THIS IS NOT A REVIEW: 1975

On May 5th, 2012, I had my first seizure. I was on a field trip with my community college art class to the downtown galleries. The group I was with visited a coffee shop/venue/gallery that had previously hosted wizard rock concerts, was at the time hosting some bored hipsters and a series of paintings depicting WWII airplanes with sharks instead of propellers, and is now sadly closed. We looked at the paintings, made some notes, and prepared to leave. As we left, I suddenly felt strangely sick to my stomach and told my classmates I had to run to the bathroom real quick. As I rounded the corner towards the venue’s graffiti-covered bathrooms, I suddenly lost my vision. And then I hit a wall. And then I blacked out.

I came to as paramedics took my blood sugar with those little pricky thingies and wheeled me into an ambulance. They asked me my name, age, insurance provider, etc. I answered, or at least I tried to. Syllables poured out of me like maple syrup out of a ten year old jar found in the back of the pantry – slowly and eventually, but only with great effort. Haltingly, I tried to explain my situation. I could think just fine – or at least, relatively fine for having blacked out in a hipster art gallery on a Thursday. I knew what I wanted to say, but my body was not accommodating. I would eventually realize that certain sounds were especially difficult for me. Any hard consonants that required use of the tongue – t, d, etc. – were impossible to say for weeks afterward.

If you’re reading this blog, you probably know by now that I like to talk. A lot. So this was pretty much my own private hell. My brain was processing everything as fine as it ever did, but expressing myself verbally was suddenly intensely difficult. So I undertook tests. I had ’em all – CTs, MRIs, EKGs, CRTs, MRAs, ROUSs – if it was a vaguely brain or heart related test, they did it. They never did test my soul, though. Huh. But after three months of tests and speech therapy, I was pretty much talking normally and we were no closer to an answer. It was another six months until I had another episode. This time I had been roughhousing with my roommate. I fell to the floor, unable to move, unable to even draw in breath. As the oxygen faded from me, I suddenly began twitching sporadically, air entering my lungs in infrequent trickles.

Hours later, in the emergency room, I finally had a diagnosis – a rare condition known as Conversion Disorder. It’s a stress-based malady that can build up over years before expressing itself symptomatically. Its symptoms also vary wildly – from aphasia to seizures to full body paralysis. And here’s the catch about it being stress based – long periods of extended exposure to stress can cause you to have CD, but an event doesn’t necessarily come from a specific stressful trigger. Stressful situations increase the likelihood, yes – I’ve had events at conventions, work, and awkward family gatherings. But I’ve also had a seizure at a roller rink. I’ve had many walking down the street. There was a time when I was having a petite seizure a few times a day, and a big, on the floor one a couple times a week. I once had a seizure trying to open a door. An automatic door.

There is something unexplainably terrifying about knowing that at any time, without warning, you could suddenly lost control of yourself. Worst of all – it’s not just you who is put in danger. I’m not exactly a short person, and my elbows are closer to bony knives than functioning biological joints. I also used to work extensively in childcare, a field I had to leave due to the fear that I would injure a child. This is all not to mention the stress and fear that friends and loved ones are put through when you’re walking in the park, having a lovely conversation, and you suddenly fall the ground, writhing, convulsing, and scaring all the children (and confusing most of the dogs).

As the years have gone by, I’ve divulged more and more of my life through the character of the Wrock Snob, as the already meaningless differences between the character and myself got even smaller. But while I’ve talked openly about my sexuality, and more recently, my gender, I haven’t talked about my disability and neurodivergence much here. But sharing the above was the only way I knew to adequately respond to the song “Stranger Danger”.

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The 10 Best Songs From The Giant Squidstravaganza Presents: A New Hope: A Tribute to the Giant Squidstravaganza

Because I haven’t sucked off the Giant Squidstravaganza’s… spermataphoric gland… enough.

[Yep, an embedded image and a single dick joke, that’s all I had written originally. I do believe I’d actually worked out the list somewhere tho, lemme see… oh yeah here it is. It doesn’t appear to be in any order besides roughly how they originally appeared on the album in relation to each other. So here we go, but understand that these aren’t necessarily ranked in terms of quality, they’re just my ten favorites from the album.]

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Bard Questions: Is Wizard Rock Homophobic?

[This was to be the first in a series of articles asking tough questions about our community. These were written or conceived back when there was still some pretense of their being, you know, an actual community, and not me, Russ, and a handful of people on tumblr. I will still finish and publish these articles, but less because I feel these are IMPORTANT QUESTIONS to figure out FOR THE SAKE OF OUR COMMUNITY, and more for purposes of discussion of an historical look at a community that no longer exists in the state that it once did. Also, I wrote this draft-like-thing at like three in the morning, hence the draftiness of it. I still feel that, despite some structure problems, there are some interesting points made.]

Of course not, right? We have the HPA, we have a fair number of gay and bi men and women in our ranks, we are all in all a very inclusive, welcoming, open and friendly community.

BUT our music does not always reflect that. There are some choice gay anthems, like JFF’s “Dumbledore Is Gay And That’s Okay”, Split Seven Way’s “Slip Away”, and the unmatchable HMS Wolfstar.

Then there’s the most famous gay wrock song, Whompy’s “Draco and Harry”, which while very much a pro-gay song, IS a humour song, but does seem on first glance to draw humour from “omg boys making out”, but upon closer inspection, the humour is about DRACO and HARRY making out.

But still, here’s a troubling question: Would the song be as popular, and as funny (or perceived to be as funny) if it was “Draco and Hermy”? Draco and Hermione hate each other just as much as Draco and Harry, so it really should be no difference, right? Yet I can’t help but shake the feeling that despite the humorous bridge with McGonagall brought up as a possible romantic partner, and the twist of the old “sitting in a tree” nursery rhyme, some of the perceived humour value would be lost by making it a “straight” song. And then if that’s the case, that leaves the troubling implication that gayness is funny – it’s a source of humour, more so than a simple life choice.

However, that’s not the song I’m really here to talk about – it’s THIS SONG: “Brotherly Love”, one of the most lauded and celebrated Gred and Forge songs, and also one of the most popular humour songs in all of wrock.

But here’s the thing – is it really that funny? Now, almost every song on the AMAZING Siriusly Smiling is pretty much excellent, so it’s in good company at the least. And there are definitely some clever rhymes and humorous lines – riding something but it wasn’t his broom (the natural redhead line has always struck me as initially funny, but then upon further reflection makes no damn sense in regards to the canon, but whatever I get it it’s supposed to be a humorous song I’ll roll with it), the ghoul bit, etc. And musically, it’s a well made, catchy song. But the immense love for it, and adolation of it’s humour value, has long troubled me.

It’s not just wizard rock’s perpetual immaturity (not that I’m really one to judge), and immediate reaction to ever bringing up the topic of sex is LOLOLOLOL because that’s how the immature deal with sex – they find it funny (possibly bring up merch girls are easy?). And it’s not even the sinking suspicion that when all those people say “LOL this song is SO WRONG but SO FUNNY TOO!” when they are referring to the “wrongness”, it’s not simply about the sex and the incest. No, this goes back to the humour.

Because here’s MY question – what if the song was, instead of being about all the male kids of the weasley family (and the ghoul) having sex, what if it was about ALL the kids of the weasley family having sex, or heck ,let’s make this as explicit as possible – what if it was about all the males of the Weasley family (Arthur excluded, hopefully), taking turns having sex with Ginny?

If any of you just mentally shuddered a bit at that thought, but don’t when you think about “Brotherly Love”, that illustrates a definite problem. Would anyone find the above situation funny? Yes, obviously, you’d have to change the title, maybe to “Family Matters” or something like that, I dunno, but then again, it could just be about Ginny wanting some Brotherly Love, so even the title could stay the same! And lyrics could easily be fit in to keep the same jokes about riding brooms, natural redheads, and ghouls. So, why do I feel that this song would not be nearly as popular? Why some, even many would view it not as funny, but as downright uncomfortable/weird?

If such a case is true – if a straight version of this song would be met with an almost opposite reaction to the current gay version of the song, then it leads us to the troubling conclusion that a major factor (or even the fact that its a factor at all, no matter how major or minor) of Brothely Love’s humour value is because it is gay. If a straight version of the song would be perceived as not-as-funny, if funny at all, and a gay version is perceived as “LOLOLOLOL”, then what does that lead us to conclude. That, unintentionally though I’m sure it is, “Brotherly Love” is seen as a humorous song, because it’s about gay people having sex, and the fact that it’s gay people having sex, it changes the “uncomfortable” issue of sex (incestual sex at that!) into a humorous one. It leads us to conclude that homosexuality is, even in wizard rock, still viewed to some extent as something humorous, and thus, weird. And that’s really kind of scary as fuck. It’s kind of the equivalent of James Franco wearing drag at the Academy Awards with almost no context and only so people will go “MAN IN DRESS? PREPOSTEROUS! LOLOLOLOLOL!!!1!”

Last song to mention, and then I’ll wrap this puppy up.
TALK ABOUT DIDN’T COME TO PARTY HOT TRANNY MESS talk about nerdcore and how using fag is so you can fully parody and mimic mainstream rap and how especially kabuto has put in this little narrative arc subtly in his music, and at the end of his career, lines like hot lesbian action and getting tired of calling people a fag

FINAL THOUGHTS: talk about how this is all a very subconcious thing, and i am 100% certain that no negative thoughts went through the minds of the people making this music or was intended or anything, and i want to make it abslutely clear i am not blaming or casting aspersions on the musicians, nor am i doing so upon the community. This is a problem much, MUCH larger than our small social sphere, on that affects society as whole, and one that everyone, even a community like ours, should be more vigilant towards. Again, I am bringing this up, not to rail against anyone, but to do what I always wanted to do with this site and this persona, the reason why I started all this in the first place – to start a discussion. To get us to critically analyze the music we all love so much. To give it the respect it deserves by truly pulling it apart an examining each piece and figuring out what makes wizard rock what it is. I would absolutely LOVE to hear your comments and rebuttals below, especially from those who are themselves LGBTQIA (which, now that we finally got some damn vowels in there, is an acronym that should really be re-ordered to make something pronounceable [post your suggestions below! Win a prize of absolute nothing!], like BLAGTIQ or BIGQLAT) and have no problems with the above songs. [PUT THE VERY END OF SPIEL HERE THANKS FOR READING ETC]

[Okay, I’m back! It gets kind of rushed at the end, unfortunately. As for the “HOT TRANNY MESS”, this was just talking about the problematic line in the otherwise brilliant Swish and Flick song “If You Didn’t Come To Party”. Not only is the word “tranny” (as in transexual) pretty obviously a slur, but calling someone a transexual as an insult is… problematic to say the least. It just kind of surprises me, since I know the Swish and Flick family is all about equality and stuff, and while there is some argument to be said about it being part of a character, the “character” of Swish isn’t really ever shown to use actual slurs (there’s even that interlude in the same song about not calling people whores), and there’s a whole song about her character getting with Luna, so… As long as I’m on the subject of trans*, I should also mention that I guess you could find some offense at the otherwise excellent Neville’s Diary song “Pansy Looks Like A Dude” from the even more excellent Siriusly Smiling charity comp, because there is a whole can of worms opened when you start insulting people by saying they look like they should belong to the opposite sex, but I honestly feel that’s more SJW than is warranted here.

Anyways, I feel I raised some interesting points here and I’d really like to get a discussion started, especially from people who themselves are LGB… you know what fuck it, I’m just gonna use “queer” – it’s a hell of a lot easier of a term. Anyways, I’d love to hear what queer folks feel about this, and especially anyone whose music I mentioned in this article. Again let me restate that I 100 percent do not think anyone in wizard rock would at all purposefully make a song that is in any way discriminatory or derogatory, and pretty much any blame to be placed can be largely shifted onto society as a whole, but that doesn’t mean that this isn’t a discussion worth having, and I would love to have it. Wrock Snob out.]

Top 5 Wizard Rock Music Videos

[Thank you for visiting The Wrock Snob and reading this article! I’d love for you to jump right into the reviewy goodness, but first there is some unfortunate business to take care of. It is not in my nature to tell you specifically what or what not to buy and who to support – I tell you what I thought about an album, and if my tastes seem to align with yours, you might want to heed my suggestions. However, I must take this time to personally exhort that you do not monetarily support the bands The Remus Lupins or Ministry of Magic. The full reasons are unsettling and possibly triggering, so please proceed with caution, but if you want the full details click here. Simply put, it has been revealed that certain member/s of both bands did destructive, upsetting, and highly problematic things. While I can see the value of reviewing art no matter what the artist did on a grand society-level scale, I cannot morally allow myself to condone the financial support of these monsters, nonetheless exhorting people to do so. Now it is entirely possible this copypasta’d retroactive warning was placed on a negative review, making this sidebar somewhat moot, but I still feel it necessary to make these matters clear. Again, for full details and rumination click here, otherwise, please enjoy the article.]

Music videos have been an important part of the music scene for quite awhile now. Originally just footage of a staged performance of the song used as a promotional material, music videos have become an art form in and of themselves. Unfortunately, this is not an art form that wizard rock bands have partaken in too often – though there are plenty of fanmade videos out there that do make up for this lack (and some of them aren’t even barely relevant clips from the movies shittily pasted together)! Still, it’s always nice to see the original artists’ intention for the songs if brought into the visual medium, and we really don’t have much of that in wizard rock.

Now, it’s completely understandable why – music videos take a lot of time and effort, and there are many bands that can barely afford decent recording equipment, much less video equipment. And really, anyone can take their iPhone, give it to their friend Steve, and have Steve record them playing through their song in a garage or a field (it’s always a garage or a field, for some reason) in a few different angles, chopping it up, and uploading the steaming mess to YouTube. The best music videos help tell the story of the lyrics, or reveal new insights into the song, or push the visual medium the same way the song pushes the auditory, and it is music videos in this vein that I wish to highlight.  Starting with…

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LeakyCon Reflections: Rock Night 2

MURICAFirst of all, HAPPY MURICA TO ALL MURICANS.

Now that that’s out of the way, my thoughts on the second night of rock at Leaky! Due to the Team Quiz running super long, I ended up missing the entirety of the first two acts, though I heard positive things about them, especially Rae Sterling. Of course, I’ve also heard positive things about myself, so you really can’t hold much stock in vague positive opinions from the ethereal “other”. Still, it seems like a good time was had by all, or at least, by most. By some.

At the very least, I can safely say that at least one person enjoyed themselves. That one person would probably be Justin, because as I’ve stated before, that fucker always seems like he’s smiling and enjoying himself, in blatant disregard of all the many reasons we have to despair of this world. What an asshole.

But speaking of which, the first set I saw the (near) entirety of was Justin Finch-Fletchley and the Sugar Quills, and it was nothing short of excellent. Now, according to my research, this opinion puts me in the minority (though the true minority seems to be having an opinion at all about the rock nights at Leaky) – some samples of what tumblr has to say about Justin’s set: “Justin Finch-Fletchley and the Quills were lame”, “Oh man, watching this set was torturous”, and “Justin Finch-Fletchley and the Sugar Quills are the worst band in the history of the universe. I HATE their lead guy.”

I would actually put it as my third favorite set of the weekend – Justin is like Whompy in that whatever you might say about their voices or instrumental abilities (things I’ve never had a problem with but I can see how others do), you cannot deny that they are natural performers, and know how to put on a damn fine show. Justin was in top form, smiling and joking his way through the whole set, with Steph on bass and Joe DeGeorge absolutely killing it with the saxophone. The live sax throughout the set alone made it a must-see show, and Joe’s talent on the sax has really improved over the years – it’s now miles ahead from the somewhat kazoo-sounding recordings on “My Wizard Scar Still Burns For You” “Save Ginny Weasley from Dean Thomas”.

The whole band seemed to be having fun, including one moment when Joe just walked over to Justin and starting blaring sax directly into Justin’s ear. This meant that suddenly we weren’t hearing anything over on Joe’s end, but it made for quite the amusing spectacle. Also, special mention must be made of Justin’s show-opening rendition of “Honeydukes” – that is a fairly long song, and the live version stretched it out even more, but the whole thing just worked, with spikes of energy, restful lulls, musical tangents, and it all coming back to one of the catchiest choruses in all of wizard rock.

I won’t deny that the crowd was not super-enthused, and I get it – Justin is not the most popular band, and he doesn’t have a show-stoppingly beautiful voice like Christian or some of the MoM boys. But he brings an undeniable presence to his performances, and he just seems so happy to be up there, and gives everything he has into each show. It’s that sincere enthusiasm that made this such a fun set, and I pity anyone who couldn’t get some enjoyment from it.

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Wizzies Predictions, Part 1

[Thank you for visiting The Wrock Snob and reading this article! I’d love for you to jump right into the reviewy goodness, but first there is some unfortunate business to take care of. It is not in my nature to tell you specifically what or what not to buy and who to support – I tell you what I thought about an album, and if my tastes seem to align with yours, you might want to heed my suggestions. However, I must take this time to personally exhort that you do not monetarily support the bands The Remus Lupins or Ministry of Magic. The full reasons are unsettling and possibly triggering, so please proceed with caution, but if you want the full details click here. Simply put, it has been revealed that certain member/s of both bands did destructive, upsetting, and highly problematic things. While I can see the value of reviewing art no matter what the artist did on a grand society-level scale, I cannot morally allow myself to condone the financial support of these monsters, nonetheless exhorting people to do so. Now it is entirely possible this copypasta’d retroactive warning was placed on a negative review, making this sidebar somewhat moot, but I still feel it necessary to make these matters clear. Again, for full details and rumination click here, otherwise, please enjoy the article.]

Alright chaps, pretty self-explanatory – I’m going to be giving my predictions for who will win this years’ wizard rock awards, this time it’s the inaugural run of The Wizzies.  While it will be a bit harder to predict this year than previous years, due to this awards “show” being far less known about than the WRPCAs.  Think of it as the BAFTAs to the ‘pedias Oscars.  If the Academy decided to stop doing anything but talking about plays instead of movies, and then completely died, and the BAFTAs replaced the Oscars.  Anyway, there is a markedly different voting demographic this year, so that should be sure to put your office’s Wizard Rock Voting Pool in quite a tizzy.  That being said, there are some categories that are still a bit obvious.  But there are also some categories in which I really have no clue who’s going to end up on top, and that gives me hope.  Also, you may have noticed the number in the title of today’s article – I will be doing a part two of predictions for the final round of voting, this article only covers the first round of voting (NOT including the nomination process, natch).  Aaaaaaaand let’s go for it!

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The Top 5 Meta-Wrock Songs of 2010

Hey, look, it’s a Snobmas article that actually makes sense and is actually about wizard rock! I’ll try to keep the previous two types of articles to a minimum, okay, dudes?  But I’ve never been good with a deadline, so…  In any case, here’s a list of what for my money are the best meta-wrock songs of 2010.  But this is in no way an exhaustively researched or definitive list – more what comes to my mind, in the hope that others will remind me in the comments of great songs from this year that I forgot.

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REVIEW: Jingle Spells 4

 

 

 

[Thank you for visiting The Wrock Snob and reading this article! I’d love for you to jump right into the reviewy goodness, but first there is some unfortunate business to take care of. It is not in my nature to tell you specifically what or what not to buy and who to support – I tell you what I thought about an album, and if my tastes seem to align with yours, you might want to heed my suggestions. However, I must take this time to personally exhort that you do not monetarily support the bands The Remus Lupins or Ministry of Magic. The full reasons are unsettling and possibly triggering, so please proceed with caution, but if you want the full details click here. Simply put, it has been revealed that certain member/s of both bands did destructive, upsetting, and highly problematic things. While I can see the value of reviewing art no matter what the artist did on a grand society-level scale, I cannot morally allow myself to condone the financial support of these monsters, nonetheless exhorting people to do so. Now it is entirely possible this copypasta’d retroactive warning was placed on a negative review, making this sidebar somewhat moot, but I still feel it necessary to make these matters clear. Again, for full details and rumination click here, otherwise, please enjoy the article.]

Here it is, for reals this time!

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REVIEW: The Long Awaited Review of A Certain Wizard Rock Christmas Compilation Album

This review has been a long time coming.  A VERY long time coming.  I’ve had my copy for about a month now, maybe longer, and while I’d already listened to it, and had tons of thoughts all lined up in my head, something happened.  WROCKSTOCK HAPPENED. And I’ve been barely keeping on top of that, so any planned album reviews were thrown by the wayside.  But now that it’s apparently officially the Christmas season (even though for me that doesn’t begin until December 1st…), it seems that I cannot push the inevitable back any more.  Don’t worry, we still have the last dregs of Wrockstock to talk about, and those will be resuming after this.  Think of this article as a holiday special interrupting your usual Jeopardy schedule.  And now, without any further ado, my review of a certain holiday-themed wizard rock compilation album.

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The Top 7 Songs About Cedric

[Thank you for visiting The Wrock Snob and reading this article! I’d love for you to jump right into the reviewy goodness, but first there is some unfortunate business to take care of. It is not in my nature to tell you specifically what or what not to buy and who to support – I tell you what I thought about an album, and if my tastes seem to align with yours, you might want to heed my suggestions. However, I must take this time to personally exhort that you do not monetarily support the bands The Remus Lupins or Ministry of Magic. The full reasons are unsettling and possibly triggering, so please proceed with caution, but if you want the full details click here. Simply put, it has been revealed that certain member/s of both bands did destructive, upsetting, and highly problematic things. While I can see the value of reviewing art no matter what the artist did on a grand society-level scale, I cannot morally allow myself to condone the financial support of these monsters, nonetheless exhorting people to do so. Now it is entirely possible this copypasta’d retroactive warning was placed on a negative review, making this sidebar somewhat moot, but I still feel it necessary to make these matters clear. Again, for full details and rumination click here, otherwise, please enjoy the article.]

Word up.   Again, no partially witty but needlessly long intro this time, we’re gonna jump right in!

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