Guess what? I have experienced a bit of a meteoric rise at my job, which means I am no longer trudging through the underbelly of Google News, now I am overseeing a group of writers who do that trudging for me.
This in turn means that I no longer come home feeling like the last thing I want to do is write something on a computer screen. Which hopefully means that I will be doing more blogging and creative writing. Thank you Gay Black Jesus, for your help at work.
So here it is, my first of what I hope will be many more blog posts this year.
Marina and the Diamonds Changed My LIFE
Digging through the catacombs of my email, I found a note I had written to myself long ago. It was a brief email, simply titled “Look Into this Band.” In the body of the email, there was only one artist: Marina and the Diamonds.
I was on a hunt for good, new music, so I typed in the title into Google. This is what I got back. Sit back and be amazed, please.
HOLY CRAP. That was a SWEET VIDEO and an equally satisfying song. Who is this amazing chick?
Her name is Marina Lambrini Diamandis. She is Welsh and hot and young. Her last name means Diamonds, and though she sounds like she has a band, she is the mastermind behind her music. The Diamonds, she explains, are her fans. Her whole album is amazing – and though she only has the one record, The Family Jewels, she has created several enchanting and really freaking weird music videos. Like this one:
What is up with those blue legs and arms? I am simultaneously frightened by them and in love with them.
So what did I do when I found out about Marina? I immediately emailed a bunch of people who I knew would appreciate her musical prowess and unique style as much as I did. And was I right! Many of my friends jumped on board, and my good pal from high school, Leah, did a little research and found out that Marina was performing at the Paradise Rock Club, right in my very own city!
Marina is a combination of many of my favorite artists, with a beautiful twist that is all her own. She is Amanda Palmer, Regina Spektor, The Pretenders, Florence Welch, Feist and just a spattering of Lady Gaga. But there is something about her, too, that seems to call out to a very specific subset of the population – but more on that later.
Tickets were hastily purchased by myself, Leah and a number of other people I am friends with/work with. We ventured to the concert, which was at a relatively small venue, and I began to feel very strange.
I am a pretty calm guy – and while there are certain musicians that I become obsessed with, it is very rare for me to go crazy at a concert. Honestly, I prefer most concerts to last about one hour – and I never need an opening band. I just can’t sit and listen to music for that long, even if the music is rockin. I am definitely not the type to get out-of-my-mind thrilled or physically amped up at a concert, but as I have said before Marina and the Diamonds has changed my life.
I was growing anxious, and I could not shut up about what I loved about Marina. The list is long – her lyrics are funny, smart and deeply telling; her tunes are a catchy hybrid between pop and peculiarity; her style is so out of this world that it’s clear to me she is a quirky, fun and intelligent person. She’s really hot – universally so – men and women, gay and straight alike have spoken to me about her allure. What is not to love about this woman? Nothing, I tell you. Nothing is not to love.
Let me diverge for a moment here and talk about her lyrics. She is an incredible writer, and manages to pull open truths as though they were loaves of warm and healthy bread. Some of my favorite lyrics are found in the song Oh No, which also has a sexcellent video:
I managed to make it through the pretty good opening band still relatively under control, but I lost my shit when Marina got on stage. She was preceded by her band, a group of very attractive, potentially homosexual boys.
Then she appeared. And she was wearing a very sexy, little-girl-in-mommy’s-clothes 50’s housewife dress with clear high heels adorned with pink poofs. I was floored.
I began to blabber, nearly incoherently, about how much I loved her. My feelings for the woman on stage, whom I had never met, mind you, went from intense fascination to a slightly concerning need to befriend and protect all that is Marina.
And I wasn’t alone. As I listened to the crowd scream out in delight, I realized something – the vast majority of people at this concert weren’t girls like Marina or straight guys who think she’s hot or even the ubiquitous Boston hipsters – they were boys just like me.
Something about Marina called out to gay boys in a way that is unexplained by science. What is it about her that makes gay men so obsessed? My guess is that it’s her confident sense of style coupled with music that contains sensitive lyrics. The fact that she could be our adorable little sister helps too.
Coming upon this realization, I began to wonder if Marina intended to reach out to gay men, or if it was a happy mistake. I say happy mistake, because having a gay following is a lucrative thing, no matter what type of artist you are. Keep that in mind, Repubs.
Throughout the course of the concert, Marina would disappear off stage to change costumes. This was a tiny venue with almost no back stage, as far as I could tell, and she is the ONLY artist I have seen there who has done this. She also had some awesome visual footage going on behind her on a screen, again something that was difficult given the space, and something that only she has done in my experience at Boston’s Paradise Rock Club.
Marina appeared later in a pair of SPARKLING pajamas. That’s right, blue stripped pajamas with sequins all over them. Unheard of. She also wore a Mary-Anne-from-Gilligan’s-Island get up, but nothing could prepare us gay concert-goers for her final costume – a yellow leather cheerleading outfit. PERFECTION.
Apparently, her cheerleader-ness wasn’t an isolated event. She had a 1980s video of a complicated cheerleading competition playing in time with one of her songs while she performed. Also this:
Which brings me to the subject of…
Marina’s Tambourine Antics
Like many gay nerds, I love the tambourine. It’s one of the few instruments my delayed motor skills can handle, and it’s silliness and routes in Gypsy culture only make it that much more appealing. I love when an artist picks up this jangly, sparkly music-maker while rocking out on stage, and my Marina delivered.
But there was something that Marina did with her tambourine is truly the impetus for saying that Marina has changed my life. Marina would bang on that tambourine for a few beats, and then, without warning, she would cast it aside, as if it were a scorned sexual partner or a rabid animal that had been nipping at her beautiful fingers.
I’m not sure if Marina was even aware of the way she so authoritatively tossed her tambourine, but I sure was, and so were my concert-companions. It was as if she was saying, “I’ve gotten everything out of you that I need, tambourine, and now I’m done with you. BE GONE.”
After the concert, while I was still very high on Marina, I was discussing this peculiar trait with my good friend Elizabeth. Together, we made a pact to take Marina’s treatment of tambourines to heart, and use it as a therapeutic method in our day-to-day lives.
Now, when I encounter something that had served its purpose and is no longer useful, be it a co-worker, a meal or, best of all, a rotten emotion, I imagine I am Marina. I toss the emotion or whatever I am imagining is my tambourine aside.
“Be gone with you, Jealousy! You’re done here.”
“I’m full of you, be gone, Grilled Cheese.”
You get the picture. It works very, very well. I urge you to fall for Marina, and then employ this tactic yourself.
What I found in Marina is better than a talented and creative artist. It’s better than an attractive singer and songwriter. What I found was a sincere connection between what comes out of her head and what makes me want to live on Earth. While I admit that, sadly, Marina has no idea who I am, her music affected me in a way that only one other artist has – Aimee Mann. But that was a long time ago, when I was a depressed high schooler.
Now I have Marina, who is perfect for the 20-something gay man. And she may be perfect for you. Keep singing, Marina, for the love of god keep singing.