Ferly the When I was 13-years old

Ferly the When I was 13-years old

When I was 13-years old, it was 1980 and I was a typical newly made teenager. I only wanted to eat fast food, I knew it all, I was more than willing to get into trouble for doing things I wasn’t supposed to, and I loved music. I had grown up listening to whatever my mother was into, as well as an older brother who loved music. Their tastes varied from each other’s so I got a good enough mix of stuff to really get a feel for what I liked and what I didn’t.

I didn’t dislike Disco though, and I did genuinely like Motown and Pop music. Basically whatever was the Billboard top 40 list. You know, the one Kasey Kasem would count down? Disco was dying and a different kind of rock music was taking over from what I would still call “rock-n-roll”. I didn’t have a real taste for heavy metal or even the “new rock” music, but I would happily listen to whatever was being played. Especially if I’d never heard it before. Given the choice, as in when I got my very own first real record player (with detached speakers!) and I had complete control over what I listened to, I listened to anything that made me feel good or want to sing along. My mother and brother gave me a few of their old albums and I got one new one. I loved The Beatles, Wings, The OJs, Pink Floyd and Queen. Of course, those were the only 5 albums I owned for a long time, but I loved them just the same.

Whenever I got some money I found that albums were basically out of my price range, but 45s were very affordable. I used to buy whatever I found enjoyable. I honestly had no idea that I could be judged or categorized as a person by my taste in music. I only knew what sounded good to me, what moved me.

It’s so funny when I think about it, I had no idea that a person’s taste in music was often the basis of what friendships were founded on, what group you hung out with and how you identified yourself to the world. In 1980 disco was dying but not dead. Van Halen was California’s sweetheart and electronic music wasn’t born yet, but it was about to take over more than it’s fair share of the music scene.

I tended to identify the most with the “stoners” and the “bad kids” who were all listening to heavy metal and rock music while mocking anyone who didn’t. The thing is, I didn’t care for heavy metal. I didn’t understand what it meant to them. It was unpleasant, loud and obnoxious and it definitely did not make me want to dance or sing along. I secretly listen to my top 40, oldies and Motown favorites while publicly professing my love of Iron maiden, Judas Priest, and Ozzy. None of which I actually liked. My friends listen to them and similar stuff almost exclusively. Except Kool & the Gang, it was ok to like them for some strange reason.

As the years passed, I found friends I liked who either liked the same music I did or at least didn’t make fun of me for it. I refused to be persecuted for my taste in music and listened to anything I liked as loud as I liked whenever I liked and if anyone made fun of me or insulted me I could generally get them to admit to liking something that other’s would make fun of them for… if they wouldn’t, I’d punch them the face.

Theme: When I Was 13-Years-Old

Theme: When I Was 13-Years-Old

Awkward story time. Entering adolescence, the age of 13 is a great source of awkward stories for us all; the start of the “teen” years. And just looking back at the stuff I did when I was 13 years old brings back a vast selection of embarrassing stories.  However, I am not about to tell a single one of them. When I was 13 years old the year was 2001. So, when I was 13 years old:

  • Wikipedia went online for the first time.
  • Walker: Texas Ranger ended.
  • Napster was closed down as a result of a long legal kerfuffle with the RIAA.
  • Windows XP was released.
  • Gorillaz released their debut album.
  • The Enron scandal.
  • Apple released the first iPod.
  • George W. Bush Jr. was sworn into office succeeding Bill Clinton.
  • Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Rings hit movie theatres.
  • The Netherlands legalised same-sex marriage as the first country in the world.
  • Mars Odyssey was launched.
  • The Summer of the Shark.
  • Anne Hathaway debuted in The Princess Diaries.
  • The GameBoy Advanced was released.
  • Monica and Chandler got married.
  • Bejeweled was released for the first time for browsers.
  • Microsoft introduced the Xbox.
  • Andrea Yates drowned her five children to save them from damnation.
  • The Russian space station MIR was deorbited.
  • On September 11th, 2001, I saw the twin towers crumble on live TV.

When I was 13-years-old I saw the world change within an hour. Fire, smoke and dust. People leaping from the windows to certain death. Absolutely terrible. And of all the stupid crap I could possibly tell from my own backlog of stories – from when I was 13 years old, none of those stories matters. None of them will ever be anywhere near as important, heart-breaking, horrendous and despicable as what happened that day in 2001.

GP by GP – When I Was 13-Years-Old

GP by GP – When I Was 13-Years-Old

The problem with this month’s subject is that I wasn’t born yet at that point.

Some people would say that is ludicrous and I would often reply, so is your face. This subject was consciously chosen to have at least one point in our line of stories where we share our failures of an awkward teenager and since I have no special  memory of 1995 nor the events in it, I would not be able to account for my actions or say with any certainty that it was exactly at that age I did this or that. All things considered, I might as well not have been born at that point.

There are many events in my life that either has a good or crippling effect on my conscious and from that; modesty and preservation were born. You shall learn from your errors and become a better person. Since that is in some sense true I am the wisest me that has ever been.

No one knows me better and can answer more for my actions than I. I have seen a few trying to act me or create a mocking resemblance (in my eyes), but no one has ever understood the deep line for my motivation. Very few know it at all…

Let us turn this outwards and talk pragmatics. You as a person, a being and a fucking un-moron, have to really take your time to understand what it is you are trying set in motion. If you read this to get an idea of understanding yourself, you have come to a place. If you read this for the shear shits and giggles, I will include a few jokes or profane words to keep your ongoing quest towards social justice interesting… dicksoup.

What is it that our omnipotent youth is seeking in life? That phase of life is acknowledgement and the building of a foundation which the entire life is crafted upon. That is too much for a kid that wants to watch cartoons and sleep. There is an obvious reason why we at that age start to watch more and more television. We are searching for an image. What sets trends? What does everyone like and maybe some would think further and philosophy on why that particular show or series or movie etc. has an appeal on their social group or their social goal.

Outside the long and boring discussion of why teenagers watch television there are more signs of identification and character building. Schools have become fashion shows, not to show people who can buy the shiniest pieces of shit, but a more a long exhibition of a family’s economic foundation.

Many ambitious families have their nose on the button (just for a fun mental image), they make sure that their kids are working hard and long for a good education, but at that age it is more a “battlefield” to test off communication skills and social perception. Parents often find their kids either answering in short sentences or not communicating with them at all.

It is because they can’t. It is their fight and their responsibility to get these issues set right if any. They are growing up and learning how to communicate, so don’t expect them to translate and evaluate bad scenarios from school on your level. Not many adult people are that good at communicating so why should a kid be that has never been taught the concept of insight? You will probably argue that we all know about the concept of insight and seeing things from other peoples perspective… have you seen how fast everything is going these days? They don’t care about anything that can’t be inside a tweet, which has been sending under 16,2 minutes ago. Everything beyond that is yesterday old-timer.

Kids at that age are slowly turning into young adults. They seek independence and root in their life. They are growing away from their family ties and learning to handle their own issues, which they should do! Screwing up is a part of life, even if you aren’t born at age 13 yet. School is a safe place to screw up. It will scar them mentally, but there is very seldom a financial risk or any devastating end results that could cost health or even lives.

They have to understand that millions of people have done the same stupid things before and millions will do the same afterwards. Learning from books is limited by perspective. They cannot set their own body and biological functions in motion on the same level by reading about someone being rejected by a crush or hit in the groin by a baseball. We can interpret pain as something bad, but if we have never tried it, we have no idea how the body will react or how the brains interpret the signals being throwing in all directions.

What else… oh there is the growing issue of playing computer games rather than physical contact with the world, because it is more safe for people to sit at their home being threatened with death and fire for head-shooting the same punk-assed kid five times than being in the room with the mentally unstable bastard.

There are many aspects to this and here are a few simple ones for the dear parents and parents wannabe’s. Games, in general, are easy accomplishments. You have an objective and you overcome it quickly and often in a fashion that is both very satisfying and the road to several death penalties if performed in real life.

It is frowned upon that many games are violent and a disgrace to the entertainment media, which has books, music and movies that are equally as stained as this new and money earning media. Let’s leave that beehive for the social justice groups and money grabbers everywhere. I am here to talk about awkward damn it!

Tangential as usual… Games are worlds that will let you live out fantasies, entertain you and your friends which is building social skills rather than limiting kids you know! Games will often have puzzles that will evolve their sense of abstract thinking and there are even games that will improve your motor skills. Having these fronts to hide behind the young boys often play shooter games to get out their daily frustrations or the easy fix of adrenaline, since it is limited of the body how many times you can masturbate each day before your dick falls off: op

Games are seen as an escape from the real world and they are! What are they running from? Where are they running too? What are they expecting to learn on that journey that they can’t do outside their door? Is it an unconscious call for training their primal skills, their reaction? Is it a search for wonderment or mental challenges to keep our extremely busy minds working all the time?

The child mind is working overtime from the day it is born… at some random age. We will always try to improve ourselves to become an inch better than the next person and seek new edges to challenge ourselves and others to prove we are better.

Boiling it down, it is nothing but a test of skills all the way. Physical, mental, social, primal, extraterrestrial, abstract etc. which define us. There are so many things to do, try, fail in, win, adjust, conquer and twist. We can’t as people never assume we get to do even a quarter of it and that is why measuring kids upon other kids at that age is as ludicrous as your face! There is one easy way to know if a kid has grown up right…

Are your kid turning out smarter than you were in her or his age? If your kids isn’t smarter than you are in this evolving world, you have done something fucking wrong! Do you have a long and hard education that made you the great person you are and your kid is living off your wealth with no ambition of their own? You screwed up you dumbass! That kid will never become a cog in the evolving race and is now a bother and a drain on a already extremely fragile world. Even if you are ridiculously wealthy wouldn’t you rather be young and ambitious yourself than throwing your hopes in your kids direction?

Well, I am just a sourpuss now, back to the matter at hand. If your kid grows up smarter than you, you win at life… here is your prize… no, you cannot eat it. Next…

The last thing I will include I this subject is biological changes. There is tons of books written about puberty and the sexuality drive of teenagers. The few things parents need to know is, they are horny and desperate. The physical standards of today’s expectations are skewed and warped, so there will be many kids who will end up watching porn on the internet and they will do the unspeakable thing. So know this dear parents, they are feeling emotional so they need privacy to let their genitals cry, they need it… a lot! We are a animal at heart and our main function is assuring the race to live on, even if we don’t see it that much in our daily life. Everything we work towards is preservation and duplication.

So the moral here is, stop thinking teenagers as something scary and sticky… well… not scary anyway.

OH NO I forgot to add jokes in the text… maybe your expectation for blatant stops in the text, for me to shove in bad jokes, were the joke all along?

When I was 13 years old…

When I was 13 years old…

At 13, I was a pretty ordinary child. I was a bookworm and loved reading. I went to school during the day and did my homework when I got home. I was in my first year of secondary school and I still hated the Norwegian educational system.

Having been brought up abroad means your parents can choose the schools at which you start your academic career. For me, it was a private girls’ school in Sanderstead, Surrey, and a private mixed school in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. We wore uniforms and there was discipline and respect for one’s elders.

Moving to Norway was a huge culture shock (and I was rather pleased to learn – at a much later time – that this is normal. The shock of moving to Norwegian schools from a more civilized education system in the Western hemisphere is just as bad as moving from a third-world country – where one also has respect for one’s elders) from which I never really recovered. I was certainly the freak in my class and was never allowed to forget it. Not only had I lived ABROAD but my parents were DIVORCED – TWICE, even – and I enjoyed READING BOOKS!!! No wonder no-one really liked me. You don’t get Brownie points for enjoying the company of Charles Dickens, the Brontë sisters, Shakespeare and other classics if you live in Norway.

Pripyat1My interest in current affairs was also considered weird. The fact that I was interested in current affairs made me weird. Having survived racial rioting in Miami in the late 70s, civil war in Guatemala, the Brixton riots, the beginning of Thatcherism and the death of my beloved guinea pig Ginger I was rather more interested in what happened outside my window than my fellow pupils. In Norway, there is a saying – as if it was the most important thing to happen in the 20th century – where were you when Oddvar Brå broke his ski pole? To be perfectly honest I have no idea where I was, or which decade he broke his ski pole; I do, however, vividly remember where I was when the Falklands war ended, when president Reagan was shot, when Lennon was shot. I would say those happenings were more important for the world but not sure my fellow Norwegians agree.

In 1986 I was a member of Amnesty (as one was) and read their newsletters and pamphlets. I read Aftenposten and watched NRK news every evening (at the time we only had one Norwegian TV channel). I much preferred staying in London and watching the BBC news as it was always much more exciting and interesting – I had already guessed that NRK probably had its own political agenda. In my spare time I played the piano, played tennis, went horse-back riding and collected stamps. Oh yes, I was a geek. I didn’t have the glasses but the rest was all there.

In April 1986, the premiere of Top Gun was still a few months off. Spring was slowly replacing a bitterly cold winter (of that I am certain – winters were always bitterly cold when I was younger). I don’t think I was consciously aware of the political meaning of May 1st although I had a vague idea.

On the night of April 25th, I probably went to bed as usual and woke up on the 26th as usual. I got up, brushed my teeth and ate breakfast. I can’t remember it but it was a Saturday and that’s what I usually did on Saturdays. I was probably doing the same thing as the 50,000 inhabitants of Pripyat, SSR of Ukraine. Main difference being that there had not been a nuclear meltdown a mere mile away from me.

Truth be told, there were many differences. I was not looking forward to the May Day celebrations and certainly not anticipating the opening of the brand new amusement park. I probably would never have been allowed to live there – it was built for the Soviet elite, Ukrainian scientists with high educations, the future of the USSR. But there were many similarities also. They had amazing swimming pools (I was a good swimmer), excellent libraries and culture halls (as mentioned – I love books and pianos) and science labs in the schools.

Pripyat2При́п’ять (Pripyat) was founded in 1970, built up as a Sim City and proclaimed a city in 1979. It had apartment buildings, schools, cinemas, supermarkets, sports stadiums and every single amenity one could want for in a decent city. It didn’t even look very Soviet (if you ignored the communist propaganda). It was meant to be complete, the perfect town for the perfect citizens. The average age in 1986 was 18 (meaning that the experiment was succeeding – the smart, intelligent, intellectual parents were producing many smart, bright, sweet children with a promising future). This was not Stepford – these people were smart, beautiful and well accomplished.

But during those days, in April 1986, I had never heard of Pripyat. Or Chernobyl. I had probably heard of Ukraine but I doubt if I would have been able to pinpoint the country on a map. I was fully aware of the Cold War and was absolutely terrified of nuclear weapons. I knew how many times the Earth could be demolished with the amount of weapons that were currently all set to be fired at targets all over the planet. I was quite certain that Nuclear War would erupt tonight, or tomorrow, or certainly next month. I’d been to Cape Canaveral and seen a launch, though for some reason that didn’t scare me.

Electricity I did not worry about the origins of. Did I know what a nuclear power plant was? Or that there were several in Sweden? I don’t think so. Maybe I didn’t want to know.

But the meltdown of Reaktor 4 in Chernobyl, I don’t think I was scared by it. It probably wasn’t a big issue in school. I certainly can’t remember hearing scary propaganda about how we were all going to die from the radiation. I think I would have remembered that, as I do remember the Challenger accident which happened only three months earlier.

Very strange to think that something that probably made just a small impact on my life at the time, has become such an important element of my life now. I’ve only been there twice yet look forward to my next visit. I am fascinated by the fungi that live and thrive in the radioactivity in the reactor. The chemist in me is greatly impressed by the elephant’s foot and it always reminds me of the classic scene in T2. The herd of Przewalski’s horses that were released there because they were so sickly they were expected to die – but have instead thrived and become a vigorous flock.

euromaidanLife is a long, winding and mysterious pathway, and the stepping stones might only make sense in hindsight. If I hadn’t been a mycophile – and taken that course in Radiochemistry – or met my fiancée – and he hadn’t mentioned visiting Chernobyl – I would never have gone to Ukraine and been a part of one of the most important revolutions – the Ukrainolution, Euromaidan – in this century.

And I would have been a pretty boring person. Even if I still love books.

I got nothing… Sorry

I got nothing… Sorry

Tonight, I knew that the deadline for this month’s bloggage was rapidly approaching… but I had nothing. Seriously… Inspiration had fled me like something small and incredibly timid that was startled… and then fled.  (And trust me…  There is nothing that happened when I was thirteen that I’d care to anecdote about or that you’d want to read)

So I went down the pub.

It is no small secret that I do most of my typing whilst drunk. So I thought that maybe I should get drunk. Also, a fair few of my amusing anecdotes stem from tales that occurred, or at least began in the pub. So heading to the pub was a solid plan… right?

My plan failed. Inspiration did not strike. Amusing hijinks did not gambol, caper or cartwheel across my path.

So I went out for a fag. I had forgotten to pick up my fancy new E-cigarettes, so I was totally and unhealthily old school tonight. While I was standing there outside the pub, shortening my life, I did what I usually do. I people watched.

I clocked (sorry, Britspeak… spotted) a bunch of pissed arseholes outside the pub a few doors up. ‘Heh’, I thought. ‘Pissed arseholes’. This was not an instant and unwarranted judgement on my part. They were acting and talking like pissed arseholes. They were (mostly) big, burly and obviously completely justified in their magnificence.  And as such, were being loud and magnificent so all around them could also revel in their greatness.  Like all groups of ‘big, burly, blokes’, that had the required short bloke with them.

The big skinhead obviously happened to clock me as I clocked them. As he said to his shorter and even more pissed mate… ‘See that bloke down there by the window? Go knock him out.’

There were many people in the high street. But I was the only one standing there leaning up against the wall next to a large window. I was a little touched and honoured. It is many years since anyone thought me worthy enough to start on me in the street for no reason. Hell, it hasn’t happened since I moved to Canterbury. And that is more years ago than I am willing to admit (cos it would make me sound almost as old as I am).

I braced myself, but didn’t look in their direction. And I must confess… I did smile a little, with anticipation. I’m guessing that the short fella took his mate at his word and started my way, cos moments later the skinhead said with an almost shocked laugh ‘no, don’t’.

I chuckled to myself, finished my fag, went back into the pub and mentioned to a couple of my friends what had occurred, with a wry grin.

It is truly heart warming moment when a pregnant friend steps up and says ‘who was it? I’ll knock them out!’… and means it.

And I totally believed that she would.

Whitstable RainbowOn the way home, it rained quite heavily. But there was bright sunshine off to one side. So between the bus stop and my home I spent no small amount of time just standing looking at the rainbow. I smiled at the beauty that just kinda happens around us, as it faded away. Have you ever watched a rainbow fade?

Sometimes they just get paler until they can no longer be seen. Other times they do what this one did. My favourite kind. They disappear from one end to the other. So just before they vanish completely there is a faint part of the colourful arc.

^^  That is the actual rainbow of which I speak… um… type.

Sometimes this world we live in is a place full of marvel. Other times it is both shitty and despicable.

After I got home I watched a documentary on BBC1. I have mentioned in bloggage, in the past (maybe not here, I’m a blog whore), that I volunteer at my local dog rehoming centre. I’ve been doing it for over two years now. I love my pups. It is a Dogs Trust centre. The DT have been running a campaign for quite a while to rescue mistreated pups from Ireland.

15.05.01 006<<  Me with one of my pups (He’s called Norman.  We get on quite well)

 

I’m not suggesting that all pups in Ireland are mistreated, but there is a school of thought over there (again, not followed by all) that pups are a commodity. When they are no longer of use or worth, they are discarded.

 

The documentary ‘The Dog Factory’ simply highlighted much that I already knew about. But it both angered and sickened me.

 

 

It may be an indicator of my personality, that a drunken arse being sent to attack me just made me chuckle… But people on a separate island treating innocent dogs badly made me want to hurt people with a visceral fervency.

If you are ever considering buying a puppy, please only do it if you can get to meet the mother. And you get to see her with the pups. If you can’t, don’t buy it.

This may sound a little callous. After all, you could be saving that pup from misery. And you almost certainly would be. But you would also (possibly) be perpetuating a barbaric trade. And there are many hundreds of other pups that also need saving from misery.

If you cannot meet the mother, visit your nearest rehoming centre. It may cost you a little more (in money, time and effort), but there are a number of reassurances. The pup will have been cared for while it was there, they will have had medical checks, the will almost certainly have been spayed and chipped… And the centre will offer you continued support and advice. Also, the little more that you spent will go towards helping other homeless pups be cared for until they too find homes.

Ooh, did I just get all preachy. Meh. I will happily stand on my soapbox for things I feel strongly about.

So as bloggages go, this was a mixed bag. But Like I said, I was short on inspiration. Sometimes it goes that way.

Reflections: On a Eurovision Performance…

Reflections: On a Eurovision Performance…

So, Eurovision 2015 came and went. And while the want to read on went out the window for the American viewers as early as the headline of this post, I am European and I care about the Eurovision Song Contest. Always has. Always will. Why?

Briefly, I think that in a utopic world state where we all live in peace, harmony, symbiosis and respect for one another’s cultures and beliefs, the Eurovision Song Contest is exactly the kind of thing we would be doing: a celebration of our different cultures and of mutual respect for cultures and beliefs. And I do not want this to go away.

This is not going to be a rant on why I think the wrong contribution won. Although, I somewhat do.

One performance this year left me somewhere in the uncanny valley and I want to rant a bit here. First, go watch the performance. Here, I will link it and, please, pay attention to the stage show:

Obvious disclaimers: I am not going to criticise the music, or her singing, or her appearance. The number is absolutely worthwhile listening to on its own. Bojana Stamenov’s vocal performance is great and I have nothing but respect and admiration for her representation of Serbia in this year’s contest. But I will say why I find the message moot, and that the stage show undermines it completely.

First of all, the whole “accept who you are and be at peace with it” has been a viable hot topic for decades, even before the Rocky Horror Picture Show, before the rise of the Internet. Yes, RHPS was in 1975. Makes you feel old, right? It never ceases to be a relevant message, but I find myself asking: what is this song teaching us in terms of inner peace and acceptance? Obviously a lot, but what fresh teachings does it bring about? What does this song say that has not been said before? Nothing. So I find the message moot, but this is a very subjective point of critique. You are not likely to share this opinion, so I will not argue about it. The arguments would rely too much on intertextuality to be convincing. Ultimately it comes down to the this: I have already heard all the points this song is making elsewhere and before. If you have not, you have not, and you will not share this opinion of mine.

Whether or not it is worthwhile repeating the message over and over again, if a completely different debate…

But notice the stage show from around 1:50 and onwards. When her four background dancers that were previously rather static and uniformly dressed burst into dance. Their scene presence is obvious and their energy is unmistakable, and contrasts the stage performance thus far. But this is sort of where is breaks down for me. I think the choreographer attempts to embrace the celebration of self-acceptance, which is noble, but…

The singer does not match what her dancers are doing. And to me this is glaringly obvious. First of all, she would not have the air to do so, the extreme movement would impact her impressive vocal performance (mind you, all singing must be live in the Eurovision), she is obviously not trying to match their dancing, and lastly, and I hate to draw attention to it, her size.

Since this is the SJW-age of the Internet, I need some TL;DR disclaimers here before the hate-mail and death threats commence. At least, to keep it to a minimum (the un-nuanced twat-cakes are already typing out their hate right now). I am not criticising her for being obese. I am about to bring about an argument that contains within it the appearance and weight of a female performer, so I obviously must nuance my critique, before starting it. Let me clarify once and for all: My critique is not with her. It is about the stage show’s (lack of) interaction with her.

Whether or not she is obese or that is make-up making her look like that, I feel fair in the statement that her size makes her stand out on stage. And that is fine. How people look, how they live and what people eat and drink is something I feel should be left entirely up to themselves, but the central theme of this particular piece of music is beauty. And this comes in two variants: inner and outer. For all that I know she could be a fiend or an angel to be around when it comes to inner beauty, I do not know, and that is of no importance to the performance. Her personality only affects the performance in the minds of those who know whether or not she possesses a great personality. The point of the song is the accept beauty even if it is not apparent, which is a statement that channels inner beauty outward. The song is thus about acceptance of the lack of outer beauty and the embrace of inner beauty (captain Obvious strikes again). And the sole act of appearing on a stage, let alone performing, in a show like this shines (several hundred) spotlights on her appearance. And in this context, appearance is not nothing!

And she is an obvious choice from the get-go for this song, because putting four of the usually-undernourished in-great-shape dancers around her accents her difference in appearance. She is the odd-one-out among the dancers and that is the point. That is why her dancers are static and wearing the same uniform for the first part of the song, and she is the singer. It comes across perfectly. But when they break into dance and start taking the stage, the performance, to me at least, shifts from being a celebration of self-acceptance to be a celebration of the limits imposed by her deviation in appearance. That is the way she sticks out and it becomes obvious that she can not do what they can do. But ought the point not be that in spite of her difference in appearance, she is able to do anything anyone else can? That she is every bit their equal, and then some, seeing as she is the lead singer? And that outer beauty in no way imposes superiority?

I like to think so (if this is not the point of the song, then it advocates outer beauty and my respect for the contribution is straight out the window). And that is why I think the stage show in a master stroke, to accent the climax of the music and demand scene presence, destroys the central point the performance is trying to bring across.

Her dancers shed their costumes to accent their individuality, and then they take the stage which shifts some of the attention from the singer to the media-pretty dancers. And this is where there may have been a stroke of genius. Because this is what media tend to do in practice: shift the attention of something “undesirable” towards something that is culturally pleasing to look at. And this experience that the stage show betrays the artistic message of the performance as is common in media, might have been an actual work of art, because “beauty never lies.”

But the whole point of her performance is that she is meant to be channeling inner beauty outwards. Hence, the choreography does not deem her “beautiful” in this performance (although I think she is), but the dancers obviously are. If their individuality accented by their varying costumes are meant to somehow bring across that they, too, are not “beautiful” in the eyes of the audience, then there is no contrast anymore. Their uniforms meant nothing and they are all odd-ones-out – and the whole message fails completely.

If they are “beautiful”, and this is meant to portray the betrayal of the stage show to the artistic message of self-acceptance where does this shine through? If indeed “beauty never lies, never hides, never gives a damn”, then why were the “beautiful” dancers concealed for the first part of the song? Why were the beautiful hidden? Unless they are not meant to be “beautiful” and then we return to the paragraph above. This is either wrong or implies that outer beauty excludes inner beauty (in which case my respect for this contribution is out the window). So, the only interpretation left, that I can see, is that “beauty never lines, it cries ‘here I am'”, which merits the singer’s place among the dancers and that they are indeed equal. The dancers are meant to be “beautiful” and she is not meant to be “beautiful” (although she is). And we return to the paragraphs above and it all falls apart at the seams.

It had the potential to underline how media excludes anything “not-beautiful” and shifts attention away from inner beauty to superficial beauty. A great point because the whole notion of outer superficial beauty is driven by media. But to me, it falls short and the stage show makes it a celebration of her limitations, a celebration of the fact that she is not as good as them – she is different, hence inferior.

And that rubs me all the wrong ways.

The song taken on its own without the stage show, however, is still worth listening to and advocates a great point.