Sentenced to 18 days jail per second of singing
Don’t bother trying to purchase any of Pussy Riot’s music on iTunes. I tried again yesterday and there’s still nothing.
Given that we live in an era where even Buy Nothing Day has merchandise, it seems shocking that the most famous feminist punk band in the 2012 megaverse is failing to cash in on its extraordinary notoriety.
This, after all, is the all-grrrl collective currently scoring 247 million hits on the Google search engine. The band whose celebrity mosh pit includes Björk, Courtney Love and Yoko Ono. The Russian rockers whose conviction and jailing on charges of hooliganism have been loudly condemned by the US, Britain, France and no small number of Amnesty International flash mobs.
So where is the moxie ladies’ product line? Where is the deluxe double CD and the reality TV series and the special commemorative jailbird figurines with articulated limbs and Velcro-able shackles?
It is still possible that all these things will come. But for the moment, the members of Pussy Riot are too busy being political prisoners. And by political prisoners, I’m not talking about Julian “lucky I schmoozed the leader of an antsy South American nation on my TV show!” Assange’s brand of Ecuadorean embassy confinement.
I’m talking actual incarceration for two whole years in a Russian prison colony simply for performing 41 seconds of an anti-Vladimir Putin protest song.
At 18 days of jail per second of singing, that’s one hell of a pricey tune.
For those of you who missed the back story, Pussy Riot are a bunch of smart artsy Russian feministas who stage impromptu punk performances while wearing luridly coloured balaclavas and fluoro frocks.
In February this year, they began thrashing out a catchy little number called Holy Mary, Drive Putin Away in Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Savior.
Three members were arrested and – after a show trial whose many lowlights included non-ironic cries of “witches!” and a serious debate about the possibility of demonic possession – they were each sentenced to two years’ jail.
The spunkiness of the chicks involved and the novelty value of the case has led some jaded commentators to sneer at the immense international interest. (Madonna certainly didn’t help matters when she expressed her outrage by yanking her top off at a gig. Wow. Those Pussy Riot ladies must have felt so special.)
But regardless of what you think of the band’s rowdy stylings or penchant for sacrilege, Pussy Riot is the real deal. It may not be moving units on the music market, but it is successfully selling the message that Russia’s real punk is Putin.
Now there’s the delinquent who’s guilty of desecrating democracy.
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