acknowledging last night’s incapacity to articulate my feelings about boss hog, i return thus.
there’s a genuine dirtiness to this music. on its own, removed from the context of its production and producers, there’s a lot to like about it. over half of the songs are notably excellent – especially the guitar and bass. winn coma, sick, ski bunny, green shirt, i dig you, what the fuck (which sounds remarkably like the heavy guitar passage in radiohead’s paranoid android, released two years after this), white sand and last song catharsis, sam.
don’t get me wrong, i’m not a puritan or a prude by any conception. but there are things that cross a line when it comes to empowerment versus exploitation. i think this is somewhere near the centre of my anxieties about cristina martinez. from what i could tell, through listening to albums like these, her musical skills weren’t stellar. it worries me that she used other mechanisms to gather the attention she desired/needed. this is a trait i see around me every day – women using their sexuality and bodies to gain attention and notoriety. it’s not a new phenomenon. but it drives me to distraction.
some might argue that what cristina did is simply part of the punk ethic – subverting accepted roles and expectations; of music, performance and women in this case. and i have to give some consideration to whether my objections relate to how revered she was. some of that, i know, had to do with the music. but the reverence was more substantially about her sex. and the gratuitousness of her use of it implied no actual subversion of anything.
am i deluding myself that there’s any possibility a woman could be great at what she does without first being judged on her attractiveness, or reduced to that when all other things are considered equal? in hindsight, she still seems to be too much of an object – especially when good music is far more about genuine subjectivity and examination of the things that make humans what they are.
this is what i meant by broader implications. i can’t just turn off these thoughts when i listen to this album. they are omnipresent.
john king puts this best, from when we had a ‘conversation’ about it a couple of years ago, in the public domain:
way back in ’85 jon and cristina marketed themselves as super sex icons. remember cristina wasn’t in pussy galore at first, she was a 16 yr old girl that couldn’t play guitar, had no real talent or any good reason for getting the job except she was willing to be the nasty, naked, jail bait sex machine. and she peddled that persona for 20 years. always the naked cover girl photos and the ‘i’m the girl your boyfriend wish you had’ persona all the way until a couple years ago when looking good didn’t come easy anymore.
i don’t know where to land.