens of the E channel? It takes a certain lack of human empathy to delight in other people's tragedies.

    Without commenting in depth on our bizarre cultural hierachies, Norah Jones' Listener interview a few weeks back (on the reviews she received before and after her popular acclaim) was interesting. Sometimes our meritocratic ideals veer off into strange territory.

    Since Nov 2006 • 782 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    It takes a certain lack of human empathy to delight in other people's tragedies.

    Unless of course they want you to, and one would have to be naive to think that Britney did not assume that the world would do so.

    Right now we have a girl with a lot of money taking a few drugs, partying hard, shaving her head and getting a tattoo. Apart from the money, it sounds like my niece.....except this girl is doing so in the knowledge that the cameras will click.

    From her manager:

    “Britney has been through a tragic thing that hopefully will never happen again, shaving her hair was a sort of therapeutic thing for her. Britney knows that she needs help and is already going through counselling, she knows what needs to be done and is slowly re-building herself step by step.”

    the cynic in me smells a new "comeback" album very soon...I simply don't buy that the minders, lawyers and such that have controlled her every step to date, have put their hands up and walked away from their primary asset.

    Coincidently this is the most recent look for Joan Jett, who wrote one of Britney's biggest songs.....

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • Joanna,

    Joan Jett, who wrote one of Britney's biggest songs.....

    "I wanted to cover 'I Love Rock'n Roll' because I was a big fan of Pat Benetar growing up". Heh. Poor Britney. First 'Cry me a river' and now JT's new song. That's just cruel. All she wanted was a dick in a box.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 746 posts Report Reply

  • Andrew Paul Wood,

    On the subject of Britney and Xtina,this completely changed my perspective of the universe.

    Christchurch • Since Jan 2007 • 175 posts Report Reply

  • WH,

    Unless of course they want you to, and one would have to be naive to think that Britney did not assume that the world would do so.

    I despise the process whereby people become objects of derision and the target of self-righteous criticism and cynicism. At some point such criticism becomes banal. That point was reached 10 years ago IMO.

    You can choose to understand Britney Spears as someone with very human strengths and weaknesses, or you can understand her as the embodiment of everything you dislike about popular entertainment. I happen to think Britney's music has as much authenticity as your average Turner Prize, but that is really a different point.

    Since Nov 2006 • 782 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    Weston,
    I'm not saying the music in her name doesn't have authenticity, you misunderstand. It's perfectly crafted pop music. That is largely irrelevant (and the credit for it needs to go elsewhere..amongst others here).

    But having been in the music industry for close to 35 years I have a reasonable understanding of the processes involved,the organisation behind her...and the machinations behind the scenes. You can look at these issues in isolation or you can step back and look at perhaps what may be going on....

    To quote Max Clifford, the UK PR wizard, yesterday:

    "Obviously they knew exactly what was going on otherwise they wouldn't have allowed it. The whole thing was publicly arranged and publicly carried out. She wouldn't have just turned up and done this. Her PR managers would have known,"

    The more I consider it, I'm having trouble believing that much of current fuss is not orchestrated, or at the very least being artfully manipulated for the maximum result..

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • Hugh Lilly,

    For your amusement: Eight Women Who Look Better Bald Than Britney (via BoingBoing.)

    Robyn, you'll be pleased to note they included Ms. O'Connor. :)

    Auckland • Since Feb 2007 • 5 posts Report Reply

  • Zippy Gonzales,

    "Duchess" by Genesis, Duke album 1980

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 186 posts Report Reply

  • WH,

    Simon,

    Not being in the music industry myself, I must admit to having drawn my own highly unfavourable conclusions about the people who advise Britney Spears. (Love the early power chords though.) I'm sorry for being snippy in my reply to you.

    A few years back I read Neil Strauss' account of his interview with Britney, and after watching her self-destruct on the public stage, I do wonder whether the 2 marriages, the 2 children, the divorce or the recent photographs are symptoms of an identity crisis rather than the product of careful planning.

    Maybe its just the piling on I don't like.

    Since Nov 2006 • 782 posts Report Reply

  • Neil Morrison,

    it sounds like my niece

    about the size of it, a bit on the spoilt side, and at least she doesn't have the raging narcissim of Jolie and Madonna. But if she hangs around with Paris much longer then who knows.

    Mind you look, look at what a mess Lennon made of his life in his thirties - lost weekends and all that.

    Since Nov 2006 • 932 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    Maybe its just the piling on I don't like.

    and that's the crux of the matter. And what Graham's piece alludes to I think. I don't think that the poor girl (not in the fiscal sense.....she has had her compensations!) is not perhaps experiencing a meltdown (or at least having her fun publicly..when you really look at it there is no real story)..who knows...but, and its a big one, I think the minders/ PR, whoever, are playing it for all it's worth. Let's face it, she is the face of a small corporation (album and single royalties alone if you work it out are close to US$1bn..that's profit for BritneyCorp..after costs) and there is a lot riding on their brand. Repositioning is crucial since the previous target market has gone.

    Mind you look, look at what a mess Lennon made of his life in his thirties - lost weekends and all that.

    I've often thought about what it would be to be "John Lennon", and its unimaginable (duh!). Very few of us will ever have the understanding of the pressures, and (worse) the expectations placed on someone like him, spending all his adult life as a demi-god to billions. But at least Lennon was intellectually placed to understand and perhaps deal with his predicament, unlike Britney I'd say.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • Robyn Gallagher,

    To quote Max Clifford, the UK PR wizard, yesterday:

    "Obviously they knew exactly what was going on otherwise they wouldn't have allowed it. The whole thing was publicly arranged and publicly carried out. She wouldn't have just turned up and done this. Her PR managers would have known,"

    I've been thinking about this quote, and I'm not convinced. If Britney's PR managers had been in on it, surely they would have tried really, really hard to talk her out of it, rather than make it public.

    I mean, if Britney was dissatisfied with her crappy hair extensions, the best solution would have been to have had them redone, rather than shaved off.

    Someone who is having drug/emotional/personal problems (especially ones relating to feeling lack of control) isn't necessarily going to vet all their crazy plans through their PR people.

    Raglan • Since Nov 2006 • 1946 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    surely they would have tried really, really hard to talk her out of it, rather than make it public.

    Not if they want to kill her teen princess image. Public is the whole point...

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • Robyn Gallagher,

    Pretty much every song Britney has release post "...Baby, one more time" has been about wanting to be taken seriously.

    All you people look at me like I'm a little girl.
    Well did you ever think it be okay for me to step into this world.

    I'm not a girl,
    There is no need to protect me.

    Lyrics like that are obviously orchestrated, but I don't think the rumoured post-shave suicide attempt was. Unless - OMG - are they tweaking Britney for the emo market? Oh, say it ain't so!

    Raglan • Since Nov 2006 • 1946 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    Lyrics like that are obviously orchestrated, but I don't think the rumoured post-shave suicide attempt was. Unless - OMG - are they tweaking Britney for the emo market? Oh, say it ain't so!

    God, I don't know, I guess too many years in this industry makes one a tad cynical. Nothing is as it seems...

    The suicide attempt rumour seems to have originated at either Perez Hilton, or at a dead link at The National Enquirer!!.....somebody is happily feeding the rumour mill

    Unless - OMG - are they tweaking Britney for the emo market?

    or this market

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • WH,

    Since Nov 2006 • 782 posts Report Reply

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