Dear friends, it is a deeply worried Foggy that types at you this evening.
It has come to my attention that a flamewar of atrocious, vicious cruelty is musically erupting in our midst.
I have no idea who this woman is, where she may be, if she’s alive, dead or merely undecided, if she’s living in a cardboard box on the streets or in a exponentially more expensive blingified concrete box in Dubai. I’ve no clue as to what the hell she’s supposed to have done, but nothing could conceivably justify what threatens to be a sustained and coordinated assault. It’s simply uncivilised. If she lives, and if she’s plugged into the musical zeitgeist, I dare say she’s hurting bad. It must seem to her that she’s living in a cruel, uncaring, hostile world. This has me deeply concerned. I feel some steps must be taken to push back this tidal bore of bile. And perhaps rescue this poor soul from this aggression.
This woman is getting more beef than Biggie Smalls. And I’m not talking about steak here – though god knows Biggie was called Biggie for a reason. Ah yes, we’ve seen this before, the whole East Coast/West Coast Rap feud – which bore all the hallmarks of a goldrush-era hillbilly clanwar but with less than half the rationality. But with considerably more G-Funk. Musicians have been gunned down in their dozens for insults one tenth of a percent as blatent as Lorraine gets every hour, of every day, for years as far as I can determine. I simply have not been able to fully chart how far down the rabbit hole goes. I hazard a guess that we’re looking at a great deal of potential subsidence damage to properties above. It’s bloody deep, that’s the gist of what I’m trying to get across here. Okay. Placing things in perspective, Mr. Smalls was in no way a spring chicken, the man was more than capable of looking after himself. In what has to be admitted is a music scene with a Neanderthal attitude towards homosexuality, Biggie had the courage, the confidence and the dignity to broadcast his gayness loud and proud by covering the gayest single ever released in human history, a tune where the camp is turned all the way up to 11. Not 10, all the way up to 11. Diana Ross. I’m coming out. It must have taken massive courage, balls of steel no less, to jam along to that while Ross frequently interjected with the self-explanatory exclamation ‘I’m comin!’ followed by a loaded pause before concluding with: ‘out.’ Cheeky. Very cheeky. Biggie Smalls was a player of the game. He brooked no compromise, dodged no meal, no matter how big. He lay into musical rivals. A bit. We’re talking flappy hands, pulling hair and scratching here, bitching. Handbags! Hardly a bloodfeud. Nowhere was anybody – as I understand the affair – ever spending thirty years of their life preparing to avenge the slaying of their dear Papa. Nope. No Diego Montoya to be seen anywhere.
Biggie Smalls is incontrovertably, entirely and completely dead as a rock. They gunned him down. So read on.
I’m in the midst of compiling a dossier. This dossier will need no hint of sexing up. I do not anticipate any problems with the BBC on this – I will not, I feel, be forced to dismiss the Director General over this matter. I will not be bitch-slapping the Corporation silly up and down the law courts. I’m not a deceitful, cowardly, manipulative warmongering bully. I’m not Her Majesty’s Government. This one’s going straight down the middle.
While my dander’s still up, I’ll lay before you a couple of typical examples of what my vigil has established. The list is running in the thousands already. I merely wish to expose the tip of the iceberg, if you’ll indulge me.
Item A. A notorious example. I Can’t Stand Lorraine, originally written and performed by one Anne Peebles in 1973. Subsequently covered and re-released no less than seven times over the subsequent decade, ranging from Humble Pie in’74 and in a disco mix from Eruption in 1978, reaching number 18 in the US charts at that time, to Tina Turner in 1984 in her Private Dancer LP, and then in 1985 as a single, adding insult to insult in a frankly reprehensible double-deuce. Even Seal managed to swing his boot in as part of his 2008 album Soul. Though one gathers nobody noticed at the time. Credit is due to Missy Elliot, who used a sample of the song as the chorus to her 1997 debut single Lorraine (Supa-dupa-fly), getting one back in for the girls. Sadly, it was no less of a steaming pile of shit despite this.
Hopefully you’re all beginning to grasp the scale of this thing.
Item B. One of the worst repeat offenders of them all, with the original release followed by an improbable twenty-five cover versions from performers ranging through Barney the Dinosaur, Hugh, Pugh, Barney and the rest of that rabble, Tom, Dick, Harry, Rod, Jane, Freddy, Des O’Connor, Winston Churchill, Lady Diana, uncle Tom Cobley, one man and his dog, John Doe, Lord Lucan, Admiral Horatio Nelson, Freddy Krueger, the Queen Alien, Nelson Mandela, Mother Theresa of Calcutta, Sean Connery, Micheal frickin Bolton, Billy Crystal, Neil Armstrong & Buzz Aldrin and the entire original cast of Fame! This song featured in the soundtrack to Cool Runnings. It is more widespread than monotheism. More ubiquitous than broadcaster of the apocalypse Piers Morgan.
It is, of course, the 1972 Johnny Nash release I Can See Clearly Now (Lorraine Has Gone), a thorough hatchet job of a song with well-known lyrics overtly suggesting that Lorraine was in some way a navigation hazard, and even more fancifully actually occluded the sun. For shame, Johnny Nash! Given this exposure, I’m stunned that nobody has been struck by this before. Fear not though, let’s push on.
Small crumbs of comfort are scattered about. Billy Myers late ’90s abortion Kiss Lorraine was substancially more affectionate towards the mystery lady. Sadly enough this was more than offset by an unfortunate drawback. It was piss-poor. Garbage. No cover versions anywhere in sight, and nor will there be. More significantly, this track is not played six times every hour by Heart FM, a radio station that stretches credulity to breaking point with it’s hysterical positioning statment ‘more music variety’. This is only true if by which they mean more musical variety than looping the same song over and over and over and over again, for ever. They’ve come close to this, but not quite. Nothing I have yet seen rivals the Daily Express in its claim to be ‘THE GREATEST NEWSPAPER IN THE WORLD’. That’s grabbing journalistic integrity by the hojos and yanking them clean off.
Back on topic.
The real tradegy here is that once there was a time when things were so much better. Clearly this was a radically happier stage in Lorraine’s life, though it does give some clue to her age. Gene Kelly and the incomparably chirpy Singin’ in Lorraine. Awww! How sweet. Gene said it himself – ‘what a wonderful feeling’. Rather full-on for those times as well. Still, in some ways quite odd. I’d be put off if my sexual partner started serenading me a capalla-style in the middle of the act. I’d err on the side of caution and chuck on a Marvin Gaye mix. Or as an off-the-wall alternative, perhaps Provokiev. Whatever floats her boat is fine by me. Still, what consenting adults do to each other behind closed doors is none of my business. Unless there’s a filmcrew there as well. Then I’m more than interested.
I’d close this post by appealing to anybody out there – If you know Lorraine, if you know of her, if you know where she might be found, if you are her, even, please, please get in touch with me as soon as you can. Together we’re gonna straighten this whole thing out.