Useless Man by Minty, The Grid Mix (1994)
Leigh Bowery's Hedonistic Confrontation of Men, By Harry Lindsey
Artist's Pronouns: He/Him
“Boot licking, piss drinking, finger frigging, tit tweaking, love biting, arse licking, shit stabbing, mother fucking, spunk loving, ball busting, cock sucking, fist fucking, lip smacking, thirst quenching, cool living, ever giving, useless man”, cooed the legendary nightlife artist and pop cultural force Leigh Bowery, over and over again, while fronting the art pop outfit Minty on their 1994 single Useless Man. 26 years later and this spitting description seems more recognizable than ever.
In 2020, we unfortunately remain in a time ruled by the most useless of men. Here in the UK we have Boris Johnson. America has Donald Trump. Brazil has Jair Bolsonaro. Italy has Matteo Salvini. The list goes on and on, relentlessly. Across the world, our leaders, CEO’s and billionaires are all men cut from the same cloth; total uselessness.
So, when the gender transcendent, face-kini pioneer Leigh Bowery relents with their graphic description of a useless man, it’s hard not to feel a kind of catharsis only an artist synonymous with nightlife could produce. Just imagine, Leigh Bowery dressed in one of their legendary looks, screaming of the indecent vulgarity of men into a mic, exposing the infinite potentials of a club basement. Departing from their groups, the queers would unify in dark and dingy clubs to escape the uselessness that men of our world arrogantly push upon us. We strive to find spaces to dance and connect in, untouched by the spread of man and his ‘splaining. Spaces to just be, existing away from such relenting uselessness.
Leigh Bowery’s description takes this relent and uses it as a rallying cry. Bowery drills gross men’s indecency into the ground, going head-to-head with the absurdity of such potent incompetence. The result is like exposing toxic masculinity in the reflection of a funhouse mirror.
On the original 7” single there are 4 versions of Useless Man. In our collection of Anthem-Ick songs, we choose The Grid’s extended remix. David Ball and Richard Norris spin the original version into a club ready stomper. The 7:12 minutes give us the space to gather and chant against the pervasive uselessness of men until sunrise.
If there’s one song I want DJs to play more in the coming decade, it’s this. Let us all stomp together in confrontation of the utter inanities of men. Maybe then, in rhythmic hedonism, we can stomp out the idea of men all together, at least for one night, for one song.