Oooh you handsome devil!


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I came across this really funny thread on the RWD forums the other day. I've tried to track it down again, but I'm afraid I can't link to it. I nearly split me sides over this one.

A punter started a thread asking if anyone would be able to post a picture of JME. The moderator descended on this (quite young looking dude judging by his avatar) and generally took the mick out of the guy for being a "poofta" Saying was he going to be spunking all over his monitor if he posted the image? A few other people chipped in and had a go too. The guy seemed to take it quite well and it basically ended with all parties having a joke together.

I'm presuming the young guy was just curious to see what JME looked like, and of course so what if he DID fancy JME, but it did make me think that the new MC star-led culture, which in the UK is a break from nearly 20 years of practically faceless street music, does present a sexual problematic. These big MCs have "problematic" charisma for men. It was well funny, on the other hand to see all these girls going mad for the MCs the other day at Stratford. Blissblogger commented at the time it was like Beatlemania.

More broadly it strikes me that male charisma usually prompts extreme squeamishness these days amongst other men, particularly among white men. Perhaps this is the reason that electronica and dance music have come to thrive. Their unproblematic facelessness is kind of comforting and unintrusive. However this strikes me as a real shame. I like all the "tribal" trappings of clothes and hair and make-up that go hand-in-hand with actually presenting people. Furthermore it always amuses me that girls can be so casual about looking at images of other women. Elle, Vogue etc are literally directories stuffed full of pictures of other women, and yet women don't necessarily question their sexuality when it comes to (quasi-objectively) appraising other women's attractiveness, and crucially charisma.

Poisonally I feel quite comfortable with my sexual orientation and it seems sort of weird that one can't reflect that another man has "a look" or "charisma" without being afraid of what other people will think about one. I mean, maybe I'm letting slip some repressed feelings, but truly I don't think so.

So anyway, I had a quick rummage through my records and came up with these two images (one of Edwyn Collins, the other Edu Lobo) which I thought one couldn't possibly but reflect upon: "Hmm he looks like a cool dude."

To be henceforth referred to as WOEBOT's "Gay Post"


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also being confident in my "heterosexual modernism" i concur with my courageous colleague Woebot here about the important (if usually) unspoken role of male pulchitrude in the attachments one forms with bands.... like part of what Echo & The Bunnymen cool was the sheer dazzling beauty of Ian McCulloch, especially as it seemed to fit the music in some way, the nobility of the sound and his voice given physical form

the absence of it doesn't detract from the music if it's great (eg. husker du looked like slobs, grubs) but it does add something to the package.... the fact that Green was glamorously thin and wore eyeliner in the early days... the gorgeousness of Mackenzie & Rankine

i think a big part of the cult of the Smiths was a sort of aesthetic crush felt by their mostly hetero, mostly male following towards Morrissey (which seems weird now that he looks like such a bruiser, a bouncer almost)

talking of which, Bruza's a striking looking chap... very slim... a dainty mover on stage, totally unlike the way his voice moves

Riko, judging by his appearance in Risky Roadz, has got a definite glow, a magnetism


manos de piedra
as far as white males are concerned (or maybe i should say non-black males) the visual importance of a band is still alive and well in METAL-

i have to admit i was a metalhead up to the first half of my teenage years- with posters of leather-clad black sabbath and (gulp) spandex-clad iron maiden on my walls...


The pix in Run the Road are funny though, cos about half the MCs (eg. Demon, Ears, most of Roll Deep) look really uncomfortable, vulnerable, and unmasculine in front of the camera. Which is pretty cool actually, but it's a totally different kind of charisma from what you're getting in the music. And the Bruza picture is fantastic.


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the pic of D Double E is weird cos it's bizarrely close up and he's all sweaty

but the couple of times i've seen him in the flesh he's actually really dainty and elegant and looks like he'd be incapable of perspiring

Randy Watson

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carlos said:
as far as white males are concerned (or maybe i should say non-black males) the visual importance of a band is still alive and well in METAL-
Axl Rose was a striking young man and I hated the band but Sebastian Bach of Skid Row too. Skid Row were responsible for the worst night of my life :mad:

Futile to deny that these things count when bands are establishing themselves and there is a clear distinction between looks and charisma.
i'm fascinated by clothes & looks, and the obvious link between personality on the mic and appearance; lethal b's bugs bunny jumpers, dee's pristine addidas zip ups, wiley's hats etc. then the ratty nasal voices, precise snake like flows + slender wiry frames/booming cumbersome bellows + rotund, heavy-weight chests & arms. the way say kano will kind of glide daintily around the riddim where hyper just pummels into it.

i always thought trim sounded like a big guy but i understand he's actually quite er, trim.

here's something i wrote a while back about rolldeep where i attempted to describe the mcs cadence's as mcs with what kind of fitted caps they wear

i don't think i fancy any of them. but i get the cool dude bit. you can definitely tell who you'd buy drugs off or go for a pint with and discuss stephen crane though.
obviously this extends to all genres of music, but it's most interesting to me in rap, especially grills. like, one tiny often obscured part of someones appearence becomes the ultimate status & personality signifier. juicy j of three 6 mafia with his platinum dracula fangs (he worships the devil), trick daddy's dirty jagged gold grill and the now legendary SSHHHHH! picture, cham had clear ice on his teeth once ("Mouth glassy, lookin' like I swallowed a mirror/Gotta brush my teeth with windex to see my ice more clearer")(his ex partner paul wall used to cut diamond grills and shit, so him and cham would always have the newest cleanest teeth), ghostface's stoic refusal to go platinum, mike jones's icey bars looking like a 32-carrot fucking brace or something, lil flip haveing like "clover land" or something written out on his teeth in multi coloured diamonds. recently you might have seen kelis with her ill helen of troy grill. i mean pretty much all north houston rappers talk about nothing but their grills.

you should read dk's 2005 top 15 grills: for more info he did a better one on ilm a while back but i can't be bothered to find it.
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I find the kind of charisma that operates in live shows, rock or reggae concerts, whatever, quite depressing.

I think I just don't like seeing power operate in this way.

But I don't really mind the kind of mediated charisma that operates through images and popular culture.

Perhaps i find it less threatening, or just less immediate.

Anyway I prefer recorded music to live music, and film to theatre, partly because there isn't this same lived dichotomy between performer and audience which I find strangely unsettling.
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50 cent's paralysed face look is compelling in a weird sort of way
tupac's popularity can't be entirely unrelated to his feminine features and pretty little muscles


I think there may be something in this. This is probably why I never got into theorists - one look at pictures of Zizek, Trotsky, Foucault, Badiou etc and I can't contemplate reading a book by someone who looks so awful. Complete opposite to John Kennedy Toole though (who, funnily enough, almost looks like a proto-Jello Biafra).


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Dan I. said:
so what you're saying then, matt, is that you like to look at men
:) OK here we go! (stifles laughter, rolls up shirt sleeves)

on the way home i got to thinking that the homophobia in dancehall is almost certainly some (stupid) attempt, or over-compensation, to handle the star's charisma in relation to their male audience.

along on the lines of "we're good-looking and charasmatic, but WE SURE AS HELL AINT GAY SO DONT EVEN THINK ABOUT IT"

notwithstanding jamaica's centrury-old social customs of course


Mercury Blues
Ian Brown was always fucking gorgeous - a big part of his appeal (aside from having my favourite singing voice ever). Adds something to the music, definitely, when the singer is attractive/unique/wonderful looking. Yeah, I really do respond well to male beauty, despite being totally hetero. No shame. What can I say? I read i-D inch-by-inch every month. I love looking at beautiful girls, and I love looking at gorgeous boys - Dior Homme/Hedi Slimane, step right up.