Kiss Off

So, this happened.

Which I suppose warrants a bit of an explanation.

I have worked in and lived a life in music for, well, my whole life and for that I am eternally grateful.  When I was young my very identity was inextricably linked to the music I listened to (not uncommon, I think for any young person).  I liked some things, I loathed others and there was generally very little neutral ground.  I would not be caught dead listening to the stuff I threw in the “loathed” file.  I once tried to overthrow a Genesis listening party with repeated plays of the extended single of the Clash’s “Magnificent Seven”.  (The coup failed).

Flash forward many years and you will find me far more tolerant of different music genres, and with a willingness to not only accept but embrace the spectacles that music can offer.  I also find myself nourishing a love for the sounds that made an impression on me as a very young lass.  Which brings us to Kiss.

Kiss played on a double bill with Def Leppard the other day and my pal Kim was game for the going.  Kim is a very adventurous sort with a fabulous sense of play and an enduring love for Gene Simmons.  She has dressed up as the legendary bass player several times for Hallowe’en and co-opted her father to play the role of Paul Stanley for one concert attendance.  She threw the same challenge down for me and for the first time in my shy retiring life I picked it up. We bought the tickets, bought the white face and got down to business.

Kiss hit big when I was in grade school.  I will never forget one Hallowe’en in grade six when my class mate Brian arrived in full Gene Simmons makeup, with white Y front underwear pulled over his brown corduroys in place of a cod piece.  This is an image that has burned itself in to my psyche that I am delighted and revel in.  I myself was never truly a fan but they certainly occupy a place in the jukebox of my brain.  Attending a concert in full face was something I never would have considered even a few years ago.  Kim and I were greeted with much amusement and admiration, and were photographed many times.  The concert was exactly what I expected it to be, including confetti cannons, spark-shooting guitars, blood spitting, hydraulics and the works, all married to a schtick that hasn’t changed one whit since 1978.  I had a blast.

I shot the above picture off to a few people, most of whom were vastly amused.  This behaviour is extremely atypical of me.  I hate being photographed and generally try to avoid bringing much attention to myself and I must confess I was a little proud about stepping so far out of my comfort zone.  This happy feeling got doused suddenly when one of the photo recipients took it upon themselves to release a vitriolic tirade on the legitimacy of Kiss as a band, their overall contribution to the decline of the music business and the dismissal of myself (and my generation) who presumably are incapable of distinguishing between true art and artifice.  Aggressive and unapologetically judgemental, it actually knocked the fun right out of the experience and made me unable to write a post about what had been a truly joyous experience until that moment.

I have gotten my sea legs back, the experience has born an investigation in to a deeper topic. Is it an aberration of the individual that makes someone have to deflate the euphoria of others?  Or is it the new media, which makes saying hurtful things as simple as the click of a mouse and and allows uninvited opining while protecting the aggressor from really understanding what effect their words are having, or at least from the immediate reaction that they might ordinarily suffer if they were communicating face to face?  Louis CK has a brilliant bit on this concept that he explained on Conan.  His is primarily focussed on kids, but I think the idea that email and texting suspends the development of empathy is a very valid one

I will try to grow a thicker skin and I will continue on with my adventures.  I wil have some fun, I will explore new things and I will share them with the people who care and can hold their thistle tongues.  Plus I have discovered a new delight in dressing up for the carnival – god only knows what will happen when my Cirque Du Soleil tickets show up!


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