Archive | Pop culture RSS feed for this section

How did Bear Grylls break his back?

14 Mar

Bear Grylls is no more. Actually wait, that sounds a bit too dramatic. What I mean is, Man vs Wild is no more. At least not for the foreseeable future.

I was very sad to learn today the Discovery Channel had fired the action man over a contract dispute. I mean I know the show drew a lot of criticism for its staged elements, but I always found him an amazing role model. He certainly encouraged plenty of kids I know to spend a bit more time outdoors and a bit less time glued to a TV or video game screen.

Anyway, the news got me thinking about what an interesting life Bear has led, with feats including scaling Mt Everest. And it’s all the more remarkable when you consider he fought back from a broken back in 1996 when he was just 22.

Now, I knew he suffered this injury in a skydiving accident. And I was even in the audience at a live show where he shared the story. But somehow I missed it. Probably because I was out getting a drink. For the record not my own urine.

Fortunately, it wasn’t too hard to track down this excerpt from his book Mud, Sweat and Tears

“I was in the SAS Reserves, and though I was years away from my TV career, life was perfect. I was fit and doing a job I adored. What young man wouldn’t love being trained in blowing stuff up, climbing cliffs and high-speed driving?

“That summer, I was helping out on a game farm in South Africa and decided to head to Zimbabwe for some down time before going home to the UK. Fun, for me, meant skydiving with good friends. Little did I know how much I was going to rely on the qualities that first got me a place in the SAS.

“One evening, as the brilliance of the African sun was being replaced by the glow of dusk, my friends and I huddled together in a small plane as we climbed to nearly 16,000 feet. The plane levelled out. Someone reached for the door. One by one, the guys dropped from the door and fell away. Soon I was alone. I looked down, took that familiar deep breath, then slid off the step.

“Three thousand feet. Time to pull. I reached to my right hip and gripped the ripcord. I pulled it strongly. Initially, it responded as normal.

“The canopy opened with a crack that interrupted the noise of the 130mph free fall. My descent rate slowed to 25mph. Then I looked up and saw something was wrong. Instead of a smooth rectangular shape, I had a very deformed looking tangle of chute, which meant it would be a nightmare to control.

“I pulled hard on both steering toggles to see if that would help. I started to panic. The desert floor was coming closer. My descent was far too fast. I was too low to use my reserve chute. I was getting close to the ground, coming in at speed – and then I smashed into the desert floor.

“I bounced like a rag doll and landed directly on my back, right on top of the tightly packed reserve chute. It felt as if something had driven clean through the centre of my spine. I could only roll over, crying in agony. In the pit of my stomach I feared that my life would never be the same again.”

Of course, as we know, Bear’s life never was the same again as it took off in ways he couldn’t have imagined. He climbed Everest, became a global TV star and in the meantime managed to eat any animal not quick enough to get away.

So what I want to know is this. Who will now fill the void of TV presenters willing to give themselves an enema while floating on a raft at sea? RIP Man vs Wild.

BTW you can read the full extract with the story of his accident and recovery here. And here’s another interview I liked in which he revealed the answer to a question I’m dying to know. Here it is.

Question: What is the worst food you’ve eaten in a survival situation?
Answer: Raw frozen yak eyeballs; camel intestine juice; raw goat testicles; live snake; maggots as big as a hand, pulsating with yellow pus; and giant live spiders.

 Ick.

Who founded The Razzies?

13 Mar

I write about movies a lot. Mainly because I’ve seen so many of them. And in typical form, I did write a piece on the Oscars when the awards show rolled around because hey, it’s like the mothership of star and frock spotting.

But good movies weren’t on my mind today, it was bad ones. More specifically those starring Eddie Murphy. And it’s all because news.com.au mentioned them.

I’m sure you can understand how impossible it was to resist a headline that screamed “Eddie Murphy stars in The Worst Movie Ever Made.” I mean, that’s a big call to make if you’ve ever sat through Vanilla Sky or two hours of my life I’m NEVER getting back The Whole Ten Yards. But apparently the critics have voted, as his latest movie, A Thousand Words, has scored an almost unheard of zero percent rating on movie website Rotten Tomatoes.

The story then went on to list the actor’s many disasters, including The Adventures of Pluto Nash, which holds court as one of the most expensive flops in Hollywood history. It wasn’t kind and it did overlook a few gems such as Bowfinger. But Eddie does have the Razzies to deserve such a dumping, including last year’s Worst Actor of the Decade and a trifecta of Worst Actor, Worst Supporting Actor and Worst Supporting Actress for Norbit.

But what are The Razzies I may hear you ask?

Well, for those who don’t know, the awards, handed out by the Golden Raspberry Foundation, are basically the anti Oscars, recognising the worst in the previous year’s movie making. It rarely draws the same star power – although Sandra Bullock (All About Steve) and Halle Berry (Catwoman) did pick up their Worst Actress awards in person – and it’s little wonder, given how much s**** it gives Hollywood A listers.

Adam Sandler, for example, has secured a record 11 nominations in this year’s awards, which appropriately enough will be announced on April 1. And this stat inspired me to find out how the awards got started. For once, Wikipedia seemed right on the money. Here’s their take on it…

“American copywriter and publicist John JB Wilson traditionally held potluck dinner parties at his house in Los Angeles on the night of the Academy Awards. In 1981, after the 53rd Academy Awards had completed for the evening, Wilson invited friends to give random award presentations in his living room. Wilson decided to formalise the event after watching a double feature of Can’t Stop the Music and Xanadu. He gave them ballots to vote on worst in film. Wilson stood at a podium made of cardboard in a tacky tuxedo, with a foam ball attached to a broomstick as a fake microphone, and announced Can’t Stop the Music as the first Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Picture. The impromptu ceremony was a success and the following week a press release about his event released by Wilson was picked up by a few local newspapers, including a mention in the Los Angeles Daily News with the headline: “Take These Envelopes, Please”.

From those humble beginnings, the Razzies have grown to become big news worldwide, and are even televised these days. And the one bright spot for nominees is they don’ t have to perfect their gracious loser smiles.

Funny fact: In the Worst Actress category, two of this year’s five nominees are men – Martin Lawrence as Momma in Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son; and Adam Sandler as Jill in Jack & Jill. The others include Sarah Palin as Herself in Sarah Palin: The Undefeated.

You can read the full list of nominations here and check out The Razzies YouTube channel here.

How did author James Patterson create his character Alex Cross?

12 Mar

I adore Morgan Freeman. He is an astonishing and talented actor and I never get tired of watching him in everything from The Shawshank Redemption to a new favourite, the action thriller Red. That said, I wanted to throttle him in the movies Along Came a Spider and Kiss the Girls.

Now, I know casting for these films was not in his hands, but anyone who has read even part of the James Patterson-penned series would know he is all wrong for the part of Alex Cross. In the books the detective/psychologist/police consultant is middle aged, fit and in his prime. And that’s how he should have been played, not as someone whose most active days are behind them.

Thankfully this casting wrong will soon be righted with this year’s release of Alex Cross, featuring Tyler Perry in the lead role. But as I read a bit more about the movie tonight, my thoughts turned to the author and his inspiration.

You see, even though he’s written what seems like a gazillion books and series, I still think the Cross novels are Patterson’s best works. And that could be because of how I discovered them.

I was travelling overseas with a friend who spent all day, every day trying to make me mad or offended, and the best way to fend him off was to turn my Walkman (yes I am that old) on loud and bury myself in a book.

Of course this was easier said than done, so when I stumbled across Kiss The Girls in a bookstore in Oxford and found it more than capable of shutting out unwanted attention, I was hooked.

Today, of course, Patterson novels of all varieties help make my bookshelves groan. So I decided I would like to learn a little bit more about what inspired the creation of my favourite character. And I found the answers in an interview Patricia Cornwell (yes the Patricia Cornwell) did with him on Amazon. The results were a little surprising, so here’s what they had to say.

Cornwell: What inspired you to create Alex Cross?
Patterson: Hardly anyone knows it but when I started the first Alex Cross novel, Alex was a woman named Alexis. After 100 pages or so, I changed the character to Alex. When I was a kid growing up, my grandparents had a small restaurant and the cook was an African-American woman who eventually moved into our house. All through my growing up period I spent a lot of time with this woman’s family. They were funny, wise, the food was great, so was the music, and the family is at least part of the inspiration for the Crosses. 

Cornwell: What do you and Alex Cross have in common? How are you different?
Patterson: We’re both family-oriented guys. I think it’s a real treat to be able to get along with your wife every day, which I do; my wife and I really have trouble being apart for very long. And I think readers will agree Alex is generally doing better in the romance department. One difference between us would be that I’m much more content to sit around and write. I think Alex would get a little bored on a “ride-along” with me.

Cornwell also went on to ask about his inspiration and motivation for writing. And he answered with this . . . 

“I truly love writing. I sometimes think about my grandfather when I reflect on this. When I was a boy, I lived in a town on the Hudson River. During the summers, my grandfather would take me once a week on his frozen food and ice cream delivery route. We’d be up at four in the morning packing up the truck, and by five we’d be on our way. Driving a delivery truck isn’t the most glamorous job in the world, but every morning, my grandfather would drive over the Storm King Mountain toward West Point, and he’d be singing at the top of his voice. And he told me this: “Jim,” he said, “when you grow up, I don’t care if you’re a truck driver or a famous surgeon—just remember that when you go over the mountain to work in the morning, you’ve got to be singing.” Writing stories keeps me singing. Writing to me isn’t work, and I like that a ton.”

Now read some excerpts from his books here.

How many women did Jack the Ripper kill?

11 Mar

In my early 20s I took off on what was then an Australian right of passage – a two-year working holiday in England.

Now, for many and varied reasons I didn’t stay very long, but it was enough time to fall in love with Soho, Oxford St and the Piccadilly line on the tube. I also stumbled across Buckingham Palace, which I imagined to be in the country but which was actually in the heart of the city.

The place I loved most, though, was The London Dungeon. Forget chapels and cathedrals, this was much more my cup of tea with its focus on the dark and macabre side of history. Just take infamous serial killer Jack the Ripper.

I think there’s something incredibly intriguing about a murderer who could hold the entire city – particularly Whitechapel – hostage in such brutal fashion and then slip into the shadows without being identified, let alone brought to justice.

But while everyone from Hollywood to historians have thrown up plenty of theories on his identity – author Patricia Cornwall even published a book claiming he was painter Walter Sickert – his victims seem to hold less interest, perhaps because most, if not all, of them were prostitutes.

So today I decided I would like to know their names. And while some people believe Jack’s kill tally was 11, the official total stands at five, all murdered during a three-month reign of terror in 1888. Here they are:

  • Mary Ann Nicholls, 42, killed August 31
  • Annie Chapman, 47, killed September 8
  • Elizabeth Stride, 44, and Catherine Eddowes, 43, killed September 30
  • Jeanette Kelly, killed November 9

All of the women were horrifically mutilated. Catherine, for one, had her throat slashed, both eyelids cut and part of her nose and right ear cut off. Her uterus and left kidney were removed and her entrails were thrown over her right shoulder. This led police to suspect the killer must have had surgical training, but as history shows he was never found.

Here’s some other Ripper facts I found at the Dungeon site.

  • On September 30, the day he killed two women, police followed a blood trail to a doorway, where a chalk message read: “The Jewes are not the men to be blamed for nothing”. However Metropolitan Police head Sir Charles Warren ordered the words to be rubbed out, thereby destroying what could have been a valuable clue.
  • Letters from a writer or writers claiming to be the murderer were received by media outlets and Scotland Yard. The From Hell letter, sent to George Lusk of the Whitechapel Vigilance Committee, included half a preserved human kidney, supposedly from one of the victims.
  • During the hunt for the killer, more than 2000 people were interviewed, “upwards of 300” people investigated and 80 people detained

Suspects for the crimes are many and varied, including Prince Albert Victor.

You can read more about them, and the case itself, at a site called Casebook: Jack the Ripper. Very interesting.

 

 

Is Shirley Manson from Garbage a natural redhead?

9 Mar

Friday. The end of a very long and stressful week. Then suddenly, salvation comes in the form of a press release. Garbage has a new album coming out and I a massive fan. Suddenly I am happy and the countdown to release begins…

In background, I discovered this band many, many years ago while living with a friend who made it his mission to properly introduce me to groups ranging from the Foo Fighters and Smashing Pumpkins to REM and, of course, Garbage.

While some REM of them failed to make a lasting impact, I loved Shirley Manson right from the start – her sass and strut, her rebellious attitude and her ability to just make damn good music. So naturally, when the news of a new album came through, I decided to make her today’s knowledge quest. And the first question I wanted to answer? Is she a natural redhead?

Now, this might seem like a pretty shallow query given her pedigree and talent, but as someone with a good deal of red up top myself, I’ve always felt an affinity with other women whose hair apparently offers fair warning of their temper. Plus, I’ve seen her try a wide variety of shades, most notably that eye-catching blonde do in the video for Cherry Lips.

After a good deal of research, I happened upon this slightly NSFW story, which confirmed without doubt she is indeed a natural redhead. So with a bit of time up my sleeves, I decided to find out a handful of other interesting things about the performer. Here they are. She . . .

* Is a cast member of video game Guitar Hero 5.
* Once modelled for Calvin Klein.
* Dropped out of school at 16.
* Suffers from body dysmorphia.
* Featured in TV show Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles.
* Wrote a song called Sleep Together for the Love and Other Drugs soundtrack.
* Was named after an aunt who was herself named after Charlotte Bronte’s novel Shirley.
* Was invited to join Garbage after producer and muso Steve Marker saw her in the Angelfish video for Suffocate Me.

So there you have it. And in case you’re wondering what my favourite Garbage song is, I can’t narrow it down. Instead, let’s just say there are six that hold court – Only Happy When It Rains, Androgyny, Vow, Why Do You Love Me, Paranoid and Cherry Lips. The latter particularly holds a special place in my heart as I used it to start teaching my nephews about good music from when they were very little and could only manage to sing the “Go baby go” bit of the lyrics. And no, for the record, I did not let them watch the film clip. But you can…

So finally, back to the new album. It’s called Not Your Kind Of People and is due out in May. The first single, Blood For Poppies, will be released on March 20. And this is what Shirley has to say about it: ““The song is meant to feel sort of like an abstract dream. The inspiration came from a story I had read in The Los Angeles Times about the opium trade and also from watching the documentary Restrepo. It’s not literal in any sense whatsoever but it’s a song about disorientation and delusion and the human struggle to stay sane in the face of insanity.” Hear the band reveal the track listing below.

What is an internet meme?

7 Mar

I have a few favourite websites I visit every day. And one of them is Gawker, which basically takes the news of the day and other random but eye-catching stories/pages/trends and gives them a sarcastic, ironic or irreverent twist.

It’s also a great place for finding out about internet crazes such as my current favourite, cat breading, where people thread their pet’s head through a slice of bread and then share the resulting photographs. Then there was all the photobombing fun had with Angelina Jolie’s right leg after the Oscars, when the limb was inserted into photos of everyone from Darth Vader to Maggie Smith.

Both were recognised as great internet memes, and I have to say they were very funny. But they did leave me with one question – what exactly is a meme? I wanted to know more. So I did some research.

Now, I’m paraphrasing here, but a meme is basically an idea, belief, symbol, trend or practice that spreads and reproduces across societies and cultures, staying pretty faithful to the original concept. For example catchphrases are a meme, as are clothing trends (such as the current love for coloured denim).

On the internet, memes tend to get the most traction when they involve humour (see the aforementioned cat breading craze). And a great example is an early meme called Rick Rolling, where links set up on stories and pages as if they clicked through to related content instead delivered people to the video for Rick Astley songs such as Never Gonna Give You Up.

This craze was so big it even spread offline, revitalised his career and has spawned an upcoming movie. But it wasn’t the only one. Other, more recent, examples include: 

* LOLcats, where people take photos of cats and ascribe them with human thoughts/emotions in hilarious captions.
* #firstworldproblems, a hashtag that exploded on twitter to accompany vents and rants about issues which, in the long run, really didn’t matter.
* Planking, in which people took photos of themselves lying as straight as a board on objects ranging from statues to balconies.

So in short, a meme is really just something to eat up time I could spend on unimportant matters such as housework. Now let’s finish with a LOLcat…

How many voices does Hank Azaria do on The Simpsons?

6 Mar

After dinner with my friend Angie tonight, we sat down to watch some TV. And naturally enough, we switched away from current affairs to an episode of The Simpsons neither of us had seen before.

That itself is a miracle as I thought I had seen EVERY episode at least 10 times. But it made for even happier times as a new episode meant new opening credits, which I loved. Although disturbingly, they involved a naked Homer.

Anyway, with that mental picture locked firmly in my head (and probably yours now too, sorry!), the episode, called Eeny Teeny Maya Moe, focused mainly on Moe. More specifically, his search for love online.

In an unexpected twist the boxer turned barman managed to meet and then hook up with a gorgeous woman, even after she had seen his real photo. But naturally, there was a twist. Her height. Or lack thereof, given she was only about half as tall as he was.

Even though he loved Maya in spite of her small stature, she wanted someone who didn’t even notice it and called things off. This left Moe back where he belongs – alone behind the counter of a bar that is so filthy it would probably survive a nuclear explosion.

Anyway, as the episode came to a close, I once again thought what a great actor Hank Azaria is, especially as he voices not only Moe but also my absolute favourite Springfield resident – Comic Book Guy. So I decided I should find out what other characters he does. And it turns out there’s more than 30.

Here’s a selection …
*Apu Nahasapeemapetilon
* Chief Clancy Wiggum
* Frank Grimes
* Carl
* Dr Nick Riviera
* Disco Stu
* Captain McCallister
* Superintendent Chalmers
* Professor Frink
* Cletus
* Bumblebee Man
* Snake
* Kirk Van Houten
* Dredrick Tatum

All have helped Hank to populate some truly hilarious episodes of the show. But I wondered what his favourite was. And the answer was easy to find as the series has just hit the big 500 and Entertainment Weekly put the question to him.

The answer is (drum roll please) Cape Feare in Season 5 where Sideshow Bob tries to kill Bart when he is sprung from prison in an hilarious homage to the movie Cape Fear.

“I laughed at that the hardest,” Hank says. “It just destroyed me from beginning to end. The rake thing is the hardest I ever laughed at a gag on The Simpsons. I love that humor where you just repeat something beyond all reason.” And if it’s good enough for him, it’s good enough for me. So let’s end with that clip.

 

How do you make a decadent chocolate brownie?

4 Mar

I never make any secret of my lack of domestic ability. But in tune with this blog I’m determined to try and pick up at least one new recipe a week this year.

Many of them will be practical, but others are oh so indulgent, inspired by my sweet tooth and the weather. And with today being rainy, my thoughts turned only to one chef – the magnificent Nigella Lawson.

I just knew she would have something amazingly decadently to ward off the chills, and I was right. In fact I found the perfect recipe on the front page, and it’s even something I could take to work to share with my staff.

It’s flourless chocolate brownies with hot chocolate sauce. And it just sounds delicious doesn’t it? So without further ado, here’s what she had to share.

FLOURLESS CHOCOLATE BROWNIES WITH HOT CHOCOLATE SAUCE

Ingredients

Brownie 
225g dark chocolate, 70 per cent cocoa solids
225g butter
2 tsp vanilla extract
200g caster sugar
3 eggs, beaten
150g ground almonds
100g chopped walnuts
Sauce
75g dark chocolate, 70 per cent cocoa solids
125ml double cream
2 x 15ml tbsp Camp coffee or 2 tsp instant espresso powder dissolved in 2 tbsp water
1 x 15ml tablespoon golden syrup

Method
Makes 16 squares

Brownie
Preheat the oven to 170C. Melt the chocolate and butter gently over a low heat in a heavy-based saucepan. Take the pan off the heat, mix in the vanilla and sugar, and let it cool a little. Beat the eggs into the pan along with the ground almonds and chopped walnuts. Turn into a 24cm square baking tin or, most sensibly, use a foil one. Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes, by which time the top will have set but the mixture will still be gooey. Once cooler, cut carefully, four down, four across, into 16 squidgybellied squares.
Sauce
Break up the chocolate and put into a heavy-based saucepan. Add the remaining ingredients, then place the pan over a gentle heat and let everything melt together. Once everything has melted  stir well, take off the heat and pour into a jug to serve.

What inspired Suzanne Collins to write The Hunger Games?

3 Mar

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

As mentioned yesterday, I finally got around this week to buying The Hunger Games trilogy of books by Suzanne Collins.

It’s something I’ve meant to do for a while but I’m glad I waited until I had a relatively free weekend. Because I haven’t been able to put book one down.

It is, in a word, phenomenal. Brutal yet caring, heartfelt yet sympathetic, incredibly detailed but also a broad enough canvas on which to showcase issues such as poverty, the corrupting nature of power and the ability of reality shows – and TV in general – to de-sensitise viewers.

Then there’s a kick-ass heroine called Katniss, who I CANNOT wait to see on the big screen portrayed by Jennifer Lawrence.

Anyway, as I so often do, I went looking for more information on Suzanne Collins as it’s never enough just to enjoy a book. I always want to learn more about an author – who they are, what their writing ritual is like and, most of all, where they get their inspiration from.

And I found her answers in an interview on the official Scholastic website.

Here’s an excerpt from the story..

You weave action, adventure, mythology, sci-fi, romance and philosophy throughout The Hunger Games. What influenced the creation of The Hunger Games?
A significant influence would have to be the Greek myth of Theseus and the Minotaur. The myth tells how in punishment for past deeds, Athens periodically had to send seven youths and seven maidens to Crete, where they were thrown in the labyrinth and devoured by the monstrous Minotaur.
Even as a kid, I could appreciate how ruthless this was. Crete was sending a very clear message: “Mess with us and we’ll do something worse than kill you. We’ll kill your children.” And the thing is, it was allowed; the parents sat by powerless to stop it. Theseus, who was the son of the king, volunteered to go. I guess in her own way, Katniss is a futuristic Theseus.
In keeping with the classical roots, I send my tributes into an updated version of the Roman gladiator games, which entails a ruthless government forcing people to fight to the death as popular entertainment. The world of Panem, particularly the Capitol, is loaded with Roman references. Panem itself comes from the expression “Panem et Circenses” which translates into “Bread and Circuses.”
The audiences for both the Roman games and reality TV are almost characters in themselves. They can respond with great enthusiasm or play a role in your elimination.
I was channel surfing between reality TV programming and actual war coverage when Katniss’s story came to me. One night I’m sitting there flipping around and on one channel there’s a group of young people competing for, I don’t know, money maybe? And on the next, there’s a group of young people fighting an actual war. And I was tired, and the lines began to blur in this very unsettling way, and I thought of this story.

Suzanne also tells of the delicate balance in transferring her story from page to screen and of the research she did into hunting and gathering techniques. But the other Q&A that really drew me in was this…

The Hunger Games tackles issues like severe poverty, starvation, oppression, and the effects of war among others. What drew you to such serious subject matter?
That was probably my dad’s influence. He was career air force, a military specialist, a historian, and a doctor of political science. When I was a kid, he was gone for a year in Vietnam. It was very important to him we understood certain aspects of life. So, it wasn’t enough to visit a battlefield, we needed to know why the battle occurred, how it played out, and the consequences. Fortunately, he had a gift for presenting history as a fascinating story. He also seemed to have a good sense of exactly how much a child could handle, which is quite a bit.

I don’t know about you, but I find that fascinating. What an interesting life and perspective she has. I love it when an author feeds part of their own life experience and soul into what they write.

I will certainly be looking into her other books, but for now you can check out The Hunger Games trailer and more here.

Where did Lady Gaga get her stage name from?

1 Mar

In less than 12 hours from now, tickets go on sale for the newest batch of Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta concerts in Australia.

Now, you might think this isn’t a big deal. After all, she sounds like a classical musician (not that there’s anything wrong with that). But if I were to share with you the name she’s better known by – Lady Gaga – you would suddenly see my point. And probably my determination to claim a seat.

In background, I must confess I missed out on most of the early buzz surrounding one of the world’s most strangely dressed women. And if I ever gave her a thought, it was probably along the lines of “Who the f**** wastes a perfectly good steak on an outfit for an awards show?”

But I was finally converted to fandom with the double team strike of Paparazzi and Bad Romance. They are awesome songs. Just awesome. And they finally inspired a proper appreciation for the kind of eccentricity and talent so often squished in what can be a one-size-fits-all society.

Anyway, through plenty of revealing interviews, I knew a lot of interesting stuff about the Poker Face-d one, such as why she’s only tattooed on one side of her body (it’s at the request of her father).

But I’d never really paid attention to the inspiration for her name. Given the word ‘gaga’ I assumed there would be a Queen reference in there somewhere. And there was, via a producer called Rob Fusari. I found an explanation straight from the horse’s mouth in Flybe Magazine via Queenzone.com.

“My producer, Rob Fusari, was the first to really bring out both my theatrical and pop elements. I was in theatre for many years, but I was also a pop vocalist. When I auditioned for pop, record labels would say you’re too theatre. And when I auditioned for theatre they’d say you’re too pop. When I met Rob, I discovered David Bowie and Queen, and the more theatrical Beatles records. One day, I played Rob a song called Again Again, and he said, “God that’s so Queen! You’re so Radio GaGa. Very theatrical”. And he started to call me GaGa when I’d come into the studio. When we were getting ready to really start performing, I decided that I’d been playing under my real name for so long I wanted a new way to reinvent myself. So I said, what about Lady GaGa, because Gaga is sort of crazy and Lady has such connotations. I went to a private school but now I was living in this trash glitter environment. So, for me, it was the perfect description of who I had become.”

And thus the legend was born. Now to indulge in a Bad Romance.