Diary of an old cheeser

Hi there! Like other blogs, this is my chance to wax lyrical (some might say talk utter cr*p) about a) what's happening in my life b) all of my pet obsessions in particular music, tv, movies, books and other generally connected things, quite often of the retro, old and "cheesy" variety. Hence the title of my blog. Feel free to leave a comment if the mood takes you. There's nothing like a good chinwag about one's favourite topics and besides I love to meet new people! Cheers, Simon

Monday, November 27, 2006

Her Madgesty

Last night my hubbie and I were tres pleased to be watching the televised version of Madonna's "Confessions" concert, live from London. Yes, we are both Madge fans. I agree that the idolatory and iconic status that gets heaped upon her by devotees (a large perecentage of whom are gay men) is a bit OTT at times. Her singing voice, although greatly improved over the years, is not brilliant. I can also well believe all the stories about her being a complete and utter cow, using and exploiting people every which way and f*cking all and sundry (literally and metaphorically) in order to advance her career. Interviews and quotes from others have revealed Madonna to be an ultra-calculating person and power freak who does not suffer fools gladly. A diva in the truest sense of the word.

However, whatever her own personal shortcomings, Madonna's achievements as a pop artiste and perfomer are undeniable and I've been a fan of her music since my teenage years. "Holiday" was one of the first ever singles I bought and I still have my copy somewhere. (My that ages me doesn't it...) Madonna has maintained an uncanny knack for knocking out a damn good pop tune and whilst she did start out producing some fairly disposable, throwaway stuff, she has matured stylistically over time. She's had the sense to keep changing her sound and look whilst somehow holding onto her own sense of uniqueness, the hallmark of a truly enduring artiste. Of course it could easily be argued that this is down to the writers and producers that she's worked with over the years - William Orbit, Mirwais, Stuart Price etc - all of whom have surely enabled her to stay on the cutting edge musically.

Anyway I'm waffling somewhat. As I said one of Madonna's major strengths is as a performer and her live concerts are legendary - dazzling, energetic, theatrical, camp and ultra-inventive with amazing costumes, sets and choreography. Not to mention lashings of lasciviousness and erotica - Madge has always been renowned for her onstage saucy shenanigans. And having never seen her play live, it was always a dream of mine to go to one of her concerts. So last Summer, being the ultra-thoughtful fellow that I am, I finally purchased two tickets to the "Confessions" tour for me and Gustavo! I was besides myself with excitement! Yes I could just about justify the extortionate ticket price and the heart-attack-inducing stress that I went through purchasing them on the internet. After all, Madge is nearly 50 years old, and so this could be one of her last ever tours before she finally hangs up her sequinned leotard... So last August, Gustavo and I headed off to Wembley to see her live and we had a fabulous time. We had quite good seats too.

Hence seeing the concert again last night was a great opportunity to re-live the experience (even if viewing it on a TV screen isn't quite the same as actually being there). The "Confessions" tour bursts with creativity and is split into four sections in which Madonna exhibits a different look / musical style: Equestrian, Religious, Punk, Disco. And here are some of the highlights (well my favourites bits anyway):

"Future Lovers / I Feel Love". The concert opener. A giant mirrorball descends from the ceiling, then opens up to reveal Madonna, dressed in kinky riding gear - jodphurs, boots, riding hat with horse-hair tail and whip. The segue into "I Feel Love" (the old Donna Summer classic) works really well and there's a throbbing, hynoptic electronic sound to the whole thing. Class.

"Live To Tell". Always one of my favourite Madge ballads, she sings this one whilst strapped to giant mirrored cross, wearing a crown of thorns. In the background facts and figures about the impact of AIDS appear on video screens.

"Music / Disco Inferno". A totally brilliant and inspired fusion of the Madonna song and the old Trammps disco classic. Rollerskaters perform death-defying stunts whilst Madonna appears on a video screen in a red shimmery disco dress and as a Charlie's Angels-style silhouette. Then real-life Madge appears, flanked by two female dancers, all of them dressed in John Travolta-style white flared suits. Whilst the rollerskaters continue to zoom all over the stage, Mrs Ritchie throws lots of disco moves, the whole thing being an updated homage to "Saturday Night Fever". The mash-up of the two songs works perfectly and is my favourite, jump-up-out-of-your-seat-and-boogie-moment from the concert. I really hope it comes out on CD!

"Hung up". A thrilling finale to the show with Madonna in glittery purple leotard, leggings and shades, hyping the crowd up to the max.

All in all, a stunning show and I can't wait for it to be released on DVD. Even the non-Madonna fans amongst you would be amazed by it, mark my words. And she shows no signs of flagging so maybe she won't be hanging up her concert cap just yet, in spite of my earlier suppositions. Perhaps we will get to see her performing "Erotica" in a zimmer frame after all. It could put a whole new kinky spin on being an OAP.


  • At 5:33 am , Blogger TimeWarden said...

    I have to confess to buying “Holiday” as well. I bought it the same day as Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” and have never understood why Ms Lauper didn’t become the more successful of the two (I’d understood why The Runaways weren’t more successful than Blondie; because they didn’t write such good tunes, regardless of my preference for the all-girl band!).

    “Holiday” was by no means my first single, though. Mine was Tyrannosaurus Rex’s reissue of “Debora”, around a decade earlier, and that was before I even had a turntable to play it on! Of the ones I’ve heard, I would say Madge’s most mature record is the “Like a Prayer” album.

  • At 11:04 am , Blogger Lost Boy said...

    Shame they cut the slow ones and 'Lucky Star' out of the TV edit, though.

  • At 10:58 pm , Blogger Old Cheeser said...

    Timewarden - thanks for your response. My goodness those singles date you, don't they!! (Oooh! Pardon my cattiness!)True though that Cyndi didn't quite enjoy the mega-stardom that Madonna has, nevertheless she has produced some interesting and unusual songs over the years (and her "Twelve Deadly Cyns" album is a great example of her output).

    I agree, "Like A Prayer" is undoubtedly one of Madge's best albums and was a turning point in her career - it has more depth than anything she ever did before but stills retain an excellent pop sensibility. J'adore "Till Death Do Us Part", "Cherish", "Dear Jessie", "Pray for Spanish Eyes"...

    Lostboy - yes the concert was quite heavily edited, but apparently the DVD will include everything! Hoorah!

  • At 2:19 am , Blogger matty said...

    I always say, "I don't want to like Madonna, but she just FORCES me to love her!"

    ...and no one puts on a show like The Material Girl.

    Very smart.

    Very stylish.

    I just love her.

    ...tho, Barbra is my gay diva of choice.

  • At 6:08 am , Blogger TimeWarden said...

    I am indeed dated! Though it doesn't feel like it, let's just say I've a few years in me before reaching the big "Hawaii Five-O"!!

  • At 8:35 pm , Blogger Old Cheeser said...

    Matt - re: Queen Madge, you are absolutely right. And I think even non-fans have to confess a grudging admiration for her, I know what you mean.

    And as for Barbra as number one gay diva - WHAT a surprise!! Not!! I loved her in "What's Up Doc" though.

    Time Warden - exactly, you are as young as you feel, of course! Apparently life begins for me in a few years time - so figure out how old that makes me. Shame we don't have a TARDIS to whisk us back a couple of decades eh? Then again if we met our past selves it could trigger the Blinovitch time effect .... noooo!!

  • At 12:40 pm , Blogger Minge said...

    See more Madonna here:


  • At 7:00 pm , Blogger Old Cheeser said...

    Minge - oh my goodness! What's Madge doing in Edinburgh! Who would have thought it? Lovely outfit, darling!

    And singing "What It Feels Like For A Girl" in the style of Arthur Mullard is - different.


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