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There’s No Such Thing as a Bad Reputation

express Magazine
Written by express Magazine

Two-time Billy T award nominated (and twice robbed) comedian James Malcolm falls on his gay knees and pledges his heart and soul to pop’s reigning queen, Taylor Swift.

I self-identify as the Taylor Swift of NZ comedy because we both write about our ex-boyfriends. Taylor Swift is petty, dramatic, self-referencing and everything I aspire to be when I’m on stage telling jokes. A gay man needs his diva and frankly Taylor Swift is the biggest diva going in 2018. I think the label ‘controversial’ gets a bad rap. I’m a strong believer that there is such a thing as ‘fun’ controversial, that pushes boundaries but doesn’t really hurt anyone. That’s what I aim to do, otherwise, life just gets so boring.

I first discovered Taylor Swift in 2009, when she made a guest appearance on ‘Hannah Montana The Movie’ singing ‘Crazier’ at the talent show where Miley Cyrus would perform the instantly iconic ‘Hoedown Throwdown’. I’ve gotta be honest… and I know this is a controversial thing for a Taylor Swift fanboy to say, but I really can’t stand country music, so she didn’t properly show up on my radar at the time.

My love for Taylor truly began with the petty and iconic breakup songs. ‘White Horse’, ‘Teardrops On My Guitar’, ‘Dear John’. These songs would shame and sometimes even name the boys who did her wrong without accepting an inch of self-responsibility. It’s fierce and uncompromising and when I listen to them I feel a burning rage in my stomach at the men in my life who have wronged me. They’re still country songs, but they have a sharp edge to them. They make me feel powerful!

Her album ‘Red’ was a true game changer and what launched me from casual fan to super fan. ‘I Knew You Were Trouble’ is maybe the sexiest song I’ve ever heard. I’ve made out with boys to that song at both Wellington’s Ivy Bar and every individual bar in Family’s massive K Road superclub! An ode to the fuckboy.

By far Taylor’s best era has been ‘1989’. When has your fave ever released an album with 7 commercially successful singles? The not so subtle wink at ex Harry Styles with her song ‘Style’ is just iconic. So dramatic and completely at odds with the usual celebrity tact of keeping hush on any personal scandals. ‘Bad Blood’ completely revolutionised celebrity feuds, deliberately thrusting her grievances with Katy Perry into the public sphere for all to speculate on and debate. I am determined to have an equally dramatic feud with someone in the NZ comedy scene at some point in my career, complete with obvious references in my stand-up and shady faux-subtle subtweets on Twitter. But the shining star of that album is absolutely, ‘Blank Space’.  The way that she was able to parody her image in the song, by not only owning her bad reputation but completely diving into it, is what makes her my absolute number one.   

Her current ‘Reputation’ era is everything I could have dreamed of and was the most dominant inspiration for my most recent solo-show ‘Fameless’. Imagine being so iconic that you can write an entire body of art based on the perception of your highly curated public profile.

The Reputation Tour is almost upon us and it’s going to be the first time I see my artistic inspiration in person since the 1989 tour never made it to our shores and I am a struggling artist who cannot afford flights to Australia. I will almost definitely cry, I can’t really think about it too much because I just get so overwhelmed. We are all chess pieces in Taylor Swift’s game. I can’t wait to bow down to the Queen of Snakes.

Taylor Swift’s Reputation Stadium Tour comes to Auckland’s Mt Smart on Friday 9 November supported by Broods and Charli XCX. For more info visit livenation.co.nz

Photo | Sean Finney.

About the author

express Magazine

express Magazine

express is New Zealand's leading LGBT+ publication. Our goal is to inform and support our community by delving into relevant people, stories and events.

Anika Moa

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