When you're a multi-platinum artist, everybody wants a slice of your time. In fact, they'd be perfectly okay with you having no time for yourself. So, as a matter of personal boundaries, its okay to pull back a bit and have a diva moment every so often. Morrissey is a great example, if only because he's already instilled within his public the notion that every show, interview, and public appearance may be scrapped upon half a whim. Pete Doherty & Winehouse work just as well, although Amy actually has some semblance of work ethic to it. These moments are important, and not just for the leisure time it affords, but also for the artistic cred that comes with being enigmatic. Remember that although Pearl Jam did far more for the world of confessional grunge rock, Kurt Cobain will always be the tortured genius. But these diva moments must be carefully orchestrated, or else "tortured genius" melts comically into "Whiny Egomaniac" faster than cheap tupperware in the microwave. Here's how it should be done:
Recently the French president Nicolas Sarkozy pulled out his microphone and walked away from an interview for 60 minutes. Leslie Stahl had decided to ask him about his impending divorce, but someone must've given him the impression that he'd be asked about, oh I don't know, presidential stuff. Ultimately, Leslie Stahl looked like a bewildered child suddenly unglued from the rules she had assumed were firmly in place; and the French president looked both presidentially invincible and dismissively French. It was perfect.
Of course, no blog entry would be complete without some heartless insult-tossing, so here's how you DON'T partake in a diva moment:
Kanye West: First he demanded a 2:35am set time instead of the paltry 8:15pm that fest organizers offered him. Then somehow the stage isn't ready until 3:30am, which isn't bad when you consider that Kanye didn't begin to make use of it until 4:35am. First of all, the set time was moved because he wanted it to be dark and Pearl Jam had the headlining slot. Now, I don't think 8:15 is a particularly bright hour, but I do think that it probably hurt Kanye's pride to think that someone else would get a better slot than him. So then when the headliner went long (which is why they're the headliner), Kanye's applecart got upset. So by golly, if he had to wait an hour, he'd make all his fans do the same. Take that, fans! Of course, some fans remained unassaulted and waited for Kanye. This devotion was of course rewarded by the rapper's expert use of a shortened set, virtually complete lack of crowd interaction (or explanation or apology), and a generally lackluster performance. One can only imagine the irony supernova when he performed "Stronger:"
Now that don't kill me, can only make me stronger.
I need you to hurry up now 'cause I can't wait much longer.
I know I got to be right now 'cause I can't get much wronger.
Man, I been waitin' all night now, that's how long I've been on ya.
You should be honored by my lateness
That I would even show up to this fake shit
Coldplay's Chris Martin:
One of the greatest maneuvers in the diva playbook is the interview-gone-wrong. It has very immediate and guaranteed press coverage, allows for a very clear pronouncement of the diva's grievances, and can sometimes provoke sympathy for the artist by transferring the problems onto the interviewer. But in an interview with the BBC, Chris Martin became uncomfortable when questioned about the new album's lyrical themes. After the interviewer asked if the album's title hinted at a recurrent theme or preoccupation with death, Chris accused him of trying to goad the singer into saying something he didn't mean. Heaven forbid Coldplay have any sort of lyrical arc or depth to their lyrics! The album, Viva La Vida Or Death And All His Friends, has received an enthusiastic "eh" from critics, all of whom do an amazing job of hiding their general disgust with Coldplay's chosen field of pastepudding pop by accenting how masterfully they make their non-fascinating music.