These odd couples broke our brains this year
As the year draws to a close, no doubt you, like all of us here at NME, are hoping that we’ll wake up on New Year’s Day to discover that it’s 2016 again and the whole past year has been some long, hyper-real drug nightmare. Well, to keep alive that vain hope that 2016 has been the horror movie equivalent of Inception, here are a bunch of celebrity hook-ups, back-slaps and bro-downs so utterly bizarre and inconceivable that they simply couldn’t have happened in the real world. Could they?
Kanye West and Donald Trump
Where: Trump Towers
Why: Because the whole world went mad. For the past few years, music fans have held out hope that Kanye West’s declared interest in running for President in 2020 might throw up a progressive liberal candidate appealing to ambitious young people disillusioned with mainstream politics, a kind of rapping Bernie Sanders. Sure, Kanye’s policies might largely revolve around forcing fashion companies to let him design their footwear and award ceremonies to let him choose the winners, but he was a self-made icon with a history of speaking out against racism and injustice – remember “George Bush doesn’t care about black people” in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, and his questioning of the use of misogynistic language in rap? We were all but printing our own ‘President Yeezy’ pendants already.
Then, disaster. Kanye, who has always claimed his mother taught him to have the utmost respect for women and other cultures, came out as a supporter of Donald Trump, a man who is to sexual equality and international race relations what Harold Shipman was to Help The Aged.
What happened next: A short stay in hospital, reportedly on psychiatric grounds, and a few days later Kanye was called to Trump Towers for a discussion about “life” and to be photographed standing shoulder to shoulder with the president-elect wearing the expression of someone who has recently undergone a CIA brain-wipe and reprogramming, instantly pissing away all respect anybody ever had for him. Suddenly he looks like a frightening prospect for 2020 – after all, Trump has proved that celebrities capable of ranting for ages without forming a single coherent point can win.
Martha Stewart and Snoop Dogg
Where: VH1’s new cookery show Martha & Snoop’s Potluck Dinner Party
Why: It’s as Partridge as a TV show has ever been – the UK equivalent would be something like DIY Emergencies With Jennie Bond & Stormzy – but amazingly Snoop and squeaky-clean US daytime TV presenter Martha Stewart have ben hosting an on-off version of The Great American Bake(d) Off since 2008. Snoop appeared on //Martha// to make his own ‘special’ mashed potato and the pair hit it off so well he was back on again at Christmas in 2009 to make brownies which Stwart was surprised to hear that Snoop wanted to be “green-coloured”. Although she claimed not to have sampled Snoop’s unique bakery wares, Stewart did confess she got “totally high” just from sitting next to him at Justin Bieber’s Comedy Central Roast, and before we knew it this unlikely friendship was cemented when they appeared together as a team on $100,000 Pyramid, basically having become The Last Shadow Puppets of cultural-clash daytime television.
What happened next: Martha & Snoop’s Potluck Dinner Party premiered in November, a show in which the pair pretend to have the strangest house-share arrangement, cooking classy hood dinners for an array of visiting stars like Jason Derulo, Rick Ross and 2Chainz while Martha pretends not to get Snoop’s drug jokes. The ‘pyjama breakfast’ episode, featuring Stewart trying pizza omelette with Robin Thicke, even had a onesie-clad Snoop looking around and declaring “I’m not high right now, but whoever gave us this show, they must’ve been.”
UB40 and Jeremy Corbyn
Where: The Royal Society Of Arts, London
Why: As the establishment and media are trying ever so hard to stop you from noticing, Jeremy Corbyn was right about pretty much everything in 2016. Except Brummie white reggae. When UB40’s endorsement of his leadership arrived at Labour HQ, the correct response would have been to fling it into the shredder before any telephoto lenses got a whiff of it. Not go “brilliant! Let’s get them in for a press conference at which I can expound my love of Romanian folk music and ask them where they get their ideas from”.
What happened next: Jezza got them in for a press conference at which he expounded his love of Romanian folk music and asked them where they get their ideas from. It resembled an insane future vision of Jools Holland’s Hogmanay 2058. Thankfully Mick Hucknall came out against the endorsement on Twitter, which strangely made the whole thing seem alright again.
Jean-Michel Jarre and Edward Snowden
Where: An undisclosed location, Moscow
Why: During an interview with The Guardian, France’s most famous laser-fondler cheekily asked if they could put him in touch with exiled online snooping whistleblower Edward Snowden, whom he called “an absolute hero of our times”. Jarre thought Snowden the perfect special guest (alongside Peaches, The Pet Shop Boys and Gary Numan) to collaborate on his latest album ‘Electronica Volume II: The Heart Of Noise’, a project concerning humanity’s troubled relationship with technology.
What happened next: After a 90-minute Skype call, Jarre went to Moscow to record and film Snowden speaking about privacy and human rights issues to include on a track called ‘Exit’, which Jarre described as a “hectic, obsessive techno track, trying to illustrate the idea of this crazy quest for big data on one side and the manhunt for this one young guy by the CIA, NSA and FBI on the other”. It sounds, to us, more like Altern-8 at the peak of a paranoid amphetamine bender.
Beyonce and Father John Misty
Why: There are so many writers credited on Beyonce’s ‘Hold Up’, including Ezra from Vampire Weekend, Diplo, The Yeah Yeah Yeahs and MNEK, that you know that bloke from your company’s accounts department who’s claimed to be ‘working from home’ since April? He’s probably on there. Presumably inspired by Kanye making unlikely rap superstars of Justin Vernon and Paul McCartney, Bey also shone her far-reaching ‘Hold Up’ spotlight upon probably the most unusual name on the roll call, Father John Misty.
What happened next: No-one really noticed. Like we say, it’s like the Ghandi extras list on there, who’s gonna notice one beardy rock guy at the back?