Gaga for attention: Smoking cannabis on stage. Are there no depths Lady Gaga won’t sink to as her star fades?
- Gaga stunned fans by lighting up during her Born This Way Ball
- Singer blasted for irresponsible behaviour by angry Twitter users
- Drug charity invites Gaga to come and see their treatment program at work
All but the most gullible observers would conclude that when she lit up a giant cannabis spliff on stage this week, Lady Gaga was, as ever, simply desperate to be noticed.
The singer is on the European leg of her Born This Way Ball tour, and has been nagging for media exposure for the past couple of weeks.
On Sunday, for instance, she went to London Fashion Week in a pink burka, festooned with raccoon tails.
Lighting up: Lady Gaga smoked marijuana while on stage in Amsterdam earlier this week
Medical wonder’: The 26-year-old singer admitted cannabis has helped her approach her music from a ‘spiritual’ perspective
In case anyone was minded to ignore her, she carried a candystriped handbag bearing an outrageously offensive word, picked out in diamante.
Crushingly for her, it barely made the papers.
The previous Friday she flew to New York and threw a £1 million launch party for her new perfume at Macy’s, turning up in a dress shaped like the bottle, complete with a gold mask.
Nobody much cared — it made just a few paragraphs on the showbiz websites.
Close enough to touch: Gaga was just metres from the crowd watching her as she light up the cannabis
We can see you: Gaga looked somewhat nervous as she first inhaled the joint, before holding it out to the side as she spoke to the audience
She even posted a picture on Twitter of her and her boyfriend Taylor Kinney embracing naked in a swimming pool last month. It didn’t cause so much as a ripple of offence.
Keen to hang on to her crown as pop’s pre-eminent fruitcake — with the attendant money-spinning power — nothing could be worse for Gaga than to lose the power to shock.
On stage in an unflattering pair of fishnets from which her posterior bulged alarmingly, at 26 she looked like a woman whose prime was fading fast. What had happened to the immaculate Gaga of old? In her place was a ratty-haired creature with a billowing muffin top.
And so in the middle of a concert which critics noted was both bland and shrill, she resorted to that old favourite of publicity seekers — smoking dope, or at least appearing to.
When history comes to judge this piece of ‘bravery’, then the fact that she was in Amsterdam, where smoking marijuana is effectively decriminalised, should be noted.
Rocking out: Gaga wore a T-shirt baring a picture of the cannabis leaf as she took to the stage on Monday night
Revealing: Gaga left little to the imagination in the outfit, which saw her wear fishnet tights underneath a black PVC thong
Taking in the atmosphere: Gaga spread her arms and ran around the stage, much to the delight of the audience
How much more of a statement this act would have been in, say, Japan, where she performed in May.
They take a dimmer view of cannabis there, as Sir Paul McCartney can tell you, having spent nine days in prison in Tokyo in 1980 after he was found at Narita Airport with nearly half a pound of ganja in his bag. (He could have served up to seven years.)
But, in the safe environment of Holland, Gaga lit up with impunity.
In one deeply cynical gesture, she told her audience — as ever, formed largely of 14-year-old girls — that she was in the ‘appropriate place’ to discuss her passion for the drug.
She said: ‘I want you to know it has totally changed my life and I’ve really cut down on drinking. It has been a totally spiritual experience for me.’
She wore a T-shirt with marijuana leaf symbols on it, and joked that she was going to talk to President Obama in a bid to make cannabis legal worldwide. The Poker Face singer said the leaf symbol is the ‘new peace sign’.
Dancing queen: Gaga teamed the top and thong with a headband in her blonde hair and a pair of lace-up boots
Flying the flag: After smoking the cannabis, Gaga appeared full of energy and bounded around the stage
Now, most people will treat the nonsense spouted by Lady Gaga — she of the meat dress — as nothing more than mildly diverting idiocy.
Madonna was the first to call her ‘Lady Gag’, and many find her relentless self-publicising annoying — the rattling of an empty tin can.
The internet thrummed yesterday with reaction to her stunt, most of it asking her to shut up and go away.
And anyone who can declare on stage as she did last week: ‘Changing the world is as easy as changing your hair,’ is perhaps not someone you need to take seriously.
Air guitar time! Gaga even grabbed a guitar at one point during the show and started strumming it
But drugs campaigners believe that Gaga’s intervention is deeply and quite seriously unhelpful.
Lucy Dawes, from the anti-drugs charity Cannabis Skunk Sense, says: ‘It’s totally irresponsible. People like Lady Gaga are in a position where, if they run into problems, they can afford to pay for expensive rehab.
By endorsing marijuana, she runs the risk of leading thousands of young people into a world of darkness.’
Indeed, having conquered an addiction to cocaine before she found fame, it is surprising that Gaga should champion dope.
Stripping off: Gaga began the performance in a pleated skirt before shedding her clothes to reveal a bit too much
Eighties style: Gaga appeared to be channelling Blondie singer Debbie Harry with her blonde hair and headband
Her beloved father Joe helped to shock her out of her cocaine dependency. She told an interviewer: ‘My dad was like: “I know what you’re doing, and just so you know, I did it and I lost every friend and everything that I ever had while I did it.”
‘He shared with me his life story and his struggle, so that was what ultimately changed my life.’
If that is case, why is she happy to proselytise about cannabis now?
Her seeking of controversy is certainly relentless. But then Gaga is at a crossroads in her career. She has weathered the change from her sensational arrival on the scene in 2008 to the meat-dress icon of 2010, but is struggling to stay relevant.
Born This Way! Gaga collapsed into giggles later in the show as she sat astride a motorbike
Multitasking: Gaga played the keyboard on the bike while singing
Musical support: The singer was joined on stage by her band, who appeared thoroughly engrossed in the performance
Cuddling up: Gaga seemed very friendly with one male dancer in particular
After the triumph of her 2011 album Born This Way comes this tour, which has exceptionally lavish staging. A castle stage set takes seven hours to put up.
There are 18 costume changes, and a huge number of dancers and musicians.
A staggering 110 dates have been pencilled in — but her planned gig in Indonesia was cancelled after Islamic groups protested at the explicit nature of the show, which features a giant inflatable vagina.
But tour she must, in the hopes of drawing more money still from her fanbase. In 2011, she had only five months of touring, which earned her £31 million.
She will be hoping to top that this year, with the help of money spinners such as a ‘collaboration’ with Polaroid sunglasses.
Bulky: Gaga appears to have gained weight over the past few months, with her meat leotard looking a little tight
Then there’s the perfume, which could net her up to £4 million as she joins Britney, Madonna, J-Lo and others who find that, with the end of the era of big album sales, you must look elsewhere to earn your crust.
Gaga, real name Stefani Germanotta, showed her determination to launch the perfume with a bit of controversy when she declared that Fame would suit ‘an expensive hooker’ and smelled of blood. Apparently it is selling very well indeed.
But what you cannot escape with Gaga is a slight sense that she is passing her peak. Which is why that stunt with the spliff had more than a hint of desperation about it.