Over the weekend I went to visit my friend Abe in Brighton, England, the gay capital of the United Kingdom. Like gay clubs in America’s gay capital, Australia’s gay capital, Germany’s gay capital and every other Western nation’s gay capital, the bars played Britney Spears all night long. The crowd loved “Toxic” and “I’m A Slave 4 U,” but lost control when “Scream and Shout” played; the British boys—and the obnoxious bachelorette party which came to gawk at the fags like we were a freak show—sang so loud, their British accents prevented me from hearing Britney’s fake British accents.
For a moment, I considered British accents singing-a-long off-key to Britney’s off-key fake British accent seemed like the perfect metaphor for post-modern Britain—a fallen empire that imitates popular culture’s imperialist, nineteenth century in an attempt to feel superior—but since I was at a gay club sober, I saw pretty boys dancing against the wall, alone, and remembered twinks love Britney because she is our Judy Garland, and Britney’s British accent originated during her notorious mental breakdown.
Britney’s British accent started the way many things started during her mental breakdown: on a late night run to a gas station with her paparazzi boyfriend Adnan Ghalib. One night Britney ran into a gas station with the paparazzi that exploited her as bodyguards and no shoes. She asked a cashier, “Where is the loo?”
“Huh?” the cashier asked Britney.
“Do you even work here?” she asked, as she walked into the backroom with the cameramen. “You obviously don’t work here.”
After leaving the grocery store without using the loo or purchasing Cheetos or cigarettes, Britney drove into the dark with Adnan.
A year later, after two stints in a mental institute and court ordered conservatorship, Britney Spears embarked on a circus themed comeback tour to promote her album Circus and let the world know she loved her fans and wasn’t crazy anymore. For most the show, Britney lip-synch as clowns wheeled her around on couches. Either she had no desire to perform and hates the public, as anyone who has ever seen an awkward Tumblr photo of Britney with fans knows, or Britney was still too much of a loose cannon to speak aloud in public, except when the sound engineers turned on Britney’s mic so she could sing “Everytime” and remind us that she still has vocal talent; she just hates her life.
At the North Carolina date, Britney asked the crowd “How you feeling tonight?” as if she was about to sing a happy song about “California Girls,” not a song about cheating on Justin Timberlake from her catalog comprised of dance songs about domestic violence and bad media karma.
Since then, Britney seems happy and healthy. She survived a season on The X-Factor without saying anything controversial during the live tapings and attended Elton John’s Oscar bash with brunette hair and slim figure instead of the glassy, lithium eyes that have become her trademark style ever since she checked out of the Cedar Sinai psychiatric ward. Best of all, Britney has turned her mental illness induced British accent into one of her biggest hits.
Between the “It’s Britney, bitch” samples from her mental breakdown era hit “Gimme More,” Britney sings “When I’m up in the club, all eyes on us,” as an example of her power instead of the public’s invasion of her life. She has made her past’s embarrassments into her present’s triumphs. It’s something we should all try next time we’re against a gay club wall.
Follow Mitchell on Twitter @MitchSunderland
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