Minimum Gauge: Figure skaters embrace new "words allowed" rule change at the Olympics

Skaters rock out to songs by AC/DC, Sugarhill Gang and more in South Korea; Mark E Smith's wake was basically a bar fight (aka "fitting tribute"); and Jimmy Buffett is not (gasp!) super chill.

click to enlarge Ivett Toth of Hungary goes all-in on AC/DC at the 2018 Winter Olympics
Ivett Toth of Hungary goes all-in on AC/DC at the 2018 Winter Olympics

HOT: Words to Skate By

Instead of instrumental music, figure skaters at the Winter Olympics can now choreograph routines to songs with words, which seems like a smart, long-overdue change because a) it should help with engagement and reaching a wider audience and b) if the Olympics love anything, it’s sponsorships (it’s a mystery how deals weren’t already in place with music platforms like Shazam to be the “Official ‘What the Hell is This Song?’ App of the 2018 Winter Olympics”). Competitors at this year’s games in South Korea have already skated to songs by U2, Ed Sheeran, Christina Aguilera, Devotchka, Beyoncé and, most bad-assedly, AC/DC and Sugarhill Gang. Sadly, as of press time, Norway’s representatives had yet to skate to any of their country’s prime exports — Death Metal bands — but there’s still time for them to win, if not the competition, at least the internet.

WARM: Punk After Death 

Outside of those who died at unreasonably young ages, in terms of consistency, Mark E Smith of The Fall is probably the most “punk” icon to emerge from the Punk era. Besides his ample, underrated musical accomplishments, Smith’s rascally rebel spirit never wavered. The ratio of disruptive, often asshole-y muckraking vs. “but deep down he was a sweetheart” anecdotes in the colorful obituaries following his death last month at the age of 60 was about 99.9 percent weighted toward the former. This reportedly manifested itself at Smith’s early February funeral as well; U.K. newspaper The Mirror quoted former Fall guitarist Ben Prichard as saying that, while the ceremony was nice (“touching in places”), the wake “didn’t last half an hour before bottles were thrown and drinks poured over people. Total disrespect, he’d have loved it.”

click to enlarge Very chill businessman Jimmy Buffett - Photo: Chief Mass Communication Specialist Michael W. Pendergrass
Photo: Chief Mass Communication Specialist Michael W. Pendergrass
Very chill businessman Jimmy Buffett

COLD: No Time to Chill

The New York Times ran a good in-depth article about Soft Rock legend Jimmy Buffett, but when social media worked its magic on it, the story became “Buffett betrays Parrotheads! He’s not a cool, chill boat captain at all!” Author Taffy Brodesser-Akner’s profile centers on Buffett’s focus on his multimillion-dollar business — which just happens to be selling the beach-bound, tequila-imbued, slightly stoned lifestyle he has promoted in his music throughout his recording career. It was like pulling back the curtain on the Wizard of Margaritaville, except instead of surprise, everyone was like, “Yeah, seems about right,” including, no doubt, most of his fans. Though certainly a few tears were shed by at least a couple of Hawaiian-shirted “pirates” who cashed out their 401Ks when they were 38 and moved to Key West.

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