i heard you were thinking of doing an 80s cover album

No Payne No Gain

PHOTOGRAPHY: James White
TEXT: Paul Flynn

 

Last year LIAM PAYNE had a conversation with Justin Bieber. He doesn’t usually do this sort of thing. There’s a shop Liam frequents in Los Angeles. Whenever he sees one of Will Smith’s kids or a Kardashian he feels too self-conscious to introduce himself. “There’s still that little boy inside of me,” he says. With Bieber, it was different.

Like each of the select bands who go through their boy-to-man rite of passage in full public glare, Liam at 23 is a disarming mix of confidence, knowledge and conviviality wrapped up in a frightened canary let out of its cage. Sometimes he’s the boy at the bus stop. Sometimes drops in reflexive anecdotes about his dealings with Donald Trump. No one understands Bieber’s experiences with quite the same clarity on quite the same timeframe as Liam and his four One Direction buddies.

“Obviously [Bieber]’s struggled a lot through the way the world looked upon him,” Liam says. “I don’t feel sorry for him,” he continues, “he’s great guy, inside there’s a really good heart. I said, look, the difference between me and you is that I had four different boys going through the same thing to look to. He didn’t have that.” Quite out of character, Liam Payne reached out a hand to his peer. “I said to him, listen, take my number and any time you want to have a chat, let me know because I’m here and I understand exactly what you’re going through and I understand your world.”

It was a lovely thing to do. “He needs somebody like that and in that position,” he qualifies, placing himself deferentially into the third person. It’s sweet for other reasons, too. In Bieber there is something of the idiosyncratic otherworldliness of a Michael Jackson figure. Liam Payne, a pretty, straight talking lad from Wolverhampton appears at first not to be that thing at all. “There is that in all of us.” he avers, meaning not only Bieber but his fellow One Direction alumnus Zayn Malik, Harry Styles, Niall Horan and Louis Tomlinson. “We all have this chaotic side to us. You know, they say that anger breeds passion. I think that’s the same with a lot of us, that we let things get chaotic very quickly. We’re used to chaos.”

Liam is sitting in a quiet antechamber above the photo studio where today’s cover story has been shot. He says he likes interviews and honours the assurance in a quietly riveting half hour before he’s whisked magically away. It’s Friday evening. Liam has been working out with millennial precision to make sure he’s at top physical condition should he be required to lose his shirt during the shoot. He’s whippet slight flesh, definition counts.

Six years ago, One Direction came third on the national TV talent show, the X Factor. 1D was an assembly-line operation pieced together audition stages. Boys that barely knew one another, slotted seamlessly together in the kind of multi-demographic hit their boss Simon CowelI so adept at plugging into the national grid each year. That year, Liam and his bandmates Niall and Louis looked like they’d been schooled at a premium boyband academy. Each sported variants of Bieber’s early slideover haircut. It was easy to imagine any of them taking a stool in Westlife or learning to breakdance for Take That, had they been born in another time and place. Within the trio there was a safe place in which teenage girls and boys could measure their sexuality, whilst tapping their toes. That wheel still turned. Flanked at either edge of the three were genuinely new angles for the British boyband model; Harry Styles, Cheshire’s own reality-age Mick Jagger and Zayn Malik, a practising Muslim from Bradford and nonpareil physical work of art to whom supermodels have since flocked. The five together hit enough familiarity and newness to open up a global fame haul not touched since the heady days of Duran Duran, Culture Club and Wham back in the 80s. During the summer of their astronomical American takeover there was a plausible touch of Beatle-mania. They felt like an England football team winning the World Cup. Their records have sold in North Korea.

Liam and the boys were the first band to taste that fame level in the age of social media, making their story simultaneously that of the boys next door and untouchable messiahs. There was something refreshingly undone about them. Their best songs, ‘What Makes You Beautiful’, ‘Little Things’, ‘Steal My Girl’, even the precociously titled ‘Best Song Ever’ are undeniable additions to the Great British pop cannon. Liam says the 1D song that he’d buy above all others is 'Once In A Lifetime’, the little known track from their 2014 album, Four. “That’s my favourite song. Very Coldplay-esque. I wanted it to be a single but they just wouldn’t have it. It was very relaxed the way we chose our records and made things. It was really simple.” Someone else did it.

When 1D lost their X Factor trophy to semi-hot handyman Matt Cardie and were beaten to the silver medal podium by classy Scouse songbird Rebecca Ferguson, Liam was 16. He had auditioned for the show pre­viously, at 14, as a kind of minipops Michael Bublé, Wolverhampton’s hitherto unseen swing angle. On his first induction to the X Factor factory, he was instructed by producers to go home and rethink his shtick as the last 24 were whittled down on TV. He says it attuned him to the hard knocks of rejection. Such was the omnipotence of the show back then Liam’s audition storyline was enough to grant him a local working men’s club career where he honed his skill and paid his dues.

“I did pubs and clubs.” he says. “When I was a kid, I literally played old people’s homes.” His one taste of what was to come arrived when the Wolverhampton Wanderers FC invited Liam to sing before kick-off at the Manchester United fixture to 34,000 fans in the terraces. In honour of his local team’s squad colours he sang Sam Sparro’s 'Black and Gold’. “It’s funny that that’s where we ended up, playing stadiums,” he says, with pleasing air of pride and bemusement. “It was funny being stood in the middle again and thinking back on that 16 year old boy stood in the middle of a football pitch. My dad said to me, this is going to be the toughest gig you’re ever going to play. Football fans do not want to hear little boy singing. They’re not interested. You heard jeering from the crowd. But I got applause at the end. And my dad said, that is the best thing you could’ve got out of today.”

Liam says he can’t remember much of his time in the X Factor house second time around bar the tears. He was recently delighted to see fellow housemate Page Richardson, the contestant Louis Walsh immortalised as looking 'like a little Lenny Henry’ on account of nothing but his colour, in a Harry Potter film (“the one where it’s Dumbledore’s army. He’s actually in the army, which is amazing. I’m absolutely obsessed with Harry Potter. Fucking love Harry Potter.”). He nods as I mention some of the other names he shared his first home away from Wolverhampton with. Katie Waissel, Diva Fever, Wagner. “There were a lot of different strange characters and lovely people through that show. It was very rushed and strange.”

On account of a childhood kidney condition, he had not even been drunk by the time he left home, Dick Whittington style, to live in a shared London house with a bunch of strangers maniacally chasing their fame dream in real time. “The famous line my dad said was. don’t come home until Christmas, meaning don’t get thrown off it before the final. And after I said goodbye to him that day. I never really went home again.”

When 1D lost, Liam turned to his dad with a “we made it this far” face. His fellow band-mates. he says, were in pieces. He remembers first Harry, then Louis, Niall and Zayn bursting into tears. “A cameraman came over and said 'can I get you boys for an interview?’ and I looked at all the boys crying, in their mum’s arms and I was like, 'look, I’ll do the interview’ because I was the only one who was alright and so I went off to side and did the after-camera interview for us. I just left them because I wanted them to have their moment and the cameras didn’t need to see them like that. There was a real atmosphere. This followed throughout our career a lot of the time.”

In Cowell’s dressing room later than same evening, 1D were told that they would be signed to his label, Syco regardless of their position on the show. “Simon took us up to his dressing room to tell us he was to sign us and Harry literally burst into tears he was so happy.” Emotions run high in boyband land. “He told us. I’m going to sign you. That was the moment. That’s where it all began.” The wheels of the juggernaut had begun to turn. “It was like a bomb went off”, he notes.

There was a pearl of wisdom shared by Cowell that stuck with Liam from that high-stakes evening. “The first thing he said to us after signing us from X Factor was 'look, there are no angels here.’ Which is so true.” What does Liam think Cowell meant by that? “That we’re all people. We all people here.” He doesn’t think it was an invocation of mistrust in music industry, the smoke and mirrors world of real life fame? “No, no, no. It was a moment in a conversation. He said 'look, there are no angels here and I know that you’re all going to make mistakes’. That’s what he was saying. Just get on with what the show is, do your bit. do your business, go to work and be real. That’s what that comment meant. Don’t stress about it, it’ll all turn out alright in the end.”

In that moment, it sounds like Liam Payne made a pact with himself go for it regardless, at the top tier, to claim his moment. “Everyone strives to be the person that they want to be.” he says. “I try too much sometimes, I think. I overstep the mark a little bit sometimes. That’s why I’m such a perfectionist. But sometimes I think you have to believe that are no angels.” The first One Direction single, 'What Makes You Beautiful’ was released in 2011, on September 11th.

The second half of 2016 was an eventful time for Liam Payne, presaged by his signing a solo record deal with Sinatra’s old imprint Capitol Records on July 21st.

While in 1D, he says all five boys dabbled on their own material. Because boybands never break up anymore, 1D are officially on sab­batical. Whether that translates as a bit of genial respite or full scale hatred for one another is a matter that’s been carefully blended into their tale with just enough leaks of a hint to either. Zayn, who had already fled 1D’s nest a year earlier, missing their victory lap worldwide stadium tour released his solo album Mind of Mine last spring, reinventing him­self as the Frank Ocean for Unilad readers. Niall played to his Irish card with a forgettable busker-ish ballad for the Christmas market very much carved from the mould of Ed Sheeran and seasonal John Lewis adverts. From the snippet of it we heard. Liam’s song sounded like his ascent to manhood, touting him as a moody, roustabout lover-man in something of Drake’s lineage, complete with street lyrical touches (while writing, a picture appears on Liam’s Instagram feed of him with the Canadian don though it’s not specified whether he’s working or partying with his hero)

Whenever Liam talks about the 1D boys he has the exact same dad-ish air of concern, care, amazement and slight separation from the operation that Daddy Barlow has with Take That. Oh, that’s the other thing Liam had kicked off the year with a new belle, The X Factor’s Queen of Our Hearts, Cheryl Tweedy.

Liam brings up Cheryl, of course he does. The two live in Surrey, out of the city. When I make a joke about him being Lord of the Manor, he says that his sister bought him a plaque to denote his Lordship for his last birthday, a joke that doubled when it turned out Cheryl had been bought a similar gift by Simon Cowell during her tenure on X Factor. “So we’re Lord and Lady, which is hilarious.” To British suburbia, this is of course precisely what they represent, a self-selected aristocracy in which we’ve all played a part in the honours system.

He says things with Cheryl are working out well, becoming temporarily misty-eyed. “This is the thing. In a non-cliché way, it’s weird waking up every day and literally living out your dream. You wake up in the most beautiful places. Obviously I have the most beautiful girlfriend if the whole world and she’s absolutely amazing. She’s been my drean girl since I was younger. She’s so ace.” They are used to companionship. They have Liam’s dog, Watson, a Great Dane. “If I’m ever having a problem or I ever get a bit angsty about something that’s happening in life then I take the dog out for a walk and there’s just unconditional love from him. Anyway, I don’t want to go too much into that. I’m not like a weird dog person.”

“She is a wonderful, wonderful person and it’s amazing to have someone who can relate to so much of things, someone who’s taken greater steps than me. Her solo career was amazing. She’s been in the industry for fourteen years now. She fully supports me. We’re super happy. I appreciate you didn’t ask about it. It’s a very personal, precious time for us. I’m still learning. I’m only 23.”

Because he is the youngest of three, Liam inherited the bed that his big sister’s had slept in at home in Wolverhampton. He tried to paint a wall blue to put his own stamp on the room, still shaded by bunny rabbit curtains into his teenage years, and ran out of paint before finishing. “It was a total tip.” he says of the last bedroom he lived in before fame. “That bed was so old. The last time I went back and sat on it I couldn’t believe it was the bed I used to sleep on. I often think about how I used to sit on the windowsill and just look at the stars and wonder what this was all for. And I often used to think, there must be more to life than this.”

I ask if his parents kept the room the same as when he left. “Well,” he says, interrupting the nostalgia with a little sharp reality, “I bought my par­ents a house so I haven’t actually been back to that room in a long time. I’d like to.” The experiences of 1D made five men very rich, very young.

Liam knows exactly his financial worth. “I do,” he says, letting out a nerv­ous laugh. I ask if I would blush if I saw his bank account. 'Honestly, it is a very scary thought.’ he says. “It is not something that we were given it’s something we worked our asses off for. The way we went to work every day and the way we travelled the world and the way we conducted our business, with great management at the time and greater minds, it turned out great for everybody. But it was a long five years.”

On the last night of the last 1D tour, management presented all four remaining members with a plaque festooned with little badges for every single gig they’d played since their first. “It was a sombre night.” says Payne, who has started becoming more emotionally transparent in front of other people this last year. “To see every show we’ve ever done on a plaque?” he says, raising eyes to the sky. “Again, everybody was in tears. And I’m quite good at holding it together but I have got a lot worse of late. Adverts and things mate me cry. I think I’m getting more emotional as time goes by, especially with everything that’s happening in my life at the moment. It’s a very emotional time and time to reflect on a lot of things and the person that I am to be. Do you know what I mean? If that makes sense?” It makes perfect sense.

Beneath the extraordinary life he has lived so far, outweighing every one of his personal, societal and geographic expectations, there’s a deeply admirable humility and candour to Liam Payne. On the subject of his forthcoming record: “l’ll tell you the truth. The dream was to be able to get signed and release an album. That is every musician who’s on Youtube’s dream today. I’ve got the opportunity to work with a really great label, Capitol. The people I work with are absolutely amazing and to get a record deal and be able to release the album that I want to release is the most amazing thing ever.” He has no idea how it will fare. “Even if this went tits up, sideways, it’d still be step one that I got here.”

Liam Payne never voted in a general election. “I’ve never been able to vote,” he explains, “because we’ve always been in different countries and I’ve never really understood it. I still feel like a 16 year old boy when it comes down to things like that and I wouldn’t know which way to go.” He steered clear of the EU referendum (“I kind of knew that we were going to Brexit. It was just a gambler’s feeling”) and doesn’t know how his parents voted in it.

Do you want to know his Donald Trump tale? Of course you do. 'Oh. here’s a story,“ he says, rubbing his hands. “Trump actually kicked us out of his hotel once.” It gets better. “You wouldn’t believe it. It was about [meeting] his daughter. He phoned up our manager and we were asleep. He said 'well, wake them up’ and I was like 'no’ and then he wouldn’t let us use the underground garage. Obviously in New York we can’t really go outside. New York is ruthless for us. So he was like, 'OK. then I don’t want you in my hotel’. So we had to leave.”

He’s seen a lot of life, has Liam. That he retains himself amid it’s spectacular credit to those around him and the man himself. “Now he’s President,” he says, perhaps for a moment reflecting on the opportunities life affords the most unusual candidates. “I just hope he doesn’t kick me out the country.” He’s laughing now. “I hope he lets me stay.”

Source: x

anonymous asked:

20 w luke please??? Thanks x

20: Of course you’re dating the person you told me not to worry about.

You know when you go the extra mile for something just to realize it’s probably not nearly as exciting to other people as it is to you yeah that’s how I feel like this is gonna be lmao but I hope someone likes it.

Word Count: 1624

“Ashton, turn that shit off,” Luke calls from the front counter, laughing despite his aggressive request.

A-Ha’s “Take On Me” blasts over the music store’s sound system, so loud it almost drowns out Ashton’s voice from the storage room when he shouts back, “You can’t kill the 80s, Luke!”

“I can kill you,” Luke lightheartedly threatens, unlocking his phone in search of a pastime. Business is slow this afternoon. Not that it’s particularly booming any other day, but usually someone who still believes in records would’ve come in and shopped around by now.

The next song selection doesn’t veer from the decade, but the genre is one that Luke can at least tolerate. Ashton comes out of the storage room bearing what looks to be a heavy box and heaves it onto the counter, dust literally exploding off of it.

“What’s that?” Luke asks.

Ashton peels apart the flaps and peeks inside. “Old VHS tapes,” he says, digging one out. It’s a copy of The Breakfast Club in its original cardboard sleeve. “Boss wants us to start selling them again.”

“Oh, great,” Luke mocks excitement, knowing they’re never going to get rid of them. He takes The Breakfast Club from Ashton’s hand and reads the back of the case.

As Ashton begins unloading the movies, the store’s entrance brings forth the first customer of the day. He glances up in the middle of his task, a strange noise getting caught in his throat when he realizes who’s just walked in.

“Don’t look now,” he mumbles to Luke.

But Luke, of course, does look now.

“Oh, great,” he repeats even lower, disappointed by a sight he’s been trying to avoid.

Your body freezes when you see Luke behind the counter, unaware that he would be working today. Your initial instinct is to turn right back around and leave before someone causes a scene, but the boy whose fingers are woven between yours doesn’t quite get the memo. Cameron, someone you’ve just recently become official with, knows about your history with Luke but doesn’t feel like there’s anything to be ashamed of since he’s the one who won.

With a red face you’re led to the counter, overly conscious of the glare that Luke hasn’t stopped burning into you. In your fist you ball and release the extra material of your sweater’s long sleeve, using the repetition to calm yourself down.

Cameron acknowledges both Luke and Ashton as if this isn’t the most awkward situation that’s ever happened. You notice that he talks mostly to Luke as he describes what he’s looking for, an obvious effort to make him squirm.

But Luke knows better than to lose his temper while he’s under surveillance at work. The punk is here for a cajon, and although instruments aren’t something they sell much of, they do have a dwindling stock somewhere in a separate section of the building.

“Ashton’s a drummer,” Luke bluntly points out, “He can help you with that.”

“Absolutely!” Ashton says with exaggerated enthusiasm, ready to part from the tension. He walks around the counter and gestures for Cameron to follow him.  

Cameron tries to, but when you stay put and slide your hand out of his, he’s taken aback.

“You go ahead,” you insist. “I was gonna look for that Pink Floyd album, remember?”

He’s hesitant to leave you in the same room with the boy you dated prior to him, but with a little more encouragement from Ashton, it’s done. The last thing you hear from the pair before they disappear into another room is Ashton for some reason asking Cameron if he likes 80s music.

Now that they’re gone, you have enough courage to face Luke fully. He’s taken up the position of leaning his elbows on the counter, his hands folded in front of him, his knuckles looking pale and cold.

“Hi,” you say timidly.  

He doesn’t respond even though he’s looking right at you.

“I didn’t know you’d be… You don’t usually work Saturdays.”

“Schedule changed.”

You rub your arm apologetically. “I should’ve called ahead or something.”

“No one does that.”

He apparently doesn’t want to make this easy. You can’t say you blame him.

“So… we never really talked about me and Cameron,” you feel mean having to say those words to Luke of all people. Me and Cameron.

“What’s there to talk about?” He straightens up, trying hard to sound as if he doesn’t care.

“Well I imagine you’d be kind of angry..”

“Angry?” Luke exerts a laugh that’s barely a laugh at all. “I’m not angry, Y/n; I’m not even surprised. Of course you’re dating the person you told me not to worry about.”

“Don’t say it like I’ve planned this all along,” you fight back, offense setting in. “We broke up and it just happened.”

“Happened pretty fast don’t you think?” he asks bitterly. Now quieter, he says, “Tell me the truth. Did you sleep with him while we were together?”

“No!” you emphasize a point that you’re tired of trying to make. “I never even thought of him like that when I was with you.”

“Sure,” Luke mutters.

You sigh. You don’t want Luke to hate you, but what else are you supposed to do if he won’t believe blatant honesty?

“Can you just show me where you keep the Pink Floyd albums?” You cross your arms in defeat.

“Haven’t you been here enough times?”

“Haven’t you heard of Yelp?” It’s a spiteful low blow, but he started it.

Fed up with this confrontation, Luke begrudgingly leads the way to the rock aisle. Your love for this type of music is what crossed your path with his in the first place, your cute self wandering into his shop over a year ago on the hunt for Aerosmith’s Permanent Vacation, a title and day that branded themselves into the region of Luke’s brain responsible for long-term memories.

On the way to the bin labeled “P”, Luke decides to show off his expertise by suggesting some other albums that might interest you. He stops before the “B” bin and scans its content for Bon Jovi’s Slippery When Wet, handing the flat square to you and recommending Song 2. You read the back, discovering it to be none other than the crowd favorite “You Give Love a Bad Name”.

You roll your eyes, but aren’t given the chance to respond when another album is shoved into your arms, this one from the Guns N’ Roses department, along with high appraisal of Song 8. You flip the case to find the track list, cringing at the print “Back Off Bitch” following the advocated number.

The trend continues, Luke expressing his disdain for you via songs recorded by your favorite artists, adding albums that contain Led Zeppelin’s “Babe I’m Gonna Leave You” and Nazareth’s “Miss Misery” to the pile of vinyl in your hands before finally making it to the destination. You’re sure Luke could find a way to slip in one last insult with a band that starts with “P”, but he seems to have burned up all of his fuel.

You set everything you’re holding in between two bins, freeing your hands for your own mission. The Pink Floyd album you desire is easy to find; you tuck it under your arm for safe keeping but don’t go to check out just yet. Luke watches as you continue to skim the container, flipping the covers one by one, making your way toward the front. His brows furrow when he sees you pull out something by Pearl Jam, recognizing the artwork from his copy at home.

You don’t stop there, though. Your fingers dance their way through the bins to the left and right, following the alphabetical pattern accordingly. Two more records, one from Oasis and one from Queen, are plucked from their brothers and sisters and combined with the one from Pearl Jam. You rearrange the order as you stack them on top of one another, making all the sides line up neatly when you deliver the trilogy to Luke. He looks at them, puzzled, awaiting instruction.

“Four, eight, the, nine,” you say the way you would any other sentence, like the punchline to the old ‘Why was six afraid of seven?’ joke.

Ashton and Cameron have reappeared to the main floor, carrying with them a wooden box that is for some reason considered musical. With one last indefinable glance at Luke, you take your Pink Floyd album and join them at the counter to add it to the grand purchase.

Luke remains where he is, casting down at the items in hand, repeating four, eight, the, nine in his head out of fear that he might forget the sequence. He works up the courage to flip the top record over, bracing himself for whatever comeback you angrily repaid him with.

He reads the title of the fourth song down the list of Oasis’ (What’s the Story) Morning Glory?, but it doesn’t make sense standing on its own. He goes on to the next, Pearl Jam’s Riot Act, and finds the eighth song on that list, but it still doesn’t complete the thought. Last but not least is the ninth song on Queen’s A Night at the Opera, and to both his relief and expense, that’s when it all finally comes together.

Luke’s wide eyes shoot up, desperate to find you only to be devastated with the realization that you’ve already left the store. That you’ve already left with Cameron. He tightens his grip around the album covers, suddenly feeling a powerful urge to break them in half or smash them against the ground.

(4) Don’t Look Back in Anger, (8) You Are, the, (9) Love of My Life

Writing Prompts

Masterlist

Rebel and a Basket Case

Evan Rachel Wood, known for her leading role as a heroine and oldest host in the HBO Original series Westworld, as well as her roles in films Thirteen, The Wrestler, TV series True Blood and the mini series Mildred Pearce.  Her covetable award-winning catalog of acting roles barely highlights her deep rooted musical background she evolved at a very young age.

We get a squint of her prolific vocal talent as the star of the 2007 musical film ‘Across the Universe‘ as she covers 1960’s  Beatles songs.  

Fast forward to 2017; Evan and Zach chat with novelist Laura Albert about the inspiration for their debut album and the journey of writing songs whilst juggling an intense acting career.

Rebel and a Basket Case an edgy, 80’s inspired electro –pop duo who are reclaiming inspirational moments from their teenage music icons, The Breakfast club, Karaoke and verve for all that is a unicorn world.

Interview by Laura Albert

Laura: I very much love Westworld. Has the unfurling story which seems a constant peeling back of identity, seeped into your musical world?

Evan: Zach and I wrote a lot of the album while I was in production and while we were on a short hiatus. Playing that character definitely gave me a new found strength that trickled over into our music I’m sure. So many themes on the record have to do with overcoming oppressive situations and West World is very much the same.

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All that Jazz - Taron Egerton Imagine

First of all, I’m a terrible writer. Second, this is my very first imagine. Third, I was having more Taron feels than usual,which is why this happened in case you’re wondering. And… yea, hope you enjoy!

(Any advice would be much appreciated!)  

“Ladies, ladies, settledown.” The chatter died down instantly as 3 other girls and you hushed yourvoices. The casting director of the upcoming Broadway musical “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” eyed each of you individually; you could tell by the smirk on his face that he knew you were all dying inside. 

Keep reading

stardom is the worst

hello i used to be a topp dogg fan in korea and i have a lot of sources for information, i don’t want to out ppl who helped me or stuff i overheard but if u use ur mind i’m sure u can put it all together yourselves.

im just really sick of stardom’s shit.  this really is maybe the worst ent company in korea and because td members are stuck there they dont get an opportunity to showcase themselves, they’re constantly stuck with the “nugu” label and i guess watching yano and kidoh be not only swept away but spat on by former stardom trash themselves i have had it up to here with their shit.  yes it is worse than you think it is, even if you already think its bad.  i tried to highlight the real red flags instead of just the general side eyeish nugu fare like pimping the members out on dates with fans and seogoong and the whole under dogg thing so yea those also happened but the things im gonna talk about are like driving down the wrong side of the highway concerns that truthfully scare me

i was inspired to write this not just by mino on smtm, former stardom trash who now seems to think he’s better than people stuck behind the bullet he dodged so shoutout to mino…u piece of shit… , i was also inspired by the ticket sales for their european tour leg which is in dire straits.  i am so sorry if this hurts their fans or hurts the boys although it really shouldn’t, i hope exposing how shitty stardom is panders for sympathy and ends up helping them.  no one from stardom is explaining anything to anyone so maybe its time for me to share what i know..

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Dance With Me? (Steve x Stark!Reader) Oneshot

A/N: Alrighty, this is for an anon who asked this on my personal blog and I had to, because Steve x Stark!Readers are my weakness. Enjoy, loves :) The song I listened to while writing is right here

I actually started this on my phone, but it came out terribly and it ended up having not much to do with the original prompt.


       DANCE WITH ME, a Steve x Stark Reader oneshot

     Honestly, in the past few years, you had come to terms with being the big oops. Your parents, Howard and Maria, were quite old when you were born, and had been in an accident when you were barely 2. Tony, being 18 yeas your senior, was charged with raising you. Which, obviously, was not the optimal choice regarding child care. 

   Currently, you were 26 and living in the Avengers tower, having been recruited by the director of S.H.I.E.L.D. himself as an engineer and part-time super hero. How you had landed a job saving the world was beyond you, but you had a feeling that it had something to do with your last name.

 “Stark.” A smooth-as-silk voice snapped from your thoughts and brought you back to reality. Both you and Tony looked up to see Steve Rogers leaning in the doorway of the lab. 

  “You’re gonna have to be a little more specific there, Spangles.” You quipped, diving back into your project (which, as an experienced engineer and mechanic of sorts, was an old arc reactor that was falling to complete shit and had only gotten worse since you had decided to fuck with it). Tony grinned as he went back to repairing mark 42 of the Iron Man suit. Little did you notice, Steve looked you up and down. His eyes followed the curves of your body that were perfectly outlined in a pair of black leggings and a baseball tee with a Led Zepplin album cover on the front. One thing he had always loved about you was your work effort. You pushed and worked until you achieved your goal.

  “I meant (Y/N).” Steve smiled at you. You pushed a hair from your face and left a streak of something (whatever the hell it was) on your forehead and looked up at him. 

  “Alrighty, what can I do ya for Cap?” You asked, grabbing a rag from the table. You called out to Jarvis to turn the music down, and before you could finish your request, Tony cut you off, promptly telling Jarvis not to listen to you. . “Prick..” you muttered. Steve laughed quietly and you felt a familiar heat creep up to your cheeks. Gently, you ushered Steve outside and looked up at him expectantly. You, just like Tony, had been cursed with the Stark height gene, or, lack thereof really. Steve started talking, but you didn’t quite hear him. You just looked him up and down, admiring his beautiful eyes and god-like physique. Of course, you would never say anything of the sort to his face, seeing as he was almost 80 yeas your senior and considering his love/hate relationship with your brother, it probably wasn’t the greatest idea to pursue anything. So, you ignored your amazingly huge crush on the Star Spangled Man with a Plan and were determined to keep it quiet for however long it was present.

 “(Y/N)? (Y/N)!” Steve waved his hand around in front of your eyes, seeing as you had completely spaced out. “(Y/N)!” you blinked a couple of times and looked back at him. 

 “Sorry Capcicle. What was that again?” you flashed a grin. Steve’s heart fluttered.

 “Well, I wanted to know if you could teach me how to dance, actually… I mean, because er– well, you know.. Tony has a party coming up.. And uh, there’s this girl I’ve seen around and I’d love to sweep her off of her feet with a dance.” Steve stammered, suddenly taking interest in his shoes. Your heart stopped for a minute, smile melting from your face. 

  “I don’t know if I can right now, Steve.. I have.. I have some things I need to do.” You faked a smile, feeling about ready to cry. As you turned back into the lab, Steve gently grabbed your arm.

  “Please, doll?” Steve’s eyes searched yours as you turned to face him, You melted, nodding quietly. 

 “Hey, dumbass.” You called into the lab. 

  “I only respond to ‘Your Majesty’.” Tony replied. Rolling your eyes, you shot back at him without missing a beat.

  “Okay. I have a thing that needs to get done King Schmuck. Catch you on the flip side.” Steve stifled laughter as you heard a bolt hit the glass behind you. “Better luck next time.”



Once the two of you were safely in the bar and common area, you looked up at the ceiling.
  “Jarvis, whats the last song I listened to?” you asked.
  “God is Dead by Black Sabbath.” The AI’s cool voice reverberated throughout the empty room. You looked at Steve, who’s expression was a mix of shock and confusion.

  “Okay.. Um.. Put on Half the World Away by Aurora. On repeat.” You replied, walking over to Steve and dragging him to the middle of the floor. As the music started, you felt your heart flutter. A light beat rang throughout the otherwise silent room. Placing Steve’s hand on your waist and settling yours just shy of his shoulder on his chest, you felt warm and fuzzy. Content. Whoever this bitch happened to be that Steve had suddenly taken interest in, you hated her. It was probably Sharon, and you would take extreme pleasure knocking her teeth down her throat right about now. “bitch…” you whispered to yourself.

 “What was that?” Steve asked, having sworn he heard you speak.

  “Nothing. Okay so you’re going to need to keep up with the beat.” You said. “For now, I’ll lead. All you need to do is follow the beat. I think it’s a three count..” Gently, you guided him through the steps. 

  One you had been there for at least 30 minutes, Steve stopped you.
 

“I think I’m getting the hang of it.” he muttered, taking the lead. You smiled sadly, hoping it wouldn’t end too soon. The two of you waltzed around in complete silence, a comfortable silence. He raised his arm for you to twirl under, and he couldn’t get his mind off of how absolutely graceful you were.

  “So.. Who’s this girl?” you asked, trying your best not to sound bitter. If Steve had noticed, he didn’t say anything.

 “Well,” he started. “She’s absolutely beautiful, in every way imaginable. She has these eye, oh god her eyes. They shine brighter than any star I’ve ever seen. She laughs at my stupid jokes, her laugh is so contagious. It sounds like birdsong.” Steve smiled, a blush forming on his cheeks. “I draw her a lot, when she’s not looking. Candid shots of her are great, because she doesn’t even have to try to look gorgeous… It just sort of happens. She’s brilliant too, a real genius. She could do anything, and she would for her loved ones.. She’s just amazing in so many ways, it’s unrea–”

 Having had just about enough, you shoved Steve away from you, to his surprise. You felt rage bubbling inside you. What a stupid fucking question to ask.

 “Why didn’t you ask her to fucking dance with you?”  You spat, turning around. Steve ran to you, wrapping his arms gently around your torso.

 “You know, for someone so smart, you can be incredibly dense sometimes.” He laughed quietly, his breath tickling your ear. Your eyes widened.

 “Wh-” Steve spun you around so you were facing each other.

  “What I’m saying is.. (Y/N) Stark, you are the most amazing, beautiful, brilliant woman I have ever met… I am yours, and I am unconditionally and irrevocably in love with you.” His forehead was now on yours. Your heart was hammering uncontrollably in your chest, and you could feel his. Smiling, you stood on the very balls of your feet and smashed your lips against his. Your eyes fluttered closed and you snaked your arms around his neck, one hand tangled in his golden blond hair. His arms fell to your waist and tightened around you. The kiss quickly became hungrier, more desperate. He picked you up, placing you on the bar behind you. Your legs wrapped around his waist, and you felt a gravely chuckle work its way out. His tongue explored your mouth and as soon as you began to pull off your shirt, you heard the elevator door open. To your horror, Tony, Bruce, and Pepper fell silent at the sight before them. Slowly, you pulled your shirt back down over your torso, quickly concealing your bra. Steve cleared his throat awkwardly, turning away from you quickly and running his hand through his hair.

  “Were you just– Did that just–” Tony sputtered. Pepper and Bruce stifled laughter and you could swear you saw the ghost of a grin on Steve’s face. “The 90 year old virgin was just feeling my sister up! Rogers, what the hell!?” Tony’s face was now red, and you couldn’t help but laugh. Pepper grabbed Tony’s arm, forcefully dragging him away.

 “I’m 95, not dead..” Steve muttered, chucking a bit. 

 “I can tell.” You smirked, hopping off of the bar. “My room, 5 minutes. Don’t be late Captain.” You turned around to see that Steve had turned a bright shade of red and pulled at his clothes nervously. You winked and made your way to your room. 

 And that was the beginning of your relationship with the famed Captain America.

3

#DepecheMode ‘took a psychiatrist & a drug dealer on the road.The shrink was sacked but the dealer stayed on’ #Exciter #MarkBell Article Q Magazine by D.Lynskey 6|2001

MANY SMACK.FREE RETURNS

Once, they took a psychiatrist and a drug dealer on the road.The shrink was sacked but the dealer stayed on. Then their singer eagerly sought a hat-trick of heroin addiction, divorce and suicide. But Depeche Mode have made it to their 2oth anniversary fit and happy. How the hell did that happen? ponders Dorian Lynskey. Photos by Spiros Politis.

IN summer 1994, the Dave Gahan diet went something like this. After regaining consciousness at some point in the afternoon in a hotel room in America, he would start the day with two glasses of vodka. His throat so ravaged he couldn’t speak, the singer would call Jerry, his minder, and communicate by tapping on the phone in code. Then he would get into his limo to the airport, stopping en route to grab a McDonalds, his sole meal of the day. On the plane, it was time for a couple of Valium and a blackout.

When he arrived at the venue, the tour doctors gave him steroids for his throat and painkillers for everything else. “I was a garbage can,” he ruefully recalls.

By the time he got on stage, the cocktail of chemicals, spiked with a giant jolt of adrenalin, tended to create an equilibrium so that he’d feel strangely fine, strutting and whooping as if nothing was wrong. Afterwards, though, he would retreat to his hotel room, never once talking to his bandmates, and spend the rest of the night injecting heroin alone. Repeat to fade.

By the end of Depeche Mode’s 14-month, 158-date Songs Of Faith And Devotion tour, Dave Gahan weighed just 100 pounds and looked as pale and thin as a chalkmark.

Unbelievably, the next two years were worse still, a gruesome object lesson in Why Heroin Is A Bad Thing. In between abortive spells in rehab, Gahan’s life unravelled at terrifying speed - his second wife left him, his first barred him from seeing their young son, Jack, and his house in Los Angeles was ransacked by burglars. He also wound up in hospital emergency rooms so many times that West Hollywood paramedics nicknamed him The Cat. On one occasion, he swallowed wine and valium and slashed his wrists in a suicide attempt. Notoriously, he overdosed on a cocaine and heroin speedball in his room at the Sunset Marquis, suffered a cardiac arrest and was technically dead for two minutes.

Gahan’s excesses may have been the most spectacular, but he wasn’t the only one in Depeche Mode with problems. During the same tour, fresh-faced songwriter Martin Gore was drinking at least two bottles of wine before every show, convinced that if he tried to perform sober then he would forget how to play. Keyboardist Andy ‘Fletch’ Fletcher didn’t even make it to those final US dates, bailing out in Hawaii after a nervous breakdown. Studio wizard Alan Wilder was hopelessly alienated from his bandmates, and within a year he had left for good.

“You mustn’t have this impression that there was one guy having all the problems and causing the whole ship to sink,” Andy Fletcher insists, with a strange kind of pride. “There were many holes in the boat.”

Behold Depeche Mode, then: the band who never knew when, or how, to stop.

Depeche Mode released their first single, Dreaming of Me, on 20 February 1981, and the fact that they’re alive and well 20 years later with their tenth studio album, Exciter, is a small miracle. A British electronic band with the hedonist appetites of American rock pigs, Depeche Mode started partying so hard in the early '80s, and carried on for so long, the wonder is it took them until 1994 to come to the brink of falling apart.

When Dave Gahan’s problems became public, they buried the long-running perception of the band as a faintly ludicrous, faux-doomy pop act with a penchant for black leather. Maybe it’s their sartorial quirks over the years, or their preference for synthesizers over guitars, but Britain has always had problems taking Depeche Mode seriously.

Happily, they couldn’t care less. They’re the most enduring and internationally successful British band of their era. Throughout death, drugs, depression and departing members, they have always had an ear for innovation and a good tune, and have never made a rotten album. In America, they are the acme of Anglophile hip - the band that made musings on death, God and S&M seem at home both in stadiums and on dancefloors. Smashing Pumpkins, Nine Inch Nails, Slipknot, Korn, Deftones, DJ Shadow and Detroit techno producers have all doffed caps in their direction.

“I was reading Prozac Nation and I think it’s us and The Smiths that she [author Elizabeth Wurtzel] accuses of being 'miserable chic’,” guffaws Gore, one of those rare people whose laugh sounds exactly like “ha ha ha”. “But we just tried to bring some element of reality into pop music.”

Today, Depeche Mode are holding court at London’s Home House, an extravagantly plush private members’ club where the only non-antique item in each room is the telephone. Now approaching 40 but not - Gore insists with a grimace - 'grown up’, they aren’t yet showing their age. Gore, sporting a ski-hat and peculiar patchwork leather jacket, is bright and boyish, while the sensibly dressed, bespectacled Fletcher still looks like the world’s least likely rock star. The fact that they can hire out rooms in a place dripping with money and yet turn considerably fewer heads than EastEnders’ Tamzin Outhwaite, the afternoon’s other resident celebrity, says a great deal. They are perhaps the biggest cult band in the world.

Alone, in a room down the hall, is Dave Gahan. The first thing he says is, “Come here, I won’t bite you. Despite what you may have heard.” A wolfish grin spreads across his chops, which are clean-shaven and glowing with health again. Even his haircut is back to its late-'80s model and he’s clad in sleek black from head to toe, bar the pale blue socks peeping out from beneath his leather trousers. In his hand smoulders a slow-burning cigarillo, his sole remaining vice. Only the tattoos and scar tissue on his pale, bare arms map out the contours of the dark times. Sometimes, he trails off in mid sentence, but mostly he is whip-smart, open and intensely engaging as he retraces Depeche Mode’s twisted path over the past two decades.

“They defy the laws of gravity,” opines Daniel Miller, the Mute label founder who signed and mentored them. “No, they redefine the laws of gravity.”

IF THERE’S ONE thing that everybody knows about Depeche Mode, it’s where they’re from. Basildon has been tarred as a joke town, but the band’s memories are of unemployment and chucking-out time aggro. It wasn’t a cozy place for four working-class teenagers to spend the late '70s.

While Gore, Fletcher and their friend Vince Clarke were shy church-goers (though Gore denies he was ever a believer), Dave Gahan was in juvenile court at 14 for vandalism and stealing cars. When he switched his attentions to amphetamines, punk and clubbing in London, he became the ideal charismatic frontman for the other three’s new synth group, Composition of Sound. “When I first met these guys I got the feeling they had led very sheltered lives,” Gahan admits, an Essex swagger still in his voice.

Clarke’s jaunty, minimalist hits and the band’s hopelessly unformed image cast the rechristened Depeche Mode (a name Gahan plucked from the cover of a French fashion magazine) as teen-pop naifs, an image that lingered. When Clarke left (to form Yazoo and later Erasure) after the release of 1981’s debut disc, Speak And Spell, self-confessed pessimist Gore took up songwriting duties. Alan Wilder, a middle-class West Londoner, was recruited as a studio replacement. Gore insists there was friendship of sorts (“Maybe it’s false intimacy when it’s all based on partying, but I think Alan would have to admit that he had fun with us at times,”) but even early on Gore and Fletcher constituted one faction, Wilder and Gahan the other.

The recurrent tensions clearly didn’t do too much damage. Their refusal to use preset keyboard sounds or to sample melodies from other records made them unique amongst electronic bands. Third album, Construction Time Again (1983) ventured into pipe-banging industrial sampling and toytown socialism, while the following year’s Some Great Reward, containing breakthrough US hit People Are People, introduced perv-pop and cynical wit. “Suddenly we’d turned into a proper band,” says Gahan. “Totally by accident, I think.”

Both albums were partly recorded in Berlin, where Gore had moved after splitting up with his devout Christian girlfriend. A shy teenager, he had immersed himself in the club scene - fans of bizarre rock clobber will fondly recall his leather skirts and bondage straps. For a long time afterwards, his lyrics laid out a kind of manifesto for hedonism as a defence against the boredom and disappointment of everyday life. As he wrote in the lyrics to 1987’s Strangelove, “I give in to sin/Because you have to make life liveable.” If it wasn’t for his candy-floss hair and impish grin, people might have believed him earlier.

Gahan, meanwhile, had settled down with his soon-to-be-wife Joanne. But in Berlin, where the bars opened late and Depeche Mode were celebrities, temptation winked. “I’d already had these wild years and I guess I did have a longing to have some kind of normality in my life on a personal level. But, to be honest, I was fooling myself.”

With the inclination towards excess already there, only the funds and opportunities were lacking. But not for long. With 1986’s dark, claustrophobic Black Celebration and the following year’s anthemic Music For The Masses the band made giant career leaps as much as creative ones, proving that electronic music could sound expansive and powerful enough to fill arenas. Simultaneously, Dutch photographer Anton Corbijn became their longstanding designer and video director, moulding four disparate individuals into a stylish unit. When Martin Gore named Music For The Masses, he was making a sly joke about always being on the verge of global success without ever quite getting there. As it turned out, it was no joke at all.

IN Depeche Mode’s 1989 tour film, 101, there is a fine Spinal Tap moment. It is the triumphant final night of the Music For The Masses tour and Dave Gahan is pacing his dressing room at the Pasadena Rosebowl, agonising over whether to shout “Hello Pasadena!” or “Hello Rosebowl!” When the tour manager suggests he says, “Good evening, welcome to the concert for the masses,” Gahan retorts, “I’m not fucking Wordsworth, you know!”

The fact that Gahan had the opportunity to shout anything at all to 60,000 Americans seemed remarkable to British viewers. But watching him wiggle and prance and shout “Hey!” at every opportunity while the other three prodded their keyboards, it was clear what an unexpectedly thrilling live proposition they had become: Kraftwerk fronted by Rod Stewart.

“After that film came out, suddenly we were this 'stadium band’, which wasn’t actually true - we’d played onestadium - but the perception really changed,” says Gahan. “We started to get bigger than I’d ever imagined we’d be.”

After 101, everything was primed for Depeche Mode to deliver their best album, so that’s what they did. With producer Mark Ellis, aka Flood, they decamped to Milan, where their clubbing exploits helped inspire the lean, gleaming sound of Violator, a record that also contained some of Gore’s best songs. When they announced dates for the World Violation tour, every single ticket sold out in advance, and the tour became one long lap of victory, fuelled by cocaine and E.

“We hit a point during the Violator tour where everything was just great,” reminisces Gahan. “But I think I overdid it even then. Every night, after coming off stage, we’d all get on one and go out…If you can imagine going out on tour for a year and a half and you’re like this circus and then you finish all that and come back to the reality of your life. The longer those tours got, the less satisfied I became with normal life. For me that was the last time the partying side of it was fun.”

Radiohead flirted with madness during the OK Computer tour, Oasis have problems spending any extended time on the road without a punch-up, and most other recent British bands have never had the worldwide popularity necessary to find out what month after month of arenas can do to people not psychologically equipped for it. Perhaps if Depeche Mode hadn’t been so lousy at communicating with one another they might have realised they were walking on glass. Or if they had let their indulgences affect their work then somebody else might have intervened. But, at the time, there seemed no reason to stop having fun, so they didn’t.

One legacy of World Violation was Gahan’s love affair with their Californian PR girl, Teresa Conway, and the disintegration of his ailing marriage to Joanne. “It was nothing to do with my first wife,” he contends. “I was yearning, I think, for some sense of adventure again.”

Gore and Fletcher, meanwhile, were becoming fathers for the first time, and Wilder had just married his long-term girlfriend. Gahan’s enthusiasm for going out with the rest of the band had waned anyway, so he decided to relocate to Hollywood with Conway. (He hasn’t lived in Britain since but still has an endearing habit of hastily correcting his Americanisms: 'ass’ to 'arse’.) After living like a rock star on tour, Gahan wanted to look like one, albeit a cartoonish version. With Conway’s encouragement, he grew his hair long, got tattoos and started going to gigs again - they even got married in front of an Elvis impersonator in Las Vegas.

“A lot’s been said about that image, but also during the whole of the '80s, that wasn’t me either,” Gahan elaborates. “I felt I wasn’t having to lie anymore and pretend I’m some clean-cut guy, when really during the '80s we were out drinking and tooting it up, like everybody was doing. I actually felt like I was living more honestly. I didn’t realise how quickly I was spiralling cos I was living like that every day. It didn’t have to be a gig or anything, it was always that kind of drama attached to my life in Los Angeles.”

Part of the “drama”, although Gahan never calls it by name, was heroin. But when he talks about his first months in LA, it’s with rogueish amusement rather than regret. Properly wealthy for the first time in the wake of the world-conquering Violator, experiencing a second adolescence surrounded by a loving new wife and people impressed by his fame, he clearly enjoyed himself, for a short while at least.

HALFWAY through 1992, Depeche Mode convened in Madrid to start work on the next album and realised that, in their 18 months apart, everything had changed. “I was excited and I really wanted to bring that sense of enthusiasm back and, to my dismay, once I walked into the studio I realised that nobody else was on the same page,” remembers Gahan. “I think the band were pretty scared of me. I was definitely off my rocker.”

“I don’t think we’d seen pictures,” agrees Gore. “It was a real shock to see him with long hair, covered in tattoos, even dressed in different clothes. I think when we first got together in Madrid it became obvious that there wasn’t a real feeling of band unity.”

Producer Flood had the wheeze of getting the whole band to live together during the recording process, but it did no good. Perhaps it was down to English reserve, but they evaded their problems rather than dealing with them. Talking about it now, the defiantly non-confrontational Gore seems contrite.

“I don’t think I was aware of it as much as I should have been,” he admits. “I remember when I didn’t like the direction that certain songs were going in I would sulk for a few days, and maybe that caused tension. Dave wasn’t really driving it as it was during his honeymoon period with heroin. Although we had a row of bedrooms next to each other, he would disappear for three or four days at a time.”

It’s to Gore and Fletcher’s credit that they don’t pin the blame on Gahan or the increasingly disgruntled Wilder, who felt his contribution wasn’t appreciated. The precarious interpersonal architecture that had held them together was falling apart, and nobody was in a position to prop it up. Fletcher was struggling with depression and was hospitalised during the final album sessions in Hamburg: “I was too busy worrying about myself, let alone worrying about Dave. And also we felt slightly hypocritical because we were doing our own things as well.”

Gore, meanwhile, was out clubbing most nights and drinking heavily. “At the time I never felt it was necessarily a problem,” he says, marvelling at his capacity for self-delusion. “I just drank too much. I had a couple of seizures and I was told by doctors that it’s when your body goes into withdrawal. So sometimes I woke up after a heavy night, started having a panic attack, then I’d immediately think, Well if I go to the pub and have a drink I’ll be OK.” Gore didn’t even realise that Gahan was using heroin until a meeting at Alan Wilder’s house on their return to Britain: “To be honest I was really ignorant, but once the pieces of the puzzle had been put together for me then it all made sense.”

If Songs Of Faith And Devotion had been as bad as the atmosphere surrounding its gestation, the subsequent tour wouldn’t have been so destructively long. Against the odds, however, it was one of their best, most adventurous records (it remains Gahan’s favourite). And so, on 19 May 1993 they played their first date in Lille, France. Nobody had mended their ways, although Gahan impressively managed to juggle his heroin habit with intense workouts and an hour-and-a-half of yoga a day.

“Since Violator’s success, I think we felt that we were indestructible,” Fletcher reasons. “We were very naive.”

“We still managed to have fun,” Gore insists. “It was just never-ending.” Fletcher reckons they were the first band to go on the road with a psychiatrist and a drug dealer - the psychiatrist was laid off but the dealer stayed. “The bigger the tours get, the easier it is to party,” label-boss Miller contends. “It’s a bubble in which anything can happen as long as you perform on stage. I went out on the tour and thought it was horrible. I remember being introduced to the official drug dealer and at that point I thought, Fuck this, there’s nothing I can do.”

The addition of the second American leg was a major bone of contention, but Wilder and Gahan argued that with scaled-down production costs it would make them millions, so on it rolled, with the barely talking members travelling in separate cars. Gahan’s choice of support act didn’t help either. “Primal fucking Scream,” in Miller’s words. The results were gruesome. In LA, Gore had a seizure, brought on by alcohol and stress, while Gahan overdosed after a show in New Orleans. Yet still they kept on, and Gahan showed no signs of calming down on stage or off. “I realise today how much I’m carried, how much I’m taken care of,” he reflects, with the semi-religious language of many a converted addict.

“Sometimes I don’t know how I really did survive that. Everything’s been said about the insanity of that tour but itwas. It was that, and more.”

Alan Wilder officially resigned from Depeche Mode a year later. Daniel Miller firmly believes that if he hadn’t, the band would have collapsed. “It was so obvious that those four people could not make another record together.”

Fletcher’s less charitable about Wilder’s motives. “I think he felt the band would split up, what with the state Dave was in. I think he wanted to be the first one to jump ship.”

Ultra, Depeche Mode’s ninth album, was thus recorded as a three-piece, with producer Tim Simenon shouldering much of the weight. In May 1996, halfway through recording, Gahan overdosed, but even then it took an intervention from his friend Jonathan Kessler, the band’s accountant-turned-manager, to convince him to check into the Exodus Recovery Centre. He was court-mandated to live in a sober-living house with other recovering addicts (“the closest friends I’ve ever had in my life”), then moved to New York with his new girlfriend, Jennifer. He hasn’t had anything stronger than a cigarette since.

WHEN DAVE GAHAN talks about what he calls “all that bollocks”, he alternates devastating honesty with awkward pauses, perhaps mindful of the fact that Ultra’s musical qualities were overshadowed by his soul-baring confessions to the press. As a faint silver lining, even cynics had to admit that there was a kernel of truth in Gore’s recurrent lyrical obsessions with extremity, sin, guilt and absolution after all, although Gore maintains, as always, that “I never think of Dave when I’m writing the songs.”

“I don’t actually believe that, to be honest,” Gahan counters. “I think he has a deeper sense, and knows that some of the things he writes about are what’s going on all around us. That’s how I feel connected with him. We don’t talk much.”

Depeche Mode put their recovery to the test with a worldwide trek to support their second hits collection, Singles 86>98. On a typical day they would sightsee in cities they had only previously glimpsed through car windows and an alcoholic fug. Where once there was a drug dealer now there was a masseur, and Gore’s pre-show two bottles of wine had become two small glasses.

The result of their rejuvenation is Exciter, recorded over the past year with producer Mark Bell (LFO, Bjork) in London, New York and Santa Barbara, where Fletcher, Gahan and Gore respectively live. “I wake up every day and I see sunshine and I see amazing mountain views and I do feel a bit more in touch with God, whatever God is,” beams the songwriter.

Blame it on the sunshine, or the settled wife-and-kids lives of all three members, but Exciter is the most optimistic record the band have made in 20 years. There are still some dark shadows and intimations of perversity, but there are also unapologetic love songs, Freelove and Goodnight Lovers, with Gahan’s voice warm and intimate. Yet the distance between Gahan and his bandmates remains. Now that he has channelled his energies into music rather than narcotics, he is antsy about the friction between Gore’s perfectionism and his own looser, more organic tastes, and plans to release a solo album in that vein next year.

“I have a feeling that he respects me as much as I respect him but he has an inability to actually acknowledge it,” Gahan frowns. “Martin’s not the sort of person who turns around and pats you on the back and goes, That’s fantastic. To be honest, I wouldn’t know what to do with that anyway.”

Depeche Mode are clearly not the last gang in town, and not one of them can explain why they have kept on going. Daniel Miller has a theory though. “A lot of the arguments that they have now are identical to ones they had 20 years ago. Fletch and Martin have always been mates but Alan was always the outsider and even Dave didn’t grow up with them. If they’d all been big mates at the beginning and then grew apart, that would have been different, but relationships haven’t changed that much. Who knows? If you start trying to define it, it falls apart.”

Gahan, for one, wouldn’t even try. He has endured such self-induced horrors that the fate of Depeche Mode is no longer his top priority. The interview finally over, he looks suddenly drained and starts talking about how much he misses Jennifer, now his third wife, and his baby daughter Stella. “I really have a life now,” he reflects. “I have a life separate from Depeche Mode. It’s the first time I’ve had that in years and I’m determined not to fuck it up. I still make mistakes but I’m there for it. I’m not running away any more. I’m right here.”

And Dave Gahan smiles at the wonder of it all

For non profit use only | Photo by S.Politis

 

Milestone Series

Author: birdnmouse

Milestone: Meeting the Parents

wc: 2998 | rating: T  | status: 1/10 complete

 Summary: A series looking at Rick and Michonne’s various relationship milestones. AU. Occurring in the Against Type universe after the events of that series.



“Can you put on–”


“–number 14?” Rick finished in conjunction with her, earning himself a sidelong glance from the beautiful woman sitting in the passenger’s seat.


“Yeah.”


“You know there are thirteen other songs on the CD.”


“Yeah, I’m well aware,” she assured him as she thought over the dozens of times she’d heard this album from start to finish while riding in his truck, “but this is the only one I like.”


“But it’s Johnny Cash.”


“You always say that,” she said, shaking her head with a slight smirk, as unmoved by his standard response as ever.


We got married in a fever, hotter than a pepper sprout,

We’ve been talkin’ ‘bout Jackson, ever since the fire went out.

I’m goin’ to Jackson, I’m gonna mess around,

Yeah, I’m goin’ to Jackson.


Their conversation came to a lull as the plucky guitar chords and driving beat of the song filled the car. She looked over at her boyfriend with one hand one the steering wheel and the other resting on the window sill. His lips were slightly pursed, and she couldn’t tell whether he was just focused on the road or smarting over her comment.


“It’s a good driving song,” she offered weakly. “When you’re in a truck…out in the country,” she rambled until he finally turned her way with a warning look. “I’m trying here.”


And he knew she truly was, bless her heart, but he was never going to convert her into a fan. Hell, if he’d been introduced to this music today, he couldn’t even be sure he’d like it himself, but it was what he grew up listening to in his father’s truck, so he’d never be able to judge it objectively.

Keep reading

Rolling Stone, September 12, 1985

Prince Talks: The Silence Is Broken

By Neal Karlen


The Interview

Why have you decided that now is the time to talk?
There have been a lot of things said about me, and a lot of them are wrong. There have been a lot of contradictions. I don’t mind criticism, I just don’t like lies. I feel I’ve been very honest in my work and my life, and it’s hard to tolerate people telling so many barefaced lies.

Do you read most of what’s written about you?
A little, not much. Sometimes someone will pass along a funny one. I just wrote a song called “Hello,” which is going to be on the flip side of “Pop Life.” It says at the end, “Life is cruel enough without cruel words.” I get a lot of cruel words. A lot of people do.

I saw critics be so critical of Stevie Wonder when he made Journey through the Secret Life of Plants. Stevie has done so many great songs, and for people to say, “You missed, don’t do that, go back” – well, I would never say, “Stevie Wonder, you missed.” [Prince puts the Wonder album on the turntable, plays a cut, then puts on Miles Davis’ new album.] Or Miles. Critics are going to say, “Ah, Miles done went off.” Why say that? Why even tell Miles he went off? You know, if you don’t like it, don’t talk about it. Go buy another record!
Not long ago I talked to George Clinton, a man who knows and has done so much for funk. George told me how much he liked Around the World in a Day. You know how much more his words mean than those from some mamma-jamma wearing glasses and an alligator shirt behind a typewriter?

Do you hate rock critics? Do you think they’re afraid of you?
[Laughs] No, it’s no big deal. Hey, I’m afraid of them! One time early in my career, I got into a fight with a New York writer, this little skinny cat, a real sidewinder. He said, “I’ll tell you a secret, Prince. Writers write for other writers, and a lot of time it’s more fun to be nasty.” I just looked at him. But when I really thought about it and put myself in his shoes, I realized that’s what he had to do. I could see his point. They can do whatever they want. And me, too. I can paint whatever picture I want with my albums. And I try to instill that in every act I’ve ever worked with.

What picture were you painting with Around the World in a Day?
[Laughs] I’ve heard some people say I’m not talking about anything on this record. And what a lot of other people get wrong about the record is that I’m not trying to be this great visionary wizard. Paisley Park is in everybody’s heart. It’s not just something that I have the keys to. I was trying to say something about looking inside oneself to find perfection. Perfection is in everyone. Nobody’s perfect, but they can be. We may never reach that, but it’s better to strive than not.

Sounds religious.
As far as that goes, let me tell you a story about Wendy. We had to fly somewhere at the beginning of the tour, and Wendy is deathly afraid of flying. She got on the plane and really freaked. I was scared for her. I tried to calm her down with jokes, but it didn’t work. I thought about it and said, “Do you believe in God?” She said yes. I said, “Do you trust him?” and she said she did. Then I asked, “So why are you afraid to fly?” She started laughing and said, “Okay, okay, okay.” Flying still bothers her a bit, but she knows where it is and doesn’t get freaked.

It’s just so nice to know there is someone and someplace else. And if we’re wrong, and I’m wrong, and there is nothing, then big deal! But the whole life I just spent, I at least had some reason to spend it.

When you talk about God, which God are you talking about? The Christian God? Jewish? Buddhist? Is there any God in particular you have in mind?
Yes, very much so. A while back, I had an experience that changed me and made me think differently about how and what I wrote and how I acted toward people. I’m going to make a film about it – not the next one, but the one after that. I’ve wanted to make it for three years now. Don’t get me wrong – I’m still as wild as I was. I’m just funneling it in a different direction. And now I analyze things so much that sometimes I can’t shut my brain off and it hurts. That’s what that movie will be about.

What was the experience that changed you?
I don’t really want to get into it specifically. During the Dirty Mind period, I would go into fits of depression and get physically ill. I would have to call people to help me get out of it. I don’t do that anymore.

What were you depressed about?
A lot had to do with the band’s situation, the fact that I couldn’t make people in the band understand how great we could all be together if we all played our part. A lot also had to do with being in love with someone and not getting any love back. And there was the fact that I didn’t talk much with my father and sister. Anyway, a lot of things happened in this two-day period, but I don’t want to get into it right now.

How’d you get over it?
That’s what the movie’s going to be about. Paisley Park is the only way I can say I got over it now. Paisley Park is the place one should find in oneself, where one can go when one is alone.

You say you’ve now found the place where you can go to be alone. Is it your house? Within the family you’ve built around you? With God?
It’s a combination of things. I think when one discovers himself, he discovers God. Or maybe it’s the other way around. I’m not sure… . It’s hard to put into words. It’s a feeling – someone knows when they get it. That’s all I can really say.

Do you believe in heaven?
I think there is an afterworld. For some reason, I think it’s going to look just like here, but that’s part … I don’t really like talking about this stuff. It’s so personal.

Does it bother you when people say you’re going back in time with Around the World in a Day?
No. What they say is that the Beatles are the influence. The influence wasn’t the Beatles. They were great for what they did, but I don’t know how that would hang today. The cover art came about because I thought people were tired of looking at me. Who wants another picture of him? I would only want so many pictures of my woman, then I would want the real thing. What would be a little more happening than just another picture [laughs] would be if there was some way I could materialize in people’s cribs when they play the record.

How do you feel about people calling the record “psychedelic”?
I don’t mind that, because that was the only period in recent history that delivered songs and colors. Led Zeppelin, for example, would make you feel differently on each song.

Does your fame affect your work?
A lot of people think it does, but it doesn’t at all. I think the smartest thing I did was record Around the World in a Day right after I finished Purple Rain. I didn’t wait to see what would happen with Purple Rain. That’s why the two albums sound completely different. People think, “Oh, the new album isn’t half as powerful as Purple Rain or 1999.” You know how easy it would have been to open Around the World in a Day with the guitar solo that’s on the end of “Let’s Go Crazy”? You know how easy it would have been to just put it in a different key? That would have shut everybody up who said the album wasn’t half as powerful. I don’t want to make an album like the earlier ones. Wouldn’t it be cool to be able to put your albums back to back and not get bored, you dig? I don’t know how many people can play all their albums back to back with each one going to different cities.

What do you think about the comparisons between you and Jimi Hendrix?
It’s only because he’s black. That’s really the only thing we have in common. He plays different guitar than I do. If they really listened to my stuff, they’d hear more of a Santana influence than Jimi Hendrix. Hendrix played more blues; Santana played prettier. You can’t compare people, you really can’t, unless someone is blatantly trying to rip somebody off. And you can’t really tell that unless you play the songs.
You’ve got to understand that there’s only so much you can do on an electric guitar. I don’t know what these people are thinking – they’re usually non-guitar-playing mamma-jammas saying this kind of stuff. There are only so many sounds a guitar can make. Lord knows I’ve tried to make a guitar sound like something new to myself.

Are there any current groups you listen to a lot or learn from? 

Naah. The last album I loved all the way through was [Joni Mitchell’s] The Hissing of Summer Lawns. I respect people’s success, but I don’t like a lot of popular music. I never did. I like more of the things I heard when I was little. Today, people don’t write songs; they’re a lot of sounds, a lot of repetition. That happened when producers took over, and that’s why there’s no more [live] acts. There’s no box office anymore. The producers took over, and now nobody wants to see these bands.

People seem to think you live in an armed monastery that you’ve built in honor of yourself.

First off, I don’t live in a prison with armed guards around me. The reason I have a guy outside is that after the movie, all kinds of people started coming over and hanging out. That wasn’t so bad, but the neighbors got upset that people were driving by blasting their boxes or standing outside and singing. I happen to dig that. That’s one reason I’m going to move to more land. There, if people want to come by, it will be fine. Sometimes it gets lonely here. To be perfectly honest, I wish more of my friends would come by.

Friends?
Musicians, people I know. A lot of the time they think I don’t want to be bothered. When I told Susannah [Melvoin] that you were coming over, she said, “Is there something I can do? Do you want me to come by to make it seem like you have friends coming by?” I said no, that would be lying. And she just put her head down, because she knew she doesn’t come by to see me as much as she wants to, or as much as she thinks I want her to. It was interesting. See, you did something good, and you didn’t even know it!

Are you afraid to ask your friends to come by?
I’m kind of afraid. That’s because sometimes everybody in the band comes over, and we have very long talks. They’re very few and far between, and I do a lot of the talking. Whenever we’re done, one of them will come up to me and say, “Take care of yourself. You know I really love you.” I think they love me so much, and I love them so much, that if they came over all the time I wouldn’t be able to be to them what I am, and they wouldn’t be able to do for me what they do. I think we all need our individual spaces, and when we come together with what we’ve concocted in our heads, it’s cool.

Does it bother you that strangers make pilgrimages to your house?
No, not at all. But there’s a time and a place for everything. A lot of people have the idea that I’m a wild sexual person. It can be two o'clock in the afternoon, and someone will make a really strange request from the call box outside. One girl just kept pressing the buzzer. She kept pressing it, and then she started crying. I had no idea why. I thought she might have fallen down. I started talking to her, and she just kept saying, “I can’t believe it’s you.” I said, “Big deal. I’m no special person. I’m no different than anyone.” She said, “Will you come out?” I said, “Nope, I don’t have much on.” And she said, “That’s okay.”

I’ve lectured quite a few people out there. I’ll say, “Think about what you’re saying. How would you react if you were me?” I ask that question a lot: “How would you react if you were me?” They say, “Okay, okay.”

It’s not just people outside your door who think you’re a wild sexual person.
To some degree I am, but not twenty-four hours a day. Nobody can be what they are twenty-four hours a day, no matter what that is. You have to eat, you have to sleep, you have to think, and you have to work. I work a lot, and there’s not too much time for anything else when I’m doing that.

Does it make you angry when people dig into your background, when they want to know about your sexuality and things like that?
Everyone thinks I have a really mean temper and that I don’t like people to do this or do that. I have a sense of humor. I thought that the Saturday Night Live skit with Billy Crystal as me was the funniest thing I ever saw. His imitation of me was hysterical! He was singing, “I am the world, I am the children!” Then Bruce Springsteen came to the mike, and the boys would push him away. It was hilarious. We put it on when we want to laugh. It was great. Of course, that’s not what it is.
And I thought the Prince Spaghetti commercial was the cutest thing in the world. My lawyers and management are the ones who felt it should be stopped. I didn’t even see the commercial until after someone had tried to have it stopped. A lot of things get done without my knowledge because I’m in Minneapolis and they’re where they are.
It’s a good and a bad thing that I live here. It’s bad in the sense that I can’t be a primo “rock star” and do everything absolutely right. I can’t go to the parties and benefits, be at all the awards shows, get this and get that. But I like it here. It’s really mellow.

How do you feel when you go to New York or L.A. and see the life you could be leading?
L.A. is a good place to work. And I liked New York more when I wasn’t known, when I wasn’t bothered when I went out. You’d be surprised. There are guys who will literally chase you through a discotheque! I don’t mind my picture being taken if it’s done in a proper fashion. It’s very easy to say, “Prince, may I take your picture?” I don’t know why people can’t be more humane about a lot of things they do. Now when I’m visiting, I like to sneak around and try stuff. I like to sneak to people’s gigs and see if I can get away without getting my picture taken. That’s fun. That’s like cops and robbers.

You’ve taken a lot of heat for your bodyguards, especially the incident in Los Angeles in which your bodyguard Chick Huntsberry reportedly beat up a photographer.
A lot of times I’ve been accused of sicking bodyguards on people. You know what happened in L.A.? My man the photographer tried to get in the car! I don’t have any problems with someone Iknow trying to get in my car with me and my woman in it. But someone like that? Just to get a picture?

Why isn’t Chick working for you anymore?
Chick has more pride than anyone I know. I think that after the L.A. incident, he feared for his job. So if I said something, he’d say, “What are you jumping on me for? What’s wrong? Why all of a sudden are you changing?” And I’d say, “I’m not changing.” Finally, he just said, “I’m tired. I’ve had enough.” I said fine, and he went home. I waited a few weeks and called him. I told him that his job was still here and that I was alone. So he said he’d see me when I was in New York. He didn’t show up. I miss him.

Is it true that Chick is still on the payroll?
Yes.

What about the exposé he wrote about you in the National Enquirer?
I never believe anything in the Enquirer. I remember reading stories when I was ten years old, saying, “I was fucked by a flying saucer, and here’s my baby to prove it.” I think they just took everything he said and blew it up. It makes for a better story. They’re just doing their thing. Right on for them. The only thing that bothers me is when my fans think I live in a prison. This is not a prison.

You came in for double heat over the L.A. incident because it happened the night of the “We Are the World” recording. In retrospect, do you wish you had shown up?
No. I think I did my part in giving my song [to the album]. I hope I did my part. I think I did the best thing I could do.

You’ve done food-drive concerts for poor people in various cities, given free concerts for handicapped kids and donated lots of money to the Marva Collins inner-city school in Chicago. Didn’t you want to stand up after you were attacked for “We Are the World” and say, “Hey, I do my part.”
Nah. I was never rich, so I have very little regard for money now. I only respect it inasmuch as it can feed somebody. I give a lot of things away, a lot of presents and money. Money is best spent on someone who needs it. That’s all I’m going to say. I don’t like to make a big deal about the things I do that way.

People think that you’re a dictator in the studio, that you want to control everything. In L.A., however, I saw Wendy and Lisa mixing singles while you were in Paris. How do you feel about your reputation?
My first album I did entirely alone. On the second I used André [Cymone], my bass player, on “Why You Wanna Treat Me So Bad?” He sang a small harmony part that you really couldn’t hear. There was a typo on the record, and André didn’t get any credit. That’s how that whole thing started. I tried to explain that to him, but when you’re on the way up, there’s no explaining too much of anything. People will think what they want to.

The reason I didn’t use musicians a lot of the time had to do with the hours that I worked. I swear to God it’s not out of boldness when I say this, but there’s not a person around who can stay awake as long as I can. Music is what keeps me awake. There will be times when I’ve been working in the studio for twenty hours and I’ll be falling asleep in the chair, but I’ll still be able to tell the engineer what cut I want to make. I use engineers in shifts a lot of the time because when I start something. I like to go all the way through. There are very few musicians who will stay awake that long.

Do you feel others recognize how hard you work?
Well, no. A lot of my peers make remarks about us doing silly things onstage and on records. Morris [Day, former lead singer of the Time] was criticized a lot for that.

What kind of silliness, exactly?
Everything – the music, the dances, the lyrics. What they fail to realize is that is exactly what we want to do. It’s not silliness, it’s sickness. Sickness is just slang for doing things somebody else wouldn’t do. If we are down on the floor doing a step, that’s something somebody else wouldn’t do. That’s what I’m looking for all the time. We don’t look for whether something’s cool or not, that’s not what time it is. It’s not just wanting to be out. It’s just if I do something that I think belongs to someone else or sounds like someone else, I do something else.

Why did Morris say such negative things about you after he left the band?
People who leave usually do so out of a need to express something they can’t do here. It’s really that simple. Morris, for example, always wanted to be a solo act, period. But when you’re broke and selling shoes someplace, you don’t think about asking such a thing. Now, I think Morris is trying to create his own identity. One of the ways of doing that is trying to pretend that you don’t have a past.

Jesse [Johnson, former guitarist for the Time] is the only one who went away who told what happened, what really went down with the band. He said there was friction, because he was in a situation that didn’t quite suit him. Jesse wanted to be in front all the time. And I just don’t think God puts everybody in that particular bag. And sometimes I was blunt enough to say that to people: “I don’t think you should be the front man. I think Morris should.”

Wendy, for example, says, “I don’t want that. I want to be right where I am. I can be strongest to this band right where I am.” I personally love this band more than any other group I’ve ever played with for that reason. Everybody knows what they have to do. I know there’s something I have to do.

What sound do you get from different members of the Revolution?
Bobby Z was the first one to join. He’s my best friend. Though he’s not such a spectacular drummer, he watches me like no other drummer would. Sometimes, a real great drummer, like Morris, will be more concerned with the lick he is doing as opposed to how I am going to break it down.

Mark Brown’s just the best bass player I know, period. I wouldn’t have anybody else. If he didn’t play with me, I’d eliminate bass from my music. Same goes for Matt [Fink, the keyboard player]. He’s more or less a technician. He can read and write like a whiz, and is one of the fastest in the world. And Wendy makes me seem all right in the eyes of people watching.

How so?
She keeps a smile on her face. When I sneer, she smiles. It’s not premeditated, she just does it. It’s a good contrast. Lisa is like my sister. She’ll play what the average person won’t. She’ll press two notes with one finger so the chord is a lot larger, things like that. She’s more abstract. She’s into Joni Mitchell, too.

What about the other bands? Apollonia, Vanity, Mazarati, the Family? What are you trying to express through them?
A lot has to do with them. They come to me with an idea, and I try to bring that forth. I don’t give them anything. I don’t say, “Okay, you’re going to do this, and you’re going to do that.” I mean, it was Morris’ idea to be as sick as he was. That was his personality. We both like Don King and got a lot of stuff off him.

Why?
Because he’s outrageous and thinks everything’s so exciting – even when it isn’t.

People think you control those bands, that it’s similar to Rick James’ relationship with the Mary Jane Girls. A lot of people think he’s turning all the knobs.
I don’t know their situation. But you look at Sheila E. performing, and you can just tell she’s holding her own. The same goes for the Family. You and I were playing Ping-Pong, and they were doing just fine.

After all these years, does the music give you as much of a rush as it used to?
It increases more and more. One of my friends worries that I’ll short-circuit. We always say I’ll make the final fade on a song one time and … [Laughs, dropping his head in a dead slump]. It just gets more and more interesting every day. More than anything else, I try not to repeat myself. It’s the hardest thing in the world to do – there’s only so many notes one human being can muster. I write a lot more than people think I do, and I try not to copy that.

I think that’s the problem with the music industry today. When a person does get a hit, they try to do it again the same way. I don’t think I’ve ever done that. I write all the time and cut all the time. I want to show you the archives, where all my old stuff is. There’s tons of music I’ve recorded there. I have the follow-up album to 1999. I could put it all together and play it for you, and you would go “Yeah!” And I could put it out, and it would probably sell what 1999 did. But I always try to do something different and conquer new ground.

In people’s minds, it all boils down to “Is Prince getting too big for his breeches?” I wish people would understand that I always thought I was bad. I wouldn’t have got into the business if I didn’t think I was bad.

Prince on the cover of Rolling Stone. “Raspberry Beret” video still.

My thoughts on “Straight Outta Compton”

Less than a week after its release, Straight Outta Compton is already one of the most successful Rap based films ever. With that, it’s also one of the most controversial and debated Rap films that I can recall. Most of us have always felt that Rap films come off as corny or contrived, and it makes it even harder to watch groups that you personally saw every week on TV, in comparison to “What’s love got to do with it” and “Ray” where many of us weren’t alive during the artist’s prime. This was surely the case when we saw the Aaliyah film (shoutout to the memes), Notorious, and even the TLC film, which I felt was solid.

In today’s post, I’ll discuss a bit of everything…my thoughts on the film, the main complaints and controversies I’ve heard, and N.W.A’s legacy to follow the film.

What I loved about it

-The cinematography was ridiculous. The cut scenes where dudes rode their motorcycles and lowriders, the scene following Tyree’s death, when Dre turned the corner and walked in the middle of the group, and the transition between the Lench Mob vs. Ruthless fight into the Rodney King beating were perfect.

-The lead actors did a stellar job, without question. Jason Mitchell really did feel like Eazy throughout the movie, and I even think he should receive nominations for it. Oshea Jackson Jr. made me forget I wasn’t actually watching Cube at times, although his slight suburban accent still showed at some points. Corey Hawkins sounded exactly like Dre.

Each time Eazy would go into business mode, it connected. I loved the part when the protestors stomped on their records, and he essentially says “They can do whatever they want to with them….they paid for them!” His last days in the hospital were extremely believable as well…the crowd was dead silent both times I saw it, as we were all caught in the moment.

-The studio and live performance parts were dynamic, and the energy seemed to spread throughout the audience every time they started rapping one of their classics. They could have played the entire “Boyz n da hood” song, and the audience would have rapped along word for word. The scene in Detroit was on point, and seeing Cube say “What’s up???” to Dre, as Jerry Heller nervously hoped they wouldn’t perform the song that earned them free advertisement from the FBI, was extremely well done.

-This felt like a completely authentic L.A. movie. The school bus scene was literally perfect…every single Black male who was born in L.A. has stories about being “banged on,” in which we fear for our lives as it happens, but usually leave unharmed, and actually laugh about it when re-telling the story. Even the random goons in the movie felt like the ones we really see in the hood, and not just paid actors.

-The police brutality scenes seemed to strike a cord for all of us who have dealt with it in some form.

-The DJ scene where young Dre (scratched by Jazzy Jeff) gets off on that early 80’s Electro track “Al-Naafiysh” was fire! I’m a DJ nerd, so I’ll probably rewind this part 50 times once it comes out on Blu Ray.

-The “No Vaseline” scene…man. The reactions from the group, and the way Jerry Heller was ONLY concerned about the supposed “Anti-Semitism” were excellent.

-The L.A. Riots scene was compelling. The slow motion effects, Cube making eye contact with the police officer, seeing the peaceful protesters in the same scene as the violent looters, and the red + blue bandana tied together were all powerful.

What was left out?

I truly understand that it’s impossible to place every single thing within a two and a half hour movie, so I’m not as mad as others about the things that were left out. If they included all of the things I’ve heard, the movie would be more like a 5 part series. The way I see it, the movie is great at covering the main points, and for those who would like to dig deeper, there’s plenty of history that can be found online and in magazines from that period. Also, the director’s cut is three and a half hours long, and I am hoping it is released on DVD.

Here’s a list of things I’ve heard mentioned that were left out:

-JJ Fad and their song “Supersonic” which was one of Ruthless’ first hit records, weren’t mentioned at all.

-Arabian Prince, an original member of N.W.A, wasn’t mentioned at all.

-Michel’le was mentioned, but wasn’t depicted at all. This has probably been the biggest complaint that I’ve heard, and this is one of the few that I think should have been in there for sure. She was a factor in the N.W.A/Ruthless era, as well as with Death Row.

-MC Ren’s contributions weren’t shown in depth, and D.O.C. seemed to just be the homie who was around, versus the highly successful solo artist and contributor that he was at the time.

-Dogg Pound/Death Row vs Ruthless beyond Eazy and Suge…in particular, “Dre day” vs “Real Mothaph’kkin  G’z” which was a major beef at the time. They show the fight between Ruthless and Lench Mob, but make no mention of the fight between Dogg Pound and Dresta/BG Knoccout that happened on the golf course (When Nate Dogg regulated for real): 

-I didn’t realize Chuck D was depicted in the movie until seeing it for a second time, but they don’t speak much on how Ice Cube connected with the Bomb Squad in NY.  

-As a whole, Dre and Cube were shown in the most positive light, while Suge’s character was one –dimensional and showed a seemingly overnight transition into the meme-worthy villain that he’s known as. Jerry Heller’s character showed decent balance, and left you with the impression that he cared for the group as human beings, but that his money was always more important than anything else. I guess he was right about Cube being Anti-Semitic (I’m being sarcastic).

-All of Dre’s domestic violence and assaults against women were left out, and I will speak about this next.

Dr. Dre vs. Dee Barnes (and other women)

In 6th grade, I recall being in an American History class that covered everything from Columbus’ claiming territory that wasn’t his, up to the Reagan era. When we got to the Civil War section, they only mention slavery in one paragraph. Not only did it not mention that slaves were forced on a boat from Africa, but it said something about how most slaves were treated with respect because it made them more productive.

I got home, and was furious. I told my dad, and expected him to call the Principal, or confront my teacher. He sat calmly, and said “well….who do you think wrote the book?”

Seeing this movie, and realizing that everything negative that Dre did to women was omitted, I was reminded of what happened in class that day. Being that Dre and Cube were behind the movie, it gave them a chance to sanitize their history as a group, and as individuals, and many folks think this taints the movie. I feel that Dre was shown as being the extremely focused, hard-working creative that didn’t care as much about groupies or even money…yet, there’s folks who will say that he was by far the most violent, abusive person in that circle when it came to relationships with women. 

This discussion has been extremely divisive in the last few weeks. There have been some women who feel that Black women should boycott the movie due to the omission, and others who have spread numerous articles on Dre’s history. On the other side, many folks feel that this happened so long ago, that it shouldn’t affect his current status, and they point out that he did go to trial and settle with Dee Barnes back when it happened.

The 2Pac scene

One of the most obvious anachronisms was regarding Eazy-E wearing the Sox hat before it came out, but the one that bothered most of us was the timeline after 1993, especially concerning 2Pac and Death Row.

The years don’t show at the bottom of the screen after 1993, but a lot of things were out of order, leading up to Eazy’s death in March of 1995. The main thing that confused us was 2Pac’s studio scene, which followed immediately after showing Eazy-E passing Tower Records and seeing The Chronic billboard, which was in 1993. 2Pac wasn’t released in prison until after Eazy-E passed away, and he actually got married a month after Eazy’s death while he was still in jail. Along with that, Hail Mary may have been recorded during the sessions of “All eyez on me,” but most of us figure that it was recorded afterwards, most likely in Spring/Summer 1996.

Along with “Hail Mary” being recorded, it’s said that Dre was going to feature Ice Cube on “California Love” and use it as his own first single, but Suge made a change and put 2Pac on it instead. In hindsight, this was a brilliant move by Suge.

Compton: The Album (and semi-soundtrack)

Dr. Dre, D’Angelo, and Jodeci actually released real albums this year! I’m still in shock. With this album, it served as somewhat of a soundtrack to the film, which was more than most of us expected when we first heard that it was coming out. I would personally say it’s a 7.5/10 album…I certainly wasn’t expecting a classic, but was hoping for more standout songs. However, the album is worth it solely for “Animals,” in which the #1 and #2 Rap producers in history finally linked up on a track, and made a potentially classic song. I think they should create an intense video that captures the essence of the “Black Lives Matter” movement, showing everything from Mike Brown, to Sandra Bland, to Trayvon, to Rodney King and Latasha Harlins.

The film’s legacy

This movie is going to have a major long term impact, especially with the younger generation that was probably born after N.W.A’s debut album came out. I have already seen a lot of folks in L.A. dressing like they were from this era, but I think the songs will actually become big with kids who never listened to any Rap that came before the 90’s or even 2000’s. Seeing a Batman remake of the song “Straight outta Compton” itself, along with this Kids Pop video shown below, is proof that the movie has truly crossed generations and cultures: 

This movie comes out at the most perfect time in my opinion, as L.A. Rap is finally back into the forefront after suffering a commercial drought for most of the previous decade. This movie shows the origins of the strongest family tree in Hip Hop, which includes artists such as Snoop, Will.I.Am and Fergie, Kendrick Lamar, 50 Cent, Eminem, and Bone Thugs, who all came through the N.W.A tree in some sort of way. I hope this film will lead to more high budget, polished Rap Biopics that show other legendary rap families, such as Native Tongues, Def Jam, Wu-Tang, and No Limit/Cash Money.

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#80 Masquerade Ball
Louis: “Well,” You heard a deep voice say from behind you, causing you to turn around while being careful not to spill your drink. The man was tall, with dirty blond hair and a crooked smile on his face “What is a girl like yourself be doing all alone over in here.” He barely made sense and his words were so slurred that you were surprised that you could actually understand him. “I’m just looking for something to eat, wasn’t too sure what they had up here.” Okay, maybe that was a lie but you could smell the alcohol on his breath and you were 2 feet away from him. You wanted nothing more than for him to leave so that you suffer in silence about how this masquerade ball wasn’t living up to you mystical fantasy. “Well then maybe me and you could dance and i could buy ya a drink. They got some nice fancy drinks I could get ya.” He just couldn’t take a hint and you were feeling more and more uncomfortable as this conversation progressed. “Hey, Sweetheart,” You felt an arm snake loosely around your waist and you were extremely relieved when you saw Louis, you childhood neighbor, next to you. He always seemed to turn up whenever you were in an awkward situation and needed help (which has been more times than you’d actually like to admit). “I’ve been looking for you everywhere. Why don’t we go dance for a bit now, baby?” You released a sigh of relief when he tugged you away from that drunk man and began sway along with you on the dance floor. “It’s good to see you again, Louis.” And it really was, this encounter being the first time you’ve seen him since before the where we are tour had started. “How do yo even know it’s me, Y/n? You can’t see my face with this mask on.” “Shut up,” You playfully punched his shoulder. “I can always tell when it’s you, Lou. You can’t fool me like we’re back in 7th grade again.” Liam: You didn’t even want to be here today. Your father was invited since he was CEO of some huge company and, therefore, he also forced you, your sister, and your mother to come along with him. Your sister could be a poster-child for being a social butterfly. Everyone wanted to talk to her and everyone wanted to dance with her. You couldn’t really blame all of those men though, she was wearing a tight, black lace dress with a black, feathery mask covering her eyes, while you wore a peach colored dress that was short in the front and long in the back. You had a simple pink mask and it was almost obvious why everyone would rather be with her rather than you. “Would you mind if I sat near you?” A man wearing a dark suit with a mask covering half of his face asked you. You immediately agreed, glad to no longer be alone. “So why are you sitting over here while everyone else is enjoying themselves?” You shrugged, this man seemed nice but you weren’t really in the mood to talk. You’d much rather be home and watching some murder show, or something along those lines, rather than being here. “You know her?” He asked when you didn’t answer his previous question, motioning over to your sister, who was currently in the middle of a circle of boys. “She’s my sister.” You restrained yourself from adding on some snarky comment about her and making an awful first impression with this masked man. “Thought so, you’ve been glaring at her since I sat down here.” “You’re very observant.” It came out a bit more sarcastic than you had intended but there was nothing you could do about that now. “Well, I can tell you don’t want to be here too.” This man just wouldn’t give up but maybe that wasn’t such of a bad thing since now you had someone to talk to. “Maybe,” You said, swiveling your body to face him and you couldn’t help but notice the beautiful smile the wouldn’t leave his lips despite how cold you’ve been to him. “But I do appreciate you coming over here to talk to me since I’ve been alone all night.” The man, who’s name you still didn’t know, smiled and fidgeted in his seat. “Well, my mates were practically hounding me to come over and talk to you since, apparently, I’ve been staring at you since I arrived.” Both of you instantly blushed at his comment and you knew that, if you were going to dance with anyone tonight, it was going to be with this man. “Well then…” You trailed off waiting for him to catch on and reveal his name. “Liam, I’m Liam.” “Well then, Liam, I think it’s only fair that you owe me a dance then, since you’ve been staring at me all night…” Niall: “Is this thing even on right?” Niall said, tugging on the simple mask he was wearing. “Yeah, it’s on fine, Niall, but if you keep pulling it you’ll probably break the strap on it.” Niall didn’t bother to listen. “Why is it so itchy?!” You knew that he’d be complaining, especially since you were both being forced to go to this ball, but you were hoping that he would keep those complaints to himself rather than sharing them with you. You actually were excited for this since you had never been invited to something extremely fancy like this ball is. Niall and the other boys were booked here to sing a few songs from the newest album since the person who was hosting this party was a close friend to their management. Niall continued to babble on complaining  and you were almost relieved when Liam came up to you both. “Niall,” Liam said. “We have to go get ready. They want us to sing in about 15 minutes.” Niall pecked your forehead quickly before following Liam somewhere. The performance went amazing; they all looked incredible with their suits and masks on, not to even mention that they sounded like angels but that’s normal for them. About 5 minutes after they had finished singing, Niall had made his way back to you, looking a bit shy when he finally approached you. Niall was never shy, always loud and outgoing, which is why you were slightly concerned about why he was acting this way. “What’s wrong, Ni?” You stood up from your seat and grasped onto his hands. Niall sighed loudly, squeezing your hands as his eyes finally met yours. “I’m sorry,” He muttered, the honesty in his voice quite clear. “I know I’ve been complaining so much tonight but I was so worried about screwing something up since I knew you were so excited for tonight. I wanted tonight to be perfect for you but I just realized that I was probably screwing it up by complaining.” This may have partially been true but you never wanted Niall to feel like something was his fault. “It’s okay, Niall. I’m just happy to be here with you. This night is perfect.” Niall sighed but dragged you along behind him towards the dance floor. “I think,” He whispered, pulling your body against his as his hands slipped around your waist. “That you’re too kind and understanding for me. I don’t deserve someone as amazing as you are.” “Shut up, Niall. We definitely deserve each other and you know that.” It was barely seconds later when he managed to step on the edge of your dress. “Looks like you need to work a bit more on your dancing skills, Niall.” You joked, giggling when Niall glared at you. “I don’t really think you’re one to talk, my darlin. You’ve stepped on my feet multiple times already.” Maybe that was true but it wasn’t your fault. Your heels were a lot taller than you were used too. “Oh shut up and dance with me, you idiot.” Zayn: You couldn’t help but laugh at the joke you friend had said. The room was bursting with energy and everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves. The only thing that was slightly disappointing was that you hadn’t been able to dance with anybody yet. Almost all of your friends had dance with someone at least once but they had all had men come up and ask them to dance directly. You weren’t exactly as confident as all of them and it would have been hard for you to even talk to a man without saying something stupid and scaring them away from you. That’s why you were slightly shocked when you felt a tap on your shoulder and turned to see a masked man behind you. “Hello?” You didn’t mean for it to sound like you were asking him a question, but it did for some reason. “Hi, beautiful!” The man was confident in his words as he spoke, his mouth curved into a flirtatious smirk. “Hello…” You repeated yourself again, noticing out of the corner of your eyes that your group of friends was wandering off some place else, leaving you alone with this unknown man. “So, I noticed you from across the room and I realized that I don’t think I had ever seen you around here before. I mean, I think it would be hard to forget someone as beautiful as you.” You mentally prayed that you wouldn’t say something wrong and screw up this conversation or anything like that. “How would know if you’ve seen me around, I’m wearing a mask.” You hoped that sounded as flirty as it did in your head. “Yeah, you’re right. I guess I just needed an excuse to see your eyes up close.” A blush immediately arose on your face and you only hoped that your mask was hiding it slightly. “Well, um, I–” Here it comes, you always manage to screw up a conversation somehow and you had a feeling that this was about to happen soon. “I think,” The man interrupted you and to say you were thankful was an understatement. “That you owe me a dance. We could get to know each other a bit more and I could admire your eyes for a little while longer.” You eagerly nodded and allowed him to pull you to the side of the dance floor. “My name’s Zayn, by the way. In case you were wondering.” “My name’s y/n.” You mumbled, still embarrassed from his previous compliment. “Y/n.” Zayn stated, enjoying the way the it practically rolled off his tongue. “I like that. A beautiful name for a beautiful girl.” Harry: He promised that he would be here and not let his hectic schedule get in the way of something else that you were so excited for. But here you were, standing of to the side alone so that you weren’t in anyone else’s way. You had waited for this night for months, continuously claiming that this would be a night where you could feel like what a disney princess must feel like and Harry promised that he’d be there to be your prince. You piled some more food on your plate, being extra careful not to get any of it on your dress as you found an open spot at a empty table. It felt pitiful to be moping around just because you’re boyfriend wasn’t there but you had envisioned this night over a hundred times and sitting alone at a table definitely was one of them. You nearly jumped out of your own skin when a pair of hands covered your eyes. “Guess who.” You instantly knew that it was Harry and that he didn’t break his promise to you. He didn’t bother to wait for your answer before he took his hand away and you saw his award winning smile. You reached up to readjust your mask as Harry offering his hand out to help you up, to which you gladly accept. “I’m here to save my damsel in distress.” He stated, gripping onto you’re hand as he tugged you along behind him towards the dance floor. “Oh yeah? I didn’t know I was in distress.” “Well yeah,” He said, as if it was the most obvious thing in the world. “But not anymore since I’m here with you. You’re safe now.” Then you both stood in the middle of the dance floor, his hands now laying on your hips and your arms were wrapped gently around his neck. “Then, thank you my prince. I don’t what I would have done if you weren’t here to rescue me.” “I don’t know either, princess, but I’m glad I’m here with you.” He said just before his lips captured yours, not even caring about being surrounded by some many other people.
Too Good

Pairing: Bucky Barnes x Reader
Warnings: Language
Summary: She was deep forest green and he was a pale baby blue
Word Count: 1.1k

Request: Hi :) a Bucky x reader, where he has a date and he asks her to help him practice. It goes really well until he mentions the ‘real date’. His date the next day is awful and he calls by reader’s apartment on the way home. I know it’s very specific!



Originally posted by mustachedcheetosman


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7

[TRANS] Tiffany’s Interview in Grazia, March 2016

FROM DIOR, WITH TIFFANY

As soon as she stepped into the Arrivals Hall, there was impenetrable security, police protocol while transferring to the hotel, and the thousands of fans who waited at the event venue. <Grazia> exclusively joined Tiffany’s Bangkok Emporium Dior Boutique visit that took over Instagram with the hashtag #WelcomeTiffanytoThailand

[From beginning to end, she looked out for <Grazia> staff. Even getting into the car, she did not lose eye contact.]

[Event venue that was tangled with fans and press. That night, Tiffany responded with the words, ‘Tonight was magical’ and the hashtag #TiffanyHeartsThailand.]

[The secret behind this lovely cut is bare feet. Words she left while changing clothes. “Wasn’t I ugly when I was eating the apple before?”]

You came to Bangkok 2 weeks ago for the concert. How is it visiting again?

It feels different. It doesn’t seem like the Bangkok that I knew before. Isn’t it fascinating? I arrived at the hotel and went out onto the terrace. I exclaimed “Ah~”. I even like just looking outside.

Does it feel like you’re resting?

Yes. Work this time is a dream schedule. These days, I’m in the middle of preparing for my solo album so I’m focused on music work. It’s not my style to unveil that area so I haven’t been Instagramming and I’ve been quiet, but I can unveil all of this work. I can share in real time with fans so it’s a happy schedule.

When we met you at the airport yesterday, the first impression was ‘more adult-like than we’d thought’. But today, you became lovely again.

Haha. I’m 28 now. And I was dressed more like a girl yesterday?

Not your outfit, but we meant your way of speaking and acting is more adult-like so we were surprised. Today, you came here because you’ve been invited to the Dior store opening event, what are your feelings and impressions?

I have a lot of interest in fashion. And Dior is one of my top three favourite brands. I’m fond of the spring/summer collection full of pastel colours and pink, which I especially like. Before I came here, I studied up on the history of the Dior house. Not only the patterns, colours and designs of the collections, but I also examined the jewelry, beauty and the sensibilities of the creative directors who change according to season.

I think you suit Dior very well.

Fascinatingly, all of the muses of the Dior house are artists who give me inspiration. Sophie Marceau, Monica Bellucci, Charlize Theron, Natalie Portman, Jennifer Lawrence, Rihanna, Mila Kunis – they’re all female figures I like. The side of them where when they’re strong, they’re strong and when they’re genial, they’re genial resembles Dior’s look.

We heard there was a story with the outfit you wore when you departed?

Originally, I was going to wear a hot pink knit, but I wanted the silver bag to stand out more so I changed. The striped outerwear that I wore that day is a product that isn’t in Korea so on the day I left, we dramatically had it flown in from an international store. I matched the outerwear with white jeans and the slip-ons I normally wear. I wanted to do a look that went with this season’s Dior collection, so I chose the texture of the fabric and the details on the bottom edge of the pants after deliberation.  

The clothes you’re wearing now suit you well too.

It feels even more perfect because the outfit fits with Bangkok’s current weather. Normally you end up shooting wearing thin clothes when it’s cold and thick clothes when it’s hot.

For the evening event, we heard you’re planning to dress up your outfit with a jacket?

I’m nervous. Dior is known for jackets. It’s an item that’s difficult to pull off in a cool way, but thankfully I found a design that suits me perfectly. It feels like 28, and it’s not an obvious look like a dress and pumps; I wanted to add a mood that’s a bit more stylish and mature.

Are you in a time where you want to change your style?

These days, my hands go for classic items. As I get older, I think my tastes lean in that direction. When I wear that style, if I get reactions like ‘you’re like an adult, you’re like a woman’, I’m satisfied.

We can’t refrain from talking about Instagram; when we see Tiffany’s account, it feels very sparkly. What is the main keyword that you have in mind?

Pink. If you look at a person’s SNSD, you can know that person’s sensibilities. In my Instagrams, there are a lot of pink hues. Pastel toned, cotton candy-like photos.

You must like the colour pink?

Yes. So that’s why there are a lot of tones like that naturally. These days, I’m trying to use other colours. For instance, colours like purple…

We saw the video you uploaded yesterday. (Translator note: Interviewer is referring to this video.)

When I went into my room, there were presents sent from Dior with my name written on them. I wanted to share my mood at that time with fans. Dior fans can see me, and my fans can be introduced to Dior so it’s a happy thing for everyone. In reality, there are fans who say ‘I don’t know fashion that well but I like that I get to know it through Tiffany’.

You’re good at capturing photo angles. When you post, do you have any know-hows or habits?

My nickname is ‘SNSD’s In-House Photographer’. Of SNSD members’ SNS photos, 80% of them are ones I’ve taken for them? It’s fun to bring to life the dimension and presence of colours or of people. It’s about capturing the pretty features of members that a photographer we’ve met for the first time can’t know. Members say, “If you weren’t here, how would I do SNS”. I take a lot of photos and know-hows just get created.

We saw your tattoo photo too, when did you get it?

I have one on my side, and recently I got one on my finger.

We’re curious why you got it in those places and the meaning of the tattoos.

The tattoo on my side is ‘Toujours Belle’, and it means ‘forever beautiful’ in French. My Korean (Hangeul) name is ‘Mi’ meaning beautiful and ‘Young’ meaning forever. I was too fed up with Forever Beautiful in English so I got it done in French. It’s kind of like the name of a perfume… For location, I chose my side below the chest, where it can be covered with underwear, and while planning the tattoo, I realized that I’m more conservative than I thought. When thinking of marriage, I wanted it to be in a place where it can’t easily be seen, where only very close people can see.

The second tattoo reads ‘Dreamer’, right?

I got it on the inner part of my fourth (ring) finger on my right hand. When I gather my hand, it’s the side visible to me. Since outer part can be a problem if it’s visible when shooting editorials. But it really hurt. Don’t get more than 7 letters tattooed, for real.

Do you shop a lot?

Yes. I completely shop a lot. This year’s motto is ‘Work Hard, Shop Harder’. Haha.

Sometimes after you shop a lot, aren’t there times when you feel a sense of guilt?

That’s right. But trying on these heels and those clothes are all processes that make who I am now. I hope that people who are in this line of work don’t feel guilty. There’s a lot you can learn. If you buy and wear clothes, you naturally develop an eye for it. Since you understand it. At award shows or at special events, your attitude definitely changes.

While promoting as SNSD, you wear clothes that fit into a variety of concepts. At times like that, is there a method unique to Tiffany to make yourself stand out?

I show my neck and legs. Relative to my height, my legs are on the long side so if I stand beside a tall member, I need to show more of my legs to appear taller. These days, everyone knows my size so I have let that go (laughs).

You seem to be filled with a happy virus. You also seem like you have a lot of playfulness. You always tend to be fun-loving, right?

I try to be optimistic as much as possible. I go by ‘Things that aren’t meant to happen will not happen no matter how hard you try, and things that are meant to happen will happen’. From airport outfit, to the shoes I’ll wear today, it didn’t seem like it would work out but they ended up working out. I think the dramatic aspects of life are fun.  

Then what’s most fun for you these days?

Travel.

Do you have time to travel?

Today is travel too. Next week, I’m going to Hawaii for a photoshoot, and the week after, I’m going to Paris.

You are shooting a lot. Today, you’re also filming videos; each one has its own charms, right?

Photos are fun because you can create it, and videos are fun because it’s honest. A video unveils everything. What’s fake and what’s real. In a photo, I like that I can check everything, like from where the light is falling and how much green is in it. It’s interesting that the feeling changes depending on the staff that is with me. A new side of me that I didn’t know appears.

Now you have to leave in two hours.

It’s refreshing that I’ll meet fans in a department store and I’m looking forward to it. In Bangkok, I always met them in performance venues. Since I’m showing myself in clothes like this and not on the stage, fans can see me in a new light.

[While getting her makeup done, she found a Dior ad in the newspaper and took a photo for proof]

“These days, my hands go for classic items. As I get older, I think my tastes lean in that direction. When I wear that style, if I get reactions like ‘you’re like an adult, you’re like a woman’, I’m satisfied.”

WELCOME TIFFANY TO THAILAND

When departing from Incheon airport, Bangkok was already overexcited. The news that Tiffany will visit the Emporium Department Store Dior Store Re-Opening event became known and airport fashion look started appearing on timelines with the hashtag #WelcomeTiffanytoThailand. On the day of the event, thousands of fans waited from the morning behind the barricade that went past the photo zone after getting out of the car. Endlessly continuing cheering from the fans and flashes. Tiffany paused in the middle and waved her hand, she took a selfie and a video in front of the store logo and communicated with fans. On February 18, Emporium Dior boutique had its renewal opening, reflecting the elegance and modernity of house brand Dior. With two dramatic entrances, one side had ready-to-wear, accessories and watches, and the other side had an area for VIP so that they could shop comfortably. The Bangkok boutique, in the same league as the Seoul flagship store and Tokyo Omotesando boutique, has a dramatic exterior made of sparkling glass and chrome, showing off its luxuriousness and urban style. Another special point is that furniture designed by international artists is scattered throughout the store. Tiffany, who visited the store, looked at the spring/summer shoes and bags with Bangkok’s socialites in the VIP room and enjoyed the unique space.

  1. She gathered both hands and after giving a Thai-style greeting, she captured everyone with her eye smile.
  2. Making her way through an incredible number of fans and crowds
  3. The gold version of the same bag that she carried at the airport.
  4. She arrived at the airport wearing the outerwear that was airlifted in by the Chungdam boutique at 11 am on the morning of departure.
  5. Dior VIP who came to the store. She greeted Bangkok’s It Girls with a smile and left a commemorative photo with a group selfie.

Scan credits: GGPM

Cheap Trick "Heaven Tonight" (1978)

So my knowledge of Cheap Trick is the song “Surrender,” which is on this album and the live version of “I Want You To Want Me” that they play on the radio all the time (which I love). They seem like pretty cool dudes though, especially based on the back cover photo which is a picture of one of the band members brushing his teeth in a public bathroom with an outfit on that screams “fuck authority!” next to some square who just shaved and is now tying his tie. Ha! What a square.

Oh wait, but according to the picture on the sleeve, the square is in the band! His name is Bun E. Carlos. And the anti authority dude is Rick Nielsen. So I guess I was reading that picture all wrong! They just have different styles and are totally pals.

Also, it says that Bun E. Carlos plays “traps,” which Alex just told me means “drums.” I have never heard traps called drums before. Never! Okay, so now I don’t think Bun E. Carlos looks like a square at all, especially since he has a cigarette hanging out of his mouth on the sleeve picture.

The first song is “Surrender,” and I’m realizing I’ve never really listened to the lyrics besides the chorus before. I think I always just assumed the Mommy and Daddy’s alright part was sarcastic because most rock and roll songs are anti-parents. But I think this is actually about a kid who thinks his parents are actually cool! I love that. And this line is talking about a soldier’s dick falling off right? “Just the other day I heard of a soldier’s falling off. Some Indonesian junk that’s going round.” And that’s information his mom told him. Pretty cool mom. 

The next song, “On Top Of The World,”  almost has a little bit of a B-52’s sound at first with the slightly menacing bass, but then it gets much more pop sounding, which I’m liking.

The next song “California Man,” isn’t included in the lyrics section. Does that mean it’s a cover? Apparently it was written by a band called The Move. It definitely has a California surf rock feel to it. It’s a little cheesy sounding, and kind of weirdly 1950’s. It’s an example that late 70’s, early 80’s 50’s nostalgia phenomenon, like “Uptown Girl”, or Back To The Future.

I feel like this music is a combination of a lot of things. Like the song “High Roller,” I really like the way they sing the chorus and say “Hiiiiiiiiiiiiigh Roller.” But then sometimes his voice almost sounds like their trying to sound like the Rolling Stones, and then other times it has almost a cheesy blues rock sound to it. I’m all over the place with this song!

I mean, I’m kind of liking how they don’t really sound like any other band. What category is this, punk? Classic/hard rock? According to Wikipedia, the Japanese LOVE Cheap Trick. “They have often been referred to in the Japanese press as the “American Beatles”.” I just asked Alex who he thought the American Beatles were and he said, “well they’d have to record like 8 perfect albums, and then go on to have amazing solo careers.” After much thought, he decided the closest band that comes to that is the Talking Heads. I think I agree. But there’s probably another example that we’re just not thinking of.

On to side two. “Heaven Tonight” sounds much different than all the others so far. It’s much slower and darker sounding. I like it, it’s almost 90’s grunge sounding to me. It also definitely sounds like a song that people would enjoy doing drugs to.

Thinking about the live version of “I Want You To Want Me,” makes me think that while I’m enjoying this album, they’re probably best live, and probably best live in a big stadium or something like that.

Oh there’s a secret live track after the last song on the track listing! Oh wait, it’s just like a second long, with lots of screaming and a short guitar solo. My guess is it’s from Japan.

I liked this album, I’ll probably put it on again, but it didn’t stand out as a new favorite of mine. But even though I’ve heard “Surrender” a million times, I still think it’s a really great song and wouldn’t mind listening to it a million more times. (Over the course of my life that is, a million more times in a row then I’d definitely get sick of it).

PS- According to his Wikipedia page, Bun E. Carlos is not in the band anymore. It seems like there was some kind of falling out in 2011. The rest of the band says it has to do with his back problems, but Bun E. Carlos says, his back is fine!

Something to say about Disney

Okay I have been mulling over posting this for a while and I think I’ve reached my limit and I feel it is important to say. Please don’t hate me. If you disagree or have thoughts you would also like to share, please message me so we can have an informed discussion and not an anonymous hate fest or something. That doesn’t help. Anyway, here goes.

Disney is a corporation. We pretend, on this website, that Disney is made of pixie dust and magic and, though it prides itself on customer service and its ability to create magical moments for children and adults alike, it is still a corporation. Its bottom line goal is to make money. Sometimes it is hard to acknowledge that the company you adore doesn’t just exist to create happy magical moments (though that is a part of it, sure). 

Okay, with that being said, let’s take a look at the success rate of the movies that have come from WDAS since the 2000s began:

Atlantis: The Lost Empire (2001)

Budget: $90-120 Million

Box Office: $186 Million

Lilo and Stitch (2002)

Budget: $80 Million

Box Office: $273.1 Million

Treasure Planet (2002)

Budget: $140 Million

Box Office: $109 Million

Brother Bear (2003 )

Budget: Not listed, though if you look at it based on the other films that surround it, I’d venture to guess somewhere around $100 million

Box Office: $250.4 Million

Home on the Range (2004)

Budget: $110 Million

Box Office: $104 Million

Chicken Little (2005)

Budget: $150 Million

Box Office: $314.4 Million

Meet the Robinsons (2007)

Budget: Again, I can’t find it listed, but to look at it in comparison to the most recent 3D animated film, I’d estimate it was somewhere around the budget of Chicken Little

Box Office: $169.3

Bolt (2008)

Budget: $150 Million

Box Office: $310 Million

Princess and the Frog (2009)

Budget: $105 Million

Box Office: $267 Million

Tangled (2010)

Budget: $260 Million

Box Office: $591.8 Million

Frozen (2013)

Budget: $150 Million

Box Office: $1.274 Billion

Big Hero 6 (2014)

Budget: $165 Million

Box Office: $378.7 Million

It is pretty surprising to look up and see those numbers next to each other. I had never really acknowledged the actual numerical facts until I saw it just now. Also just to note:

Lion King (1994)

Budget: $45 Million

Box Office: $987.5 Million

That, of course, doesn’t take into account currency value change or inflation, but I digress.

As a huge corporation, Disney puts its eggs in the basket that will hatch it the most chickens. It is simply how the company has worked and how they will work in the future. For instance, after an unsuccessful opening weekend for the movie Rescuers Down Under, the company pulled the advertisements. Should they have done this? Should they have written off the hard work of their animators and all the people who worked so hard to make the movie happen? Morally, no. But, they are a company and if they deemed that it wasn’t going to make them money, they were going to pull the plug. Why spend more on something if you aren’t going to make it back? And not just back, but with a large margin of profit?

So what is my point here? Why am I spending so long laying out for you all that Disney is a corporation and that money is the bottom line? Well, this site frequently complains about a lack of support for POC characters in particular, especially in Disney films and their subsequent merchandise and marketing. I agree with you all. I think there needs to be much more equality and much more emphasis put on POC characters and princesses because representation is incredibly important. And I don’t believe, in my heart, that Disney is striving to not show POC.

But, what I think is happening is, and I’m using the numbers as well as personal experience to back this up, they are trying to make POC characters and then they aren’t received well. They aren’t glorified like Elsa. People don’t drum up the same enthusiasm for characters of color that they seem to do for Rapunzel or Elsa, both featured in arguably the most successful WDAS movies from the beginning of the 2000s. 

Look at Frozen. It was doing okay, but by the fifth week (after practically the entire Disney fandom had seen it and told everyone they knew they had to see it too) the movie took the lead in the box office and the album beat out Beyonce and then there was no turning back. Disney saw this and they responded. Initially, there was enough merchandise to cover a film with the success of Tangled because, in the end, I believe that Disney had thought that would be enough. When it wasn’t, they had to get huge shipments back in to counteract the incredible demand. This drove demand higher because there were so few Elsa dresses, for instance, and so it became like gold to parents. 

But this wasn’t caused by Disney. It wasn’t caused by a huge influx of marketing. The film was incredibly poorly marketed at the beginning. It was because the consumers showed them what they wanted and Disney responded. 

1.274 billion dollars in box office sales alone. Not to mention the merchandise or the money brought in through the parks so that little kids could meet Anna and Elsa. 

Big Hero Six is out now and it is doing well in the box office. It is, by all accounts, a success. But, let’s look at some of the things that are currently going wrong and they aren’t all Disney’s fault. Baymax and Hiro are being removed from DLR today, only a few months after they arrived. This is likely caused by the costuming of Baymax making it incredibly challenging for the performer and the costumers, but it is also in part to people just not caring as much to see them as they do to see Anna and Elsa. I’ve heard stories of people asking Hiro to move out of the picture. Why would Disney pay to keep a character with a challenging costume who isn’t being appreciated? Fun fact: they won’t. And as little merchandise as it seems like there is for Big Hero Six, the merchandise (other than the Baymax plush, it appears) isn’t selling. Why would Disney make more of things that don’t sell? Fun fact: they wont. 

So let’s look at that in terms of the POC characters we already have, right? Yesterday, I was in the Disney store and I saw something that really bothered me. Remember those beautiful Fairytale collection LE dolls they were selling? There was Cinderella, Aurora, Tiana, Mulan, and Pocahontas? They came out in October? Well, in the Disney store yesterday, there are still dolls from this collection being sold, meaning that no one in the months since their release have deemed them worthy of purchase, despite their LE collectors value. Which three dolls do you think I am referring to?

So here is my thought and where I’ll leave you all today. If we want characters to receive Elsa and Anna like treatment by the company, then we sure as hell need to stop resting on our laurels. It took effort on the consumers part to tell Disney that Frozen (among others) is where they should spend their money because that is, in the end, what will make them the money back and with profit. We can’t keep complaining about them not making merchandise when we don’t buy what is already out there. We can’t keep complaining that they only care about a specific movie when we don’t show them that we don’t (rather, by continuing to purchase things like frozen merchandise in high volumes, we tell them we need more)

When Moana is out and it is time for the next Disney princess to arrive, I ask that instead of worrying or complaining, you go out there and you fight for her. Make her the next Elsa. Glorify her. Sing her songs. Cosplay her outfit. Draw her fan art. Tell your family and friends about her. Do anything and everything you can do to make it so that Moana is revered and when she is, Disney will respond with merchandise and marketing. If they don’t think we, as consumers, want it, they aren’t going to just do it. So make them see we want it. 

When I was 10, my granddad tossed me a shovel and took me to dig up my grandma's corpse

Some of my earliest memories are of sitting on my granddad’s knee and sifting through faded, black and white photographs. I still recall the musty aroma as my granddad flipped through the ancient photos, walking me through the stories of generations past. Sometimes at night I can still hear his gravelly voice:

“Pictures allow us to live on, to be immortal, you see? You and your ideas will live on in the memories of others - and nothing reactivates thoughts and feelings quite like a photograph. Nothing is more powerful. And someone had to be there for that picture to have been taken. It proves we are not alone.”

It was those sentiments that eventually led to me and my granddad in a cemetery with two shovels in the middle of the night, hunched over my grandmother’s grave.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

My grandfather always said that he and my grandmother were soulmates. There were mystical forces at play that allowed them to find each other - according to my granddad - and my grandfather could not imagine living without her. He always feared losing her. This is probably why, in the last few years of my grandmother’s life, my granddad was haunted by a recurring nightmare: my grandmother buried alive, scratching and clawing and pounding at her wooden coffin, left to suffocate and then rot for all eternity.

He knew that someday she would be gone. And in his mind, she would always be taken from him too soon.

The dream was troubling in itself, but what happened when he woke up from the nightmare was even more troubling. He’d have this dream - or vision, as he called it - of my grandmother buried alive, fingernails digging into the thick oak of her coffin, then there’d be a blinding light - and he’d wake up.

Alone.

When the nightmares occurred, my granddad was alone in bed. The woman he shared a bed with for 60 years wasalways mysteriously absent when he needed her the most.

He refused to pull my grandmother into his pathos - it wrecked him, destroyed him - and he only ever confided in his young and only grandson. It was our little secret, and I felt special for knowing it. It was something between me and him that no one else knew, and I imagined myself with my own grandson on my knee one day, flipping through pictures and stopping on photos of my grandfather. And our secret - that memory we’d shared together - it would be reactivated. It would live on.

It would be immortal.

When my grandmother passed on during the summer of my 10th birthday, my grandfather fell into sadness. I was worried that I’d only remember his anguish, that the memories and ideas that lived on would be despair and longing. But during a visit to his small and quiet home two months after my grandmother passed, I felt a different type of emotion - I heard it in his voice.

My grandfather was hopeful.

He took me into his bedroom and slipped out a book from under the sofa.

“I didn’t know it was here, you see? I found it when I reached to find a coin that had rolled underneath. Let me show you.”

I was ten, and I was far too old to do it, but I sat on my grandfather’s knee anyway. There was a comfort in the familiarity.

The book was a large photo album. It was filled with dozens of photographs of my grandfather in bed, his face contorted into fear. In some he was clutching the covers and pulling them off the mattress, in others his left leg was blurred from violently kicking something unseen - but every picture was some variation of a similar event:

He was having a nightmare.

“That was the blinding light!” he whispered to me. “The flash of the camera. She was there. I wasn’t alone.”

He paused to collect himself, and he stared off into a space unseen.

“I wasn’t alone.”

His voice was dripping with hope.

Weeks went by - my mind was never far from the photos. I wondered why someone would photograph another’s nightmares. Why would you want to capture someone’s ultimate fear? Why would anyone want those memories and feelings to live on?

I thought about it a lot. In my school journal I remember writing words in a blindingly red crayon:

Isn’t a nightmare best burned and buried forever?

I’m not sure why I wrote those words, or where they came from. They seemed beyond me, in some way. Like they came from some place else. I hoped my teacher wouldn’t see it, because I couldn’t explain it. I wouldn’t explain it.

It was me and my granddad’s secret.

My grandfather’s thoughts didn’t leave the photographs, either. One night he arranged for me to sleep over at his house - it wasn’t my first overnight trip at his place, but it had been a few years since the last one. I had a feeling something important was going to happen, and I was right.

Not long after my parents dropped me off, my grandfather led me into the garage. On the wall hung two shovels, one about five feet long and one just the right size for a child to wield. He tossed me the small one.

“It’s more than just memories now, I’m sure of it,” my grandfather said. “She was trying to tell me something with those pictures. More than just reassuring me that I wasn’t alone. She wanted me to find them, because she knew what I was dreaming about.”

He tussled my hair.

“Remember when I said that an idea is immortal? What if it’s more than that? What if immortality can actually exist?”

I knew exactly what he meant: my grandmother had been buried alive.

As an adult it’s far easier to chalk this up to irrational behavior, the raving words of a confused and sad old man. But I was only a boy. And I craved adventure and loved my grandfather more than just about anything.

“Me finding that album was a message. And I’m supposed to see her and get that message.” He sighed. “I wasn’t alone, and now she won’t be either.”

As I gripped that shovel in my hand I saw it as the gateway to knowledge and truth, and essentially, my grandmother. In that moment, I felt powerful. More powerful than memories that are awoken by looking at a photograph.

What was happening just seemed so real.

My granddad’s old Buick rumbled the fifteen minutes to the edge of town. We parked our car on the side of the road near a treeline, and using the cover of darkness slipped through a hole in the fence of the cemetery. My grandfather was old - pushing 80 - but I’d never seen him move so nimbly and with such determination. His steps were swift, and his eyes were laser-focused. I remember thinking:

He really believes he will see his wife again. He really thinks she is trying to claw out of her coffin, and that he was meant to help her.

And because I loved my grandfather, I wanted it to be true.

We arrived at her headstone, and my grandfather dropped to his knees. He wiped some fallen leaves off the grass and gently caressed the gravestone. And then - I will never forget this image for as long as I live - he put his ear to the ground. The night was silent, and my grandfather closed his eyes. His lips quivered, and he whispered something to himself. I couldn’t make it out.

The moon was bright, and I pushed the shovel into the earth, gently digging the metal tip into the ground. I badly wanted to hear the scratching and clawing from underneath us - I envisioned my grandmother’s hand breaking through her coffin and inching through the dirt, her wrinkled hand clasping my ankle, using my leg to pull herself out.

I wouldn’t be afraid.

We’d drag her out of the ground like a child pulling his friend out of a pile of sand at the beach. My grandmother would shake off the dirt and worms and slugs and whatever other gross and hideous creatures feasted on the dead, but she would be alive and safe. And my grandfather would be right - there is more to immortality than just ideas. People can be immortal, too. Why else would my grandmother have taken such awful pictures of my granddad’s nightmares? She was trying to tell us something.

Immortality is real.

But nothing happened. I watched my granddad kneel on that grave for twenty minutes in the silence of the night with his ear to the ground, twice bringing down the shovel to the earth as if to start digging.

But he couldn’t do it.

I thought he was about to give up, but then a startled look crossed his face. He moved his face closer to the ground, and his eyes pinched as he focused. A look of horror suddenly crossed his face - I knew it, because I’d seen that face before. It was agony and fear - I’d seen it in the photographs of his nightmares.

“This isn’t right,” my granddad whispered. “This isn’t right.”

As quickly as the fear came, it left him. I watched my granddad weep, and I broke for him. We returned home with nothing to show for our gravedigging expedition but dirty knee caps and tear-stained cheeks.

I laid down in the guest-room and listened to the tick tock of the old clock on the dresser. My granddad entered.

“Maybe another night,” he said.

He thought for a moment.

Then he left me.

I dozed, and I awoke a few hours later - something was happening outside my bedroom. I tiptoed out of bed, cracked open the door and peered out into the hallway. My granddad was on all fours. All of the baseboards had been torn off, and my grandfather was grimacing and reaching into the wall. I backed up a bit, feeling bad for snooping but unable to tear my eyes away.

He reached in as far as he could, and his body stiffened in surprise. He paused for a moment, and then he slipped something out of the wall. It was another photo album. By the look on my granddad’s face, I could tell it was his first time seeing it. I inched backwards again, hoping to find safety in the shadows, but still not looking away.

He opened the album, took one glance at the first page, and dropped the book with a thud. His hand covered his mouth as he gasped. With his other hand he reached towards the album, and I watched his weathered fingers shake. He flipped the page, and he looked as if he was about to throw up. He jumped up and braced himself against the wall, still trembling.

“I wasn’t alone,” he whispered. “I wasn’t alone.”

He backed away from the album like it was ridden with a contagious disease, and he eased his way into his bedroom, slamming the door shut behind him.

Curiosity got the best of me. I slowly approached the album, my mind racing with possibilities of what would lead my granddad to such immediate fear and repulsion. I bent down, picked it up, and scanned the photographs behind the plastic film.

I wished I hadn’t.

I stared at another page of pictures of my grandfather mid-nightmare, writhing in fear. But these were different than the others I’d seen. In the foreground of every photo on this page was my grandmother posing next to the bed. But it was not the kind and gentle grandmother I remembered.

She was different.

Her eyes were piercing, and her false teeth were removed. She held them close to my fear-ridden granddad, mocking him, pretending to bite him.

In each picture my grandmother was smiling. I stared into her toothless, black mouth, and it was like staring into a horrible and endless abyss. And in that moment, I asked myself the same question my granddad must have asked himself when he dropped the album and retreated into his bedroom:

Who took these pictures?

I heard my granddad move from his room, and I quickly laid the album back on the ground where I found it. I quietly scuttled to the guest room and clicked the door shut.

The baseboards were back up the next morning, and the album was gone.

I never told my granddad that I saw those pictures, and he never told me he found them. We never discussed what they might mean and why his own wife seemed to take such morbid pleasure and relish in the unfathomable nightmares of her soulmate. We never discussed the gravedigging mission, nor did we ever discuss the mystical and magical qualities of photographs ever again.

And we certainly never discussed who else might have been in his house to take those pictures.

To paraphrase my grandfather, he wasn’t alone.

He died two years later. When we cleaned out his house, I found ashes in his fireplace. Mixed among the ashes were edges of old photographs and charred, blackened pieces of a photo album lost to flame. I lifted the pieces from the fireplace, and they crumbled and sifted through my fingers.

I dug out my old journal that night. I flipped through the creased and wrinkled pages, and I stayed on one passage a long time. I had to agree with my ten-year old self.

Isn’t a nightmare best burned and buried forever?

original

The Church "The Blurred Crusade" (1982)

I have never heard of this band. I can’t really tell much from the album cover and inside gatefold aside from the black and white pictures on the inside that make it look like a pretty traditional rock band, but who knows! The name “The Church” doesn’t exactly telegraph what kind of music this is, nor does the medieval cover. The sleeve itself is super glossy and pleasant to run your hand across.

Alright, let’s solve this mystery!

Oh! This is so pleasant and sweet! The first song is “Almost WIth You,” and I’m glad that the lyrics are included because it’s definitely the kind of singing you want to read the lyrics along with. I really like this song! OMG YES! I really like the guitar solo towards the end, it sounds acoustic sort of. And then the drums just build really nicely with the passionate vocals at the end. I really like these vocals, they sound genuinely passionate not over doing it passionate.

When You Were Mine,” starts with a classic 80s drum beat. Really poppy snare drums which sound like they’re being played in an airplane hanger. Aint nothing wrong with that! And then the guitar really pulls you in. I would enjoy listening to this song in headphones while walking to work. It’s sung by a person who is far away from the person he loves, and he is just talking about all the space between them - time and distance and loss. After the lyrics come in there’s a long guitar solo interlude. It really sounds like it would be fun to play if you played guitar. And then it has a triumphant build up ending. Bravo!

Field of Mars” is kind of reminding me of a combination of Radiohead and Pink Floyd. I like it. It’s pretty and sad and a little psychedelic.

I was right with never having heard of this band before. Wikipedia tells me they’re from Australia. I asked Alex how he knew about them and the said, “I think when I worked at Encore (record store in Ann Arbor) someone told me I should check them out, so I did.”

Interlude,” starts off like a slower song but then gets pretty funky towards a guitar solo in the middle. The lyrics stood out on this one right away for me because they’re sung as dialogue being recounted in the first person. “‘They’re going to send you away,’ she said,” is the first line. That’s a great first line. You could write a story with that first line.

This album is a breath of fresh air! It’s like standing in the sun on an autumn day! On to side two!

So far the songs on side two “Just For You,” and “A Fire Burns,” don’t have that really catchy pop feel that the first two songs on side one had, but it’s still really good. A classic side two vibe, maybe a little more mellow but still songs you really want to listen to.

I really like the lyrics of “To Be In Your Eyes.” “And I’m waking to this aching and it’s breaking me in two.” There’s a very sweet simplicity about this song that I’m connecting with.

You Took,” starts with a real intense guitar solo and then goes into almost just vocals, the instruments get very quiet in the background, it feels like it’s building us up for some high energy. I’m excited. Here come the drums!

Well, that was a great album. I loved it and will definitely play it again. Maybe tomorrow even. I’m so glad I listened to this, and to think I’ve been living with it in my house for a decade and never even knew it existed.

[STARCAST★&fan - 140903] ‘INSPIRIT’s white propose toward ‘INFINITE’

Firstly, we will give hint about the main character of this week’s ‘★&fan’. This artist is symbolized with special logo. This accessary is motivated from this logo.

Firstly, we will give hint about the main character of this week’s ‘★&fan’. This artist is symbolized with special logo. This accessary is motivated from this logo.

The logo production is infinite~
Who is today’s main character?

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I was having Bethyl feels, so here, have a First Date at the Safe Zone ficlet

The Alexandria Safe Zone wasn’t huge, but it certainly wasn’t small, either. When he first arrived, Daryl Dixon hadn’t bothered to explore it much. He didn’t care to see it – didn’t care to meet new people, to integrate, to try. Beth was gone and with her had gone his entire livelihood.

But then he’d found her – or Aaron had. Daryl had gotten the flu that day of all days. But he would remember the moment forever. He would remember the shouting coming from the streets. He would remember how Carl (who was playing cards with Daryl in the bedroom to keep him company while he was sick) stood up and told him to wait here as he looked out the window. He would remember Carl’s sharp intake of breath as he saw what was happening outside. He would remember the way Carl turned back to him, eyes as round as dinner plates, a smile stretching across his face. “We have to go outside, now.”

He would remember his confusion, he would remember how difficult it was to get down the stairs – his body had been achy, the flu had done a number on him. Carl had supported him the whole way – but the boy was clearly anxious to get outside. Anxious to show him something.

He would remember stepping out into the blinding sunlight. He would remember how Rick was hugging someone small in front of him – he couldn’t quite see who it was, but everyone was smiling. And then he would remember what quite literally stopped his heart from beating for a moment. As Rick stepped aside. It was her. Beth. Alive.

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