Pop,  Rock

How to Unravel a Good Thing: Gary Glitter and Kramer

gary glitter

I was listening to Joan Jett’s radio show on Sirius’ Underground Garage (the brainchild of E Street’s Little Steven). She kicked off the show by spinning an old Gary Glitter tune. This tune comes from 1973’s Touch Me, Glitter’s second release. The album’s biggest hit was “Do You Wanna Touch Me (Oh Yeah)”, which reached number two on the UK charts in January of ’73, and was later covered by Miss Jett in the early 80’s. Another hit on the album was the song I heard this past weekend, “Hello, Hello, I’m Back Again”.

As many or most of you know, Mr. Glitter hasn’t fared too well over the last couple of decades. He was busted for child porn in the UK in the late 90’s, and is now rockin’ and rollin’ away the days in a Vietnamese prison, after being convicted early this year of “obscene acts” with two Vietnamese girls.

So it’s unfortunate that listening to Glitter’s music now immediately makes you think of his misdeeds later in life. It’s a shame that he’s permanently scarred the accomplishments of a successful music career.

kramer

And now, of course, thanks to Michael Richards’ idiotic and hate-filled rant at a recent stand-up gig, he’s helped mar every future episode of Seinfeld I’ll ever watch. The “Seinfeld Curse” has even managed to reach back in time and foul up all of those brilliantly funny episodes. Oh, they’ll still be as hilarious as they’ve always been, but I’ll always see Kramer and think “Ah! Racist idiot!”

Well played, Gary Glitter and “Kramer”, well played!

Gary Glitter: Hello, Hello, I’m Back Again (mp3) – from Touch Me, available on The Ultimate Gary Glitter | eMusic has it too.

I defy you to watch Gary Glitter sing “Another Rock ‘n’ Roll Christmas”, and not think of Gary as a “slimy, sinister git”, as one of the YouTube commenters puts it. But who knows, maybe Gary will be “rockin” your “stockin!”

8 Comments

  • Zack

    Seriously. I try to separate the lives of public figures from their work, but sometimes it’s damn hard. Reminds me of James Brown’s tirade against sampling in the late 1980s, when he didn’t want his music associated with drug use, violence against women, etc. And we know how JB really feels about those issues, right?

    sigh

    I will say that the Glitter album is one great glam disc, though.

  • Jim

    Time to start the controversy!

    Can anyone help me out with this Micael Richards rant? Apparently “exposing us” to the actuall rant is going to permanently damage our psyche or at least will give more air time and repetition to something that should not be said. Therefore no media outlet will replay what was said. Therefore I don’t know what was said. Admittedly I have not researched it, but the actual words are not nearly as available as the opinion about them seem to be.

    Things I think I know:
    + the words were said in a comedy club that serves drinks, so no minors were in the audience (They were all adults there).

    + Comedy is often at the expense of some group (race, religion, weight class).

    + The “offended parties” were heckling him and (in comedy club rules) deserve the most venomous rebuttal as long as it is funny.

    I repeat. I do not know the text. I think I understand the context. Now can someone explain the crime? Did a couple of hecklers in a comedy club get insulted? Is there more to it than that? Was it because “Kramer” said it?

    I have a raunchier taste in comedy than some folks. If Sam Kinison had uttered the same words, to similar hecklers, would this still be a controversy?

    Does Ace cowboy deserve this type of vilification from the Taiwanese community? (No cheap products for you, you disrespect our child labor force!)

    Did Mr. Richards break comedy club rules by ranting without a punchline. This is vital. If there was no punchline it was simply a verbal assault and he should be bounced like any drunk from the audience.

    Is it a protected group problem? If the prior comedian on stage had heckled some drunk white guys, would the same controversy be bringing this much attention? As a white middle class guy, I expect a large dose of racial rancor when watching a Russel Simmons Production or Spike Lee Joint. Was this different or are we making an exception for a group? Are we treating these hecklers like a protected group (like minors)? Is this justified? (Hint: It may be!)

    I understand the reparation idea, I understand that repeating stereotypes is harmful, I understand things like this perpetuate attitude that extend inequality to the workplace and communities. it is a serious issue and a serious world but this is just comedy, right?

    Let the drubbing begin.

  • Pete

    Watch and listen for yourself, Jim:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U3RjiVcIlhY

    I would certainly consider it the rantings and ravings of a troubled man with a lot of pent up anger and obvious racial issues. I’m not the easily offended type, but it’s impossible to defend or justify this.

    You’re right, dealing with hecklers is one of the arts of stand-up comedy. Richards just snaps though. U-g-l-y.

  • Zack

    Jim-

    I think your assessment of the context is accurate. Less at issue is that Richards directly addressed his hecklers. That’s part of comedy and as far as I’m concerned, if you’re heckling a performer, you should expect a response. However, the issue is Richards’ response, the use of perhaps the most offensive and/or contested racial eptithet possible. Thus, it’s less a matter of him addressing individuals, but rather the invocation of a slur directed at an entire group of people.

    I think it was in poor taste, and find it offensive.

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