All ArticlesEntertainmentEvents



By Beyonce


I went to see Britney recently. I’m not particularly a fan—I just got dragged there by a friend with a spare ticket. I quite like a few of her songs and love a couple in particular. With the ticket being free, I thought, Why not? It might be the only time I get to see her live.

I wasn’t hopeful of a life-transforming experience. But I hoped it’d at least be fun.

In brief: I was disappointed. There were a few fireworks, an interesting costume or two, and some sterling performances from backing dancers. But Britney herself . . . well her heart certainly wasn’t in it.

I spent most of the show chatting to my friend. We discussed the possible reasons for her apparent disinterest. Was she too tired from being overworked by a ruthless record label? Was she bored with showbiz and just counting down the minutes to the end? Was she just in it for the money? Was she out of it on anti-depressants (for legal reasons, I have to insist she was not)?

In contrast, I recently attended   Those were indeed transformational experiences. It’s funny how a drag queen lying on her bed in a hotel room, inviting passersby to stitch charity-shop scraps of clothing into a growing, twelve-foot long dress (Thom Shaw’s ‘Drag Mountain’) had more energy and passion than a live performance by one of the world’s supposed princesses of pop. There was more stage presence from Alternative Miss Liverpool’s gender-bending backing dancers and the inimitable David Hoyle than there was from Britney and the entirety of her retinue. I was more moved by the cutting-edge performances of trans artistes such as Adrian Turrell-Watts, Thom Shaw, Timberlina and Mandy Romero than I was by one of the most accomplished pop artists alive today. The difference, I guess, is that these performers were passionate about what they were doing. They were celebrating. Britney, on the other hand, was getting paid. (I could almost imagine her with her arms crossed, fag in hand, checking her watch like Bet Lynch awaiting closing time.)

Overall I was not left angry or disappointed by Britney. I hadn’t paid for the ticket, so I certainly didn’t feel ripped off. But I did feel sad. I felt sad that here was a woman whose music I had grown up to, whose career I had followed with some fondness, and who should, by all means, be at the top of her game. Instead I saw a woman going through the motions (for whatever reason) and giving a less than adequate performance. This wasn’t even the first time, either. How many times have we heard stories of her lip-synching and dancing sloppily across the stage? By now it seems a regular occurrence. So she must have known her show wasn’t good. She must have known her audience would be disappointed. She must have known 20,000 people were looking at her and wondering what on earth was going on. And if that was me, I’d have died a little inside.

Perhaps she’s used to it by now. Perhaps so much of her has died she no longer feels it or cares. But I’m crossing my fingers, because I think she might just have some life left in her yet, and maybe in a few years something will click into place, and she’ll become the diva she really should be.

Failing that, maybe I should enter her into Alternative Miss Liverpool next year, and recycle her costumes to make tranny tentacles for the train of Thom Shaw’s serpentine Drag Mountain?