The Troubadour, a place named by the Rolling Stones to be one of the best rock ‘n roll clubs, where Elton John made his US debut, where Neil Diamond recorded “Gold,” where Bob Dylan gave his first folk-rock performance, where Led Zeppelin and The Eagles held jam sessions, the last place where Janis Joplin partied, where Charles Bukowski met his wife, where Guns ‘n Roses were signed and Johnny Cash played one of his last shows, named a must-play by Billboard, and now, where Harry Styles performed a secret show and dueted with Stevie Nicks and changed the music industry forever.
I think some people are forgetting Harry is a closeted, very likely confused, young person navigating his own identity and his place in the music industry, and he hasn’t lived a day as a normal kid since he was sixteen years old. Even without PR strategists and their ham-fisted promo and transparent lies, he’s going to fuck up. He’s going to contradict himself. He’s going to do things which don’t sync up with the image we have of him because we don’t actually know him. He’s going to make mistakes, and he should make mistakes, because he’s twenty three years old. I look at some of the art I made at a 23 year old and it’s an absolute mess of poorly articulated ideas and cross-firing impulses and half of them are ripped off of the artists I loved because I hadn’t found myself yet. That was three years ago and I’m still struggling to find myself, because I, too, am a confused young person trying to create art in a world that’s hostile and homophobic. And that’s me, where there are no cameras and no privacy invasion and no closet and no million dollar brand. Harry is under an enormous amount of pressure from the people he’s working for AND the general public, AND US, the fans who love him, sure, but are also tense and poised and constantly ready to attack and drag and place blame and analyze.
It’s ok to analyze, in fact I think it’s necessary to be critical and conscious of all the media we consume? But at the same time…people really need to look at the big picture and keep everything in perspective. Harry probably doesn’t know who he is yet to some degree, as a person and as a solo artist, and he’s been media trained since he was a kid, and now that he has a slightly longer leash, he’s going to be struggling to reconcile all that. So he’s drawing from a variety of influences and musical traditions, some of which are archaic or dated or fucked up, and attempting to forge an identity and still sell records and we’re ALL WATCHING! What an enormous challenge! Even if his team was promoting everything perfectly, there would still be cracks running through this mess. Give him a break. Remember how old he is, and what kind of world we live in.
I do think there is fandom manipulation happening, I do think there are strings being pulled and I think some of those string pullers are tone deaf old white men. Yes. But frankly, that’s capitalism, which sucks but is the very real framework which art is manufactured within. We’re not going to be able to escape that anytime soon, it’s just the way things are. Personally, I’m excited to continue to watch Harry grow and find himself and figure out what he wants to do and what he wants to say within the constraints of capitalism/the industry.
I have been having some thoughts about the original mythological
Loki and the thought that has been on my mind most is this:
1. Surprisingly great with kids
2. Is addicted to parenthood
Let me explain.
As to the first bit, well, yeah, it’s surprising. Or it should
be at first glance. Because, seriously, this is fucking Loki. Standing
in close proximity to him for longer than a minute is bound to result in theft,
arson, a splash of bloodshed for color, and at least one confused party waking
up in bed with the fucker. He’s a chaotic, manic, and generally hazardous force
to be reckoned with.
To us. That is, adults.
Mortals, gods, giants, trolls, dwarves, et cetera–but only
those who are mature.* *Read: there is Something to be Gained from conning,
seducing, or otherwise messing with us. Whether it’s to save his own skin, or
to get some sweet petty vengeance, or to steal a bauble, or to satisfy some
carnal itch, or to just fuck up somebody’s day for the Hel of it, Loki only
ever targets those he can take something worthwhile from.
And what is there to take from kids?
Plenty of folks on his extremely extensive Enemies List have
children, of course. No one in the Norse mythos was especially mindful of
dropping their seed. So. Children.
Children–easy to fool, easy to make a hostage, easy to charm
and siphon their parents’ secrets and treasures from–should be great big
bullseyes to the God of Mischief and Trickery and Assorted Other Unscrupulous
Things. Yet there isn’t a single Edda or snippet of lore in which Loki makes cruel
use of them. Not once.
But what’s the big deal? Most of the rude and/or villainous
characters in Norse mythology don’t bother with harassing kids either. Except
in the case of stories like Loka
Loka Táttur is a tale about how a farmer loses a bet with a
vicious troll who swears to kill the farmer’s little boy. The farmer calls upon
three gods in turn. Odin, Hoenir, and Loki. Odin and Hoenir both disguise the
boy and hide him away, but the troll is too clever and each time manages to
sniff out the boy’s hiding place. Ultimately it is Loki who hides the kid–pulling
an Idunn-in-a-Nutshell gag and hiding him as a speck on the eye of a flounder
in the water–and then, rather than stepping back as Odin and Hoenir did from
their work, he sits in his boat and lets the troll see him.
The troll, being suspicious, asks what Loki’s business is. Only
fishing, obviously. The troll demands to join him. Lo and behold, they bring up
a wealth of flounders, including the one where the boy’s hidden. Loki manages
to change the boy back to his true shape and hide the kid behind his back
without the troll noticing. As Loki brings the boat back to shore, and to the
farmer’s boathouse with the latter’s doors open, Loki tells the boy to run
through the boathouse. He goes, the troll gives chase, and the troll becomes
wedged in the entryway.
At which point Loki proceeds to chop off the troll’s legs and
stick an iron stake in the bastard’s skull. Then he walks the kid back home. The
grand payoff for Loki after all this?
The boy is safe. The troll is dead. The End.
Now, much as Loki may have been the catalyst for a lot of
corpses pre-Ragnarok–see his business with Thor getting his hammer back and
leading more than one giant into a death trap–Loki is actually very rarely, if
ever, one to get his hands dirty by killing a victim himself. Even Baldr was
done in by an arrow he aimed with blind Hod’s fingers. So why did Loki
personally orchestrate this plan in such a grisly way? For what gain?
What, other than the satisfaction of personally slaughtering the
would-be child-killing prick troll?
In a less bloody narrative, we see his hand in getting Thialfi
and Roskva, a pair of mortal siblings, taken into Thor’s service. While the
exact ages of the two aren’t mentioned, they are young enough to still be in
the care of their parents. When Thor and Loki are travelling it’s their father
who invites them under their roof. Thor’s goats are slaughtered for the evening
meal and–in some tellings–it is Loki who entices the son, Thialfi, into
breaking a leg bone to taste the marrow. When morning comes and Thor resurrects
his goats, one has a broken leg.
Thor’s visibly pissed—never ever
a good thing–and so the family offers to make some compensation.
Loki, coughing through his hand: ThialfibroketheboneheshouldpledgeservicetoThor
Loki, clearing his throat:Alsotakethesistertwoforonedeal
Rosvka: But I didn’t do anything—
Loki, en sotto voce: Kids, consider your options. Teensy
mortal lifetime of toil on Midgard, harvesting dirt and snow on one hand.
Potentially immortal lifetime, I don’t know, scrubbing giant blood off Mjolnir in
Thor’s hall on Asgard on the other. Verdict?
Loki: Excellent! Really, Thor, you’re a master dealmaker,
a born barterer, I’m in awe.
Loki: AND WE’RE BACK TREKKING LETS GO
Cue laugh track.
Point being, Loki has been shown to purposefully go
out of his way to help kids because…because. Yet how does this translate to the
idea of him being good with kids?
I ask this purely hypothetically and am trying not to
laugh as I do, because really. Really.
How in the hell is a kid not going to be entertained by the Norse god of
revelry and recreation?
Oh yeah, that bit’s often left off the résumé.
Loki, God of
Mischief, is also God of Recreation. Play, in other words. Because playtime is
a thing that is Chaotic rather than a product of Order, and so Loki is
naturally all over it. There are some who even credit him with having added
that trait to the first humans, Ask and Embla, while Odin, Vili, and Vé were
carving them and breathing character into their souls.
On top of that, he’s also the god of flyting—poetic shit-talking.
So we have a shapeshifting, storytelling,
magic-wielding, game-spinning, trickster god who can also teach young ears
every bad word they could ever hope to learn, and he’s expected not to be a hit with kids? This is all
without even mentioning the fact that Loki is a bit of a hyperactive attention
hog all on his own. What better audience for him than a gaggle of credulous
little onlookers who are too young to sneer at his antics rather than take
delight in them? Children are wee balls of mischief themselves, muddled in with
imagination and wonder and an eagerness to be wowed or made to laugh themselves
All of which brings me to point number two:
Loki is a kidaholic.
Like, even though a lot of his and/or her sleeping
around the Realms can be chalked up
to an insane libido, there’s also just the sheer number of kids they’ve
produced to factor in. Maybe more than even Odin or Thor could boast. At least
half being born from Loki herself. Not because Loki was helpless against the
workings of nature—it’s impossible to believe that Loki wasn’t smart enough or powerful enough to get around producing
new Lokisons and Lokisdottirs with every other bedmate—but because Loki wants more kids. There will never be
The guy’s got a case of severe paternal/maternal
hoarding going on. I mean
Loki: I need another one.
Odin: You really don’t.
Loki: You’re right. I need two other ones.
Odin: I am positive that you do not.
Loki: Three. Triplets. Need them. Right now.
Loki: Four? Four. Definitely four.
Odin: Loki, please.
Loki: Yeah, let’s go with four. I can give or get. I’ll
flip a coin.
Odin: Loki, as Allfather, I am expressly forbidding
you to impregnate or be impregnated for at least a century.
Loki: …I’ll settle for three.
Odin: What did I just
Loki: Three’s a good number, isn’t it? All good
things come in threes. You and your brothers—
Odin, fighting an aneurysm: You and your brothers—
Loki: So you agree!
Odin: I did not—
Loki: Three it is!
Loki: Be back when I feel like it
Loki: Give my love to Sleipnir
Loki, pantsless, vaulting over the wall, cartwheeling
towards Jötunheimr’s Ironwood forest: Bye
It’s in that Ironwood that he meets Angrboda and
fathers a giant wolf, a giant snake, and the literal corpse-faced queen-goddess
of the dead by her. Being that Loki’s scope of attractiveness/aesthetic acceptability
is elastic enough to let all sorts of species between his legs, I find it hard
to believe that his kids’ unique looks would repulse or even faze him. They’re
his children. Therefore they’re great.
And we all know how that happy family
ended up. Ditto his second family with Sigyn and his two little twin boys.
Enter Ragnarok, warfare, general Bad
Times, and so on.
Comical as it is to envision a Loki who cringes at
the notion of parenthood and/or fears his more monstrous children, I just don’t
believe it lines up with what we know of the Loki of myth.
Myth Loki is a god who would spend hours entertaining
a child, simply entertained that the child is entertained.
Myth Loki is also
a god who would hunt down and methodically dismember whichever idiot
thought it would be okay to make a child cry within said god’s earshot.
“Were you in love with her, Beast? Did you honestly think she’d want you, when she had someone like me?”
INTP - Lazy. Untrustworthy. Awkward. Cynical.
“He’s gotta have a weakness, because everybody’s got a weakness. I mean, for what? Pandora, it was the box thing. For the Trojans, hey, they bet on the wrong horse, okay?”
ENTP - Facetious. Moody. Noisy. Obnoxious.
“Ah, how shall I do it? Oh, I know. I’ll turn him into a flea, a harmless, little flea, and then I’ll put that flea in a box, and then I’ll put that box inside of another box, and then I’ll mail that box to myself, and when it arrives, I’ll smash it with a hammer!”
A/N: I had a lot of fun writing this! It’s the longest I’ve written on this blog and I’d really appreciate the feedback here
I’m most likely doing a Part 2 depending on how you all like it. Enjoy :)
Harry loved family reunions.
Amongst the bickering cousins and lurid pitter-patter of children, he often found himself feeling at peace as his folks filled him in on all the stories he’s missed out on. He’d laugh about his jittery uncle who nearly burnt his eyebrows off from an old barbecue, nodding approvingly as his aunt gushes about her eight year old who’s just won the flashy new title of spelling bee champion. He likes the way they treat him too. With adoration in their eyes, resurrecting from the years they’ve watched him as a young boy (instead of the usual gaze of stardom he’s used to). He almost, if not, especially enjoys the way they admire his success, not as an ego-booster, but as a way of praising Anne for his upbringing, despite the major gossip that briefly tainted his mother’s name around her first divorce.
But even in a house packed with his most favourite people, he would always feel relatively exhausted from the length of the reunion, a full four days he’d reckoned. It was unfair really, he loved his crazy family, but he always felt like he had to put on his best face, never getting his usual dose of solitude to rejuvenate.
So when Harry first invited you to join him, he hadn’t quite expected you to be so patient with his family.
“Yes, he is very handsome,” you’d chuckle, “but we’re only friends.”
“You’re sweet, love, but I think this little girl wins the beauty contest, hmm?”
“Right, he is very good with kids.”
“M’only in uni, ma’am, so I’ve got a few good years before settling down.”
anons asking for more canon kind Gladstone hijinks and this one fell into my lap
(couldn’t find the code for this but context: Gladstone is a street sweeper and keeps finding hella cash in lost jewellery, Donald arranges a set up with a bag of Scrooge’s money so he can find it in front of Gladstone and gloat…)
Put on your Eliza Doolittle hats, I’m about to teach you some Zaynglish.
To really grasp Zaynglish, to really become one with Zehn, you must master the art of knowing when to throw down some random “h”’s. The “h” is your Major Key™. Just throw that shit down like a vowel and don’t even worry about it:
“Ahm in ah coohl bohybend”
“Muh mum bought meh deese boxehs”
Sometimes you’ll need to make the judgement call to use “u” instead of “a” or “o”. You’ll know what to do. Just put on some serums, listen to some Drake, find yourself some cat memes, and don’t overthink it:
“Tonight is maybe the best night of my life,” Harry Styles confessed Friday, facing an excited crowd of fans and friends gathered to hear the songs of his just-released solo debut, Harry Styles. The intimate club performance unfolded at the Troubadour, the celebrated West Hollywood room where some of his folk-rock heroes from the Seventies performed early career-defining gigs.
The erstwhile One Direction singer walked out as casually as anyone can in golden glitter pants. He picked up an electric guitar to begin “Ever Since New York,” a ballad warm and jangly, to an audience of raised cell phones. He winced dramatically to the lyrics of bitter love (“Almost over / Had enough from you”), ending with a fan sing-along to the repeated closing line: “Oh, tell me something I don’t already know.”
The album wasn’t the obvious move for the pop idol, but is now fully expected to debut at Number One on the Billboard 200 album chart. The concert at the 500-capacity Troubadour was a night to celebrate (and a benefit for homeless teens), while a crowd of mostly female fans not lucky enough to score a ticket stood outside waiting behind a barricade, maybe hoping for a glimpse of Styles, guest James Corden or anyone else.
At 23, Styles has launched a solo career to genuine acclaim, drawing less on the immediate pop of his multi-platinum boy band than lessons learned from the rock and pop past. His new songs show the direct influence of Bowie, Elton John, the Stones, Lennon & McCartney, and many others. The results that aren’t revolutionary in 2017 but are emotionally resonant, and suggest a healthy foundation of taste and ambition.
At the Troubadour, the percussive piano on “Woman” began like Elton’s “Bennie and the Jets.” The folky glimmer of his “Meet Me in the Hallway” shimmered like Bowie’s “Space Oddity.” His “Only Angel” snarled with Stonesy guitars and fittingly brutal beats and cowbell from drummer Sarah Jones.
By the time Stevie Nicks stepped out as his surprise guest for a trio of duets, Styles had traveled comfortably through a variety of styles. “You look pretty wonderful,” Styles said almost shyly as Nicks arrived at the mic. She replied, “So do you.”
“Nicks wore black and sang harmony on Styles’ "Two Ghosts,” a dreamy tune that could be Beck in sad singer-songwriter mode. Nicks looked over at her singing partner and blended her voice with his: “We’re just two ghosts standing in the place of you and me / Trying to remember how it feels to have a heart beat.”
They followed with Fleetwood Mac’s classic “Landslide,” trading lyrics and admiring glances. Young women in the crowd shouted along to Nicks, but turned silent when Styles delivered his lines, which were his most gentle and reverent of the night. When Nicks paused to share some history about “Landslide,” Styles stepped back to sit and listen like the rest of the room, then joined her on one more song, “Leather and Lace.”
For much of the 80-minute set, Styles’ demeanor was as casual as if he were hosting a cocktail party in his living room, at ease with fans shouting ecstatically to his every syllable. With him were not a band of session players but a group of young musicians and peers, including guitarist Mitch Rowland, who was still working at a pizza shop when recruited by Styles as a player and co-writer on the album.
Together, they charged into “Kiwi,” a grinding rocker in the tradition of the Strokes or Jet, sending Styles bouncing around the stage, leaning into the front rows, punching the air.
“Unfortunately I only have one album, so we’ve only got one song left,” he said with a laugh near the end of the night. “We’ve quite literally run out of material.”
He then turned to the band and suggested performing “Kiwi” once more, as many in the crowd erupted. The band dove back into the rocker, and it was just as convincing, the song and energy clearly a sweet spot for Styles. When it was done, he asked, “Do it again?”
Instead, Styles closed with the emotionally lush “Sign of the Times,” already a career-defining song for the new solo artist. It wasn’t a casual reading. His voice soared and shifted gracefully between tenor and falsetto, retaining the epic song’s solemn gospel flavor (even without the album’s accompanying choir).
Like “Kiwi,” the tune tapped into something real in the singer, lifting him far beyond casual charmer and into passionate performer. Which might the greatest lesson of all from the musical heroes of the rock and pop past.
Pretty much the only talk I see about Bitty and his probably-Christian-upbringing is in reference to homophobia and trauma.
It’s really easy to forget, especially for folks who weren’t raised heavily Christian, that if you’re raised Christian from a young age, you had a LOT of different experiences in the church before the whole homophobia thing reared its ugly head.
Let’s talk about Bitty in Sunday School. What stories stuck with him? Does he still have old dusty copies of Alice in Bibleland? Does he still get Veggie Tales songs stuck in his head? How many of his awkward teenage moments happened in Youth Group Camp? Did he ever try to learn guitar to help with Youth Group worship? Does he have nostalgic memories of Easter Egg Hunts? Was his church the type to have a special service for the kids/teens on Sundays or did his folks tell him in the normal sermon to “practice being bored”? What did his Sunday Best look like? When did his folks start letting him choose his own shirt and tie? Was he baptized as a baby or later? What was that like for him?
Let’s talk about Bitty’s Christian upbringing in a way that isn’t all about the homophobia. Thanks.
A Queer Kid of a Pastor (so don’t come at me telling me I don’t know what it’s like being gay and raised in church)