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Published on May 22nd, 2006 | by Hans Fruck

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On The Verge #70

ISSUE 70: DIXIE CHICKS — SHAKIRA — X-MEN — BIG BROTHER — JAMES BLUNT 

SHAKIRA NOT A CUNNING LINGUIST

It appears that Columbian songstress Shakira’s hold on the pointy end of the charts is nowhere near as uncertain as her grasp on English. Her second album Oral Fixation 2 has broken all sorts of chart records. And her latest single, Hips Don’t Lie, has debuted at #1 on both the Latin and mainstream charts in the US, the first song to do so.

To be fair, as well as breaking all sorts of chart records, Shakira also speaks five languages, which is probably four more languages than most people speak. In light of this, it seems a bit churlish to raise the question of how well she speaks those languages, but it’s difficult to resist, particularly for anyone who was subjected to the five-minutely rotation of Whenever, Wherever. Whose eyebrows weren’t raised by her now-famous lyrics “Lucky that my breasts are small and humble/So you don’t confuse them with mountains”?

These lyrics surely must have raised previously unconsidered pitfalls for Pamela Anderson wannabes. Imagine disrobing only to have the immensity of your boobage mislead your suitor into mountaineering and not mounting. How embarrassment. Wouldn’t the thought of someone donning an oxygen mask and scaling your breasts with pitons and an icepick deter you from getting that boob job? And wouldn’t a suitor planting a flag pole on your Himalayas and taking a few happy snaps while you’re getting jiggy wid it suck the romance out of the occasion?

Shakira’s penchant for citing her own bodyparts in an eyebrow-raising manner isn’t reserved to Whenever, Wherever. Her latest single Hips Don’t Lie is a stirring paean to the integrity of a different set of curvy bits. It seems Shakira thinks that the enthusiasm with which her hips meet all jungle expeditions are an accurate barometer of her lurve for the expeditioner. We’ll take her word for it.

Despite Shakira’s quirky turn of phrase, we can’t wait to sample more of her insights into mattress gymnastics. After all, who wouldn’t worship a woman with an oral fixation?

X-men2.thumbnailX-MEN 3 COVERLINES REJECTED BY BEAT MAGAZINE FOR THIS WEEK

1. In his pre-incineration days, Freddy Kruger was quite a catch.

2. The modernised Swan Lake was a hit with the public, until Wolverine accidentally eviscerated his dancing partner.

3. After rehearsals for The Boy from Oz, Hugh showed ‘Little Peter’ what he’d get if he told anyone their little secret.

4. Chadstone Bowls Club really went downhill after they let Hugh Jackman join.

5. Friends told Wolverine his hair-styling fetish had gone too far when he had a comb embedded in his fist.

6. Etiquette police hunted Wolverine remorselessly for his refusal to use a salad fork.

7. Hugh Jackman was determined not to let his fingernails interfere with his wiping technique.

 

imgresSTOP TOUCHING MY SENSITIVITY! 

In what sounds like a nod to the 11 million people that bought his debut album, James Blunt has entitled his sophomore effort All the Lost Souls, which is due for release on 23 July. Lost Souls sees the cunning Blunt gargle his way through such coma-busting numbers as I Really Want You, Annie, and tellingly, Same Mistake.

Of Lost Souls the Blunt says: “It’s something that I can say shows my growth and a development as a songwriter and as a musician, shows development in my own life, and records and documents it in that way.” So expect a dozen tracks of Norwegian black metal interpersed with the odd Baltic polka.

Normally, a chap like Blunt should raise no ire: he is dull to the point of inoffensiveness. But his sensitive warblings are enough to make anyone feel a little, well, icky. When he sings ‘Goodbye my lover, goodbye my friend, you have been the one etc,’ his tone and accent suggests that he is fingering your girlfriend under the table and about to call the Chancellor of the Exchequer about a matter of National Security. He’s just plain creepy and wrong. Shouldn’t he be trotting around the grounds of Blunt Manor with a brace of pheasants in a gunny sack, a pack of hounds nipping at the heels of his thoroughbred – not to mention the fine steed upon which he rides — rather than inflicting his blandness on those with ears?

For someone who looks like the cover of Captain Beefheart’s Trout Mask Replica and sings like he has a mouthful of plums served to him on silver spoons, James “The Blunt” Blunt, has had a remarkable career — or “musical story” in the words of Atlantic records. From serving as an officer (naturally) in the British Army to topping the UK charts for nine million years in 2005, to getting his fishlike face into the crotches of various Eastern European supermodels, he’s barely had time to scratch his blunt. Atlantic Records attribute this epidemic to ‘contagious word-of-mouth’. Well, he is British and they have a knack for these things. We can only hope that the UK Department of Health gets wind of this and stacks 11 million James Blunt fans in smouldering piles around the country. Or perhaps his new record will sell via mad cow disease. Who knows. Just don’t go kissing or eating the flesh of any James Blunt fans just yet. Although the latter is sorely tempting.

heart-surgery-3BIG LOBOTOMY

Endemol NV, the Dutch company responsible for unleashing Big Brother upon the earth, have outdone themselves in the tastelessness stakes by producing a new show, Big Donor, in which terminally ill contestants compete for a kidney transplant.

The recipient of the transplant is decided by the television viewers who vote by SMS.

On the surface, this may seem “shocking” as some critics have dubbed it, but considering the sub-moronic contestants on Australia’s Big Brother, and the producer’s struggle to inject even more tension, excitement and controversy into a show that relies very heavily on a dull scenario, stunts like this are The Way of the Future! Only wowsers and pinkos would suggest otherwise.

Having Gretel Killeen host the thing shows that audiences can cope with the unpleasant aftermath of botched surgery, so why not go even further?

How much more exciting would Big Brother be if the contestants had to compete for each other’s organs? Although brains seem to be in short supply, there is a surplus of spleens, colons and gall bladders. Why not have the losers of the challenges wake up in a bathtub full of ice! Imagine how many more viewers the show would attract if half the contestants were attached to drips, or shuffling about, Randall P. McMurphy-style, with tell-tale scars on each side of their foreheads.

Well, with that one, there’d be hardly any difference. But watching post-op bogans competing for insulin or an hour on the dialysis machine, would no doubt jack the show up to new levels of nail-biting suspense. Who gets the colostomy bag today? Hear the audience go, Ooooh. Witness the terror and weeping as the housemates get the call: “ This is Big Brother. Emma, please report to the surgery.” Emma is dragged, wailing, clutching at the walls by anonymous men in white coats and surgery masks. Perhaps that’s taking the twisted fantasy too far, but it does sound more like the future than a lame attempt at sensory depravation. Now, I don’t have a TV, but I would buy the fucking biggest one on the market if I could watch something like that.

As “reality” TV moves even further away from actual reality, the stakes need to be upped. We’ve become desensitised to the excitement of watching “real” people doing “real” things in a totally manufactured and manipulated environment. The savage and desperate world of emergency surgery and life threatening conditions may be just what Australian audiences need to shock them out of their complacency. After all, nothing is real to most people unless it happens on TV.

dixie-chicksDIXIE CHICKS: ARE YOU COOL ENOUGH?

Country music act The Dixie Chicks are on a collision course with their record label after saying, in as many words, they didn’t want fans who had no taste in music.

“I’d rather have a small following of really cool people who get it, who will grow with us as we grow and are fans for life, than people that have us in their five-disc changer with Reba McEntire and Toby Keith”, band member Martie Maguire told Time magazine. “We don’t want those kinds of fans. They limit what you can do.”

The band’s manager let out a strangled croak when he saw the comment, and then moaned again as he read on to discover singer Natalie Maines had also withdrawn her apology to George W Bush. Maine apologised to the president after she caused uproar in 2003 by telling a London audience she was ashamed Bush was from Texas.

“I don’t feel that way anymore”, she told Time . “I don’t feel he is owed any respect whatsoever.”

The Dixie Chicks’ intention to eradicate the remaining 10 per cent of their post-outburst fanbase has given Sony Nashville a bad case of the horrors.

“I can see where [The Dixie Chicks] are coming from,” said their manager through a cold sweat.

“I mean being a Bush supporter and having no taste in music are mutually exclusive. They think they can’t do any more damage to record sales than has already been done. But have they forgotten Bill Clinton? He’s not Republican, and that saxaphone… the saxaphone…” he broke off, sobbing weakly.

“They’ve gone too far this time. Did you know they’re making customers fill out a ‘coolness’ questionaire before being allowed to buy a Dixie Chicks record? If the customer ticks ‘yes’ to more than two questions, like, ‘Do you own any Phil Collins albums?’ or ‘Would you like to see new material from Michael Bolton?’ and ‘Is any member of your family named Bobby Ray?’ the music shop cashier has to snatch the record away and shout ‘No Disc For You!”

The Dixie Chicks have also announced plans to relocate to Melbourne, where they will strive for total fan purity by playing only on Tuesday nights in empty suburban cafes.

Sony Nashville have not commented on the status of the group’s contract.

 


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