Monday, February 21, 2011


Does being parodied by the main steam make cult hits more relevant or ruin it for original fans?

Does having your fans pick a fight with an artist paying homage to you work counterintuitively to PR plans?

I had to jump on the train at this early stage in case the song actually somehow becomes popular & people ask why I didn't defend / even address the craziness that happened yesterday, I'll have no excuse as a Boosh groupie.

Yesterday fans of the absurdist, surreal BBC comedy The Mighty Boosh erupted in confusion & accusations towards rapper T-Pain for seemingly stealing the idea for the primary lyrics in his new song with Benny Benassi, Electroman from a sketch & song featured in the show called Electro Boy.

THE OFFENDING CULPRIT - Benny Benassi ft. T-Pain's Electroman:

For those unfamiliar, The Might Boosh can be best described as an English Flight of The Conchords, soaked in LSD & glitter.

It is in essence the irreverent comedy duo of Noel Fielding & Julian Barratt, their slightly-autobiographical characters Vince Noir & Howard Moon noted for having adventures in oft nightmarish landscapes with characters of their own creation (including the now infamous hermaphrodite man-fish Old Gregg, made famous on YouTube, bringing the show to recognition stateside).

Lovers of the madness embrace it with a fervent Rocky Horror Picture Show-like fanaticism, dressing up like the eccentric and elaborate characters for live tour shows and comic conventions. I've enjoyed every minute of being a fan meself & could go on, BUT onward to the controversy...

The boys write all of their own music for the show, even having created a distinct style of humorous a cappella nonsense song attributed only to them known as a crimp. Crimp on.

There's always been very strong intellectual property rights associated with Boosh material, so it seemed unlikely that T-Pain would have no idea he was creating lyrics that sounded incredibly similar to a Mighty Boosh song.

Regardless, when the video appeared, the Booshiverse reacted strongly & with pointy, black-nail polished talons.

While the YouTube comments from Boosh fans on the video remained hilarious for the most part, there was an incredible amount of confusion as to why the bearded actor from Leeds and the fashion-savvy self proclaimed goth King of Camden would allow a rapper who's never been affiliated with them to not even sample their music, but to copy/parody the concept.

I've heard everything sampled in remixes from Singing In The Rain to Johnny Cash's I Walk The Line, but this seemed to be an outright "homage" situation.

The lyrics are nearly identical.

Case in point -
THE BOOSH'S Electro Boy:


So far, both sides have weighed in & it seems like everything is legit:

From T-Pain's twitter:
If you guys don't think I got permission from the Mighty Boosh before I did the electro man hook ur crazy. It's called being a fan of there music. The Mighty Boosh heard that song before any of you did so I think they would have sued me by now. But I understand how you feel yasimelike. Just do Yo research before you go ham on a n*gga

From Dave Brown's twitter soon after:

(Dave Brown is the graphic designer, photographer, fellow writer & co-star of the show as Bollo the gorilla. If Bollo didn't say he had a bad feeling about this, I'm bound to believe him... (N&J refers lovingly to creators Noel & Julian) )

You may ask "Why, T-Pain, with your fly hats & shiny teeth, would you want to put Boosh-esque lyrics into a song?"

T-Pain has already been associated with The Lonely Island, SNL-offshoot funny man Andy Samberg's musical project that produced the monster hit I'm On A Boat. He's established himself as crazy.

He says he's a fan. I'd buy that.

There are stirrings however that if more "popular", or main stream sources start parodying or using Boosh material that the underground glow that the show still has here in North America will quickly fade & their impending US invasion in the next year will lose it's sparkle.

To that same effect, there's an ongoing rumour of a Boosh movie that they'll want released in the US & Canada. What better way to get preliminary press than by having their material slip into North American media.

Fans still argue that the Boosh won't get credit where credit is due. It's hard to recognize what the hubbub is about unless you know all the words to Electro Boy by heart like I do. If only it was a sample.

Is this the inevitable fate of cult hits that become popular?
Do you accept their inevitable leaking into rap songs & TV shows and hope for the best?

My solution for this conundrum at least would have been for T-Pain to at least give the boys a nod.

An easy implementation of this would have been to have had them in the video.

Ju would have worn the swag well,
as a man who loves jazz & looks like a geography school teacher.

Noel Fielding in a white bikini? Anyone? Anyone?

Whether or not The Mighty Boosh are ever recognized for their contribution to the song, it's far less catchy than the original & the issue may blow over by week's end.

Hopefully it garners them some well deserved press but doesn't spoil the magic hipster touch that they have going for them.

NEXT BIG HIT FOR T-PAIN: I'm On A Boat w/ Future Sailors.

EDIT: As of 1:00 PM, CST
Noel Fielding has chimed in on the debate:

Noelio is busy preparing for Let's Dance 2011 For Comic Relief on BBC.

Ultimate goal: NOEL DOES DANCE NUMBER TO Electroman.

Driving along on a plastic dream, baby.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

City Lights, Lead Me Home

"You can see now?"

By the time it was completed he had spent two years and eight months on the work, with almost 190 days of actual shooting.

Charlie Chaplin directed, wrote, composed the score for & starred in the film.

The story revolves around Charlie Chaplin's Tramp meeting a blind girl selling flowers on the street corner & falling in love with her (Virginia Cherrill). To achieve the right look and emotion he advised her, in his own words :

“To look inwardly and not to see me.”

He spent many laborious weeks on the deceptively simple scene where the Tramp and the flower girl first meet, setting up the premise of the story, earning the record for the largest amount of takes ever shot in a movie. It holds the record as Charles Chaplin's longest undertaking, in production from 31 December 1927 - 22 January 1931 (over three years).

It was Chaplin's drive, vision & unfaltering devotion to the last great silent film of the era that made City Lights recognized as one of the greatest movies ever made.

I was lucky enough last month to see City Lights on the big silver screen as part of the Cinematheque's winter line-up (we attended the January 15th screening) with Jen from 200 Movies, 1 Woman, 1 Blog, and it was one of the best spent 87 minutes I've ever spent in a theatre.

In front of us was an entire nuclear family, 2 kids and parents all anxiously waiting for the next pratfall. There were countless 20-somethings taking in the film as well, but the patrons who seemed to enjoy themselves the most were the gray haired moviegoers sprinkled through the audience.

The septuagenarian dopplegangers of Jen & myself sitting directly beside us taught me one of the most valuable lessons I've ever learned at the movies; regardless of how many times you've seen a film, if you love it & it's funny, for God's sake, laugh.

I have never seen two women in public laugh more. Wearing lovely long coats, one in a fur, they guffawed at Charlie's antics as much as I did and more so. The movie itself is so engrossing that at times you could have heard a pin drop, were it not for the synchronized musical score being played overly loud in the background (possibly to simulate the original over-the-top sound). The evening was a testament to the everlasting power of Charlie Chaplin and the breadth of his appeal to young and old alike.

It was possibly a once in a lifetime experience I'll never get to partake in again, but hopefully I'm around to enjoy it again if the Cinematheque has a reprise.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Elmwood Not Getting Mail - Sidewalks Not Getting Plowed

My area of Elmwood hasn't received mail in 8 days and the city of Winnipeg's to blame.

While I understand it can take up to 10 days to completely clear the city's sidewalks after a snowfall, the city of Winnipeg's plows bulldozed massive amounts of snow over the street's edge, obliterating the sidewalks and making it impossible for postal carriers to deliver our mail.

A representative for Canada Post called my house twice today to
confirm that they have been demanding the city clear the streets
to no avail, so citizens now have to call & try to get something done.

If you live in Elmwood & are affected by the mail delay
make some noise:

Elmwood-East Kildonan Ward Councillor Thomas Steen
PHONE: 204-986-5195

CALL 311
Complaint # = 511116

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Super Bowl of Ads: Cars, Cars Everywhere...

...but I still don't have my license.

The monotony of car ads can be equivalent to the seemingly never ending road the cars power down in the countryside; dusty, narrow and drops you off at a predestined point B.

The best of the Super Bowl best even had me intrigued, so fasten your belts & keep all of your arms and appendages inside.


Chevy: Senior Citizens

FOURTY-TWO WILD ITALIANS. I would like to see what that looks like, crammed into a compact car.

Oh wait- That's called Jersey Shore.

Regardless, Chevy's 0:30 ad for the Cruze makes for a memorable jaunt into a gaggle of hard-of hearing senior citizens trying to figure out what the name & features of the car in the commercial they just saw are. Ironically, the Elantra ad listed as my worst of Super Bowl below doesn't have any frequency to the mention of name or brand and definitely doesn't have the memorability factor.

Audio A8: Release The Hounds/Luxury Prison

Escaping old luxury has never made a more delightful mockery of itself.

The above display of the actual adult contemporary superstar, Kenny G's, riot-suppressing power is courtesy of Audi's ongoing campaign to position themselves as anti-old luxury car and pro-Audi.

In an incredibly self-depricating move, Kenny G busting out his smooth jazz beats lulls old money laden prisoners to sleep & narrowly prevents a crustacean-fuelled lunchroom debacle. I found Audi's approach ridiculously out of the norm for car commercials and upping their game to go big (which is what the Superbowl is all about).

This fits with Audi's commercial positioning already sneak-peaked in their commercial from January of this year, with their Goodnight to decadence ad, using similar lavish Baroque gold and red coloured elegance against itself.

This anti-establishment approach is of course contrary to my own personal lifestyle choices. I spent the entire Super Bowl eating sturgeon caviar off of a Grecian urn. Haters gonna hate.


Hyundai Elantra: Hypnotize

I now understand that a compact car doesn't have to be a compromise, according to Hyundai & that I can get 40-miles per gallon, but the generic looking commercial complete with all of the car stereotypes (swinging keys, traffic light, etc.) that do not add to the originality or noticeability of the spot amidst other better executed advertisements.

Super Bowl of Ads: Motorola's Empowering the People

Liberating romance from the tyranny of a deceiving garden of Apples

Motorola has "The Tablet for Us All" according to their Super Bowl ad running tonight.

While those most interested in tablet interface technology may or may not be perched in front of the television arguing with themselves about whether an entire plate of nachos fit into their caloric intake for the week, Motorola's new tablet's imminent launch has had even Mac users buzzing.

Motorola Xoom is scheduled to be released in February/March, and plans to ship with Android 3.0 Honeycomb. The newest Android OS has been designed specifically for tablets.

The commercial could not be a clearly dig at the white-washed corridors and prominent iPod-esque headphones synonymous with the Mac branding. I was disappointed that more functionalities of the Xoom weren't shown, but that will come in due time. This is an appropriately timed throwback to the infamous Apple '1984' ad; a move that takes cajones, but is elegant in it's delivery.