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 Princess Stomper

This is obviously some kind of sick joke (The Swaras | Gumtree ad)

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American Apparel banned ads

The trouble these days is that there are tens of thousands of albums released every year and people have to fight for attention, and sadly people feel that by degrading themselves and allowing themselves to be judged solely on their appearance, people will notice them. You then end up like Bart Simpson in the “I Didn’t Do It” episode – 15 seconds of fame followed by jeers and remorse. Pick yourself up from grovelling on the floor and start being good, and at least you’ll have some measure of self-respect.

I believe in equality, and objectify men as much as any other heterosexual woman, but it’s a lust based on the deepest respect: someone becomes attractive when they’re a tantalising whole – smart, funny and kind. The little bump in their nose becomes cute; their wrinkles look like experience. Someone who bases their whole self-worth on their appearance can’t be smart and funny and kind because they’ve never put time into those things, so even the most even-featured vain man becomes ugly.

And a band who spends their time preening instead of rehearsing can never be good.

So, they admit that much: their music is not to their liking. So why bother? The average full-time musician earns just $35k (US) per year [Are you sure? I’m surprised it’s that much – Ed]. Dollars-to-pounds, that’s less than the national average wage: become a secretary, you’ll earn more. Hell, if you’re willing to sell out enough to play shitty music in a band you hate, you may as well become a secretary for Huntingdon Life Sciences – they pay very well, so I’m told. That’s what I never get about bands who sell out: you’d earn more doing almost anything else, so you really need to want to do it for it to be worth it in any way.

Our influences include The Strokes, Young the Giant, Arctic Monkeys, Kings of Leon, The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Pearl Jam, Wolfmother and The Who. We vary by using fusions from eastern ragas, creating songs that familiarly fit into mainstream music, which is why we are on a roll. Our material and history has been temporarily hidden due to the search for new members.

Oooh! It’s like Kula Shaker with girls! “Creating songs that familiarly fit into mainstream music” – again, why bother? For the fame? What, like Katie Price and David After Dentist? (You could argue that Ms Price’s hastily hushed-up hardcore porn videos had a more productive cultural impact.) If you are in a band that even you don’t like, nobody will pay you, nobody will like you and nobody will respect you. Go work in a bank.

The managers are aware that it is quite difficult to find female musicians who the bass. If you have any musical background or even own one of these instruments and are ready to get to the top we are willing to cooperate and try it out with you.

Who the bass, indeed! So they don’t ask for you to have ever even played the bass? I know it’s not exactly the hardest instrument to play at a very bass-ic level, but to play at a professional level you need to have practiced for 10,000 hours. If you practice for two hours every single day, you’d rack up just 730 hours in a year. Even if you were only minimally competent, if you’ve been playing for less than two years you’re probably about as technically accomplished as Richie from the Manics (and when they played gigs, they didn’t plug him in). To put it another way, Kim Deal started singing at four and playing (guitar) at 11 – she was 25 when she joined the Pixies.

Kim Deal: coincidentally pretty. Besides, like Kim Deal, the clue is in the phrase “bass guitar” – if you’re a guitarist, you can play bass, so there’s absolutely no excuses. Even Sheryl Crow can play bass. Tina Weymouth was doing it over 30 years ago.

Please send photos and audiolinks.

Is the latter really necessary? Or are they just referring to that deep masculine voice?

You know what all this reminds me of? American Apparel, that bastion of ugly clothes and uglier people. The advert above was banned in the UK, deemed to be “likely to cause widespread offence”, and is one of many gratuitous, demeaning adverts the company has tried to run. Still, what do you expect from an organisation whose CEO refers to women as “pussy”? Still, I think Swaras (a name for forced child marriages) could learn a thing or two from AA.

According to a report on Gawker:

Girls have been told to grow out their eyebrows. formal warnings have been handed out for having chipped nail varnish. We have been told not to hire guys to work on shop floor. To hire someone we have to take their photo (one close up, one full length) and send it to work@americanapparel.net requesting that they be “approved.” Girls with short hair, fringes, heavy make up will not be approved. Guys will only be approved to work in backstock. interviews/experience/talent is not required. This goes for manager and visual merchandiser jobs also.

American Apparel carries out random spot-checks on the appearance of the people in its stores and fires anyone who is “off-brand” (too fat or ugly). Its dress code includes stipulations on hair style, piercings and mascara. Liquid foundation is banned; blow-drying your hair is “advised against”. It goes on:

The worst part was that they wouldn’t let me hire anyone. I kept taking pictures, kept sending in emails to get REALLY AWESOME people approved, and kept being told no, no, no. Either they didn’t like their style, or they looked off. There were never any concrete reasons for applicants not being approved. Emails usually came back with one liners “Not approved. Bad style”.

It’s a good brand fit with the band: you’re not just offensive because you’re shallow; you’re offensive because you suck.

(continues overleaf)

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5 Responses to This is obviously some kind of sick joke (The Swaras | Gumtree ad)

  1. cirrusminor July 6, 2012 at 5:47 pm

    I think any guitarist could learn to play great bass in about a week. Hell even if you’ve never played guitar or bass you could play on a Pixies song with a month worth of practice.

  2. Sophie July 6, 2012 at 8:46 pm

    Cirrusminor, as a bass player myself I find that to be an incredibly ignorant statement. Typical guitarist attitude. Check out James Jamerson if you deem the bass guitar to be such an easily conquerable instrument!

  3. Princess Stomper July 7, 2012 at 12:18 am

    I think cirrusminor’s statement holds true if you take the word “great” out – hence my “bass-ic” pun. A typical guitarist can pick up a bass and play it instantly to high-school-punk-band level. (I once borrowed a friend’s bass for half an hour and could play ‘Diamonds’ by The Shadows and … uh … nothing much else.) I don’t think anyone is trying to argue that you could pick up a bass and play like Guy Pratt.

  4. cirrusminor July 7, 2012 at 10:27 am

    I guess it depends how good the guitarist is. I’m an ok guitarist and not having practiced a lot on bass I’m a bit better than high-school-punk-band-level. My friend is an excellent guitarist and I asked him to play bass on one of my songs and I swear he sounds like John Paul Jones after a couple of practices. Whatever, sample size of 2.

    In this case we’re talking about an indie band, so like Princess said they probably just want Kim Deal level playing. I still contend that any musically inclined person could master a pixies bassline without much trouble (with the exception of Here Comes Your Man).

  5. Myles February 5, 2014 at 3:27 am

    I can’t play guitar for crap, but i can play the bass…..:D

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