Belfast Telegraph

Robert McNeill: Not sure about her dress but I think Lady Gaga is offal

I think it's about time someone attempted a rational explanation of the Lady Gaga phenomenon.

However, while we wait for that to happen, I thought I'd have a go. I have history with Gaga. Once, I wrote something about her with my usual authority and, after filing the fluff, mistakenly picked up the impression that she was actually a man who dressed up as a lady.

So I put in an urgent call to the publication I was writing for and said I'd have to change the copy. I explained why.

“She's a transvestite, you see.”

“You mean, he's a transvestite.”

“Who is?”

“She is.”

“I'm sorry, I'm out of my depth now.”

“There's a novelty. Anyway, she isn't a transvestite.”

“Eh? Well, why not?”

So, let's put that one to bed right away. Lady Gaga is, as you might expect, a woman. This week, the pop singer won a clutch of prizes, and turned up to collect them wearing a dress made of offal (below).

Now, most chaps like a bit of meat on their gals, but this was taking things too far. It brought to mind Dick Emery's lady of a certain age and her catchphrase: “Oh, you are offal — but I like you.”

At the weekend, top intellectual Camille Paglia had a go at Gaga, comparing her unfavourably to Mrs Madonna. It was all a bit sour, and the elevation of poppy froth like Madonna to relative cultural validity struck me as the risible attempt of a middle-aged person to pretend she was really down with the kids.

However, a scary picture of the kids who get off on Gaga was presented. They didn't care that she couldn't sing because their own voices had atrophied. “[They] communicate mutely via a constant stream of atomised, telegraphic text messages,” quoth Camille. More than that, Gaga's expressionless phizog didn't bother them, because they don't do expressions, and her awkwardness was fine “because they've abandoned body language in daily interactions”.

Very interesting. Is that really what's happening to the nation's young people? Are they evolving into a new species? Well, good on them, as they couldn't make more of a bags of things than the current species.

All of which takes us far from the music. I confess the authority of my analysis is weakened slightly by the fact that, at the time of going to press, I've never knowingly heard any of her music and couldn't name you one of her tunes. The loss, I feel, is hers.

I'm a follower of progressive rock — now regressive, actually, but who's quibbling? — and gaze only with lofty disdain upon the pop charts.

I cannot recall any song of Madonna's that had a 10-minute organ solo. Pathetic. She hasn't even done one Lord of the Rings concept album.

As for Dame Gaga, her meat-based habiliments have caused the standard furore, with vegetarians in particular doing their roasted nuts. Someone presented her with a bikini made of lettuce which, one imagines, leaves little to the imagination.

Later, Gaga explained: “If we don't fight for our rights, pretty soon we're going to have as much rights as the meat on our own bones.” So, there's a political reason for this? Excellent. Right, I'm off to Dunnes to see if they've any anoraks made of pies.

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