Hussyville

Attempting optimistic misanthropy

Interracial Adoption: When Adults Go Bad

Posted by Hussyville on November 4, 2010

Most of the interracial adoption news and stories I come across tend to be very US-centric, and I know the adoption system over there is very different to that of the UK, so I was interested when the Guardian did a series of comment pieces on the topic this week, after a politician said there should be of more of them, as social workers are apparently trying too hard to get children a “perfect match” when making recommendations. OK, so he didn’t actually provide any evidence, but hey! He’s a government minister! The children’s minister, even! I’m sure he knows exactly what he’s talking about.

What’s most depressing is that the main issue, what is best for the child, seems to be lost on the majority of people commenting underneath the articles. Now, naturally, it is obviously better for a child to find a loving home than to grow up in the care of the state. And nobody is saying that a white couple are incapable of successfully parenting a child of another race. But in the quickness to dismiss concerns about “cultural heritage” as irrelevant, the naysayers could be doing adoptees a disservice. All children are interested in learning who they are and where they come from; why should adoptees be any different?

What’s interesting in reading the articles and the comments on interracial adoption is the contrast with how the debate is framed when compared to the US-centric debates I’ve read. There is a backlash amongst certain parts of UK society against multiculturalism which tinges some of the comments and almost drifts into the realms of denying the legitimacy of other cultural heritages other than the white-majority Anglo-Saxon model. “They’re over here, so they should act like us!” Now, there’s a separate debate to be had over the integration of ethnic minorities in British society, but I don’t think that debate is appropriate when you are dealing with the business of individual lives, emotions and experiences. Neither, on the other hand, do I think that railing against interracial adoption is helpful to anyone. What works for one family could be a disaster for another. Sadly, that point seems to have been lost in the sound and fury of people desperate to justify themselves.

The articles dealing with interracial adoption can be found here, here and here. There’s also a collection of readers’ experiences here. You may need a stiff drink before venturing into the comments for any of them. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

[Image via Flickr]

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In Support of Kat Stacks

Posted by Hussyville on June 2, 2010

Kat StacksI’m not going to lie: I had never heard of Kat Stacks before today, and if I had, I would probably have mentally filed her away in the “people I don’t need to pay attention to” pile. Kat Stacks is a “super-groupie” who has made a name for herself by fucking various rappers and blogging about it. Her blog(s) appear to have been taken down, but according to reports, she frequently denigrated the men she had slept with, commenting on the size of their penises and their skill (or lack thereof) in bed.

Recently, Kat’s candour got her into trouble. Specifically, fans or supporters of her previous sexual conquests — Fabolous and Bow Wow are mentioned by name — took it upon themselves to accost her in a club, assault her, and upload the video of the attack to the internet. I am not going to link to the video over here, because I do not want to condone or encourage physical violence by providing backlinks or hits.

Reaction to Kat’s beating has been mixed, from conspiracy theorists wondering if she set it up herself to fans of various rappers saying that she deserved it for talking about her liaisons with them. Overwhelmingly, however, the reaction has been less than supportive to a woman who was beaten in public. Beaten in public for committing the crime of being less than impressed with the sexual prowess of a number of her partners.

Can we get real for a second? Can we just remind ourselves what modern hip-hop looks like? You’ve got a bunch of men talking about making money, and how that enables them to have their pick of “hos” and “bitches.” Their lyrics talk about providing women with handbags and diamonds in order to get sexual favours. Their videos are filled with gyrating “video vixens” whose brief is to appear sexually available to the rapper: mute, compliant ciphers upon which the men watching can project their own fantasies. “If I just had the money/record contract, maybe I could get a woman like that too!”

Hip-hop has been exploiting the sexual conquest of women for years. Remember the feud between Biggie and Tupac over whether ‘Pac had fucked Faith Hill? Did anyone bother asking Faith for her opinion about whether it was an issue? Overwhelmingly, women in hip-hop are objects to be collected and discarded at will, afforded the minimum of respect and expected to serve the needs and wants of men first. The aggressive hyper-machismo of what it means to be a “baller” does not allow men to acknowledge they might have real or perceived weaknesses, or even that they might be criticised. Which is why “beef” between artists is as predictable as it is futile.

Kat Stacks committed no crime. It is not against the law to name one of your paramours and state he was rotten in bed. It is not against the law to say he has a small dick. It is not even against the law to make fun of your erstwhile fuckbuddy’s bad small-dick sex skills. Nor does doing any of the former warrant a beating. If you’re unhappy about it, do what you do best: write a song about Kat’s lack of blowjob skills, or how sleeping with her was a one-time-only thing. Ban her from your backstage area and warn your entourage to be on the lookout. Do not, under any circumstances, encourage or incite anyone to beat her up. Because from where I’m sitting, that doesn’t make the cowards who assaulted Kat — or the man-children whose honour they were hoping to defend — look like anything other then insecure inadequates.

And for all those “fans” who have been condoning the assault on Kat Stacks: fuck you too. Really. Fuck you hard with a rusty chainsaw. You would rather see a woman beaten than to imagine that your idol is anything other than a stud in the sack? Would you stand for the same kind of treatment if it was your sister or daughter who received the same treatment? Kat Stacks has done what thousands of women do: laughed at the inadequacies of men she’s fucked. The only difference is that she has done it in public. And even then, what she is doing isn’t that new: there are hundreds of sex blogs out there; it just so happens that Kat specialises in rappers. If the rappers are so upset by what she has to say, maybe they ought to crack open a copy of the Joy of Sex or the Kama Sutra and up their game.

I’ll end by saying that I don’t believe that all rappers and their fans are ignorant numbskulls who need to get a clue. Rather, it is just an unfortunate and unwelcome subset who perpetuate the misogyny, hypocrisy and double standards that are shown in all their ugly glory in this incident. For grown-ups, we will always have groups like the Roots to keep us honest:

No, you can’t see the subtitles, but it’s still an indictment of the shallow depths that current hip-hop is paddling in.

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Eurovision 2010: Liveblog

Posted by Hussyville on May 29, 2010

Eurovision Song Contest LogoCometh the hour, cometh the kitsch. Eurovision marks the beginning of my summer season, and I welcome it back tonight with open arms and a happy heart. To follow the sappy PR spin, this is a chance for the European family to come together under the banner of song… and then decide which cousins would be most likely to star in the rejects’ reel on [Insert country here]’s Got Talent.

If anything else, Eurovision is the perfect chance to wallow in your feelings of superiority as 29 songs you would never normally allow to grace your iPod are peformed for your delectation. But the sneering stops there. I don’t care that the Baltic states all award each other maximum points; at least they’re not fighting. So what if some of the countries taking part have only the most tenuous link to Europe? The more the merrier! And the reason the UK will never win again is not because of a conspiracy, but because other countries take their entries seriously, while the British entry is inevitably some sub-Butlins fiasco (this year with added Pete Waterman!) that would never normally trouble the charts. So I don’t listen to the naysayers. I watch for the camp, the histrionics, the ill-advised costumes, and the sheer whatthefuckery of some of the songs.

So tonight, the men have been banished, the booze is plentiful, and we Eurovisionistas are playing drinking games. I’ll try to stay sober enough to blog and Tweet my impressions, but please forgive me if it gets a little incoherent towards the end. Onwards and upwards to three-and-a-half hours of cultural diversity!

1900 Excellent! Before the fun starts, I get to get my juices flowing with an episode of Doctor Who. God, I love the BBC!

1951 Just under ten minutes to go. Idiot tax draw is being done. Get it over with.

1955 Looking at a search for Eurovision on Twitter, things seem to be hotting up nicely. Hang on, on the telly: Bucks Fizz have reformed and re-released their material as a series of acoustic songs? Fuck me, they must be desperate for the cash.

1959 And we sign off with a “Good luck to Josh!” Don’t be silly. He’s not going to win. Not unless the other 29 countries decide to forfeit.

2000 120 million people are watching apparently. Opening montage was of some sort of retro 1950’s family settling down to watch. Oh, I see: it’s Eurovision through the ages showing off notable winnners as this year’s magic orbs skip around Europe. Did Turkey really win in 2004? I can’t remember.

2002 And now we’re in the stadium. This year’s theme is “sharing the moment.” They’re not doing much sharing if there’s only 18,000 people in the stadium. Seems a bit stingy. Black market tickets must have cost the same as a deposit on a house.

2006 Last year’s winner is playing us in, as is tradition. I didn’t like him last year, and I don’t like him now. Apparently we can email Graham Norton during the ceremony. He’s jazzed up his performance since last year, had decided to go heavy on the dancers and less on actually singing his song. I reckon he only did one verse. Good riddance.

2008 Christ! Apparently NRK, the Norwegian state broadcaster, has spent so much money on Eurovision this year that they’re not going to be able to show the World Cup. I can only imagine what football fans in the country said when that came out. The hosts seem OK; nothing terribly offensive from them yet, and not as hyperactive as previous hosts. They actuallly seem almost down to earth.

2010 Azerbaijan! They spent $3 million on promoting this and got Beyonce’s choreographer in to help out. Interesting lets see how it goes. Oh dear, seems to be a bit of a power ballad. Still, she’s a very pretty girl, only 17 years old. There’s not much you can do with a song title like “Drip Drop” is there? Ah, here comes the love interest: long male ballet dancer spinning  uselessly the stage.

2014 Spain! Their song title translates as “Something Tiny.” Fuck me! He looks like a Spanish Art Garfunkel. The song itslef isn’t too bad, but anyone with a fear of clowns and circus folk will be hiding behind their sofa. I thought someone else did a similar set last year. I’ll have to check my notes (what? I made notes. Don’t judge me). His backup singer looks a tad constipated. No, I don’t think this one’s a winner.

2018 Norway! Ooh, he’s handsome! Aren’t they all, though? Really, if I could cope with the booze prices and the winters, I’d have moved to a Scandi country years ago. Ah, it’s one of those “I love you really, darling” type of ballads. It might be a fairly ballad-heavy night, unless this is getting the boring stuff out of the way early. I hope all the fans in the crowd filled their lighters before hand. Eek! Maybe he isn’t so good-looking when he opens his mouth really wide to hit a note. Put him in the “as a drunken fling” pile.

2022 Oh, thank fuckety fuck! Moldova are here to provide some trashy Euro-disco. The female singer has a smear of blue eyeshadow across the top of her face and is wearing what looks like a PVC tutu with fluffly blue suspenders. I’ll never consider my fashion sense outre again. Ouch! The male singer seems to be straining to get his word out. Hope he doesn’t pull a muscle. This would almost be OK if they’d get rid of that squeaky fake saxophone. Still, that is the best one so far.

2025 Scandal! Apparently Cyprus’s entry is a Welsh ringer. That has to be against the rules, though with free roaming across borders these days, I don’t know. But this song is fairly insipid and not actually that inspiring. It’s nothing that you wouldn’t hear on night drivetime on regional radio. Meh.

2029 Bosnia! This is going to be a rocky number, according to Graham. Oh, it’s like a gayer-looking version of Chris Martin. And the song is a very MOR number that middle-aged dads dropping their kids off to football practice can safely fist-pump too. Not impressed. But he did show some good skills with hair gel.

2033 The Belgian song is “Me and My Guitar.” Well, I suppose it’s honest. Something about getting a nine-to-five. Again, this is the sort of thing I can imagine playing in the company of my mother and her not complaining. My mother is over 60. I do not need to share the same taste in music with her. Stilll, the audience seem to like it. And he’s got a sweetish face, and is up there on his own, so he’ll probably get quite a few points. One to watch.

2038 Serbia! Hahahaha! Surname Spankovic! Yes, my inner child in charge right now. Oh Jesus, what does he look like? Try to imagine a male Bratz doll. The number’s quite poppy and upbeat, though. Gayer than a pink tent at a scout jamboree, but there’s butt-shaking ladies and hip-thrusting Smurfs to keep us happy. This might do well. Either that or I’m getting drunk.

2041 Belarus are performing “Butterflies” and are going to do something ace with costumes, says Graham. I hope it isn’t too dramatic, or I’ll have to drain my glass. The song is nothing to write home about. Wings pop out of their dresses in the final chorus. If they really want to impress me, they should be zipping round the stadium on wires.

2046 Here’s Ireland, the perennial favourites. She seems like a nice lass. I automatically like redheads, so I might be slightly biased. I have to say I’m bored with the ballads. Oh hey! She has someone playing a…. penny whistle? traditional Irish pipe? Who knows what to call it, but she’s smiling and she looks like she’s having a good time. Not sure about the purple dress, though.

2049 Greece are doing a dance number, “Opa!” Oh, this looks fun. Turkish belly-dancing for twinks is my impression from the opening bars. Sweet Zeus, but it’s camp! It’s the kind of thing that should be on a float going down Castro in San Francisco, all tight white clothing and hip-thrusty beats. This is music that you can fuck through glory holes through. It is obscenely cheesy and I love it. Please let it win.

2054 And here’s the UK entry. Clean-cut young man sings cookie-cutter pop. It is automatically “meh,” even without the malevolent force that is Pete Waterman behind the lyrics. Poor thing, I bet he’s thrilled to be here, but doesn’t realise that this is the height of his fame. This time next week, he’ll have been forgotten, and forced to return to his day job as a barista. Still, let’s allow him his moment in the limelight. It’s not his fault after all.

2059 Georgia! Lissome young woman in a red dress with a surfeit of backing dancers. Oh shit, it’s another ballad. Props for doing your dancing barefoot, though. Always best to compromise, if you’re worried you can’t cope with heels. Something has gone horribly wrong with the backing track; it’s way too busy and not condusive to a live performance. But at least she appears to be singing loud. Jesus, but there’s too much going on with this track! Calm down, dear. Less is more and all that. If this wins, I’ll ride a Russian tank into Georgia myself.

2103 Turkey are bringing the Manga. The lead singer seems a bit cartoonish. I don’t know if this is a good thing or not. Oh, how utterly adorable! They are doing Linkin Park-esque rapping and have a backing dancer dressed up as an early-era Cylon. New favourite track. Vote for them. It’s not a ballad and is more fun that any of the other acts so far.

2108 Oh, hold up. Albania have been breeding a musically-talented Madonna clone in a lab somewhere and have chosen tonight to unleash her with a bouncy dance number. Girl’s got a good set of lungs on her. And her top looks similar to one I have in my wardrobe at the moment, so I’m feeling kind-hearted towards her. I can actually imagine this playing in a club. Gold star, Albania. Top marks for effort.

2112 Well, if Iceland have managed to bring the goods this year, I don’t see how other countries have an excuse for pulling out. It is another Valkyrie, as per tradition, but rather than a ballad, this time it is a dance number. Not sure about hearing this one in a club, but nothing’s impossible. At least it’s not slow and mushy. I do like her coordinated backup singers, though. Their hand movements during the chorus are great. Thank you for playing Iceland.

2115 The Ukrainian singer is under a hood; this is a good side. She pulls it back to unveil a pretty blonde singing about impending peril. But it looks like it’s going to be another ballad. A power ballad with heavy guitar chords, but a ballad all the same. And gratuitious use of the wind machine. Shame.

2119 France have doubled up and this song is also going to be their World Cup anthem. It is pure Euro-pop, of the sort where you only dance to it on an 18-30 holiday to Benidorm and are deeply embarassed by it once you get back home. But by God, it’s catchy! And they look like they’re having fun. There is much booty-shakin’ going on. Ah, go on! France get to be in the top three at least. That was loads of fun.

2123 Romania are playing with fire, and a double piano. I need to down my drink. The typing is going to get a lot more erratic from here on in. Evil cider. This is a boppy number, good honest pop, though I can’t be sure if they’re actually playing the pianos. Fuck! That high note the lady just reached caused the window panes to rattle. Maybe I should turn the volume down a bit. This is another high mark from me. Useless choreography, but at least it wasn’t a ballad, and it was something different.

2127 Russia have recruited some… vagrants to do a heartfelt ballad amid some fake snowflakes. They obviously don’t want to win this year. It’s a bit of a folky-rocky ballad about being lost and forgotten. Quite frankly, if you’re going to sing a song that makes you out to be a psychotic ex-boyfriend who is going to hunt me down and cut me into tiny pieces before weeping into a pool of my blood, you don’t deserve to win. Ballads are creepy.

2132 Hello Armenia! This could step up, and it has! Yay! We have the kind of ethno-pop that I find irresistible. Something about apricots, but we get to shake our hips and molest our backing dancers while we witter on about them. Win-win! I don’t know what’s up with her costume though. It’s like a T-shirt with the back end of a full-length skirt attached. Lots of cramming notes into a bar. Somebody is a fan of Mariah.

2136 Germany’s entry has already been a hit, and is supposed to redeem previous recent failure. Seems like a pretty little thing. And on first impressions, this is waaaay better than any recent German offerings, at least in the last couple of years. The danger though, is that people already familiar with the song might decide not to vote for it because they want something different. Wouldn’t it be funny if the Germans ended up winning on the strength of British votes? Sorry, I’m jumping too far ahead.

2139 The Portuguese entry lives in London and studies music… and has gone with another bloody ballad. Sorry love, but that is automatically a read mar by this point in the evening for me. This sounds like the sort of thing they’d use in a mid-1990s Disney animated movie. Schlocky, too much emotion and far too much vocal showing off. Do. Not. Want.

2143 Israel! The constant “Really?!” entrant of the Eurovision song contest. Ugh, it sounds like another ballad. Seriously, is there a correlation between economic strife and melancholy songs? Because I thought punk came about while Thatcher was fucking the British economy. Oh, this song is very overwrought and far too earnest for the lump of coal that substitutes for my heart. I would tell him to grow a pair, but as he’s probably done military service, he could kill me without blinking. Nevertheless, this is several different flavours of “Blah.”

2147 Denmark’s performers have never worked together before. This should be interesting. Graham said that fans of the Police might enjoy it. And it does put me in mind of “Every Breath You Take;” the chord structure is similar. Whoops! The chorus has now put me in mind of Scandi-duo Roxette, they of the Pretty Woman soundtrack and various other sins against music. Cripes, there goes the wind machine. Big, booming chorus that could only be make more excessive with a gospel choir. That can’t possibly win, can it?

2151 Oh! And Spain get another chance to perform because they had a stage invasion the first time round. I shall use the opportunity to eat something, smoke a ciggie, and check in on the Guardian, which has been moving threads around like a magpie with OCD.

2156 Oh, here comes the run-through of all the songs. Just 15 minutes before the points start rolling in. Seriously, we need to ban ballads next year. It’s for all our sakes.

2205 So that’s all of the songs over, and the last minutes of voting. And another run-through of all the songs. My favourites, in no particular order:

  • France
  • Turkey
  • Greece
  • Armenia
  • Germany
  • Albania

2212 It’s the interval number. Some kind of Norwegian urban stuff. I know I’m a brown person, but I’m not au fait with what genre this might be. Oh, but they’re videolinked to other places in Europe. Oh, that’s quite fun. I’d do that in my current inebriated state. Public dancing for everyone! Rock out, Vilnius! Get on down with your bad self! Gah, trust the UK to behave badly.

2219 And now there’s webcams of various places around Europe. I don’t know why, but it makes me well up inside. I may be drunk.

2222 Points allocation! But first the Lord of Darkness must be appeased. Yay! Svante! Give us the goods, big man!

2225 Romania are first to give their points: Turkey, Moldova and Denmark. Twelve points for Denmark? Really?

2227 Ireland give points to Germany, Belgium and Denmark. Seriously, WTF?!

2227 Germany give points to Greece (whoo!), Turkey, Belgium and that little boy’s guitar.

2228 Serbia give points to Germany, Greece, and Bosnia.

2229 Albania gives points to Turkey, Germany, and Greece

Oh, and the Greece contingent looks so happy!

2230 Turkey gives points to Bosnia, Germany, and Azerbaijan

2231 Croatia gives points to Serbia, Bosnia, and Turkey (whoo!)

2232 Poland gives points to Azerbaijan, Belgium, and Denmark. I obviously haven’t been watching the same show as most of the rest of Europe.

2233 Bosnia gives points to Germany, Turkey (whoo!), and Serbia. Really? Serbia? OK, then…

2234 Finland give points to France, Israel, Germany. And that gets a big cheer from the crowd.

2235 Slovenia gives points to Serbia (despite the haircut, they say), Germany, and Denmark.

2236 Estonia gives points to Georgia, Russia, and Germany. I really don’t think he should have sung the results.

2237 Russia gives points to Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Armenia. What does that mean for Caucus geopolitics?

2238 Portugal gives points to Greece, Romania, and Spain.

2239 Azerbaijan gives points to Georgia, Ukraine, and Turkey.

2241 Greece gives points to France, Albania, and Cyprus.

2242 Iceland gives points to Greece, Belgium and Denmark.

2243 Demark gives points to Romania, Belgium, Germany. I think Lina/Lena may steal this….

2244 France gives points to Portugal, Serbia, and Turkey (whoo!)

2245 Spain gives points to Armenia, Romania, and Germany.

2249 Slovakia gives points to Israel, Belgium, and Germany. The girl has won, hasn’t she?

2250 Bulgaria gives points to Armenia, Turkey, and Azerbaijan.

2251 Ukraine gives points to Turkey, Russia, and Azerbaijan.

2253 Latvia gives points to Russia, Denmark, and Germany.

2255 Malta gives points to Denmark, Belgium and Azerbaijan.

2256 Norway gives points to Denmark, Romania, and Germany. Oh, girlie has won, surely?

2257 Cyprus gives points to Romania, Azerbaijan, and Greece.

2258 Lithuania gives points to Spain, Germany, and Georgia.

2259 Belarus gives points to Israel, Ukraine, and Russia. Oooh, lots of booing from the crowd.

2300 Switzerland gives points to Albania, Serbia, and Germany.

2301 Belgium gives points to Iceland, Germany, and Greece.

2302 The UK gives points to Romania, Turkey, and Greece (whee!).

2303 Netherlands give points to Turkey, Israel, and Armenia.

2304 Israel gives points to Romania, Russia, and Armenia.

2305 Macedonia gives points to Germany, Turkey, and Albania.

2306 Moldova gives points to Ukraine, Russia, and Romania.

2307 Georgia gives points to Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Belarus.

2308 Sweden gives points to Denmark, Romania, and Germany.

2309 Armenia gives points to Ukraine, Russia, and Georgia.

And Germany wins! Whee! At least it’s a country that can afford to put on the show next year. I wasn’t impressed, I wanted Turkey to win, but maybe Manga can enter next year? Naturally the UK didn’t do well, but that’s because they never put up any decent artists for this competition. But forget that. Well done, girl! You’ve done your country proud, and we will see you rehashing this number next year. Godspeed, young ingenue.

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Good Things This Weekend [Updated]

Posted by Hussyville on May 29, 2010

Toby FloodUnnecessary man-candy. This is Toby. Toby will be playing rugby this afternoon as the glorious Leicester Tigers look to cement their supremacy of the Guiness Premiership by steamrollering the <spit!> Saracens. This will take place at that cathedral of dreams, our Lady of Twickers. Some men will be bruised, some may be bloodied. Some will look compelling in that state.
Update: Whose fabulous boys pulled off a 33-27 victory? I’m not saying anything but RAWR!

Bad sex. Not my own, rather other people’s. Reading through Jezebel’s 10 worst sex stories makes me feel infinitely better about my awkward amorous moment. At least I’ve never been caught with a champagne bottle up my rectum.

Bad body art. I have been thinking about getting some more ink done, but I can’t for the life of me figure out why anyone would want to have a unicorn done. I mean, I can be as immature and whimsical as the next person, but really? A unicorn? Surely your flesh deserves better.  If you must have a unicorn tattoo, try not to follow the example of this collection from Damn Cool Pics.

Kermode in full flight. I beg you, if you are in the UK, listen to Mark Kermode give his review of Sex and the City 2: What Fucking Recession? It is truly a thing of beauty, and if it wasn’t against the law, I would be encouraging everyone I know to rip and download a copy for their private enjoyment. It is not just a rant, it is a wholesale dissection of the philosophy behind the movie and the doublethink required to enjoy it. Please go listen to it now, before iPlayer consigns it to oblivion. Fun begins 1hour 38 minutes in.
Update: I have managed to find two videos of Kermode’s rant on YouTube, thanks to user ‘badhead’. It is in two parts, here and here. Hopefully people from outside the UK can now enjoy the schadenfreude.

Coruscating Critique. If you are unfortunate enough not to be able to enjoy the delights of Kermode, you can still enjoy Lindy West’s review of Sex and the City 2: We Don’t Know Any Poor People, which Kermode mentioned and is almost as good. There are mentions of one dried-up vagina, a family of field mice and a cross-dressing Ralph Nader [Who he? ed.], all in the first three paragraphs. Go on, give her the pageviews. She deserves it. Definitely a writer I’ll be looking out for from now on.

Eurovision Song Contest Finals. Yes, I know that some countries have pulled out because they can’t afford it. Yes, I know that most countries don’t want to win because that would mean hosting the whole shebang next year. Yes, I know most of the songs don’t even qualify as being bad enough to be enjoyed “ironically.” And that I will most likely never hear again from any of the acts performing after tonight. But the festival that gave us the delightfully bonkers Ruslana and the epic Lordi always brings the fun. And this year, I’ll be liveblogging it. Join me either here, or on Twitter or on Google Wave (seriously!) from 8pm UK time. I may also pop my head into the Guardian thread. I have enough booze and snacks to see this one to the bitter end.

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Farewell to the Black Pavarotti

Posted by Hussyville on May 26, 2010

Tragic news out of South Africa this evening, with the news that Siphiwo Ntshebe, one of very few black opera stars, has passed away after succumbing to meningitis at the tender age of just 34. Siphiwo had been selected by Nelson Mandela to perform at the opening ceremony of the World Cup, just over three weeks from today.

Coming from very humble beginnings, Siphiwo distinguished himself as a student of acting and drama and was eventually rewarded with a scholarship to the then-Australia-based Cape Town University, and a further postgraduate place at the Royal College of Music. He performed as a tenor throughout Europe and across Africa.

For me, in the period of my life I call “before cigarettes,” Siphiwo was an inspiration, a sign that black people could “do” opera, that I wasn’t necessarily being unrealistic with my dreams of gracing the stage at La Scala (I was; I am a very mediocre alto). It also reminded me that with all the advantages I had growing up, I should never complain when things didn’t go my way, as others had to contend with far more than I ever had or ever would, yet still managed to succeed. Siphiwo was an inspiration, in more ways than one.

So tonight, sadly, a shining light has been snuffed out. Sleep well, sweet prince. You will be missed.

[Image via Siphiwo.org]

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