Paracetamol

milkboys Music, Music & Dance 4 Comments

Young musicianDeclan McKenna tells of how the death of Leelah Alcorn, a transgender teen from Ohio, spurred a flurry of songwriting he hopes will encourage people to care.

I’m 17 now. I wrote Paracetamol between the ages of 15 and 16. With many of my songs, I have this strange habit of spending months fumbling over song structure ideas before suddenly writing all the lyrics in one day, and that’s what happened here. What sparked that flurry was a story I read about a transgender girl called Leelah Alcorn who committed suicide in December 2014. Her mother told her she would never be a girl, and she had been compelled to undergo Christian transgender “conversion” therapy.

It was a disgusting story. Not only must it have been a truly horrific experience for Leelah, but knowing that this wasn’t an isolated case genuinely terrified me.

So I wrote this song called Paracetamol – without really noticing it at first – from the perspective of this ambiguous authoritative figure, talking about somebody they are oppressing, in a sort of disconnected tabloid speak. I guess I’m being the bad guy. I didn’t really want to write it as a victim, firstly because I’m not, but predominantly because it wouldn’t feel right to write it that way. Paracetamol is not written specifically about Leelah’s case, but about sections of the media’s representation of LGBT communities in general. On the odd occasion they are represented, the media tends to be handle it so horribly that the cumulative effect is that their readers – quite understandably – just don’t quite get it either.

It’s pretty important to note here that I’m not trying to suggest that I know everything about this topic, because I don’t, but I do care and I wanted to act, and I think more people need to start actively caring.

When making a music video, it becomes quite difficult to find a director who can puts all your words into pictures and convey the same message. Paracetamol needed somebody who genuinely cared about what the song was trying to say. Trans music videos can be pretty bad and send out the completely wrong message. We approached the brilliant Matt Lambert, whose previous work is fascinating. It’s provocative. Check him out, if you’re not familiar with his work already. I think he has done an amazing job with the video, and he had loads of really great, interesting ideas from the outset. One of the primary things he wanted to focus on, which was important to me and the song, was that it wasn’t portrayed as a tragedy. Many films about trans people have this weird suggestion that they don’t have the chance to be happy. We wanted to make something positive, with people who are actively affected by the topics in the video.

The teenagers that Matt and his team cast were from east London, and watching their friendship develop, almost in real time, was awesome. Those guys are 15, and the story resonated with them. This video doesn’t tell them that their life is going to be shit simply because some people won’t accept who they are. I really hope it’s a video that can speak to people.

It’s a cliche, but although we’re all different, we’re also pretty similar. Rather than caring about the problems that affect us alone, maybe we should start caring about the problems that we’ve created and start reversing them.

Video submitted by Tom, text first published by The Guardian

Yuri!!! on ICE

milkboys Anime & Cartoons, Television 8 Comments

The story of Yuri!!! on ICE revolves around Yuri Katsuki, who carried all of Japan’s hopes on his shoulders to win at the Gran Prix Finale ice skating competition, but suffered a crushing defeat. He returns home to Kyushu and half feels like he wants to retire, and half feels like he wants to continue ice skating.

With those mixed feelings swirling inside him, he confines himself inside his parents house. Suddenly the five-time consecutive world championship ice skater Viktor Nikiforov appears before him, and along with him is Yuri Plisetsky, a young Russian figure skater who is already defeating his seniors. Viktor and both Yuris take up the challenge on an unprecedented Gran Prix series.

Yuri is a young figure skater considering retirement after he plummeted from world championship level to failing to qualify at nationals over the course of a single season. He goes home for the first time in five years in poor physical and emotional condition, reconnecting with his family and trying to reconnect with his love of skating – not realising everything is about to change.

yuri-on-ice-fanservice

We often get sports anime at the start of an athlete’s career. Picking up with elementary school Yuri as he first discovers skates then comes to surpass his friends, or middle school Yuri struggling to balance training for regional competitions with studying for high school entrance exams, or high school Yuri working his way up to his first national championship – any of these would have made for a solid anime. Instead, we meet Yuri when he is 23, at a crossroads and in a state of doubt. To the people of his no-name hometown he is a proud success, but to other skating professionals he is a failure; he is aware of both opinions, and they are equally painful to him. To start an anime with this kind of everyday, relatable complexity is pretty rare, and it is handled expertly.

The storytelling works by gently layering multiple elements, characters and settings to build up a world in which a story happens rather than spoon-feeding information to the audience. Throwaway comments in normal conversations hint at reasons why Yuri might have stayed away for five years, or what he sacrificed by leaving. There is occasional exposition given in voiceover or through SD imagery, but it is quick and lightly handled. As a general rule, the animation is used to convey both character details and set an atmosphere, supporting and elevating the storytelling, which is strong and sophisticated to begin with. The script sets up and subverts expectations, making a fairly slow-paced drama less predictable and even more satisfying to watch.

yuri-katsuki

Despite frequent use of cartoony facial expressions and visual gags, Yuri’s world is one of the most grounded of the season. His world is full of people who feel like people, not archetypes, with full lives which continue outside Yuri’s view. There are female characters of different ages, all with individual personalities, styles and mannerisms, none of whom are sexualised.

yuri-plisetsky

This episode gives a lot of information on story, backstory and characters in this episode, but its focus is tight: Yuri is in a slump and needs to find a way out of it. To add stakes and complications, his idol, exceptional Russian skater Victor, has no idea who he is. His idol’s younger teammate told Yuri in no uncertain terms that he should retire, but Yuri knows that if he retires he will never get another chance to skate on the same ice as Victor. However, his performance has dropped so dramatically he may be forced into retirement anyway simply by failing to qualify for anything. Also, didn’t he love this once? What happened?

Review by Anime Feminist

Oh Tommen…

milkboys News, Television 31 Comments

…you sweet, sweet summer child. It sure seems to be the year of leaks. Bieber, Troye, now Dean-Charles Chapman. And much like the character he portrays on Game of Thrones, the British actor seems to occasionally have trouble with his sexual energy clouding his judgement.

dean-charles-chapman-naked

The little prince who could. Four times sin a row.

Yesterday a video surfaced that was captured on the video chat site Omegle. It shows the 19-year-old actor having a wank with his cousin (who seems to take more than one close look at Dean) and according to 4chan he confirmed the authenticity of the video on his Instagram account. Take that as you will.

dean-charles-chapman-fap-video

Both the thread and the video are gone by now but let’s all take this as a reminder to use common sense when we sext or get off in front of a webcam. The headache the potential aftermath can cause is rarely worth the few seconds of bliss that orgasm might bring. More importantly though, don’t record people without their consent. Duh.

Grace & Campbell

milkboys Music, Music & Dance 10 Comments

This is the occasional post in which we regretfully feature content from the overproduced shit shows that are X-Factor and America’s got Talent because some of the contestants actually do have really nice voices.

First up is 14-year-old Campbell Walker Fields who was adopted by two guys which, of course, was turned into a tearjerker segment but oh well, not his fault, he seems great and certainly can sing.

Then there’s Grace Vander Waal who must have struck a saucy deal with the devil to get a voice like that, she’s pretty awesome, she writes her own songs too! Will be interesting to see how her voice will age.