"Roman Candle" turns 20: Secrets of Elliott Smith's accidental masterpiece (slideshow)
Elliott and the friends with whom he recorded in middle school in Texas (photo courtesy of Dan Pickering)
Twitter trolls, say whatever you want to about Sarah Millican, comedian and host of the “Sarah Millican Television Programme” on England’s BBC Two, but be warned that she will call you out for being sexist jerks. Last year, Millican was nominated for a British Academy of Film and Television Arts award in the “entertainment performance” category, but the joyous occasion was marred by people who mocked the comedian’s dress, her weight and her appearance, on Twitter.
@WTF_EEK Clearly this is a trend of bad 1980s upholstery being recreated as gowns. Looks like one boob is much larger than the other— Joshua LaPorte (@joshualaporte) May 12, 2013
Now that Millican faces another BAFTA nomination, the comedian has issued a poignant, triumphant message to her haters in the Radio Times, reminding the world that, hello, she’s a woman who is where she is because she works damn hard and is good at her job, and that has nothing to do with what she wears.
In the candid letter, Millican admits that she is “shy by nature” and has “pretty low self-esteem.” “Fancy expensive designer shops are out for me,” she writes, “as I’m a size 18, sometimes 20, and I therefore do not count as a woman to them.”
She met Matt LeBlanc and was nominated in a genderless category among people like Graham Norton and Alan Carr — all in all, a pretty memorable evening. Except then the Twitter trolls ruined it all:
Then I went onto Twitter and it was like a pin to my excitable red balloon. Literally thousands of messages from people criticising my appearance. I was fat and ugly as per usual. My dress (the one that caused ooohs in a department store fitting room?) was destroyed by the masses. I looked like a nana, my dress was disgusting, was it made out of curtains, why was I wearing black shoes with it. I cried. I cried in the car.
And that wasn’t the end. The next day, I was in newspapers pilloried for what I was wearing. I was discussed and pulled apart on Lorraine.
I’m sorry. I thought I had been invited to such an illustrious event because I am good at my job. Putting clothes on is such a small part of my day. They may as well have been criticising me for brushing my teeth differently to them.
Although Millican will not be able to attend the BAFTAs in person this year, she has awesomely vowed to wear the same dress again if she’s ever nominated:
Yes, there were lovely messages from my fans between the hate but the hate was dominant and made me upset at first and then furious. Why does it matter so much what I was wearing? Why did no one ask my husband where he got his suit from? I felt wonderful in that dress. And surely that’s all that counts. I made a decision the following day that should I ever be invited to attend the Baftas again, I will wear the same dress. To make the point that it doesn’t matter what I wear; that’s not what I’m being judged on. With the added fun of answering the red-carpet question, “Where did you get your dress?” with “Oh, it’s just last year’s, pet”.
Take that, trolls!
Prachi Gupta is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on pop culture. Follow her on Twitter at @prachigu or email her at email@example.com.More Prachi Gupta.
Heatmiser publicity shot (L-R: Tony Lash, Brandt Peterson, Neil Gust, Elliott Smith) (photo courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
Elliott and JJ Gonson (photo courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
"Stray" 7-inch, Cavity Search Records (photo courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
Elliott's Hampshire College ID photo, 1987
Elliott with "Le Domino," the guitar he used on "Roman Candle" (courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
Full "Roman Candle" record cover (courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
Elliott goofing off in Portland (courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
Heatmiser (L-R: Elliott Smith, Neil Gust, Tony Lash, Brandt Peterson)(courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
The Greenhouse Sleeve -- Cassette sleeve from Murder of Crows release, 1988, with first appearance of Condor Avenue (photo courtesy of Glynnis Fawkes)