I love Nicki Minaj. Her irreverent and over the top raps do my head in. I guess I'm more a fan of her Pink Print work than her earlier stuff but then there's those features she's done over the years like on Kanye's Monster that are amazing WTF moments too.
Latest chapter in her book is the newish Madame Tussaud's wax statue that they've had made.
Now, I know that we as human beings are not always standing. Sometimes we sit. Sometimes we lie down too. But there seems to be a bit of a belief at Madame Tussaud's that female pop acts do a lot of crawling too. I'm sure that's the case but I guess I wouldn't expect to see someone like Bruce Springsteen or Mick Jagger on all fours, at least not in a MT venue.
Now, don't get me wrong. I've got nothing against wax figurines. Rather, there's something about them that I find morbidly fascinating. In the eighties one of my favourite movies was Mannequin. God I loved that movie. Rosco!!! And the whole department store visual merchandising thing was cool: those tennis rackets, those windswept sunny scenes in the window just were the height of creativity for me as a ten year old.
Madame Tussauds is not that different from a lot of other culture houses. Like the Louvre of the V&A they have their niche and they don't really try and go beyond it, even if they have expanded at Hard Rock Cafe speed. They've topped the Louvre and V&A who are opening new campuses elsewhere: these guys have nineteen locations worldwide and the number and demand for lifeless figures just seems to be growing.
Which is all good I guess if you figured sometime during your education that there was going to be a future for you if you worked in wax. Another WTF moment that reminds you that the world is an amazing place.
When I was growing up, a star on the Hollywood boulevard or a wax statue at London's Madame Tussaud's was the cementing of your stardom. You'd made it by then. But they were exclusive clubs that they didn't hand out to every Debbie Gibson or New Kid on The Block. You had to earn your stripes and pay your dues before you could be immortalised forever. Before people could pound you on the pavements and stick chewing gum to your waxen ass.
But these days, with the worldwide wax Renaissance there's a need to reflect the world we live in. It's not about earning your place in that world through years of hits and misses and comebacks. These days a hot debut record gets you into the franchise. See Sam Smith.
I just find it strange that there is definitely a vocabulary that defines how and when people are immortalised. Crawling on all fours? Dressed to the nines? These wax avatars are three dimensional in one way and completely one dimensional in another.
There's countless posts that already exist about bad statues and poorly planned stars on the walk of fame (see J. Lo and Mimi) so I won't go into that haunted house of horrors, but food for thought would be working out the whys and hows of how wax work places and their ilk settle on their final designs.
In the meantime, I've got a Starship induced headache with nothing's gonna stop us now playing on loop in my head. I'm going to crush that with some gin.
Dave Di Vito
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Dave Di Vito is a writer, teacher and former curator.He's also the author of the Vinyl Tiger series and Replace The Sky.
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