Mariah Carey’s Lyrics


By Corinna Tomrley aka Lezzer Bangs 

Whenever I tell non-Lambily members that Mariah Carey is one of the best lyricists ever they almost universally say, ‘she doesn’t write her own songs, does she?’ or ‘are you sure it’s HER writing the lyrics?’ Eyeroll. Yes and very yes. I always wonder whether if it was a man pop star if the doubt would be so strong as with women who write their own lyrics. Anyway. She DOES. And if you paid attention to Mimi you would know that she does because she doesn’t bloody shut up about it. However, if I was her and every time my lyric authorship was mentioned it was doubted, I wouldn’t bloody shut up, either.

If you’re non-Lambily you’re probably saying, wait there, Lezzer, what the hell is Lambily? And I will again roll my eyes and sigh and condescendingly explain.

Mariah calls her fans her Lambs. So, we are in the Lambily. There. You’re welcome.

There’s many reasons to love Mimi’s lyrics. There’s inventiveness, there’s wit, there’s tons of pop cultural references and she doesn’t give a shit if they’re dated or will date. And there’s words that you would never find in anyone else’s songs. She can turn a phrase that sums up getting cheated on or fancying someone in a club and wanting to get on that and falling in love and having loads of money and bragging about it like no one else even comes close to. She is a fucking lyric genius and should be acknowledged as such.

So, no longer be surprised that Mariah Carey writes her own lyrics. Accept the fact, bitches. And then listen and worship at the alter that is Mimi’s oeuvre and her extraordinary poetry.

Here are some of my faves.

Heartbreaker

I first noticed Mimi’s lyrical prowess when I was singing along to Heartbreaker and I suddenly cried out, ‘hang on. Who would think to use the word incessantly in a song?’ And it works so well musically. So not only is it an unusual lyric choice, it is the most appropriate choice for the tune. I have to reiterate – GENIUS, darlings.

See also: I was oh so acquiescent, but I learned my lesson – It’s A Wrap

I get kind of hectic inside – Fantasy

I no longer live in your dominion – The Art Of Letting Go

Conspicuous consumption

Yeah, yeah, yeah, it’s kind of assholey to brag about your wealth, especially with so many of us with nothing. But when Mimi does it she’s simultaneously cute, endearing, and hilarious af. And at least she’s not pretending like she doesn’t have all that, she is no Jenny from the block (she, after all, doesn’t know her).

Behold the following examples.

In Get Your Number our girl picks up Jermaine Dupri in a club and asks, ‘tell me a little something about you’ but before he can answer she offers, ‘here’s a little something about me’ and informs him

‘I got a house in Capri and my own G4 and that Benz with the doors that lift up from the floor’

Then for the next verse she slays with

‘I got a pimp penthouse with a sick hot tub, we can watch the flat screen, while the bubbles fill it up’

And that is perhaps my second favourite Mariah Carey lyric.

And the thing is that this is a gender swap. Men are expected to brag about what they’ve got to women to pull them. Here’s a red hot chick who doesn’t need to brag or even open her mouth to speak. But she will. She will speak and be heard and what she is saying is she’s got it all, darling. Listen to her. And what you have to say better measure up to her stuff.

Then there’s the appropriately named Money. Actually called Money ($*/…)

‘Money, this, that, the other

Don’t mean nothing other than

Jets for holidays and

Chefs with hollandaise

Expensive lingerie, cuz I come home to you’

Although I did think it was ‘don’t need nothing other than…’ which would be funnier…

And for Shake It Off she tells the cheating a-hole she’s leaving that

‘See I grabbed all my diamonds and clothes

Just ask your momma she knows’

It’s a Wrap

There is SO much lyric magic in this song. OMFG. Pretty much the whole thing. Even ‘so just scoo da doo da doot, baby’. So where to begin? How about ‘know you seen me calling and calling, I should crack you right in your forehead’. ‘Ain’t no donuts, ain’t no coffee, see ya’. ‘Let me take a breath and regain my composure. Told you one more time if you f-ed up it’s over’. ‘Been sitting here all night, leave me alone. Since one o’clock a.m. been drinking Patron’. Oh. Sigh. And for the filmmakers among us she riffs on the ‘it’s a wrap’ theme and tells him, ‘boy, I ain’t checking the gate’. I mean.

The second verse deserves to be fully recognized:

If I ever misrepresented

My self-image

Then I’m sorry

I was oh so acquiescent

But I learn my lesson

Boy, you’re sorry

Buh buh buh

All out in the open

Don’t make me go call Maury Povich

I had to look up what acquiescent meant. And I’m a PhD. And a Maury Povich ref? I love you Mimi, so frikkin much.

Heck, while we’re here let’s look at the last verse:

Put all your shit in the elevator

It’s going down like a denominator

Trying to keep holding on, holding on

Boy, let me go

You gon’ wake my neighbors, get away from my door

That was your last shot, you ain’t coming back

It’s the martini I mean it baby

It’s wrap

Fyi, the martini refers to the ‘martini shot’, which is the final shot of the day on a film set. Let’s look at what else is going on there. ‘It’s going down like a denominator’. Wonderful. Tell me another who would put that word in a song lyric. ‘You’re gon’ wake my neighbours get away from my door’. We’re there, we’re in the scene. That bitch is gone from Mimi’s life. She means it, boy. Get away from her door or you’ll have us to deal with. You would prefer that to Mimi when she’s mad at you, believe us… Especially as she’s been on the tequila all night. That’s why there ain’t no donuts. No donuts for you, baby, ever, ever again.

Product placement

Mimi isn’t afraid to make cultural references in her songs and she does like to call on some brand names to help her out. These are some of my top choices.

Just like a Calgon commercial I really gotta get up outta here and go somewhere – Shake It Off

Seeing right through you like you’re bathing in Windex – Obsessed

He’s all up in my George Foreman – Obsessed

Boy you’re acting so corny like Fritos – Infinity

Pull down them Tom Fords and act like you see’

And then there’s the talk show refs. We’ve already had Maury Povich in It’s A Wrap but there’s also Betcha Gon’ Know

‘This is for real, for real, for real

Oprah Winfrey, whole segment, for real, for real

20/20, Barbara Walters, for real, for real

60 minutes for real

And for Touch My Body

Cuz baby they be all up in my business, like a Wendy interview

Mimi’s also on it with social media refs, in Touch My Body she warns

If there’s a camera up in here

Then I’d best not catch this flick

On YouTube

And in Thirsty she says

So you stunting on your Instagram

But that shit ain’t everything

raw.gif

Cheating and breaking up

So we’ve had It’s A Wrap, which is a break up song and as he’s not been taking her calls we may assume it’s cuz he was with someone else. Well, there’s a fair old few catching him cheating songs in Mimi’s catalogue. And she captures it like no one else. Well, until Bey’s 90 Lemonade writers came along and made it a manifesto of catching someone cheating, that is.

Mentioned above is Betcha Gon’ Know and this song is about cheating, it’s about catching them in the act and they still fucking deny they’re doing anything. I mean. We’ve been there, Mimi darling, and we’re in that moment with you in Betcha Gon’ Know. It’s a two parter. The first (The Prologue) she catches them and runs off and he doesn’t know she knows. The second she catches him and confronts him. In the second part, we have ‘his’ side when she has (shudder) R Kelly as the ‘she drugged me and took advantage honey honest’ male protagonist caught literally with his pants down and a naked chick in her robe in her bedroom. These tracks are from Me I Am Mariah The Elusive Chanteuse which was her post being cheated on by husband Nick Cannon album so there’s a lot of heavy shit here. Is this what happened? We presume so. Oh hang on, she opens with ‘welcome to a day of my life. The memoirs of an imperfect angel’. So yeah, it is then.

In the prologue she sees them at it and drives away trying to get her head around what she’s found.

So I pulled to the side of the road to fix my face

But I can’t cover with makeup what my tears want to make

Then we have one of the great, extraordinary pieces of lyricism in this song (which is laden with greatness), when she’s come back into the apartment not knowing whether to acknowledge that she knows what happened.

I creep into the driveway

Tip toe through the door

But you’re there wide awake

You’re like ‘where you been?’

I’m like ‘sorry but I fell asleep on Jasmine’s sofa

I could have swore to Ray-Ray

I called you and told ya’

You like, ‘you ok?’

I’m like, ‘Mm, alright. Go to sleep and I’ll be fine’

And it’s that ‘Mm, alright’ that is a perfect simulation of a verbal moment in speech and SHE HAS IT IN THE LYRICS.

Ok, so next we have another example of the extraordinary breaking up song, from the same album: The Art Of Letting Go. It’s beautiful, it’s epic yet understated at the same time. It deserves a full sharing of the lyrics of the song because they are amazing. And it ends with the best Mariah Carey lyric ever. Behold:

I’m making a statement of my own opinion

Just a brief little reminder to help myself remember

I no longer live in your dominion (no, no, no, no, no, no ooh)

You’re just trifling, nothing more than a liability

Got up and laid all your possessions

Outside the kitchen window right now

 

Letting go, letting go ain’t easy

Oh, it’s just exceedingly hurtful

Cuz somebody you used to know

Is flinging your world around

And they watch, as you’re falling down, down, down

Falling down, baby

 

Evidently your words were merely lies

Reverberating in my ears

And the echo won’t subside

There’s a deep deep loss of hope

And the anger burns in me

I hope you don’t get no ideas ’bout re-uniting baby

Cuz that’s the last thing I truly need

Your audacity is too much to be believed, so

Go to Mimi on your contacts, press delete

 

See also: Infinity (the whole thing) and ‘We went round for round til we knocked love out’ – H.A.T.E.U.

Also, X-Girlfriend – If Mimi can write a poisonous song to a lover or ex lover she also knows how to tell off the ex-girlfriend of a new lover. You know, the kind who have not learned the art of letting go.

Seduction and getting it on

As she’s one of the hottest women on the planet and she knows it, Mimi can spin a lyric like nobody’s business about fancying someone, knowing they fancy her and that they’re gonna do it.

My personal favourite is from one of my favourite Mariah tunes, Say Something (with Snoop Dog)

She says:

I am over here, looking at you

You are over there, watching me too

Both painting pictures of

Of how we’ll kiss and fuck

So what we gonna do?

I mean. Amirite? Yeah? Yeah.

Tell me why we’re standing here

The moment’s fresh and so sincere

You got my mind blown

And baby I’m ready to go

So they’ve pulled Mimi. But wait… not so easy, partner

But, uh, if it’s worth your while

Then say somethin’ say somethin’

If it’s worth your while then say something good to me

And isn’t that all we really want when we pull? Sure I want you and I can see you want me. But it won’t hurt to use the words. The words. Goddamn how many times I’ve just wanted some words. Words are miraculous. Words are wonderful. Yeah actions, body language, looks are great. But words are sometimes the best thing. Tell me how you feel. Tell me what you want. Say something good to me. Cuz if you do, you might just get to shag Mariah in the loo as happens in this song. Just sayin’ (something good to me).

Another great example is her duet with Miguel, #Beautiful, and her part is great but his first verse and chorus is so hot and sexy and respectful. Again with the words. Oysh.

Hop on the back of my bike

Let the good wind blow through your hair

With a ass like that

And a smile so bright

Oh you’re killing me you know it ain’t fair

Ride on through the middle of the night

Let the moonlight kiss your skin

When you dance like that

With your cheeks so tight

Oh you’re killing me

Baby do it again

You’re beautiful

And your mind is fucking beautiful

And I can’t pretend that that doesn’t mean a thing

To me to me

You’re beautiful

Good lord you’re fucking beautiful

And I can’t pretend that that doesn’t mean a thing

To me to me

He loves her body and her mind and that’s just the most fucking beautiful thing

 

See also: Get Your Number (see example above for how to pull Mariah when she’s bragging about all the stuff she’s got); and I’m That Chick

Da Brat

Finally, my actual favourite lyric in a Mariah Carey song is not a Mariah Carey lyric but comes from a rap by her sometime gf (yes, really. It was in The National Enquirer and everything), Da Brat, in the remix of Loverboy.

brat_mariah-carey

I first heard Loverboy when my ex-bf (who is responsible for getting me into Mimi’s music. I was already a fan of her ass, see here for details) bought the enhanced CD. Remember, those kids? It had the video on it! Why you would ever play the audio single when you had that to look at, I have no idea. Unfortunately, there doesn’t appear to be a decent version of that video on Youtube, just blurry ones. Someone get an enhanced CD from ebay and rip it and upload it, will ya? Thanks. Anyway, I was smitten. And Loverboy became my favourite Mimi song, by miles. It is an absolute coinkidink that I ended up working for a glorious, queer magazine called Loverboy, named after that same song. Well, perhaps it was fated, if you believe in that sort of thing. So, there’s Mimi with a kerchief for a top and short short shorts and there’s racing cars and blah blah blah. It’s magnificent. But it’s not just the visuals actually, I promise. The song is AMAYYYYYYYZING!!! And, of course lyrically it’s stunning.

I got myself a lover, who knows what I like

When he invites me over I come every time

So so so so so hot. When you get one of them, keep ‘em.

And when my sugar daddy takes me for a ride

Everywhere we go is delirium time

Delirium time!!!!!! I love delirium time! It’s my favourite time!

And also

I’ve got myself a lover, and he’s so sublime

It’s quite a bit of heaven to feel him inside

This song is filthy and it’s wonderful.

So, anyway, there’s an inevitable remix and on it Da Brat raps the best thing ever.

Banana split my dairy queen

Butterfinger my tangerine

And there we have it: a food metaphor lyric which pretty much sums up bisexual sex. How perfect is it? Very, very perfect, darlings.

banana-split

And I am going to have a tramp stamp tattoo (reclaiming the slut shaming of the concept of tramp stamp) of that lyric with a Dairy Queen logo, a stylized banana split, the Butterfinger logo and a cute anthropomorphic tangerine fluttering her eyelashes. And the kickstarter to fund that will be up shortly. Tattoo artists, please get in touch. Especially if you want to do it for free and I don’t have to try to do a failed kickstarter for it. Go on, you know you want to have that as the prime example of your work. And to mark me.

The end.

mariah-carey-jeans

 

 

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In Praise of Big Thighs


By Corinna There’sthunderinthesethighs Tomrley 

I’ll come clean. I am a big fan of T&A. Thighs & Ass, that is. Now before I get accused of objectifying women and breaking them down to mere body parts let me tell you, I myself have rather magnificent T&A and there’s a correlation between that fact and my attraction to big ole chunky thighs and a massive butt.

mm

So, what I’m basically saying is this objectifying is all about self-love. And yeah, that’s tinged with a lil narcissism, I’ll own it. However, as much as there is such a thing as fandom of large T&A, we are, of course, often told that we should desire smaller bodies on the whole. So I do think of this preference as political, too.

Besides, who said anything about just women? People of all genders can have head-turning, heart-stopping T&A. Just look at Prince Fielder.

prince

We’re in an age of pro-booty. Beyoncé, Nicki, Kim etc. And I will not get into any kind of body bashing or discussions of ‘thigh-gaps’ or one body type being preferable to another. There are no ‘good’ or ‘bad’ bodies. All types are valid, all types are appreciated by different people. And I’m not just a fan of the fat body. I’m a fan of many types of bodies. I just happen to have a penchant (read, weakness) for substantially sized T&A.

serena

Our American cousins describe bigger bodies as ‘thick’. For us over in the UK, the descriptor doesn’t quite work because we use ‘thick’ to mean stupid. But if we forget that for a second (just as we should forget what ‘fanny’ means to us because it is such a great word for ass), I actually really like ‘thick’ as a descriptor.

xtina

I used to be all about fat. I will still use fat to describe myself over any other word. And people will go, ‘oh, no, don’t, you’re not’ because they don’t know that I use fat both as a neutral descriptor of my body size and shape and as a positive reclaimed word. And sometimes when I explain that they still don’t understand, so ingrained is the negativity of fat in our heads. I’m not wanting or expecting to be placated into being told I’m not actually fat, I’m just curvy, it’s just my big tits… no. I am fat, people, and I’m super ok with that. Anyone who isn’t, that’s your problem, it really is not mine and I do not care what you think.

So, fat is a great word and I used to eschew the euphemistic words like curvy, plump, plus size, bigger etc etc. There are far too many and they’ll use up my word count. But now, as long as they’re being used as an expression of our rich language instead of avoiding ‘fat’, I think they’re super ok to use.

crystal-renn

So back to thighs. I like ‘em thick. And there’s rarely a case where someone with big thighs doesn’t also have a substantial tukus. It’s a great combo and just makes me lusty. Powerful, empowered and lusty.

I am very, very proud of my own T&A. I think they’re my best assets. All my strength is in my lower body (my arms may as well be noodles) and I could do proper harm with my lower portions were I a Bond villainess or something. As I’ve gotten older they’ve got better, I swear. I have even developed cellulite, finally. I don’t know why I didn’t have it before but it just goes to show it has nothing to do with being fat.

jennifer maitland

I’ve celebrated my big body since I was very young. Even though I was made fun of for it and grew up in a fatphobic environment, I simultaneously hated and appreciated my body.  When some assholes shouted at us ‘who’s got the fattest legs?’ me and a fellow fatty friend compared to see. For us it was just a practical thing, we somehow just didn’t take it as an insult. Other times I despised my legs and widening body. Actually, it took a while for me to embrace my arms and legs as great parts of my body; they were the last hurdle. Now I love my arms and think my legs are fucking incredible and rarely ever cover them up anymore. It takes a lot of time and work to undo all of that internalized bullshit about body size. And, sadly, it never seems to ever fully go away. But I’m stronger than all that and know in the end that all my stuff is good.

Ashley-Graham

I remember on my 16th birthday going to see Taj Mahal, live. He, alas, didn’t do his song ‘Corinna’, but he did play a tune called Big Legged Mamas Are Back In Style Again. And I felt like he was singing that song just for me.

Big legged mamas come and go out of style but for me they are perennial.

carter

My first lady crushes were Julie Newmar (Catwoman), Lynda Carter (Wonder Woman) and Catherine Bach (Daisy Duke); amazonian goddesses all. This stuff was formative. They are the earliest attractions I can remember; I simultaneously wanted to be and to ‘marry’ these women.

bach.jpg

I would obsess over them for hours after the programmes ended, sitting on my own and just thinking about them. They are part of my queer root and it was a combination of their attitudes, their cool and their bodies that I was fixated on.

newmar

I knew who she was but I first noticed Mariah Carey when I saw her video for ‘Without You’. It’s a ‘live’ video and she’s wearing a slightly weird all black ensemble. For years in my head it was a long dress or skirt she had on but I see now it’s actually trousers.

withoutyou

That makes sense really because the most enduring image seared into my brain and eyeballs is a shot of her from behind. I instantly fell for her tukus. (Although it’s not nearly as big as I remember… funny thing, time and perspective, isn’t it?)

lopez

The same with Jennifer Lopez. My first encounter with JLo was a gorgeous photograph of her in Vanity Fair, again from behind. I have a very instinctual gravitation to a woman’s tush. It just works for me, what can I say?

leotard

So I’ve been a Mariah’s bum fan for a long time. Then a couple of years ago when she was doing her Vegas residency someone posted some photos of her from the show. Now, Mariah yo-yos with her weight but in recent years she’s often been on the bigger side of things.

jetski

For the Vegas shows she was larger and, oh my word but I was altered by these images. Her thighs were huge. A few of her costumes were weird but I didn’t care. I was obsessed with her great thighs in these pictures.

vegas thighs.jpg

Then recently I saw more pictures of her thighs and felt compelled to try and put into words what they do to me. I have attempted 1000 words on the topic. I feel I can say no more.

mariah glasgow

I can only show-and-tell these big-thighed cuties and let us all appreciate the wonder of a marvelous, substantial set of T&A.

Fielder

In praise of Thick Thighs because, after all, they make our dicks rise.

Ethel Loves… The Back Building



 This is an interesting time for music, pop, gay and queer* culture. Interesting times don’t always mean ‘good’ – while there are some exciting acts out there, there’s also a safe stagnation to some aspects of pop culture. But this is mainly in the mainstream. Interesting can simultaneously mean very good. We all know that ‘online’ has long been the thing. And DIY – with its roots in alternative cultures – is an active and powerful way to get stuff out there that is ignored or marginalised elsewhere. A lot of this work has a very queer bent (pardon le pun). It is prolific, it is diverse, it is thriving and it is quite often very exciting. While the gay and pop press that relies on revenue and circulation figures is suffering (think the recent demise of the LGBT section in the print version of Time Out London), online and offline, self-published and self-started is a positive and increasingly successful way to go. The creativity out there is astounding and promising. But that should be no surprise – we have quite the history of being super resourceful and making our own kind of music when pushed to the corners. One very lovely example of this has come to our glittering eagle-eyed attention: The Back Building. A blog collecting the work and points of interest of one Michael Turnbull, The Back Building is a giddy compilation of gay pop culture from a very determined and enthusiastic source. We mightily encourage you to take a wander round The Back Building and soak up the atmosphere; take a pew here and eaves drop on our chat-ette to find out all about TBB’s author and curator.

 

What is The Back Building?

Well, I’ve written for several publications over the years and I really wanted somewhere to act as an online portfolio. But I also got frustrated as there were so many people I wanted to interview but every time I pitched them I got knocked back. So I thought, ‘Fuck it, I actually want these interviews for myself.’ These are what I love most on The Back Building.

I’d like to think my blog is not determined by sexuality, but I think I’d be kidding myself. Looking at my stats and the popularity of photos of near naked men, my demographics are nearly all men in their mid to late 20s and in their 30s. There are also a few in their 60s which I get a kick out of.

The Back Building has actually inspired another project which is well under way, but it’s top secret for now….

 Tease. You describe TBB as ‘Music, Men, and more’, and your posts are mainly pop and beefcake related – how do these food groups intersect for you? What criteria do you have for your ‘mores’?

Well, I’m not going to lie, I was just going for alliteration there… haha…. it sounded good and I couldn’t think of any other Ms, hence ‘More’.

I do interview a lot of porn stars and the men are ‘beefcakes’, but the thing is I don’t see those kind of men as real. I love them. These kind of gods that get worshipped, stalked, obsessed over for their bodies and the way they use them. But they’re like cartoon characters to me. So visual. We rarely get their personality. In interviewing them I am giving them some depth I guess, but normally they are just 2D characters. So for me, pop music and porn stars kind of work on some kind of parallel. If we’re talking food groups then both are candy.

beef

What is queer pop culture to you?

Queer to me has always involved some kind of political stance. But then the idea of ‘pop’ culture cancels that out. Ha. I studied Film at Uni and I always loved Postmodernism the most. The idea of throwing everything in the mix, ripping up the rulebook (terrible cliche, sorry), it’s that clash that always excites me and something I see in being Queer. It’s an idealism, not something based around sexuality. Unlike Gay pop culture.

Being shallow for a second, I also think Queer Pop Culture is like a narrowed down hipster version of Gay Pop Culture. It’s less Kylie and more Hedwig…

You’ve interviewed tons of important queers – Who have been your faves?

Hmm….I have a few. There’s Andy Butler from Hercules & Love Affair, we bonded over musicals and he suggested a movie date. Two years later I’m still waiting for him to call back and arrange. RuPaul was pretty special. She offered me advice about how to deal with reading at my Grandma’s funeral the next day. Sia is another big one for me. I’ve loved her since her first album. So when we hung out and got to chat that was very special. Then discovering she was bi, part of the LGBT club, was even better. I’m not really a Pet Shop Boys fan, sorry, but Neil and Chris were so great. I kind of forgot to interview them and we just talked pop music. Oh and Peter Tatchell too because going to his flat, meeting him face to face was a real experience. He is a personal hero for sure.

Who would be your DREAM interview?

Well that would be a no holds barred interview with Mariah. I spoke to her once when I worked at her record label. I asked her about her new album. It was very businessy. I would want to ask about Tommy, her early demos that sound like Madonna, that JLO story…so much juicy stuff in there.

The *actual* phone that Michael used to call Mimi
The *actual* phone that Michael used to call Mimi

You’ve mentioned in your work that there’s a certain dislike-of/fear-of-camp in some areas of queer/gay culture – where do you think this comes from? And what are your thoughts on camp? 

Great question. I came out very late – aged 25. One reason was I was scared of getting HIV, the other was that I was scared of becoming super camp like the TV hosts and soap characters I was being presented with. Obviously I became better educated on the former as soon as I came out. But the latter has taken a little longer to be at peace with.

Only in the last year – I am 33 now – am I truly comfortable with being camp and who I am. Sometimes it comes out, sometimes it doesn’t. It depends on the situation. I know it is part of me and I embrace that, but like most characteristics they come out depending who I am talking to. I now find camp guys attractive as it shows to me that they have the strength to be who they are.

There is definite ‘campophobia’ in our community and the idea of ‘straight acting’ disgusts me.  I think what we need to realise is that being gay does not define a person. There are many different types of gay and that is fine. You wouldn’t say straight people are all butch, so it seems crazy that we are so wrapped up in being camp or not. Sure some gays are, but some are not. Let’s just concentrate on who we are and be happy with that.

Who are your fave divas?

Well obviously Mariah is there. She will always be #1. Beyonce for her music and performance. Grace Jones I love. Tina Turner I will always love. It’s interesting though because most divas I love have an element of strength, attitude, boldness. Whereas Mariah has always been soft, cutesy and girly. I think it was always about the voice with her. But even when she performs she looks in pain as opposed to these other women who command the stage.

tina

What most interests you from the past and how old school do your queer tastes go?

Hmmm…not massively if I’m honest. I think the 80s is my favourite decade. I love all the Warhol/Haring/early Madonna/Interview magazine era. I guess 80s New York is what I’m talking about. It’s always interested me. Warhol’s The Factory, just a collective of his favourite people.
Kind of like a real life The Back Building….

andy haring

What would your fantasy gig be?

Well my Mum always tells me about the time we lived in Australia and she and Dad went to see Tina in a little hotel showcase. That would be amazing.

Also back in 96, Mariah came over to support the Daydream album. She doesn’t tour much and I was gagging to see her, but it was a Sunday night and I had to go back to boarding school, Mum wouldn’t let me have the night off. I have never forgiven her. But to see Mariah in an intimate venue at the top of her game mid 90s would be incredible.

M vs W

Mariah or Whitney?

Oh gosh…I have and always will be camp Mariah. But I have come to appreciate Whitney as I get older. All The Man That I Need is one of my favourite songs of all time. But Whitney never had the material. She just had this incredible voice. When she sang it was like she couldn’t hold it in.

When they sang together it upset me as Whitney showed strength and although Mariah opted to show range, Whitney clearly won. She sounds great on that record. And I will always have love for The Bodyguard. Every song she sang on it was incredible.
R vs S

Miss Ross or Miss Summer?

I used to work at Donna’s label and one of the best things was hearing old stories about her. About how warm a person she was, how she gave someone a small writing credit on a song of hers, how she’d invited him to stay with her in Nashville. I do love her, but my love for Diana runs deeper. I mean The Boss album is flawless. Ashford and Simpson are genius. Although obviously so is Moroder. Oh God, do I have to pick?

No, we’ll allow equal love of both. What would be your ideal date?

It would involve food. Ha. There are a few places I love. Randall & Aubin on Brewer St. La Fromagerie just off Marylebone High Street. The Wolseley. But yes, food is always a winner.

You’re DJing at Debbie on the 8th Feb. We had a blast when we did a set there. How are you selecting your tunes?

I am very excited. I DJ a lot at more pop/dance clubs like Push The Button or Songs of Praise. So I am really excited about throwing some unexpected stuff into the mix. Stuff I think Debbie can handle. There is an old Agnetha song I cannot wait to play. I may have to pull some Stevie out for Sina. I also want to drop a Liza song which is important to me. But we’ll see what works on the night.

debbie 

We think this is quite an exciting time for women in pop – there are lots of distinct, colourful, strong, creative characters such as Gaga, Katy Perry, Rihanna, Jessie J, Beyonce, Nicki Minaj – what do you make of this era of pop? And where are the colourful boys?

I’ve been thinking about this and I guess we do have boys in pop, we have One Direction, Olly Murs, Rizzle Kicks, The Wanted. It’s just I’m not interested in them. If you are colourful then it is seen to emasculate you. And although One Direction fans love thinking the boys are gay I think that is an anomaly. I loved it when Kele Okereke came out because he was tough, his album was called The Boxer. It’s just a shame it didn’t do better. I also loved the brazenness of Nightwork by Scissor Sisters. The shocking album cover. But again the label had higher expectations and it was seen as a flop. Labels are seeing less and less return so I think they just want artists to play it safe and get that £££. We need more queer independent artists bringing their work to the mainstream. 

ru

If RuPaul put you in charge of collating a bunch of drag artists for a UK edition of Drag Race, who would you approach for the auditions?

Well I always love the fishy queens, but I’m not really sure we have many over here. Well at least I don’t know many. I think London has a great alternative drag scene with Johnny Woo, Ma Butcher and that crew. I love them. Gateau Chocolat….

But a lot of our drag queens are promoters or DJs. Jodie Harsh, Dusty O, Lady Lloyd, Munroe Bergdorf. I mean I love them, but I don’t think they would be up for doing Drag Race. It’s different.

What are your fave things about London?

It’s interesting. When I had the corporate job at the label, I had grown so tired of London. But having been away for three months, returned, changed career. I see a different side to it. I love our night life still. It would be nicer if it was closer together but there we go.

I love the mish mash of architecture we have. I think the fact that one minute you can see the stunning Natural History Museum and then see the gherkin is great. 

It think the best thing about London is the life it has afforded me. The gay lifestyle is incredible and when I talk to people on my shifts at Comptons who are from out of town, I realise how lucky I am.

Who would be in your dream Girl Supergroup?

One thing I know about girl groups is they don’t last for long. I am happy with my solo singers. I’d rather they focus on the music than the drama.

What secrets are in your hair?

When I worked at Universal, I was privvy to heaps of gossip on the biggest stars. So there are a fair few in there but they need to stay there till I write my autobiography and get that pension.

michael

*The Ethel Mermaids see queer as being many things. As well as its historical and political connotations, we see queer as being all encompassing of the LGBTI food groups. This is why it’s our label of choice. I would say that ‘gay’ can sometimes describe something a bit more mainstream, perhaps, or perhaps not… let’s say gay doesn’t always explain what we’re describing as well as queer does, in some specific contexts. That said, I do understand Michael’s distinctions between the two as defined and discussed by him in this piece. I just wanted to clarify this point as I use ‘queer’ and ‘gay’ throughout – interchangeably for us in this context. Here, I wanted to explain that our own view of queer is wider than that expressed by Michael in this interview. What we love about these conversations on Mermania is that there is a whole variety of opinions and definitions of our fabulous world and culture. It’s not always Ethel’s world view, but part of our project is to present and discuss the many and varied world views of our participants and Mermates. CM

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