April 14, 2012

Milli Vanilli

Now judge all you want, and I know it seems like shallow subject but no more shallow than talking about shoes or nailpolish in my opinion. I have somewhat of a fascination with Milli Vanilli. I just find it a very interesting and tragic story.

If you're too young to know or lived under a rock at the time, Milli Vanilli were a popular duo in the late eighties/early nineties, with hits such as Girl, You Know It's True, Blame It On The Rain and Girl I'm Gonna Miss You. They rose to super stardom with their catchy tunes, good looks and dance moves but their careers came crashing down when it was revealed they didn't sing a note on their record. They were lip syncing and just were the facade for what greedy record executives had created.

Rob Pilatus and Fabrice Morvan came to the US from Europe and wanted to make it in the business. They were young and very foolish to have signed a contract without  a lawyer or manager present. Eager to become stars, they thought they would be singers. It's reported that there were always excuses about why they wouldn't record until they learned that they would not be singing on their album, but only playing the part in videos and live performances. The duo became caught up in the fame, money and success but admitted at the end of the day they felt horrible and fake. They even won a Grammy for best new artist in 1990. Rob and Fab later had to return the award when the truth was discovered.

In 1989, during a live show, the recording jammed and played the same line over and over while the guys panicked and ran off stage. Soon after, record executive, Frank Farian, admited they were not singing on the ablum. It seemed that Rob and Fabrice were unfairly left to deal with the brunt of the repercussions and judgment. They were the laughing stocks of the music industry. They even did a chewing gum commercial depicting them lip syncing opera and the voice over states that the flavor will last "Until these guys sing for themselves"  as they shrug innocently.

Rob and Fab tried to make their own album in the late nineties but sadly Rob Pilatus died of a drug and alcohol  overdose just one day before the new album's press tour was to begin. His death was ruled accidental but he had been depressed for a while and attempted suicide before.

I personally think that they were used and deceived. They were stuck under contract and forced to continue the lie. A lot of people in the music industry knew they weren't singing. Tell me how it's very different than any number of "artists" today, who auto tune their songs and never sing live? I think they would have had probably the same success if they were allowed to sing themselves. The songs sold themselves and they had a great look. Fabrice Morvan performed old Milli Vanilli hits later on and did quite well. You can find it on Youtube somewhere. 

Hind sight is 20/20 but knowing now, it seems obvious that they weren't singing. They'd often not have the mic up at the right times and their English wasn't that great, but at the time, people didn't care. They were hugely popular and lots of singers from abroad speak with an accent yet sing in an American one. It's a shame they were so heavily criticized  and that the whole debacle probably started Rob's downward spiral, eventually leading to his death at the age of  34.

There is talk of a movie about the rise and fall of Milli Vanilli in 2013 and I will be interested to see it, for sure. I'm not sure why I'm drawn to this story, it's gripping isn't it? What do you think of the group, the songs, the scandal, all of it?

April 13, 2012

Bathing Suit Shopping

Yet another summer starts here in Egypt (yes it's hot already) and living in Hurghada, bathing suits are essential. We have a group beach trip planned soon and the girls have outgrown the suits they had so we went on a mission to find suitable...er suits.  I wanted the older 2 girls to have either shorts or a skirt on theirs and it has to be one piece. And not a frilly little decorative skirt but something that covers the bum and comes mid thigh at least.

Dawood is easy, thankfully board shorts have become very popular since I wrote this post, so alhamdulillah for that. He's shot up in height, mashaAllah this year, so he got a nice new pair of  board shorts and he's good to go.

The girls however are a different story. First of all they are really picky, second of all, the majority of bathing suits here are either, ugly, of bad quality or skimpy.  We searched high and low all over town today, walking and spending a lot on taxis just to find something that was sturdy, modest, and cute.

Thankfully I found a great one for Zayneb that's black and white with a nice skirt and looks cute too.  It cost more that I'd wanted to spend but it really was better than the alternatives. Salwa also picked a nice red and white one piece with a skirt, but either way they'll wear a sarong outside of the water. Safiyah didn't want to go shopping with us, so she said I could pick one out for her. I picked up a nice navy one piece and she was sad because she wanted a skirt like her sisters have. It was too small anyway so I'll have to go return it and find something with the all important skirt.

A short comment on modesty and the Egyptain social class system. For some reason or another, people of higher socioeconomic standing are less modest in their dress in general than people in the lower class. People in the middle want to find a happy medium but sadly, all the bathing suits we found that had a short sleeve, shorts underneath and a skirt were, how should I put this...bee2a. That's a term here used that means lower class looking. Besides that, the fabric is so thin that wet, it's not serving it's purpose anyway. I'm not looking for brands or whatever but what I'm  looking at is the quality and durability of the fabric and also that it's a simple nice style, not overly decorated fugliness. I'm not even sure this paragraph made any sense but people in/from Egypt will understand what I mean, I hope.

I, myself bought a new hijabi swimsuit (eh, I dislike the term burkini) which are easy to find here and quite affordable too.  The sea here is just so amazing we really should take advantage of it more often.