Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Songwriters Masterclass: Lady Gaga

Welcome to part 2 of Songwriters Masterclass, an exciting new series where I sit down with some of the most outstanding and influential songwriters of our time to discuss their craft.

Today I’m thrilled to be joined by Lady Gaga.  Arguably the most talented and unique performer to emerge this century, Gaga has written a string of hits including ‘Poker Face’, ‘Bad Romance’ and ‘Edge of Glory.’

Flexi:   Gaga, welcome to the Songwriters Masterclass.  It’s an honour to meet you.

Gaga:   Yes, it is.  Hence the title:  Lady.

Flexi:   Forgive me.  Lady Gaga, many people feel that ‘Born This Way’, which is also the name of your new album, is your defining and, perhaps, most important song.  Would you agree?

Gaga:   Yes.  I think ‘Born This Way’ sums up the whole birth experience for a lot of people.  

Flexi:   How so?

Gaga:   Well, I mean I came out head first, so I was born ... (touches her head then points forward) this way.  Do you remember which way you were born?

Flexi:   I’m not sure.  Probably head first, like you.

Gaga:   You see.  It’s kind of a universal thing.  People can relate to me, that’s why my little monster fans are so devoted.

Flexi:    Lady Gaga, a lot of people have suggested that ‘Born This Way’ sounds very similar to Madonna’s song ‘Express Yourself’.  Would you agree?

Gaga:    Absolutely.  My people are going to have to talk to her people about it.
Flexi:   To organise some sort of royalty payment?

Gaga:   That’s right.  I mean, don’t get me wrong, it’s very flattering that another artist would want to copy me, but hey - credit where credit’s due, if you know what I’m sayin’.

Flexi:   Surely you’re not suggesting that Madonna copied ‘Born This Way’?   ‘Express Yourself was released in 1989.  You would have only been three years old.

Gaga:   (shrugs)  I’m one of the most influential songwriters of our time.  Your words.

Flexi:   Thank you Lady Gaga, I think we’ll leave it there.

Gaga:  Why the poker face?   Did I say something wrong?

I hope you enjoyed part 2 of Songwriters Masterclass.  Please join me next time when I’ll be gettin’ down with R&B superstar, Jason Derulo.

Desperately seeking Mr Spellcheck

'Allow me to introdunce myself'.'  Oh dear, did I just make myself look stupid? That eloquent introduction came from a profile I spotted on an internet dating site.  You see, I had decided to try online dating and I was spending some time on the site, getting a feel for the kinds of people who were on there.  It didn’t take me long to realise that the search for a perfect partner isn’t about common interests, physical attraction or even compatibility.  Oh no.  When it comes to looking for love online, it’s all about the typos. 

It seemed there was no limit to the ways in which language could be mangled, and meaning misrepresented.  Now, I’m as open-minded as the next girl, but I draw the line at ‘pubic displays of affection.’  And who on earth would want to meet somebody ‘well-manured’?  Don Burke, perhaps?  Judging by the number of people who enjoy ‘winning and dinning’, there’s nothing better than jubilantly banging saucepan lids together.   Or perhaps you’re more of a ‘homobody’, in which case you’re possibly on the wrong site.  

Considering that the internet dating profile is your opportunity to present yourself at your absolute best, it was staggering how many seemed to be thrown together without even a quick check-over.  And then there were the letters...
The first man who contacted me wrote this:  ‘Good mourning!’  I thought:  Good grief!  Another told me I was ‘whitty.’  I know I’m short but he didn’t have to rub it in.  And on it went.  One chap was 'hardwokking’ - I pictured him relentlessly stir-frying - while the next led a ‘petty busy life’, which I took to mean he ran around all day doing bugger all.  Yet another wrote that he was ‘gaol oriented’, which is not something I’d be bragging about, although he seemed a step up from the guy who was looking for his ‘parter in crime’, which obviously meant he just wanted someone to drive the getaway car.  But the one email that sticks in my mind and still makes me shudder, was from a man who wrote, ‘I like cooking cars girls and motorbikes.’ I imagine he's currently 'assisting police with their enquiries'.

In time I became despondent.  Was I, like so many others on the site, ‘searching in vein’?  Looking for blood in all the wrong places?  Then suddenly it hit me:  I am ‘self-deficient’ - I don’t need a man to ‘compleat me’ and fold me tight.  And that’s when he found me.   Mr Write:  ‘I am 33 old Polish men looking for a good woman.’  Hurray!  One for each night of the month and a couple left over to take out the garbage.  

Monday, 5 December 2011

Songwriters Masterclass: Justin Bieber

Introducing the Songwriters Masterclass, an exciting new series where I sit down with some of the most outstanding and influential songwriters of our time to discuss their craft.

First up is Justin Bieber, a talented young virtuoso who captured the world's imagination with such timeless classics as 'One Time', 'Never Say Never', and, of course, 'Baby'.

Flexi:   Justin, welcome to the Songwriters Masterclass. You've had a number of hits, but I think most people, when they hear the name 'Justin Bieber', automatically think of 'Baby'.

Justin:   I took the paternity test. It ain't mine. I got nothin' else to say about it.

Flexi:   I meant your hit song. I think it would be fascinating to deconstruct your creative process.

Justin:    Huh? So, like, I'm in the studio with my producers, and they're playing me this track ... (starts singing) 'You know you love me, I know you care, blah blah blah'.

Flexi:   You have a lovely voice.

Justin:   Thanks. So they're like 'what do you reckon for the chorus?' and I was like 'baby, baby, baby.'

Flexi:   Oh.

Justin:   Exactly. And then, you know, you gotta have a rhyme - it's like poetry and stuff - so then I'm like 'baby, baby, baby, no.' See? I rhymed 'oh' with 'no'.

Flexi:   Genius. Well Justin, unfortunately we're out of time -

Justin:  (bursting into song) 'Me plus you I'ma tell you one time, me plus you I'ma tell you one time, me plus you I'ma tell you one time, one time, one time.'

Flexi:    Er, Justin, actually that was three times.

Justin:    Whatever.

I hope you enjoyed the first episode of Songwriters Masterclass. Please join me next time when I share a cup of tea and chew the creative fat with Lady Gaga.

Monday, 28 November 2011

The difficult second post

I have a cold. They're common, I know, which is why I didn't think anything of popping into the chemist for some medication.  At the counter I asked the pharmacist for cold and flu tablets - the ones that apparently help you 'soldier on'.
After a lengthy sizing up, during which I dutifully sneezed, sniffled and coughed, she reluctantly placed a small packet of tablets on the counter.  I could tell she still didn't fully trust me with them though, because then she said, ''May I see your driver's licence?''

Really? I need a driver's licence to buy a packet of cold tablets?  What's next?  A polygraph test?

Pharmacist: Why do you want to buy cold and flu tablets?

Me (wired up): I have a bad cold. My nose is stuffy and I feel feverish.

Pharmacist (looking smug): Oh, is that so? Well, would you mind explaining to me then why the sensors just detected increased perspiration?

I should have quit while I was ahead, taken the contraband and run, but something made me press on and ask, ''Also, do you have a sugar-free lozenge that will help my cough?''

Well that did it. From the pharmacist's stupefied expression, you'd think I had asked for a lozenge that would give me a sex change. Thinking a joke might help lighten proceedings, I quipped, ''I need something to suck at bridge - other than my card play!''

She sighed and marched around to the front of the counter. She was clearly befuddled, and not a little put out by my request. ''A lozenge …?''

''Ah, yes. If it's not too much trouble.''

''A cough …?''

''Well I have this tickle, you see,'' I cleared my throat delicately to demonstrate.

She stood grimly before the vast array of medicated lozenges and I could tell it was hopeless.  I had set her an unsolvable conundrum. It was like watching a fly hurling itself endlessly at a pane of glass, right next to an open window. She pulled out, examined and put back box after box, then gave up and passed me a pack of Soothers with extra honey.

''Um … sugar-free, if possible,'' I mumbled apologetically, and threw in a few extra coughs for good measure.

Finally, she grabbed the last packet on the end of the shelf and handed it to me in resignation. ''This is the best I can do.''

I glanced at the front of the box: Sugar-free cough lozenges. ''Thank you,'' I rasped. "You've been most helpful.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Welcome to Poignant Cheese

Moments in the making, I couldn't be prouder as I introduce the brand new blog from Flexicon Productions:


Let's get things started with some FAQs:  

1.   How can you have FAQs if the blog doesn't even exist yet?
A:  I predict this question will come up a lot.

2.  What the hell is poignant cheese?
A:  It's so sharp, it brings tears to your eyes.

3.   Is it ever appropriate to fake-tan your vulva?
A:   Yes.  But do a patch-test first.

4.   I hear you've written a book.  Can you tell us a bit about it?
A:  Certainly!  It's called Virtually Yours.  It's a dramedy about internet dating and deception.  I believe it  is the first book to use thrush in a romantic context. 

 5.   Why has this text turned blue?
A:   I am experiencing technical problems with my font colour changer.  Perhaps it's cold.

6.   What is your blog's mission statement?
A:   Huh?   

7.   Your purpose for existing.  Your goal?
A:   Ah ... I see.  Just a moment please ...      

Ahem.  I seek to inspire and nurture the human spirit.  One person, one cup, and one neighbourhood at a time.

8.   Isn't that Starbuck's mission state--  Unfortunately I seem to have run out of space.  Once again, a big welcome to all my new readers.  Together, let's embrace all that is poignant and cheesy.  (Yes, that includes you, Jack Vidgen).  And don't forget to look out for my new book:  Virtually Unpublishable -  I mean Yours!  Virtually Yours!