The Editor looks back at the year 2012 in Polari Magazine and how it has explored the LGBT subculture. Part 3 looks at this year on the music scene.
Part 3: Music
2012 was a great year for music, as well as for Polari‘s music coverage, with new voices and raw excitement.
Music is, needless to say, a powerful force in most people’s emotional lives. This year Polari revelled in established, new & emerging artists, and given its writers the space to really get their teeth into the music scene, with a uniquely alternative view of mainstream music, as well as a captivating medley from the alternative scene.
We started the year with a Darren Hayes video interview. Darren is a mighty force from the world mainstream pop who has advanced the cause of LGBT rights because he is uninhibited when it comes to talking about his sexuality.
Karin Park’s Highwire Poetry is her fourth album. Park, who is Swedish, started out in mainstream pop-folk, and won a huge following in Norway. For her third album she turned toward a darker, louder sound, and perfect this with Highwire Poetry. She’s extremely talented and extremely cool and this interview was one of 2012’s highlights.
Polari‘s energetic and idiosyncratic music man Little Bastard talked to Julian Hamilton of The Presets about the album Pacifica, and the writing process that led to this musically diverse and mature album.
LGBT History Month 2012
The first great undertaking of the year in Polari’s music coverage was delivered courtesy of resident Duckie DJs, The Readers Wifes, who chose 29 songs of LGBT significance to mark LGBT History Month. From Morrissey’s ‘Piccadilly Palare’ to Joan Jett’s ‘I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll’, this was a wonderfully diverse immersion into the history of LGBT pop stars.
The Polari love-affair with Karin Park started at a gig to launch the album Highwire Poetry. As the first song started, the smoke machine triggered the fire alarm. This cut most of the power, leaving Karin with only a functioning microphone. With only her brother on drums, the gig went ahead, and the result was exceptional.
The tour to accompany Madonna’s MDNA led with controversy. Thankfully Nick Smith went along to the London performance to offer an alternative to the whining that punctuated the coverage in the gay press, so much of which was little more than a post-Lady Gaga backlash.
Little Bastard went to see the gender-bending Hunx and His Punx and concluded, “they could give Jake Shears and Ana Matronic a lesson in stagecraft and musicianship, and would probably scare the shit out of Rufus Wainwright, and that’s right up my dark, beer stained alley”.
2012 Highlights in Music
Polari has run a Classic Music section from the day it opened its virtual doors in 2008. This year there has been a different flavour in this section, the idea of which a few websites have adapted for their own use – only to feature predictable content.
Walter Beck celebrates the Pansy Division album Undressed.
In the wake of Donna Summer’s death, Alex Jeffrey looks back to Once Upon A Time, ” truly is a journey with far more depth and complexity than you would ever expect to hear in a disco album”.
Walter Beck considers George Jones’ I Am What I Am: “no flag-sucking phoney patriotism, there’s no spit and polish sound, and there’s nothing about pickup trucks and chicks that run around with their tits hanging out. This is a dark album, full of heartbreak, copious amounts of whiskey and the best male voice in the genre”.
Rhianna’s Unapologetic made Little Bastard angry. “Ain’t nobody’s business but mine and my baby,” Rhianna sings of her tempestuous relationship with Chris Brown, which left her beaten and battered. “When pictures of Rihanna’s beaten face hit the papers and the courts, it ceased just being their business,” he concludes, and “to openly go back to a violent abuser, and feed that message to your fan base through your album leaves a nasty taste in my mouth”.
He gave the album 1 star, because it’s not just about the music, it’s about the message, which he found unforgivable.