The Global Economy in Trans Terrorist Style (starring more Star Fuckers and "Mickey" Jagger!)

by on Jan.13, 2012

Another discovery I made in Brazil is the hipsterlicious trio known as Banda UÓ.  I think their name is an adaptation of “wow” into Portuguese–a gesture that already opens our orifices to Third World counterfeitness and the group’s cheesy garbling of Anglophone hits.  Banda UÓ reworks classics like Foreigner’s “I Want to Know What Love Is” and Willow Smith’s already excellent “Whip My Hair,” which they’ve mutated into the rock star drama of “Shake de Amor.”  Here’s their explanation of the song:

What has Mick Jagger ever done to you to deserve the plotline in “Shake de Amor”?

The song is based on the story between him and a TV host from Brazil named Luciana Gimenez. The story is satirized, but basically the story is, the Rolling Stones came to Brazil to do a concert with the tour Bridges to Babylon, and Jagger met Luciana. The two hung out for a couple of months, while he was still married the the model Jerry Hall. Then she got pregnant and he denied everything, trying to get out of the situation. That’s why in the chorus we say “vou me vingar de você” (“I will avenge you”) a billion times, she is really pissed.

I wonder if Banda UÓ reads Montevidayo?  Almost everything about “Shake de Amor” seems inspired by Johannes’ post on star fuckers, Andy Warhol, Candy Darling, and Mick Jagger!  Candy Mel (“Honey”), the trans singer in the group, even casts herself as the center of Johannes’ “orbit of transveticism.”  If there’s an added ingredient to the music video, it’s the final shot in which the star-fucker-cum-star gets a decorative splash of Jagger’s blood on her face.  Also listen for machine gunfire throughout the track:

I’ve relished thinking about this video as a cannibalist, terrorist reckoning of sorts waged on behalf of a queer global south.  I love how Banda UÓ’s spastic tropicalism, when contrasted with their shitty car and the junkyard wasteland they inhabit, capitalizes on the euphoria of today’s Brazil as well as its historical discontents.  As Portugal’s oldest ally, the UK has long enjoyed an exploitative relationship with Brazil beyond the affairs of celebrities.  To cannibalize the cock-swaggering Jagger (along with the other Anglo singers they cover), Banda UÓ turns his name into “Mickey,” as per Portuguese pronunciation.  An orange-haired fellow even goes so far as to visually regurgitate the Disney cartoon character on a sweatshirt.

Other postcolonial frictions also come into play as sensations to be heightened and enjoyed but, like the offscreen presence of Jagger, not totally declared or digested.  The video presents itself, after all, as an instruction manual on how to bleed style, how to channel its violence so that even the colors switch off in exhaustion after the gunshot.  While Candy Mel looks amazing in her Hard Rock Cafe Lisbon cut-off, her vengeance on Jagger might call to mind the murder of an unarmed Brazilian immigrant whom London police wrongly suspected of a bombing attempt in 2005.  If the British have long ago forgotten about this, Brazilians have not–just as in the case of Jagger’s siring out of wedlock (which even my parents remember!).

Along with these terrorist assemblages of ethnicity, sexuality, and gender, Banda UÓ’s hipster bloodthirst also finds homonationalist repercussions in recent news:  Brazil’s economy has just overtaken the UK’s as the 6th largest in the world.  If my account of international relations above seems exaggerated, here’s some very telling language from the Daily Mail on this:

It is time to jettison our focus on the European Union, the keystone of our economic and trade policy since our entry into the Common Market in 1973, and restore Britain’s historic ties to Asia, Latin America and Africa where the growth markets are orientated. Brazil should not be regarded as a competitor for economic hegemony but a vast market to be exploited.

12 comments for this entry:
  1. Johannes

    I love that video! I love the way the gaudy colors of the clothing and spasmatic movements and weird hand gestures/decorations come together in the act of off-screen murder.

    I was actually thinking about Mickey Jagger the other day and the whole orbit thing because I was listening to this program about Patti Smith and her influence on Swedish women punk artsist and one woman talked about how she had seen her on stage in Stockholm and Smith’s clothes and way of moving etc really inspired this woman (the Patti Smith Orbit) and this swedish woman said she had copied all Smith’s moves but then she said, as an aside, that she had also copied Mick Jagger’s hair. So this suggests something of an intersection between Patti Smith and Andy Warhol and Mickey Jagger as a kind of figure of androgony that inspired feminist swedish punk girls…

  2. Lucas de Lima

    So many gaudy possibilities! I totally believe and partake in the Patti Smith Orbit– I am obsessed with her version of “Because the Night” and sing it all the time in karaoke. I think the song is actually about her planet eclipsing with Bruce Springsteen’s. For me it’s art and not really love that they’re singing about.

    Thanks, Kent, for the info. What’s the BRazilian flair in the book?

  3. Kent Johnson

    In other weirdness that seems quite “Tran” deep down and also with a Brazilian flair, though you’ll have to see the book:

    My friend Micah Robbins, editor of Sous les Paves newsletter, is soon publishing a new edition of the po-biz-satirical *Works and Days of the feneon collective*, edited by Anonyme, and originally published by Effing Press in 2010 in a 600+ edition that mysteriously vanished almost immediately upon release. The mildly interesting breaking news is this: It turns out that Tao Lin, the Andy Warhol of the literary world, was one of the central figures involved in the original feneon collective group, back when the fc was putting its faits divers up on the internet (the fc blog no longer exists). This new edition with Robbins’s imprint Say It with Stones carries an Afterword by Tao Lin, who claims to have reconfigured the feneon collective [Unified Body] (the name of its final incarnation after a series of factional splits, it seems) into a new group called the Faineant Collective [Orphic Body]. I’ve seen the three-page Afterword and it’s quite amazing. It begins with this odd sentence, and the piece gets odder:

    “People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. People who live in $20 million glass houses in a recession should have the glazier on speed dial. I am the glazier.”

  4. Kent Johnson

    Lucas, the Brazil thing was a momentary flight of fancy, inspired by your post. Though there is a faits divers I have in front of me from the feneon collective that does relate:

    >With incredible skill and to great applause, celebrating their special supplement in Poetry, the Synchronized Swim Team of Visual Poets formed, in the pool of the Paris Hyatt, the face of Haroldo de Campos, in his thirties.

    Do you know Chris Daniels, probably the leading U.S. translator of Brazilian poetry (also translator of two books by Pessoa/heteronyms)? He wrote me the other day, after your previous post, to say he has translated some work by Hilst that hasn’t appeared in English. He’s also got a draft of a Lispector novel done. Plus, he has a treasure trove of major, previously untranslated stuff from Brazil by many poets: Bopp, Leminski, Fontela, Baptista, and on and on. I was with him a few weeks ago in Oakland, and it’s all lovingly archived in his home, waiting for some smart publishers to gobble it up– because he doesn’t send it out. If you want a deep source into the field down there, he’s your guy. Write me and I’ll put you in touch, if you wish.

  5. Lucas de Lima

    I know of him–yes, would love to get in touch. Will drop you a line at some point! Thanks for thinking of it!

    It so happens that I just finished reading yours and Forrest Gander’s translation of Saenz’s Immanent Visitor. Que guay!


  6. Kent Johnson

    Lucas, please do write as I’d love to put you in touch with Chris. He knows just about everyone avant-poetic who matters in Brazil. And all the politics of it, too (the heavy whipping cream of it there makes ours seem like skim milk).

    And thanks for the mention of Saenz. He is unlike any other, eh?

    I’d alluded to this some days back, but thought I’d mention that this has been released just today, first announcement of it here. Craig Dworkin writing as if he’s me, apparently. Payback, I assume, for my Conceptual appropriation of Goldsmith’s DAY a couple years back. Let’s see what he says:

  7. Johannes

    I think you should write as Craig Dworkin writing as you… or even better: write as me writing as craig dworkin writing as you…


  8. Kent Johnson

    Actually, I’ve been discussing the matter with an attorney. It’s likely this will be going to court.

    Conceptualism is fine, but that Dworkin (though in this case it’s safe to say the act is by a whole group) would go so far as to put my name on something I haven’t written is really a bit too much. I don’t care what he says “the next frontier of propriety” will be. This crosses a line.

  9. Kent Johnson

    My Google Alert led me to this post the other day by Adam Strauss, on his Brooks, A Gwendolyn blog:

    >From a Montevidayo blogbox comment by Kent Johnson:

    “Conceptualism is fine, but that Dworkin (though in this case it’s safe to say the act is by a whole group) would go so far as to put my name on something I haven’t written is really a bit too much. I don’t care what he says “the next frontier of propriety” will be. This crosses a line”

    [Adam then writes:] Honestly I find myself a touch surprised–or maybe disappointed–by KJ’s stance: his interest in challenging conventional notions of authorship seems to align with Dworkin’s move. Or maybe not because Yasusada traffics in a wholly fake author, whereas this BlazeVox book brings the mess of messing with authorship into the very moment. At any rate, this development feels to me like a logical extension. <
    Hi Adam. OK…

    Now, Johannes suggests above that I should respond by writing as Craig Dworkin pretending to be me.

    But what if this book already is that? A book *by me*, pretending to be Craig Dworkin pretending to be me?

    I'm not saying it IS (Vanessa Place and Kenny Goldsmith don't seem to think so), but…

    You see, because Conceptual poetry has been so slavishly and conventionally tethered to the ideological Golden Pole of Paratext (i.e., normative Authorial claim), its operations have been relatively circumscribed in range. The little yellow ball of the Name traces a circumference in its tight and speeding arc. I would propose…

    And if the book IS by me, pretending to be Craig Dworkin pretending to be me, it doesn't mean I can't still try to Conceptually sue them in an actual court of Law.

  10. Joyelle McSweeney

    I love this vidayo

  11. Johannes

    Yes, it’s great. It reminded me a bit of a trashy version of various Alexander Bard groups (Army of Lovers, Bodies without Organs), so I forwarded the post to him.


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