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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The radio station where the loyal listeners are chickens

Emma Hills, the head chicken trainer at Giffords Circus, knows what gets them clucking.

“The music is for the chickens, because of course on the night the music is very loud, and so it needs to be a part of their environment from the very start.” Emma Hills, the head chicken trainer at Giffords Circus, is standing in the sawdusty ring under a big top in a field outside Stroud as several rare-breed chickens wander freely around boxes and down ramps. They are the comic stars of the summer 2017 show, and Emma is coaxing them to walk insouciantly around the ring while she plays the early-morning show on Radio 1.

It’s the chickens’ favourite station. There seems to be something about its longueurs, combined with the playlist, that gets them going – if that’s the word. They really do respond to the voices and songs. “It’s a bit painful, training,” Emma observes, as she moves a little tray of worms into position as a lure. “It’s a bit like watching paint dry sometimes. It’s all about repetition.”

Beyond the big top, a valley folds into limestone hills covered in wild parsley and the beginnings of elderblossom. Over the radio, Adele Roberts (weekdays, from 4am) hails her listeners countrywide. “Hello to Denzel, the happy trucker going north on the M6. And van driver Niki on the way from Norwich to Coventry, delivering all the things.” Pecking and quivering, the chickens are rather elegant, each with its fluffy, caramel-coloured legs and explosive feather bouffant, like a hat Elizabeth Taylor might have worn on her way to Gstaad in the 1970s.

Despite a spell of ennui during the new Harry Styles single, enthusiasm resumes as Adele bids “hello to Simon from Bournemouth on the M3 – he’s on his way to Stevenage delivering meat”. I don’t imagine Radio 1 could hope for a better review: to these pretty creatures, its spiel is as thrilling as opening night at the circus. Greasepaint, swags of velvet, acrobats limbering up with their proud, ironic grace. Gasps from beholders rippling wonder across the stalls.

Emma muses that her pupils learn fast. Like camels, a chicken never forgets.

“I’ve actually given up eating them,” she admits. “Last year I had only two weeks to train and it was like, ‘If they pull this off I won’t eat chicken ever again.’ And they did. So I didn’t.” 

Antonia Quirke is an author and journalist. She is a presenter on The Film Programme and Pick of the Week (Radio 4) and Film 2015 and The One Show (BBC 1). She writes a column on radio for the New Statesman.

This article first appeared in the 25 May 2017 issue of the New Statesman, Why Islamic State targets Britain

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