It is Britney, bitch.

I read Steve Dennis’s ‘Inside the Dream’ aka the Britney Spears biography, and I’m feeling no shame at all. Maybe just a little, tiny bit. I wouldn’t have felt the need to say that I have no shame in reading Britney Spears’s biography if I hadn’t sensed a bit of heckling in the tone of certain friends who maybe thought that reading Britney’s biography is an affront to all that is tasteful in the world. They shall not worry because it must be known that sometimes I read the occasional David Foster Wallace, which is truly for me the height of highbrow, ahem.

As a matter of undeniable fact I’m just really the kind of person who would read a Britney Spears biography. If the opportunity presents itself I wouldn’t think twice about the Sharon Stone biography and the Lindsay Lohan and the Jeff Buckley. It is wholly non-uncharacteristic of me to be reading those.

You should know that reading Britney’s biography gives you deeper appreciation for and life lessons from the international superstar kind of life, not that you will ever have an immediate need for those. I haven’t read that many pop star biographies but I’m guessing there’s not much to find in lesser stars’s biographies that I wouldn’t already read about in Brit’s, no? But as I’ve said, no lowly, ‘unartistic’ book is beneath me, so that maybe if I see Natalie Imbruglia’s or any of the All Saints girls’ memoir in Book Sale, maybe I can find it in my indiscriminate heart to grab and pick valuable superstar lessons from.

Predictably, the Britney biography begins with her humble beginnings in a small Louisiana town. As you know, humble beginnings are almost all the same even if you’re Britney Spears. If I wasn’t so patient I would have skipped this part altogether because I already know all about superstar humble beginnings via the one and only Vondie Curtis Hall classic, Glitter.

The thing to remember when reading about superstars, I now realize is, it is imperative to separate your non-famous self’s circumstance from the superstars’ because the worlds you and the superstar inhabit are not and never will be the same. With that mindset, you will be ready to accept the fact that being hounded by paparazzi while you get out of your Mercedez, underperforming your latest hit single in the MTV Video Music Awards, and getting into child custody battles with hot ex-husbands are things worthy of the common man’s sympathy.

So Britney went through tough times in her life because her family, like yours and mine, wasn’t all that together, just like any other dysfunctional family in the world. In fact Britney’s family was so dysfunctional her mom had to write two books about it. I went through those obligatory chapters to get to the meatier parts fast. And the meaty parts are indeed meaty. Or maybe I’m just starved for celebrity scandals and our lack of E! and The Biography channels needs serious addressing.

In all honesty (as opposed to ‘In all dishonesty’) there is not much you will read here that you will not have already read, heard or seen elsewhere. What makes Steve Dennis’ rendering of the Britney kind of life special is it’s coherent although occasionally factually erroneous telling of the rise and fall and rise and fall of Britney.

I’m not a fan of Britney’s but she’s compelling in a way that the likes of Willa Ford, Nicole Scherzinger, Cheryl Cole, Gwen Stefani and other pop starlets are not. Plus I like her songs and I have no shame in that, too. Precisely five years ago, during the Circus era, I could never understand why Britney Spears is consistently Yahoo search’s #1 topic. I could never truly appreciate Britney’s popularity that people would always go searching for her latest escapades. Maybe she’s less relevant in Google search? Maybe it’s because she really is the Marilyn Monroe/Princess Diana figure of our time? Whatever, the answer does not lie in this biography. The answer is in the intro of ‘Gimme More’. It’s simply because ‘It’s Britney, bitch.’

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Ceremonials in my life

  • Emma Forest used to cry herself to sleep because she didn’t write the The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe. She’s saying this as someone who probably used to be nuts over Edgar Allan Poe, and I instantly recognize the sentiment because it’s similar to my own failure to come up with the idea of superstarmarian, not that I’ve ever had the foresight to come up with something revolutionary or meaningful. But me and Emma along with other fellow Florence nuts should just forgive ourselves for not birthing Florence Welch, for not being responsible for Ceremonials. We should just be happy to have it in our lives.
  • People who joke about wanting to end their lives because there’s nothing in it for them anymore should cancel the suicide and listen to this first.
  • Strangeness and Charm is even more explosive in the studio version. In it Florence sounds like Karen O but thousand times better.
  • You would want to dance to Heartlines, cry to Only if for a Night and Shake it Out, and have sex to Seven Devils. It’s the kind of album you’d want to do activities to, including but not restricted to doing drugs, getting drunk, jumping off the 33rd floor of a building, expressing love.
  • Many times before I almost swore off Mariah because she keeps making decisions I do not approve of, the latest of which is allowing Justin Bieber to shit on All I Want for Christmas is You the result of which is highly despicable. But I probably won’t let her go, the crazy one. In case I do, dahling, Miss Welch will take your place and it is not a place you would want to relinquish.
  • Regarding Christmas, maybe this Christmas I’ll give really nice people in my life Ceremonials so people in this country responsible for accounting for album sales will see sales of it skyrocket and then sound the alarm up in the UK where Florence presumably mostly stays or wherever and have her informed and her people, ‘hey, that tiny Asian country that is not Singapore is buying your album. Go there.’
  • When I go nuts over a musical artist I want everyone in my life to believe and succumb to the fascination like I did to Robyn. The Robyn campaign wasn’t very successful on account of her CDs aren’t being sold here. This time it will be different…
  • I used to think of Florence as an indieish, panderous-to-the-hipster-crowd type of performer that I had to have someone pull strings to obtain Lungs from somewhere over at some First World in the belief that the album simply would not be available here. It’s with an enormous surprise that I discovered Between Two Lungs wedged between Faithless (whatever that is!) and Foo Fighters at an AstroVision. This country’s music distribution people have taste after all and it is a taste I highly approve of. Deluxe Edition at that! Bravo, people in the Philippine music distribution industry. I’m sorry for doubting your faith in the absolute gorgeousness that is Ceremonials. Never had I been so pleased to have a notion of mine be disabused.
  • Adele’s 21 is highly and widely regarded as one of the modern time’s most recognizable greatest pop album and in fairness to the fattie, 21 is indeed very good but it’s also so thoroughly depressing. Ceremonials is also mostly sad but it’s also pretty, hopeful, powerful, otherworldly, vibrant, alive, mesmerizing, danceable and joyful.
  • The Grammy will regret the day it did not choose Florence + the Machines as Best New Artist. They will not recover from that folly.
  • ‘And I did cartwheels in your honor, dancing on tiptoes My own secret ceremonials before the service began, In the graveyard, doing handstands.’  I do, if it’s physically possible, want to perform cartwheels in her honor, dancing on tiptoes, my own secret ceremonials before the album mania began.
  • When I had my first break up with my first male girlfriend, I remember repeatedly playing Aimee Mann’s The Forgotten Arm and I have never stopped associating it since then to heartbreak although it was really more like a loss of a prized gadget than human. Nothing truly remarkable is happening right now except the remarkable things that are happening that I’m not aware of. I won’t remember any of these recent times’ remarkable things but I’ll always remember it as the time that this stunning piece of art was born.