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DARING TO BE DIFFERENT: Songs about homosexuality


Sexuality, as the openly gay Michael Stipe has said “is a really slippery thing”. He says he’s not homosexual or heterosexual, he’s just sexual. I call that covering all your bases! With November 27th being Australia’s National Day of Action for Marriage Equality and December 1 being World Aids Day, it was a time for a show on HOMOSEXUALITY. I also wanted to pay tribute to a community who are still fighting for basic human rights.  India held its very first gay pride march on the weekend after repealing laws against homosexuality only last year. In the US, only California allows same-sex marriages and in countries where these marriages are legal they don’t necessarily come with the right to adopt children. And in Australia our Prime Minister, Julia Guillard, shocked her (until now, anyway) supporters with her stand against gay marriage. So there’s obviously still a long way to go.

For the record I identify myself as straight so, just to give me some credibility, I invited two beautiful and brazen gay friends into the studio to help present the show: fellow BayFM announcers Tommy T-Jet from ‘All Things Camp’ and the lovely Lou from the Tuesday morning breakfast show, ‘Cock a Doodle Doo’.

We opened with a song for Tommy: Elton Motello’s JET BOY JET GIRL is a risque little number about a 15-year-old boy’s sexual relationship with an older man, who then rejects him for a girl. With its chorus of “ooh ooh ooh ooh, he gives me head,” it has been embraced as something of a punk gay anthem. Talking of punk, one of the best bands to emerge from the Queercore movement that started in the 80’s is Pansy Division. They have a huge repertoire of funny and pertinent punk songs about the gay experience and I played one of my faves, FEM IN A BLACK LEATHER JACKET. Part silly, part raucous, part earnest, you cannot ignore them, that’s for sure!

As far as I know Ben Harper is straight. And he’s a good example of your typical New Age Sensitive Guy with an evolved attitude about sexuality. He does a great acoustic number about a woman who leaves her abusive husband for a relationship with a woman. It’s called MAMA’S GOT A GIRLFRIEND NOW.

Marc Almond (ex-Soft Cell) takes Charles Aznavour’s WHAT MAKES A MAN and gives it a whole new meaning. Here he is appearing at the Royal Albert Hall:

I caught up with Melia and Nerida from Scarlett Affection at the Mullum Music Fest and among other things we discussed gay marriage from a straight girl’s point of view. As they quite rightly state, it’s all about love. We followed it with another sister act, the openly gay duo Tegan and Sara with I WAS MARRIED. This video clip was shot at their show at the Pumphouse Theatre in Calgary. Love, love, love Tegan and Sara.


Gay icon k.d. lang is a girl with an appetite and she blames it all on CONSTANT CRAVING. This video looks amazing as does k.d.

The Gossip’s lead singer Beth Ditto wrote STANDING IN THE WAY OF CONTROL as a response to the US government’s opposition to same sex marriage. Check this vid of them performing live and then try and tell me that Beth D. doesn’t absolutely rock! So good to see a young rock band with political attitude and a young woman not starving herself to death to fit the media’s idea of what’s sexy.

Jens Lekman is fed up with being a pretend boyfriend for his lesbian mate on A POSTCARD TO NINA. In this videoclip, shot when he performed live in Melbourne in 2006, his guitar died so he played the song on his ukelele while his band mates tried to sort out technical difficulties. Is he as cute as a button, or what?

Franz Ferdinand are, (I think) heterosexual but that didn’t stop them from playing the homoeroticism game on the track MICHAEL. Look, if its good enough for Bowie, then why not?  Pete Shelley, on the other hand, isn’t shy about his sexual preference. The post-Buzzcocks pop single HOMOSAPIEN was banned by the BBC for its “explicit reference to gay sex”. Dear oh dear, when is the BBC going to get with the program?

Lou thought the list was getting a little male-dominated, so we couldn’t have that! She had a great suggestion – Ani DiFranco with BOTH HANDS. Following that I proved that Katie Perry is just another copycat. A cute copycat, but a copycat nonetheless. Jill Sobule’s I KISSED A GIRL was a hit way back in 1995. Check this out:

While I was at the Mullum Music Festival I spoke to volunteer David about his thoughts on AIDS and HIV awareness. His opinion is that there is a growing complacency within the gay community about safe sex and my guest presenter Tommy agreed with this. Yes, there is medication these days that can prolong your life but who wants to be on medication for the rest of their life? As with all diseases, prevention is always the best option.

A reminder that December 1 is WORLD AIDS DAY. The theme this year is TAKE ACTION. NO DISCRIMINATION. The aim is to encourage all Australians to be aware of the prevalence of HIV/AIDS; to take action to reduce the transmission of HIV by promoting safe sex practices; and to accept individuals living with or affected by HIV/AIDS.

Bruce Springsteen’s STREETS OF PHILADELPHIA was written for the first mainstream film to confront HIV/AIDS, homosexuality and homophobia. Philadelphia was released in 1993. It was inspired by the story of Geoffrey Bowers,  an lawyer who in 1987 sued the law firm Baker & McKenzie for unfair dismissal in one of the first AIDS discrimination cases. Here’s Bruce baby with the official clip for the song which went on to win an Academy award:

I was feeling the need for an anthem and you can’t go past Gloria Gaynor’s I AM WHAT I AM. The song originally featured on the Tony award winning Broadway musical La Cage Aux Folles. Here’s Gloria in 1984:

Next up it was the always briliant Scissor Sisters with TAKE YOUR MAMA. Apparently, the band took their name from a sexual position between two women. Lou refused to elaborate! Here are they are performing at the 2010 Brit Awards. So wish I had been in that audience!

Our Gig Guide was ushered out with the very silly, but quite infectious, GAY BAR from Electric Six. It seems that we don’t have any lesbian or gay bars up here in the Byron shire. According to my panel of experts its all a bit underground. Oooh.

Time to get a bit more serious with my favourite socialist, Billy Bragg singing TENDER COMRADE and then a request from one of our listeners, Ryan, was granted with The Lemonheads singing BIG GAY HEART.

I absolutely adore the Joan Armatrading song THE WEAKNESS IN ME. Hard finding a decent videoclip of her performing it, but here’s one where she’s accompanied by keboards only. It’s not a great quality video but had to include it. What a voice.

Before I knew it the two hours was up and it was time to close the show and it had to be with the polymorphously perverse David Bowie and QUEEN BITCH. The year was 1972. Not sure what I think of the  introduction of Bowie as a ‘self-constructed freak’. I have the feeling that he might have enjoyed that!


Huge thank you to Lou and Tommy for their help this week and allowing me to be a gay for a day.

For more information on community based gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender health issues contact ACON via their website at: http://www.acon.org.au/ or use their Free Call number 1800 063 060.

Thanks to Tommy T-Jet for editing the opinion sections of the show. You can listen to us having a bit of a chat between songs at: http://soundcloud.com/tommytjet/theme-park-30th-november-2010-homosexuality

Next week I’ll be ushering in the Summer season with a show on the SUN. Please leave me a message here if you would like to request a track. Until next week, remember to love one another (anyway you like!).

Here’s the playlist:

Jet Boy Jet Girl – Jet Boy Jet Girl, Elton Motello

Fem in a Black Leather Jacket – The Essential Pansy Division, Pansy Division

Mama’s Got a Girlfriend Now – Pleasure and Pain, Ben Harper and Tom Freund

What Makes A Man – 12 Years Of Tears – Live At The Royal Albert Hall, Marc Almond

I Was Married – The Con, Tegan and Sara

Constant Craving – Live By Request, k.d. lang

Standing In The Way Of Control – Standing In The Way Of Control, The Gossip

Do You Come Here Often – Telstar The Tornados

A Postcard To Nina – Night Falls Over Kortedala, Jens Lekman

Michael – Franz Ferdinand, Franz Ferdinand

Homosapien – Just Can’t Get Enough: New Wave Hits Of The 80’s, Pete Shelley

Both Hands – Ani DiFranco, Ani DiFranco

I Kissed A Girl – Hottest 100 Vol 03 [Disc 1], Jill Sobule

Streets of Philadelphia – Philadelphia Sountrack,  Bruce Springsteen

I Am What I AM – I Will Survive, Gloria Gaynor

Take Your Mama – Scissor Sisters, Scissor Sisters

It’s Alright – Shaming of the Sun, Indigo Girls

Secret Love – All Blues, Chet Baker

Gay Bar – Triple J Hottest 100, Vol. 11 [Disc 1], Electric Six

Tender Comrade – Workers Playtime, Billy Bragg

Big Gay Heart – Come On Feel The Lemonheads, The Lemonheads

The Weakness In Me – The L Word Full Soundtrack [Disc 2], Joan Armatrading

Queen Bitch – Hunky Dory, David Bowie

Next week:  SONGS ABOUT THE SUN

Listen to Lyn McCarthy at the Theme Park on BayFM, Tuesdays 4-6pm, Sydney time
Also streaming via BayFM
Tragically also on Facebook and Twitter
Email me at: lyn.themeparkradio@gmail.com

THE ENVIRONMENT

I love the major prize in BayFM‘s Subscriber Drive this year. It’s a trip to Broome and the Kimberley, in conjunction with the Save The Kimberley action group. So I thought it was a great opportunity to create a playlist  on THE ENVIRONMENT.

We opened the show with a locally produced track from a group of young people who are concerned about climate change. They came together at a hip-hop recording workshop in the country town of Kyogle in 2007. The result: PROTECT THE WORLD. The kids were aged between 11 and 17 and wrote the words on the spot and played all the instruments. Check it out:

Another  song about the environment that really hits home is GASOLINE from Sheryl Crow. She’s so great when she’s singing about something substantial, isn’t she?

The Cranberries  tell us that TIME IS TICKING OUT: “We’d better think about the consequences, We’d better think about the global senses, The time went out, the time went out.”

Cerrone’s song SUPERNATURE was released in 1977 and crossed over to both pop and soul charts. An interesting bit of trivia: the lyrics were written by a young Lene Lovich, although she wasn’t credited.

Gorillaz is a band that fascinates me with its merge of music and art. They have a brilliant site, so rather than me babble on here about them, go to www.gorillaz.com. Right now I’m listening to their  PLASTIC BEACH album. The track of the same name features Mick Jones & Paul Simonon from The Clash. Say no more.

Way back in 1971 Marvin Gaye broke ground with his song MERCY MERCY ME (the Ecology). It’s from his album, What’s Goin’ On and features The Funk Brothers on instrumentals and a leading sax solo by Wild Bill Moore. Brilliant stuff. Here’s Gaye at the Montreux Festival, 1980:

The John Butler Trio’s song SOMETHING’S GOTTA GIVE was only released in Australia. It came out in 2004 and is an interesting blend of funk, rock, blues, roots and the traditional sound of a jam band.

An absolute classic is Joni Mitchell’s BIG YELLOW TAXI: “They paved paradise/And put up a parking lot.” With that one line, Joni Mitchell created an everlasting metaphor for the ongoing effects of industrial development on the natural world. Big Yellow Taxi is one of the great environmental laments of the modern age, a breezy little tune that describes a world where DDT is used freely and trees are relegated to a museum.

I thought I might include some Kraftwerk for all the techheads and others (like me) who love this highly influential band from Germany.  RADIOACTIVITY is perfect for this week’s theme:

Neko Case suggests that you NEVER TURN YOUR BACK ON MOTHER EARTH. It’s from her Middle Cyclone album. A prophetic follow up came from The Beach Boys with DON’T GO NEAR THE WATER:

Tegan and Sara are a Canadian duo (they’re actually identical twins). I love their song OUR TREES. A perfect follow up to that was Jack Johnson’s ANYTHING BUT THE TRUTH.

Despite what Michael Stipe says about this song being about oppression, I always thought that the R.E.M. song, FALL ON ME, was about acid rain and it’s effect on the environment. Well I suppose you have a right to feel oppressed when governments keep refusing to do anything substantial about climate change.

Singer songwriter Missy Higgins is politically pro-active and it was great to air an interview with her during the show about Broome and the Kimberley. Here’s an extended version of that interview from the Save the Kimberley site:

Another activist/musician is, of course, Ben Harper. His song EXCUSE ME MISTER is just so relevant right now, with its mention of pollution of our waterways. Are you listening BP?

John Mayer is WAITING ON THE WORLD TO CHANGE. Me too John, me too.

Massive Attack were encouraged to get into the recording studio in 1991 to record their debut album Blue Lines, by Nenah Cherry. She consequently sang back up on our pick from this album, HYMN OF THE BIG WHEEL. In this clip Deborah Miller, who tours with Massive Attack on a regular basis, does a brilliant job of back-up/support.

MONKEY GONE TO HEAVEN, is a song by the American alternative rock band, the Pixies. It’s from their 1989 album Doolittle.  The song references environmentalism and biblical numerology and was the first Pixies song to feature guest musicians:  two cellists, Arthur Fiacco and Ann Rorich, and two violinists, Karen Karlsrud and Corine Metter.

Our final song of the day was one I’d like to dedicate to all those lost in Pakistan’s devastating floods: Jackson Browne with BEFORE THE DELUGE.

I’d like to thank everyone who subscribed during Theme Park over the last two shows. Thank you so much! We’ll be drawing a winner for our Camp Quality holiday at Possum Creek Eco Lodge on next Tuesday’s show, so tune in then. And if you want to go into that draw, and you haven’t subscribed yet, that’s Ok. When you do subscribe just say that Theme Park is the show you want to be acknowledged on. We’ll give you a shout out next week. Good luck to all of you. I hope that you are lucky enough to win one of the daily prizes, the additional prize for business subscribers of 30 radio spots, or the major prize of the trip to the Kimberley.

I’d love to hear from you with your requests for next week’s show when the topic will be SPRINGTIME. Can you believe its almost here? Yay!

Here’s this week’s complete playlist:

Protect the World – Kyogle Kids

Gasoline – Detours, Sheryl Crow

Time Is Ticking Out – Wake Up And Smell The Coffee, The Cranberries

Supernature – Cerrone

Plastic Beach Ft. Mick Jones & Paul Simonon – Plastic Beach, Gorillaz

Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology) – What’s Going On, Marvin Gaye

Something’s Gotta Give – Triple J’s Hottest 100 Volume 12, The John Butler Trio

Big Yellow Taxi – Ladies of the Canyon, Joni Mitchell

Radioactivity – The Mix, Kraftwerk

Never Turn Your Back On Mother Earth – Middle Cyclone, Neko Case

Don’t Go Near The Water – Surf’s Up, The Beach Boys

Like The Weather – MTV Unplugged, 10,000 Maniacs

Our Trees – Tegan & Sara

Anything But The Truth – To The Sea, Jack Johnson

Fall on Me – Lifes Rich Pageant, R.E.M.

Going North – Missy Higgins

Excuse Me Mister – Fight for Your Mind, Ben Harper

Waiting on the World to Change – Continuum, John Mayer

Hymn Of The Big Wheel – Blue Lines, Massive Attack

Monkey Gone to Heaven – Wave of Mutilation: The Best of Pixies, The Pixies

Before The Deluge – Late For The Sky  (Gold Disc), Jackson Browne

Next week: SPRINGTIME

Listen to Lyn McCarthy at the Theme Park on BayFM, Tuesdays 4-6pm, Sydney time

Also streaming on http://www.bayfm.org

Tragically also on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/maccalyn

Email me at: lyn.themeparkradio@gmail.com

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