Sex appeal

It’s time for a revamp. Time to appeal to a wider readership. Accordingly, I have decided to write this column with my shirt unbuttoned.

Showing a bit of skin will increase my appeal. If I’ve learned anything at all from a lifetime of watching music videos it is that the more skin you reveal, the better your music sounds. I’m hoping this principle applies to the written word as well.

With that in mind I should probably inform you that I am now wearing a singlet top. Check out my arm muscles as they work themselves over a reflexive pronoun.

It’s a fine line. I have to be careful not to sound like a dodgy phone call. But you should know that if you could see my body right now you would swoon at its mastery of possessive apostrophes.

Yessiree, sex appeal makes everything better, especially creative talent.

I probably need to get my columnist profile photo updated. After all, my mugshot is nearly two years old and it’s fully clothed. That’ll have to change if I am to be the sexiest columnist in the Bay. Although, I think Will Johnston from The Hits may have already scooped that spot with all his female admirers. Sure, he has a radio show but does he write his Bay News column with his shirt on or off?

Or maybe what I’m wearing has no bearing on the quality of my work? It’s hard to say.

I watched one of Kimbra’s new music videos recently, her song Miracle. It’s a really good, fun song that stands on its own, but for no apparent reason she steps into the video wearing some sort of skimpy lingerie outfit that I am unqualified to describe. She does put on more clothes as the video progresses.

I also saw one of Broods’ music videos for the first time. Broods is a Nelson band with big aspirations and they write very pleasant pop songs. They sound delicious, like sparkling wine being poured over a drum machine.

For the past year I’ve somehow managed to hear Broods without ever seeing what they look like. I know they are a sister and brother duo: Georgia and Caleb Nott. So the other day I finally watched the video for their song Mother & Father.

The opening shot is a close up of Georgia’s cleavage. No face, just a long gawk from the neck down. They don’t even pretend to be subtle about it. A lingering shot, as though the camera operator forgot to tighten the tripod and it tipped forward.

I don’t wish to be a Brood-prude. Mother & Father is hardly a dodgy video. It’s not offensive in the slightest. But it bugs me at an artistic level. Why start with that particular shot? What does it add to the song?

Usually I am quite comfortable with a bit of sauciness. There is plenty of room for sensuality and sexiness in the arts. I don’t believe you can make a tidy formula for what’s appropriate because the arts are so messy.

So I should note that I am utterly inconsistent with my prude-o-metre. It swings wildly depending on the hat I am wearing at the time.

Am I wearing my parent hat? High prude score. Am I wearing my bloke hat? Low prude score. Sometimes very low.

Today, wearing my creative hat, my prude-o-metre appears to have swung in a cynical direction.

Here’s what it boils down to for me, and this is the driver for all sorts of artistic choices around issues of boundaries and taste: is it a creative decision or a business decision? Artists live in the tension between those two options.

Well, if I’m ever to publish my collected works, I’d better get started on those sit-ups.

First published in Bay of Plenty Times 17 October 2014. Reproduced with permission.