Amanda Palmer vs the Sidebar of Shame (NSFW. You have been warned)

The musician is not a fan of the Daily Mail, it seems.

Amanda Palmer, the former lead singer of the Dresden Dolls whose crowdfunded album made kickstarter history, performed this delightful little number at the Roundhouse in Camden last night. It's called "Dear Daily Mail. Sincerely, Amanda Palmer", and is, er, very not-safe-for-work. You have been warned.

If you have neither the permissive environment nor audio equipment to listen to the video, the lyrics are below. The point isn't quite as forceful, but it still comes across clearly enough:

 

Dear Daily Mail,
It has come to my recent attention,
That my recent appearance at Glastonbury Festival's
Kindly received a mention,
I was doing a number of things on that stage
Up to and including singing songs - like you do!
But you chose to ignore that and instead you published
A feature review of my boob
 
Dear Daily Mail,
There's a thing called a search engine - use it
If you Googled my tits in advance you'd have found
That your photos are hardly exclusive,
In addition you state that my breast had escaped
From my bra like a thief on the run,
How do you know that it wasn't attempting
To just take in the rare British sun?
 
Dear Daily Mail,
It's so sad what you tabloids are doing,
Your focus on debasing womens' appearances
Devolves our species of humans,
But a rag is a rag, and far be it from me,
To go censoring anyone-- oh no,
It appears that my entire body is currently
Trying to escape this kimono!
 
Dear Daily Mail,
You misogynist pile of twats,
I'm tired of these baby bumps, vag flashes, muffintops,
Where are the news-worthy cocks?
When Iggy, or Jagger, or Bowie, go shirtless
The news barely causes a ripple,
Blah blah blah feminist, blah blah blah gender shit,
Blah blah blah OH MY GOD NIPPLE
 
Dear Daily Mail,
You will never write about this night,
I know that because I've addressed you directly
I've made myself no fun to fight,
But thanks to the internet people all over the world
Can enjoy this discourse,
And commune with a roomful of people in London
Who aren't drinking Kool-Aid like yours
 
And though there be millions of people who accept
The cultural bar where you have it at it,
There are plenty of others who are perfectly willing
To see breasts in their natural habitat
I keenly anticipate your highly literate
Coverage of upcoming tours
Dear Daily Mail,
Up Yours.
 

Alex Hern is a technology reporter for the Guardian. He was formerly staff writer at the New Statesman. You should follow Alex on Twitter.

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Breaking the Bond ceiling won’t solve British cinema’s race problems

Anyway, Ian Fleming’s Bond was grotesquely, unstintingly racist. As a character, it’s hardly the highest role available in UK film.

I don’t know which of the following is weirder: the idea that Idris Elba is the only black British actor, the idea that James Bond is the highest role available in UK film, or the idea that only by putting the two together can we be sure we have vanquished racism in our entertainment industry and in our hearts. I almost feel for Anthony Horowitz, who ballsed up the Elba question in an interview with the Mail on Sunday to promote his newly-authored Bond adventure, Trigger Mortis.

He even had another black actor (Adrian Lester) lined up as his preferred Bond to demonstrate that it really wasn’t “a colour issue”, but in the end, calling Elba “too street” sounded too much like a coded way of saying “too black”. By Tuesday, Horowitz had apologised for causing offence, thereby fulfilling his anointed role in the public ritual of backlash and contrition.

Whether Elba would make a good Bond depends a great deal on what your vision of Bond is. Elba is handsome, and he’s capable of exquisitely menacing composure – something more in evidence as Stringer Bell in The Wire than in his stompy title role in Luther. He can do violence of the sudden sociopathic sort. All of this puts him in good stead to do a kind of Bond: not the elegant killer gliding on a haze of one-liners, but something closer to the viciously alluring bruiser of Sean Connery. Something like the ur-Bond, the Fleming Bond.

The only thing is that the Fleming Bond is also grotesquely, unstintingly racist and in hock to a colonial past he wishes had never ended. “I don’t drink tea,” he tells a secretary in Goldfinger (ungraciously, since she’s just made him a cup). “I hate it… it’s one of the main reasons for the downfall of the British Empire.” Bond has always been a bit of a has-been. Even in his first adventure, he’s a tired and slightly ragged figure: past it from the start, an emblem of wistfulness for a time when everyone knew their proper place and an Eton-educated murderer could sit comfortably at the top of the heap.

“This country right-or-wrong business is getting a little out-of-date,” he maunders in Casino Royale. “History is moving pretty quickly these days and the heroes and villains keep changing parts.” In the end, the only thing that saves Bond from this alarmingly unpatriotic attack of relativism is that he lacks the imagination to do anything apart from booze, smoke, fuck, and kill the people he’s told to kill. “A wonderful machine,” his colleague Mathis calls him, and this is exactly what Bond is: a beautifully suited self-propelling module for the propagation of white male supremacy.

One of his primary work-related pleasures is seeing that anyone non-white is “[put] firmly in his place, which, in Bond’s estimation, was rather lower than apes in the mammalian hierarchy.” In Live and Let Die, black people are essentially voodoo-addled amoral children, and the civil rights movement is a front for a Russian assault on the western world. Women, meanwhile, exist to be obliterated, the foils to Bond’s marvellous virility. Bond’s favourite kind of sex has “the sweet tang of rape”, and the women he does it to (never really “with”, because that would imply some kind of reciprocity) are “bitches” or “girls”, but utterly disposable either way.

He’s also not quite as glamorous as you think. Yes, there are luxury cars and card games and elaborate dinners, but Bond is a character strung absurdly between heroism and bathos. He saves the world, but he’s also the office bore delivering lectures on hot beverages to junior staff, and even a license to kill cannot save him from the terrible frustrations of the road system around Chatham and Rochester, which Fleming describes as unsparingly as any piece of weaponry. The accidental Partridge has nothing on the deliberate Bondism.

I suspect that Fleming would piss magma at the thought of Idris Elba playing Bond – almost a compelling reason to want the casting, but it doesn’t explain why there is such an obsession with redeeming a spirit-soaked, fag-stained, clapped-out relic of Britain’s ghastly rapaciousness. Nor does it explain why any good actor would want the role. It’s true that a black Bond would not be Fleming’s Bond, and thank Christ for that. Every rotten thing the character is, means and stands for should by rights explode on contact with postcolonial twenty-first century Britain.

Sarah Ditum is a journalist who writes regularly for the Guardian, New Statesman and others. Her website is here.