This column originally appeared in the Student Standard volume 1, issue 1 on the 12th February 2013. The Student Standard is NUI Maynooth’s independent new source and can be read online here
published here with kind permission of Keith Broni, editor of the Standard.
Bank Holiday Tuesday 12th February 2013
Another year, another Superbowl Sunday passed with me in bed early, not willing to stay up until 5AM watching the most excruciatingly boring sport known to man (Worse than Cricket, Curling and Lawn Bowls put together because AT LEAST those sports don’t stop for a little rest every every. single. Play) only for the faint promise of nine minutes of Beyonce that I could catch on YouTube the next day. No, I experienced the superbowl the way I also experienced the Late Late show’s debate on marriage equality last week- tucked up in bed with a hot chocolate, following the proceedings via twitter.
Twitter is a great medium for experiencing telly, a crowdsourced annotated commentary of whatever happens to be on. It’s basically watching highlights that are tailored to your own personal tastes- so in my case, the Superbowl coverage I saw was mostly ‘When’s Beyonce on?’ Then hysterical tweets when she actually did come on (SHE’S SO GOOD AT WALKING!) all about the dancing, the costume, the choice of song (‘Baby Boy?’ Really? That song was lame back in 2004. Come on Bey, do Bootilicious, come on-OH MY GOD THEY’RE DOING BOOTILICIOUS) and of course, the fact that Destiny’s child had ‘reunited.’ When really, all that happened was that Bey got her moderately famous backing singers back. I always liked Kelly Rowland. She reached a minor solo peak around 2003 when I first got into pop music. Sadface. Oh wait, now they’re doing single ladies- I have to do Single ladies on this deadly silent train now, excuse me.
The Bey halftime show was a bit of an experience for me, watching it on my phone on the train to Maynooth Monday Morning. It was when I finally sort of ‘got’ Beyonce. We’ve long had a complicated relationship because she just doesn’t really have a lot of songs I can groove to. Bootilicious and Single Ladies are aggressively good and that is Beyonce at her best. Telephone is an over produced masterpiece of pop excess. If I were a boy and her other break up jams always felt a bit flat to me. It never really captures the actual pain of a break-up- they’re more like revenge dreams. I’d theorise that ‘If I were a boy’ is really a dissing of the sort of casual misogyny that’s common in most hip hop and rap.
Beyonce isn’t particularly titillating. She’s too fucking scary to be titillating. Compare some of her earlier videos- writhing on a beach because Sean Paul is just too hot to comprehend (note- it was 2004 after all) in baby boy, to the aggressive dominance of the Single Ladies dance. Single Ladies is an aggressive, iconic song. It’s not sensual- it’s a war cry. She’s strong and she will fucking TRASH YOU in a song if you wrong her. She’s not pandering to sexism so much as sticking a sharp heel through it. Men do fancy her (note-I fancy her. everyone fancies her. don’t lie.) but she’s not for a moment subservient to any man. She consistently out-earns her husband. All you need do to set off any woman born between 1980 and 1993 is to go up to her and ask earnestly ‘Kelly, can you handle this?’. You will be treated to every woman in the vicinity shrieking the lyrics to ‘Bootilicious’ at the tops of their voices.
Which brings me to the title of her new tour- Mrs Carter. Using her husbands name on her solo tour has been a bit… confusing to people who have always seen Beyonce as a strong independent figure. Personally, I had actually forgotten Beyonce had a surname at all. ‘Knowles’ sort of became redundant after Sasha Fierce came out- She’s reached Cher levels of ‘first name only’ recognition. I had also forgotten Jay-Z had a surname either, in fact I just assumed they were monarchs and didn’t have a need for one, you know? Privately, Bey and Jay apparently both hyphenate their names, going as the ‘Knowles- Carter’ family. Bey has said publically that when she’s stressed, she likes to go make love to her husband to chill out. She is one of the most athletic and accomplished dancers of our generation- I’d argue her choreography will define the dance of our generation in the same way Michael Jackson defined the 80s. In the promo for this tour she’s dressed in a Louis the XIV style leotard and a fur cape. She’s Beyonce. LADS. She is Beyonce. Beyonce is allowed name her tour whatever she wants.
Niamh ‘I don’t think you’re ready for this Jelly’ Keoghan
I went into town today, to finally buy my first pair of doc martens. I was going to buy cherry red ones, but in the end I wimped out and went for black. The red is just… too much. You have to be very confident and badass to pull off boots that are going to clash with basically everything, but not clash so much that it looks obvious. There is an art to the cherry red docs. I went with black. After treating myself to lunch, I headed home and rang ahead to let them know I was nigh. ‘Oh yes, I’m just up in Donaghmede.’ says mum. ‘Your dad’s setting up his new telly so steer clear of the sitting room. Da can get awfully cranky when he’s setting up new toys.
Long has it been the same dance- The new toy will be brought home- a long lineage of televisions, VCR players, DVD players, radios, computers and stereos. Each time my dad stares bewildered at the landscape of increasingly complex and digital gadgets. He is a mechanical man at heart. His diagnosis for our slow dial up internet connection was that all the emails were getting ‘stuck in the wires’. So increasingly, he has to take time and care in setting things up. I like taking time and care too, but usually it is a bit frustrating to watch him because hey, I’m a child of the future. I grew up on computers and the internet. I carry a small computer around in my pocket, when you think about it. What I’m saying is, I speak the language. Maybe not very well, but I can get by, order a coffee and buy a train ticket. By contrast, my dad can’t even say ‘thank you.’ My brothers are the same, and in their eagerness to get the toy up and running, they tend to rush dad a bit. Prod him. My dad is a cranky man. he doesn’t like being prodded.
So usually when the new toy arrives that begins hours and hours of snapping, snarling, barking and alpha male posturing as the three men in my house each attempt to out-tech the other- My brothers squabble and try to outdo one another and both gang up on dad. It’s a nightmare. It all gets a bit tense.
I had been expecting roaring when I got home from town so I popped into him to make sure nobody was dead. Dad was alone, halfway through the set up on this spanking new telly. He had just clicked through to the wifi set up. ‘Ah jaysus what’s this?’ ‘Oh that’s the wifi code, dad.’ I say reasonably.’Let me get my laptop and I’ll fetch the code. For the next twenty minutes, my dad and I cordially set up the new telly between us, passing remote controls between us, clicking back and forth until all the settings were correct. Not a voice was raised, not a mistake was made. It was all very nice and gentle. Before long the match was on and dad was happy.
My brother came down from his room just as setup was finished, and within ten seconds of being in the room the barking had begun. Two and half hours later, the sound system is still not working and both the men are hoarse. They won’t even pass the remote control to one another without a screaming match.
So in conclusion- let me help with set up more often.
Niamh ‘I am basically the Pocahontas of Raheny’ Keoghan