Hot potatoes always go cold

Last night, I had the pleasure of watching two extremely different, and yet similar, documentaries. The first one I saw was on the BBC last night; concerning the career of Jim Davidson, most British readers may know him as the entertainer/comedian who has been tarred as being a racist. I find this a most interesting question of is he a racist? I think he isn’t, but he is definately faux-pas material!

Upon the interviewer (Piers Morgan, former editor of The Mirror) asking whether Jim was homophobic; Jim replied, rather oddly, “How can I possibly be homophobic, some of my best friends are black!”, and then he paused, and winked. That is a very sly and ambiguous reply, its also very clever. What is interesting is that by our standards, the old work of Jim Davidson can most definately be seen as a little insensitive, but, then again, so are sketches in Little Britain, and what about self-referential racism; David Baddiel’s light anti-semitism, for instance, Lenny Henry’s lampoon of Black British (which, except for Jim being white, isn’t terribly different). The question-begging comes mores to ourselves than to Jim about the issue of intolerance. I noted how interesting it was that Jim, in past interviews, spoke of Black characteristics in a way not dissimilar to how most people talk about Chavs. If people want to insult ‘chavs’, they should just make jokes about the working class overtly. Oh, and I can already imagine replies of “chavs are not necessarily working class…”. Well, I reply to you, does Council House ring any bells?

I see that the chav phenomenon encapsalates a hypocritical critique of those with a lack of cultural sophistication, from those themselves who could also be subject to a similar charge. Since when, for instance, did the Beastie Boys and David Hassellhoff become esteemed cultural artefacts? But that’s a whole other issue…

I found two ironies about Jim Davidson; the first one was about how his career came about from a talent show, and then, his career ended because of another talent show (Pop Idol’s ratings defeated Jim Davidson’s Generation Game). A second remark is that Jim ironically represented a challenge to the old guard of comedy insofar as they were middle class cigar-holding limerick-tellers. Jim, in the late seventies, represented, in a nuanced way compared to modern comedic revolutions, a challenge to the orthodoxy of comedy. The irony was, however, that Alternative comedy a decade later challenged him upon the same grounds, that Jim was the old guard that must be overthrown by the cool and revolutionary coalition.

A second documentary that I saw was (by Michael’s suggestion), concerning the band Mayhem. A very interesting documentary about how one member committed suicide, and another guy, Oystein Aarseth, was murdered by the guy from Burzum. It’s riveting stuff! When they talked of Oystein’s personality it became clear that a lot of the band was just image, but that attracted many people from unstable backgrounds to be involved. It’s very dark stuff and it makes me appreciate the genre of black metal now. I now feel that Death metal is a bit stale. I often feel that with emo bands trying to impersonate the ‘unclean’ vocals of black metal, they ruin the artform and intention. While it’s possible to be romantic and unclean (in vocals); they just do it in a terrible way. Screamo, what a fucking joke! It does interestingly make a more authentic metal audience drive further and further to obscurity; consider for instance how Black Sabbath was very challenging and ‘deviant’, and then how later on, Ozzy has become the symbol of kitsch. You’d never see Varg Vikernes, who was convicted of killing a man and burning churches, on a reality TV show….I hope not anyway…

Sinistre*

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