Category Archives: People

Beyonce Dazzles at Glasto

Old skool critics were worried that Glastonbury would not be ready for the jelly. Some were opposed to welcoming a headliner so self-evidently and completely bootylicious. Some would have preferred that the boss-eyed drone Thom Yorke had had more prominence, or that King Bono could have taken over the stage (world) and churned out more of his old hits while we swayed along obediently. But nevertheless, the Beyonce extravaganza was allowed to go ahead and by the end, it was hard to see how anyone, even the most serious of music listeners (it’s meant to be FUN you dreary bores), can have thought it to be anything other than a spectacular show.

She burst onto the stage like a golden fireball of hair and energy and at first appeared to have forgotten her trousers. We quickly realised with collective relief that the gold ensemble was actually designed to show off her ultra-thighs to their most intimidating and advantageous. Glitteringly gorgeous in her gold jacket and black spangled boots, Beyonce whipped up the crowd and had them on side from the very first minute, launching into fan-favourite Crazy in Love.

‘You are witnessing my dream!’ she informed the delighted crowd of muddied onlookers. ‘Tonight, we are ALL rockstars!’ to which a cheer rose joyfully from the crowd – Not really true though is it Beyonce? YOU are quite clearly a rockstar. You have a gold jacket and a voice that can melt the coldest heart, but we’re not rockstars. I’m at home in my PJs with a cup of decaf, and they haven’t had a shower since Tuesday and are gearing up for another night with their heads in the slurry. Oh well. As if realising this fact she suddenly shouts ‘I want you to forget all your troubles and lose yourself in this music!’ and with that she begins to perform ‘Single Ladies’.

The ‘Single Ladies’ routine is memorising. We already know it is from the music video. As Kayne famously insisted it is, ‘the greatest video of ALL time. Of ALL TIME’ – However, I do think poor Kanye was just another statistic in the consequences of Beyonce’s power-thighs. We secretly thought that famous dance routine was maybe all done with clever editing and some mirrors, but now 170,000 eyes are fixed on the ultra-thighs as they whirl around and jerk this way and that and then,  ‘Ladies! Put your hand in his FACE and SING, wuh oh oh, oh oh OH oh oh’. Well this sure got the audience going. Men, who had so far been quite enjoying things, suddenly fell ashen as 100,000 women started giving their faces some major Gloria Gaynor attitude.

Quickly though, it passed and Beyonce went on to perform Naughty Girl (good) and then Baby Boy with a peculiar guest appearance from Bristol rapper, Tricky. This was the only part of the show that seemed to go massively wrong. Tricky looked like he had just been given some horrifying news and then been pushed through the stage curtains. ‘Mr Tricky, we’re afraid the Inland Revenue are repossessing your house and your cat has been found in the washing machine…it was on ‘woollens’. We’re very, very sorry’. He completely froze up. I think he perhaps wasn’t quite ready (career-wise) to contribute to a Beyonce mega-concert and looked a little sick and not a little COMPLETELY paralysed with fear. She did her best to help him along but after around 2 minutes of mass audience cringing, he disappeared from the stage… Probably to have his head kicked in by Beyonce’s management team.

Bee ran through all her big hits and it was a very good reminder of just how many of them there actually are. ‘If I Were a Boy’ showed off her  vocal talent. There was more audience participation fun with ‘Irreplaceable’ and then a jolly medley of Destiny’s Child hits. At one point she went off stage and her back up group, ‘The Mammas’ sidled to the front of the stage, like the three hyenas from Lion King, purring and muttering something about the men in the audience looking ‘damn fiiiiiine grrrrl’ – the men folk spent the 90 minute set in the most confusing and paradoxical state of being encouraged to dance, look at Beyonce’s memorising power-thighs and then being told that they were replaceable and to hit the road. Such is Beyonce’s message. Poor Jay Z’s head must be spinning.

We assumed Beyonce had disappeared off stage for some kind of outfit change, or maybe to get some trousers, but when she emerged in the same gold jacket we guessed she was actually just being given oxygen or possibly was having a heart attack.

No matter. Beyonce doesn’t need to change outfits to keep our attention. She then sang an utterly beautiful cover of Etta James’s ‘At Last’ which she’d historically performed at the inauguration of President Obama – and lest we forget that fact, there was footage of the special moment on the screen to which the Glastonburyers would cheer their approval whenever Obama flashed up. ‘Yaaaaay! We approve of your president! The vibe is very chilled here at Glastonbury! Nuff respect to the brothers and sisters!’
Next it was quirky current single ‘Run the World’ – Nothing to say other than, ‘who run this mutha? GIRLS’.

And then to finish, an understandably (after all the love she was getting) quite emotional looking Beyonce was guided down the stairs by an extremely cautious security guard, whilst singing ‘Halo’ and came to the railing to touch the willing hands of some very wide-eyed fans. Some wide with pure adoration, but most wide from dropping so much acid since they’d arrived on Wednesday.

So to conclude, from my PJs and behind my cup of decaf, Beyonce was outstanding and by that I mean literally that she stands out. Streets ahead of her peers in the industry and clearly from a different planet to the rest of the world’s 28 years olds. A planet where ultra-thighs laugh in the face of trousers and men cower behind rocks crying, with question marks floating above their heads. Who run(s) the world? Ummm…looks like it’s definitely Beyonce.

Meeting Chris Lilley

I met Chris Lilley on Tuesday. I shook his hand and simultaneously thought two things. One, ‘crikey those are the greenest human eyes I have ever seen’ – it was literally like shaking hands with a dragon and two, ‘this stranger, whose hand I’m allowed to hold for the next 2 seconds, is someone who really sees people’. Well of course he would with eyes like that, but the television programmes he has made so far are the most sophisticated example of pathos we’ve seen since Charlie Chaplin.
Hugely successful for years in Australia and lately in the UK and America, We Can Be Heroes, Summer Heights High and Angry Boys are comedy series written by Lilley and in which he stars as all the major characters. Young, old, male, female, black, white, Asian and everything in between – each one of the characters is a total work of art. Sophisticated, complex and yet beautiful in their simplicity, each is a fully rounded, utterly believable, vulnerable, loathsome, loveable creation of humanity and woven expertly into a script where you will laugh at them, with them and then cry for them all at the same time.
Lilley is obviously a professional people-watcher and what he’s produced with these shows clearly represent 1000s of hours of observation, research, thinking, writing and editing. The result is so realistic that to say this is good TV would be like saying Fred Astaire was good at dancing or Frank Sinatra was alright at singing a song like he meant it. This is fabulous TV. Comedy at its very best.
When analysing the success of these shows, it’s heartening to note that people must be getting it. I mean really getting it. Sure, there will be people who shout ‘Nathan!’ into Chris’s face in the street, people who will download ‘Animal Zoo’ and listen to it thinking, ‘you know I really should get to a zoo’ and people who will scrawl ‘dicktation (just imagine the picture for the sake of the argument)’ onto their school books, but on the whole, people are enjoying the shows I think because it causes them to have the paradoxical feeling of escaping from reality by confronting it. Lilley plays with all the big ones like racism, homophobia, disability, prejudice, discrimination, but also has a point to make on just about everything else. It’s as if collectively the audience is shown something familiar, shocked by it, amused and then all give each other a big virtual hug and carry on with their lives, maybe feeling just a little bit more in the know.
From what I’ve read, Lilley seems somewhat surprised by his success and personal popularity. He doesn’t want the fame and possibly thinks what he’s done by making shows which are essentially just about people isn’t all that unusual a thing. Everyone loves a reluctant hero though so I don’t think his appeal is going to wane any time soon.
I’m glad I met him. I couldn’t help feeling afterwards like I wished he was my friend and I don’t think I was the only one..
.Chris Lilley