Smiling is for Losers

I stumbled upon this comment about The Dears on the internet the other day:

“great band, saw them live in 2006. what i want to know is, why did [Murray] have a baby with that keyboard player? she’s pretty, but what a po-faced git she is! crack a smile love!” – from a comment on one of our videos on YouTube

What’s a “po-faced git”? I know it’s definitely an insult, but I may have to check the Wiki on this one…ok so Wikipedia was not useful, but I did find a definition of ‘po-faced’ as “…the look of insufficiently disguised distaste…” and ‘git’ as “…somebody regarded as totally worthless or useless.” Anyhow, the name-calling itself is less insulting than what this person says just before: “why did he have a baby with that keyboard player?” Now THAT is incredibly harsh. Obviously this person has never known the feeling of love, or of being loved, and that is the saddest thing of all.

And so, what blog-fueled bitchfest would be complete without a proper “in my defense” bit? I haven’t been smiling for years. Why should I start now? Actually, I have started to smile a bit more onstage. It’s just why should I smile and look happy and bop around if we’re performing sombre pop songs about loneliness, depression, revelation, love and hate, isolation and discovery? It’s heavy stuff and sometimes being jokey just is not appropriate. Dear sir, have you actually listened to a Dears song lately? Anyhow, I don’t really care; it’s not going to affect my onstage performance. I just am trying to understand why someone else would care so much?

10 Replies to “Smiling is for Losers”

  1. My girlfriend, Susan, and I saw The Dears live for the first time just over one year ago, in Winnipeg.

    Natalia, neither she nor I could take our eyes off you all night. We both thought your performance was brilliant…it was almost like theatre. You reflected the mood of the songs perfectly.

    After the show, Susan joked, “Aww. Sad Natalia! I just wanted to give her a big hug and tell her, ‘it’s going to be OK.'”

    Please don’t change a thing.

  2. @ Natalia: ‘Meh’. You know what I mean? I agree that the person who made those comments was probably expressing English ‘dry’ humor. Some live with the mindset that celebrity automatically comes with very thick armor by default, granting outsiders the permission to say or do whatever they wish to.

    If anything, this post strokes the ego of the person who’d prompted it in the first place. They’ll stand in the audience with folded arms, waiting for you to smile. Not because s/he thinks you’re sad and wants you to be happy, but so that s/he can turn to their parents and say, “I made her do that…”

  3. natalia – you cannot take personally. those comments are the least sophisticated attempts at humour. think how much rage is appreciated from some artists. on another note, i don’t know if paul banks (interpol) has ever smiled.

    can i change topic? i just had to log in as i was listening (with no smile) to “no hope before destruction.” haven’t listened to b4 with my super headphones, but at the beginning, is that your chair squeaking? That made me smile.


  4. It finally took this post for me to register for an account so that I can make a comment.

    You are quite right Natalia! Smiles and jocularity would be out of place in a typical Dears performance. Either way, smiles or no smiles, I wouldn’t change you for the world. You’re the best!

    In fact, the coupling of Murray and Natalia gives me hope that love is possible.

    I look forward to see you guys on tour soon. I’ll do all the smiling and whooping and hollerin’ on your behalf!


  5. I regularly visit the Morrissey fan site and it’s amazing how many regular visitors to that site make the most negative comments. I often wonder why they are there. After 10 years I decided they just get a kick out of winding people up and they enjoy the anonymity of the whole experience…. you get to say all the mean things that pop into your head without worrying that you’ll get punched. (And I know I’m missing the point, but I’m pretty sure you smile at the little kid at the start of the “You And I Are A Gang Of Losers” video.)

  6. I can distinctly recall a gig I attended in Dublin in late 2006 where you cracked quite the delightful smile for the drunken git dancing around in front of you with a magically refilling pint of stout in his hand. Can’t recall a smile when we saw you in Edinburgh a month before that, but that’s only cause we saw the last 5 seconds of you due to a f%&^ing delayed plane flight.

    So there you go.

    Come and play in Australia again. I promise it’ll make you smile.

  7. The other thing is: There is music that is not about the music. It’s about what the performers look like and what they do in their personal lives (Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, the Spice Girls etc). It’s about sex, scandal, titillation and gossip, not music. Personally I don’t think the Dears fall into that category. I suggested to the YouTube person that he might enjoy that variety of ‘music’ more.

  8. You are both right. I think people just don’t realise the artists they are attacking or insulting actually read the message boards and fan sites…

    Thanks for your support! I appreciate it alot and it is very affirming!

  9. haha, That’s quite the insult. Natalia, that’s just someone trying to be funny. I highly doubt they thought that you would actually be reading it!…Furthermore, I guess people forget that band members can read the comments. I remember a while ago I wrote something, shit talking Emily Haines Pro-53 keyboard (Which does suck). She ended up reading it and wrote a pretty nasty response…lol.

    I personally really like that video…I think Wendy did a good job. lol, I think the smiling bubbly thing would be kinda silly for most of your songs. Im just imagining a huge smile while your playing “There’s no such thing as love”…hahaha anyways….I very amused by this.

  10. Maybe she/he’s just dumb? Murray had a baby with the keyboard player because having a baby with the guitar player is biologically impossible?

    Anyway, nothing but love for the Dears. If I didn’t like your music I’d just find something I liked better and talk about that. In 700+ posts now on my blog I don’t think I’ve ever trashed any band. There are simply too many people, making too much music of every genre, type and variety to dwell much on what I don’t like.

    I also don’t practice or promote the ‘Tall Poppy’ thing. I don’t care how many CDs you sell, I don’t care how much money you make, I don’t care if you’re on every magazine cover on the planet, I don’t care if your songs are used in commercials – that’s all just part of you making a living. All I care about is whether or not the music is still good.

    All my best to the three of you.


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