Saturday, July 23, 2011

Winner Go Down - Amy Winehouse Dead at 27

This is going to strike a chord with anyone even remotely familiar with Barry's record.  Winehouse was mentioned briefly in "Winner Go Down".  Although I don't think anyone "loved" to see this news.  On the contrary, I think everyone familiar with her was rooting for her to have a positive, happy ending, just like "Everything's Gonna Be Alright".  It would have been a welcome change from watching one tragedy after another in the entertainment news.

From the article above:

Winehouse shot to fame in 2006 with the album "Back to Black," whose blend of jazz, soul, rock and classic pop was a global hit. It won five Grammys and made Winehouse - with her black beehive hairdoand old-fashioned sailor tattoos - one of music's most recognizable stars. But her personal life, with its drug and alcohol abuse, eating disorders and destructive relationships, soon took over her career..
I've heard the story a million times but I'm always still amazed when the "fame" story always follows the same plot, block by block, just like a macabre comic book graphic novel.  Doesn't matter who the star is.

Last month, Winehouse canceled her European comeback tour after she swayed and slurred her way through barely recognizable songs in her first show in the Serbian capital of Belgrade. Booed and jeered off stage, she flew home and her management said she would take time off to recover.
Even Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew would have been a better outcome.  At least those souls have a chance.
"I didn't go out looking to be famous," Winehouse told the Associated Press when "Back to Black" was released. "I'm just a musician.".

Now this is a departure.  But it still sounds familiar.  Right, Barry?

But in the end, the music was overshadowed by fame, and by Winehouse's demons. Tabloids lapped up the erratic stage appearances, drunken fights, stints in hospital and rehab clinics. Performances became shambling, stumbling train wrecks, watched around the world on the Internet.
The "Trainwreck" mention is too obvious.
She acknowledged struggling with eating disorders and told a newspaper that she had been diagnosed as manic depressive but refused to take medication.
That explains almost everything.  From what I understand from people in the field, the sense of "ten feet tall an bulletproof" - the feeling that you dont' need your medication anymore when you reach a high point, is actually a symptom of the disease.  Ironic - and deadly - as hell.

I think Barry and Enoch are wrong in "Winner Go Down".  "They" (however you define it) don't "love to see" this.  It's horrible to watch.  Even for the seeming vultures in the media reporting the info because deep down they know, if not for the Grace of God (or whatever deity you acknowledge) it can happen to anyone.

Rest in peace, Amy.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

15 Minutes: The Girl Wearing Yellow Down Front

"Letter From a Fan". The one song (almost) no one is talking about. 

The one song about the one aspect of fame that we in the peanut gallery have something to say about because... it's us. 

There are all kinds of ways a fan can react to this song.  So far I've seen classic denial ("That's not me") relief ("Thank God that's not me"), and judgement ("I know people like that")

I think the reason we're not talking about it is because it puts us on the defensive.  Enoch and Barry are acting out what they see when they look at us.  The defensiveness comes in when (a) we don't like what we see in that portrayal, or (b) we know that what they seem to see is not what we intend, and we had no idea that's how we're coming across, or (c) we know in the bottom of our gut that the portrayal doesn't apply to us personally.

Everyone who heard "Letter From A Fan" first describes it as "creepy".  It's not the words that make it creepy, it's Nataly Dawn's performance.  First thing I thought of was the lullaby-like theme from Poltergeist.  Hence why I wanted to sleep with the lights on - and the closet door open. 
This song raised more questions than answers for me.
"Is this really what they (they = Barry, TPTB, any successful musician on a stage) see in their fan base?"
"Is this what they see/hear when they read a fan letter?"
"Do they think we're all obsessed?" 
"Can they tell the difference between someone who is innocently venting, versus someone dealing with issues, versus, a serious, true threat?"
"Do we really sound like this, or is it a result of the pressure described in 'So Heavy, So High'?"

Let's take a look, phrase by phrase.

remember I sent you a picture
I know all the names in your band
I was the girl wearing yellow down front
I was the first one to stand

OK - is there a problem here?  None that I can see, but I'm not the dude on stage.  She's describing what stood out to her at the show, what she thinks will stand out to him.  Lots of naivete - maybe.  Sometimes dude on stage notices these things, so I've heard from a few of them. 

it's silly to think you'd remember
it's silly pretending you'd care

but I want you to know I was there last night
I was there.....

Again, where's the problem?  So far we've just got stream-of-consciousness naive fan going on.  Even she can see she's being naive.  But something in the music and performance created a similar creative response and the need to express it. 

sometimes I think we're connected

Yeah, this is naivete too.  But if you break it down, music *does* form a type of connection by inspiring an emotional response.  So technically, it's accurate.  But I doubt if our Chickieboo is looking at it that way.

I dreamed we were talking last night

Again, people dream of weird shit all the time.  Pete dreamed of talking to Richard Attenborough's character from Jurassic Park once.  That's how the brain works.

day to day stress just undoes me sometimes
but listening to you makes it right

Show me ONE fan who hasn't used their favorite music/musician as a stress relief.

I'm positive someday you'll see me
and love me just like it was planned
I feel all the sorrow you're trying to hide
you'll realize I understand
oh how I understand

Yeah, naivete again.  I can think of some artists who chafe at this.  Or blow it off.  Again, we see that the music has created an emotional response, which means it was successful.  But what does it mean for the artist?  You can't tell if it's a kid being naive, or if it's someone who's going to steal rocks from your driveway.  Or just write real-person fiction of the pornographic persuasion on your fan network.  Maybe if you ignore it, it will go away?

So far, we're not hearing anything totally bizarre, word-wise.  But something about the presentation, the tone, the inflection, you can't put your finger on it but the girl is just.....    off. 

Fascinating how the songs are almost mashed up.  The fan POV is juxtaposed with the star's in "So Heavy, So High".  He's in hell, just doesn't want to admint it yet. 

another room
where the lights are too bright

I seem to remember stories about someone having tin foil in the hotel windows to make it dark enough to sleep during a hectic schedule.  Very effective for keeping the room dark.  Also effective for telling God and everyone what hotel and room you're in!!!

there's too many touching me
keep 'em away

Our boy is having a rough day.  Even something innocent from a fan feels like a cheese grater.  But the fan doesn't realize this, so they don't know to not take it personally if the star doesn't want to deal.  Hence the final verse coming up.

just turn off the pager
I tell ya the well has run dry
too tired to sleep
too wired to try

And this is why I said in an earlier post that the employees aren't the slaves, the star is.  He's "property".  The "asset".  The "talent".  His protests are so much hot air to the real owners looking to make money from our Girl Wearing Yellow. 

I've wondered from time to time, why would ANYONE want to work in this field as an artist?  It's indentured servitude on a good day.  For example the thousands of people auditioning for American Idol may as well wear "For Sale" signs and price tags. And if they think for a minute that Coke, and AT&T and Ford, as well as 19 Entertainment aren't going to claim a stake in their ass, they've got another surprise waiting. 

The rest of  "So Heavy, So High" expresses the same idea over and over in different words until the last verse of it:

hey I feel the moon breathin'
I hear electricity
I know the size of the sky

He's not feeling great here.   I see someone suffering from galaxy-class sensory overload.  He'd avoid this like the plague if his bargain allowed for it.  He never banked on this being a success side-effect.

And our little Yellow fan doesn't know what to make of our star's behaviour

you never waved back at the airport
I covered your poster in mud
I cut out the eyes on the photo you signed
I wrote you a poem in blood....

Before anyone says, "OH, that's totally crazy, No one I know would do that", I would redirect you to a BMIFC convention in the early 1980s.  I believe it was 1984  in Washington DC.  (Someone please post a correction in the comments if I have that wrong.)
Barry was supposed to appear in person, but didn't.  (I understand he was a day late.)  The best word I can use to reflect the first-hand descriptions I heard was "postal".  Posters defaced, fans packing and leaving early, cursing every step of the way.  A series of angry confrontations with one Mr. Garry C Kief who probably wanted to be anywhere on the planet except that location. 

Were all of these people certifiably insane?  Or were they just venting?  I'll bet my next paycheck that answer is in the eyes of the beholder. 

There are so many different fans out there - some I've met, some I've been, some I've only heard about - that it is hard for the song to make sense.    Everyone knows someone who has expressed the same emotions here at different times or places, but not all at once.

Here's how to make it make sense:  everything for our star is running together.  He can't differentiate many things from each other.  Why should the fans be different?  It's just more continuous noise.  So imagine, if you will, that each line or phrase, or repetition (I was there...  I was there...  I was there) is not one fan, but a different one.  All of these different people, personified by someone whose reality is blurring, as one not-quite-on-the-rails person. 

This way in spite of the differences in style and POV, it comes together as one song, one perspective.

OK, back to #Manilow chat on #Twitter!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Manilow Twitter Chat on 7/19 @ 5 and 9 PM ET

Blatantly stolen from Manilow Musings   So here are a couple of articles from that blog to get the word out.  Get on Twitter and I'll see you there!
What is a #Manilow Chat on Twitter?

Think of a Twitter chat as an online flash mob where a group of people convene at a certain time and engage in a form of choreographed mass communication before a group of unsuspecting bystanders. It's exciting, interesting, and captivating. At times, you don't know where to look! You can either choose to stand by and watch or, in the case of a Twitter chat, join the insanity. Chats typically last one hour.

The easiest way to join or follow a chat is to use a Twitter tool to track the tweets by the chat's designated hashtag (ex: #Manilow). The most important thing to remember to do is to use the chat's hashtag when you want to join the dance - contribute to the conversation.

To make things simple, here is what you do:


Use TweetChat to stream tweets by the designated hashtag for a particular chat. For example, to join #Manilow, go to, sign up with your Twitter account id, enter the name of the hashtag to follow (Manilow) and converse in real time. All of the related tweets will appear in a TweetChat Room on your screen. When you submit a post/tweet, TweetChat will automatically append the chat's hashtag so you don't have to remember to do so.

What's the number one mistake a newbie makes during a Twitter online chat? Forgetting to add the hashtag to the post. But if you use TweetChat, you won’t have to worry about it!

Thanks to Kelly Queijo of Smart College Visit and the creator of #CampusChat for this simple explanation of a Twitter Chat. She’s going to join us next Tuesday so introduce yourself and welcome her into the Manilow world!

Here are some of my tips:

Don’t worry about keeping up with every single post. Respond to the ones that interest you.

Don’t forget to RT (retweet) often to help with the trending and to let others in your feed see the conversation.

If it goes too fast for you, don’t be too concerned. Just read, RT and enjoy the conversations. You don’t have to converse with everyone and you can even make your own statements related to the topic (Barry’s new CD).

Follow the lead of the co-hosts (myself and Patti) and comment on any questions we ask or comments we make.

That about covers it. If you have questions, simply ask during the chat, and someone will answer and help you.

Tuesday, July 19, 5PM and 9PM ET

#Manilow Twitter Chat

Our Goal: Talk about the new album and get #Manilow to trend on Twitter, thus creating a buzz about 15 Minutes.
How can we get Barry trending on Twitter?

@Franaway was so kind to pass this article along to me about Trending topics:

How Twitter Trending Topics Work and How to Influence Them

Take some time and read it, but here are the key points:


Put simply it’s far better to have 100 people tweet the same hashtag consistently over a longer period of time then to have 10 people constantly tweet the same hashtag. There is a simple reason why this is true and why it happens which is because it gives a better over view of what the world is talking about, not what a few are interested in.


Strong trending topics are created by lots of people talking about the same thing consistently over a long period of time, seems simple doesn’t it? Of course it does but most importantly it’s a very natural way to register what the world is really talking about.


Major events and popular TV shows monopolizes the trending topics and for good reason, these are talking points that unite and divide people and encourage conversation, they also meet every single criteria set out above as they promote consistently large amounts of tweets from a large volume of people over a prolonged period.

Looks like we're meeting ALL the criteria. Pass the word along and get as many people joining in as you can.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Barry's 15 Minutes Video Journal

OK, the video was removed.  Anyone want to let us know why?  TPTB, I'll prioritize your comments if there's an answer here.

This is great!!!  A brief chat on each song.  I'm loving the more interactive PR - between this and RadioManilow (link above in the nav bar) it's like having Barry over for dinner to chat whenever you want.  You now have no excuse to not bookmark the official Manilow YouTube channel (link below, right)

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Happy 4th of July!

Many thanks to TPTB for putting this clip on YouTube.  My DVR had a bad day and this was one of the videos I lost.
Have a great day tomorrow, everyone!