FAIL: "American Idols Live," Montreal Jazz Festival, George Michael, Suge Knight

Photo illustrations by John Seaborn Gray
Jazz Festival Audience Somehow Unprepared to Enjoy Aimless, Self-Indulgent Noodling: Lou Reed, John Zorn, and Reed's wife Laurie Anderson performed at the Montreal Jazz Festival recently, and treated the audience to improvisational jazz which the linked-to article above describes as "severely lacking direction," a "nonsensical fumble," and "sounded like the animal kingdom gone astray."

So what's the problem? That description could be referring to every piece of improvisational jazz Fails has ever heard. Improvisational/experimental jazz is good at one thing, and that is reducing masters of beautiful musical instruments to a stumbling, honking mess. It tends to sound like an orchestra tuning up while falling down the stairs. Improvisational jazz makes the music for the fight scene in Manos: The Hands of Fate sound orderly and calculated.

It's hardly surprising, then, that when greeted with boos and jeers from the crowd, Zorn instructed the audience to "get the fuck out" if they didn't appreciate what was happening onstage. Hilariously, many of them did exactly that.

We think the expectations coming from both parties were flawed. The audience probably expected Reed and Zorn to play some of their better-known pop catalogue, and Zorn, Reed and Anderson apparently somehow expected to play in front of a French Canadian audience that wasn't filled with obstinate, braying assholes. Hopefully next time both parties will know better and will adjust their expectations accordingly beforehand.

And I'm Never Gonna Drive Again; Guilty Feet Can't Work the Pedals: We enjoy imagining the London Gay Pride Parade. We've never attended, but we can't help but think it must be a line of stately English gentlemen in suits, tails and bowler hats, calmly strolling down the street with umbrellas and waving in a genteel fashion to onlookers, careful to never allow the noise level to get too high and immediately quashing anyone who becomes rowdy. Forgive us our cartoonish imagination, but 90 percent of the world thinks Houstonians still ride to work on a fucking horse, so allow us our amusing flights of fancy, won't you?

Besides, the illusion doesn't hold up for long when faced with the reality of an arse-over-teakettle George Michael swerving his car into a camera shop on the night of the London Pride Parade. No one is sure exactly what happened yet, but with Michael's history of "drug-driving," it seems fairly obvious. What is it with celebrities who get all fucked up and then immediately get behind the wheel of a car?

Michael earned a fortune single-handedly defying the gaydar of absolutely everyone for most of the '80s; surely he's got enough cash lying around to pay for a driver, right? And while he's at it, why not hire a lookout or two so he doesn't keep getting arrested for doing illegal things in public toilets?

Really, all we're saying is George Michael should definitely put aside a day on his calendar to organize his roster.

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