Britney started it, back in 1999. A pop star who not only wasn't having sex, but had never had sex (not like that Christina Aguilera, oh that genie had been out of the bottle before you could just TELL), we might have heard rumours about the virginity of the virgin princess of pop but she definitely started a craze with her sexy dancing sex riot moves. And it's a weird one. One that people blame the state of teenage girls self esteem on, teen pregnancy rates and STDs are dragged into the matter too. The sexy pop video, that from 1999 onwards has just got sexier.
This week we have been dividing ourselves into teams. Are you #TeamNigella? I note there isn't much of a #TeamSaatchi, even though I wouldn't join it, but I'm not sure I'm #TeamNigella either. I am wary of a woman who tried to casually insert the phrase 'Christmas welcome table' into the English Christmas lexicon,and messes about with perfectly good sprouts. I am #TeamAntiDomesticViolence but that takes up a lot of my 140 Twitter characters and apparently that isn't the focus. Whether or not you like Nigella is.
This week in a case unrelated to Nigella Lawson and Charles Saatchi's divorce allegations have come out concerning Nigella and her alleged drug use. The TV chef's two former assistants, sisters Francesca and Elisabetta Grillo have been accused of fraud by Saatchi for misappropriating over Â£300,000 which they spent on designer clothes and plane tickets.
It is inviting sighs and lots of 'everyone has written about this today' comments and statements of how bored Twitter is already of this. But while I have seen a few blogs and tweets being quick off the mark to note the problems with Lily Allen's new video, I have seen far more tweets, blogs, comments and articles celebrating it. Both sides (and it does come down to 'sides', nothing divides like pop culture) seem to be touting feminism. So why the divide?
The video opens with Lily apparently undergoing some sort of cosmetic surgery in order to make her figure suitable for this comeback. It's witty, as a middle aged man wonders how someone can even allow themselves to get like that Lily mumbles that she's had 2 babies. So far, so funny.
It's Halloween today and for every person who is planning on pulling on some beige coloured underwear, tying their hair into two top knots and sticking their tongue out Miley style, you can bet your Halloween Haribo there will be someone donning a black wig and kicking it Bettie Page style.
When the Bettie Page biopic The Notorious Bettie Page came out in 2005 I remember being surprised at just how innocent Bettie was portrayed as being. While it was plausible to think of a sheltered Christian girl from Tennessee being rather naïve about sex and what might be considered – even now – deviant behaviour, it seems slightly less plausible to think she would happily pose in thigh high boots and a whip no questions asked. Lalala.
I read an interview with Russell Brand a couple of years ago in which he railed against current politics, then admitted he didn't vote. Since then he's come up with a reason why. Perhaps in preparation for this stint editing the New Statesman, probably because no one would face Jeremy Paxman without thinking up a couple of excuses/plausible explanations/escape routes. Mainly I imagine because it makes for a good routine and paints him as the reclining revolutionary. I got sent a press release that was simply the Paxman interview on YouTube.
When Paxman asked, increduously, if it was true Brand had never voted Brand - like a school child who has forgotten his homework so many times now the stories come naturally though not plausibly - answered in a slight frenzy. Oh those politics, they're on the kitchen table where he left them, in his minds eye he can see them.
Last Saturday's Weekend Woman's Hour on BBC Radio 4 focused on women in music in anticipation of today's 6 Music Peel Lecture which will be given by Charlotte Church on the theme of women.
Presented by Kenickie band member turned presenter Lauren Laverne (who manages to frustrate me and crack me up in equal measure) the programme announced its intention to explore why, while six of the biggest selling albums of the past decade were by women but men still out number women in the singles chart. They also continue to hold the fort on all other aspects of the music industry, producing, DJ-ing, PR-ing etc. Several women from the music industry were invited to discuss this on the programme.
Quick! What does an ideal woman look like? I don't have time for your protestations about 'ideal' meaning different things to different people, or being a ridiculous notion to start with. There is an ideal out there and we're all failing to live up to it. Maybe it's the colour of your skin, your height, your bra size or the ink you paid for - there's definitely something getting in the way of you being truly beautiful, of obtaining perfection.
Isn't this the message most of us (increasingly men as well as women) have bludgeoned into us from an early age? One of my first memories of reading magazines is finding one with a recipe you could make up and apply to your face to bleach off freckles (I believe it included lemon juice but beyond that it's lost to time I'm afraid). And as a red-haired child who didn't know anyone else who wasn't brunette or blonde I always knew I couldn't be pretty and ginger. Update 20 years later: red hair is awesome. Just so you know.
Last weekend I did something I have not done in a while. I moshed. I went to see some grungy live bands with a load of people who wanted to party like it was 1992. Dancing at the back was fine, then the band launched into a cover of Lithium and I was carried to the front.
Partly by the crowd all leaping forward in competitive recognition of the song, partly by my own pushing. When you're in a mosh pit you can't go back. Forward not back.
I got sweat soaked, greasy boy hair in my mouth, I got a beer poured over me, I got shoved, I got kicked. I Shoved, I kicked, I flicked my sweat soaked, greasy girl hair about. I yelled, I sang, I loved it.
The family Smith react
It's been a while since I watched MTV. For one thing I don't have it and for another I am that person in your office who pauses before saying smugly "oh, I don't have a TV" (before you put together some kind of Just Giving account for me I do now, for the first time mind, have a TV). I haven't been interested in the VMAs since the days of the Britney snake routine.
This year is different. Because *N Sync reunited, right? Nope. It seems the VMAs were not viewed as a night of harmless pop music self congratulation. Nor was it the plunging necklines, cosmetic surgeries (did they or didn't they? We must know!) or nip slips. It was Miley Cyrus's twerk-ridden performance and cultural appropriation that has got many people going.
Usually I write about what I want. A while ago I wrote about UniLads and was informed that giving them the oxygen of publicity wasn't going to help shut them down. Of course the oxygen of publicity probably did up UniLad's site stats, but it also drew sponsor's attention to the content of the site and a complete overhaul was required. A half-assed warning on the site regarding content that the easily offended might hackle at is not a triumph for those who rallied against the UniLad content. But it is a reaction. Had everyone kept schtum their lips pursed as a prudish hen's arse, the blog would still be going, with no indication that it was unacceptable.