Top hats and turncoats.
So there’s a story on TMZ this AM about a Guns N’ Roses show “in Canada last Wednesday” where:
"concert security informed fans that they were required to turn their Slash t-shirts inside out …. and leave their top hats outside."
Last Wednesday’s show was actually in Regina, Saskatchewan, but I guess TMZ’s higher-ups figure that if they start name-dropping cities in lesser Canadian provinces they’ll alienate readers. (The perils of “open” writing, eh.) I decided to do a little digging around the Internet’s various Guns N’ Roses forums — there are many — and what do you know, I’ve found no mention of this particular “edict,” although I did find out that approximately 5,500 people were in the crowd, and that "O Canada" was part of the setlist.
This story is yet another one of those TMZ pieces that makes sense when blindly fit into slapdash celebrity narrative — “Axl and Slash still hate each other, and man is Axl still crazy or what?” — but it falls apart once you try to think about it for, like, half a second. The first obvious question: Who would wear a top hat to a rock show? And another: Who would wear a top hat to a rock show on a day when the low was 16 degrees?
And as it turns out, it was complete bunk. Someone should probably mark this day, because a TMZ commenter actually had a worthy addition to a discussion!
"LOL at all of you. This story has already been proven to be a farce. IT NEVER HAPPENED. A butthurt moderator at one of the fan forums stirred this up as part of an ongoing effort to silently get back at Axl for being rejected from both the backstage area and after parties from the Madison Square Garden show in 2006. Repeated attempts to gain access; all denied lol."
I have pretty much thought that TMZ was the worst thing ever from its inception — the way that it disseminates quick-burst “infonuggets” that only serve to take up water-cooler chat time, the “‘Memba Them?” segments that assume its readers have the attention span of a distracted hamster, the endless galleries of plastic surgeries and saggy boobs, the forced sassiness. Mostly though I hate the way that its news is crafted: It gets a piece of information and doesn’t digest it, or even try to figure out the machinations behind its existence, as much as it chews the nugget for half a second before shitting it out, with nothing but a smidge of dollar-store snark added.
The way that TMZ — which I think both reflects and leads the culture at this point, thanks to its valuable AOL-provided Internet real estate — treats its subjects is pretty simple: “Everyone who we look at is LOLworthy. Until they die, and then you have to be sad.” (Ironic that celeb-death reporting is the one thing TMZ is actually kinda good at. Real emotions want to be free?)
(Also why is the photo on the TMZ story from a show by Metal Skool, which hasn’t even been called Metal Skool in more than a year? I doubt it’s some clever metacommentary on Axl’s ever-rotating band of Gunners, because “clever” is not in their vocabulary.)