RATM vs X-Factor

(Reposted here by request)

To answer the question “what’s it all for?”, I think it is too simplistic to denote one reason – the creators of the group had theirs, I have mine, and the other 174997 people have theirs.

I can only tell you why I support it; I resent Pop[ular] music being presented and covered as if that is the entire scope of musical talent.

Sure some contestants may have real talent, sure they may deserve a record contract – but the extent to which the market is manufactured, manipulated and subverted, and quite frankly hi-jacked (X-Factor will try to claim the xmas no1 prize every year it runs) sickens me. The result is that other talented artists in other genres and tastes can never get a look in. Even if Joe does overtake RATM to become no1 it has made an impact, and it has also been fun – so we all win!

As for X-Factor [et al] itself, I believe the entire format to be based around exploitation, misinformation and lies:

– the contestants with no talent are exploited; they are just there for us all to laugh at and feel superior.

– the real contestants are exploited; the sheer amount of overemotional clips and sound bites derived from their interim activities gives the show producers hours of footage to pack out an hour on tv for virtually nothing.

– the winner is exploited; £1m record contract? T&Cs apply I bet you! Not one finalist from these shows has gone on to have a truly transcended music career, most only last a year, why? Because their fame only lasts as long as the X-Factor machinery holds them in the spot light. Says a lot about their talent if thats all it takes for the public to lose interest.

– and finally, the audience and viewers are exploited; they are sucked in by cheap laughs at the talentless entries, hooked by the fake sugary compliments thrown at those who do have talent, kept engrossed by the “emotional” rollercoaster of their X-Factor experience, and so after weeks and weeks of this, are so convinced that this is the epitaph of quality music, they go and buy the single – especially as it makes a marvellously convenient and easy Christmas gift!

Phew! That was a biggie *rant over*

Mind Your Manners Pt I

Last Friday was an excellent night out. My cousin CJ and I went out to Rio’s night club for the first time since he finished working there. The new tech manager who took over from CJ is a good friend so we were still able to get in for free 😀 .

The event on that night just happened to be Bad Manners, a celebration gig on Buster Bloodvessel’s 50th birthday. For those who do not know, Bad Manners are a ska revival band, part of the scene in the mid 70s/80s which also saw such acts as Madness, The Specials and The Selecter. The exploits of their front man, Buster earned them considerable notoriety. They still tour and host an annual music festival in Bedfordshire titled Bad Fest.

In 2006, CJs band, ‘The Attic Project’ (along with their roadie crew, which included yours truly) was invited to play at Bad Fest alongside The Beat, The Selecter along with Bad Manners themselves, who headlined the festival. It was at this event that I first saw Bad Manners and their incredibly entertaining show.

When Buster first walked on stage at Rios last Friday and started the show with his signatured chant “This…IS…Skaaaa!” I was immediately reminded of the first time when I saw him on a much bigger stage in an old airfield.

The show was no less impress despite this. The crowd was just as lively as you’d expect them to be; jumping, skanking and moshing all over the place, chanting “You Fat Bastard! You Fat Bastard!” at Buster, which he actively encourages (note that it is bar-stard not bass-tard even though we are in the north, as Buster is from Hackney). It was the first time in ages that I’d been n the middle of such an atmosphere and I enjoyed every second of it. It did make taking photos particularly difficult mind, so this was the best I could manage from the balcony above.

Not that I really needed more photos of Buster mind you. When we were at Bad Fest we met Buster in the bar backstage along with all the other bands. It really made me wish we could back to that time, it was an amazing experience, one we’re unlikely to be able to repeat these days. Still, I was happy to be able to enjoy the atmosphere last Friday anyway.

Music the transporter

As usual, I had queued up my entire music collection and set Winamp to random play. Though there was an unusual sequence of tracks, none of which were related, none of which were particularly amazing except for one thing; each and every one triggered an old memory from where I first heard, or most associated the music.

I shut my eyes and just listened as I was transported to parents front room, where my dad was proudly showing me his record collection (Deep Purple, Black night); to Cyprus with my mum, driving around the Troodos mountains (Roxy Music, Slave to love); to the school trip to Thorpe Park (Oasis, Hey Now!); to the bus stop outside my flat in Walthamstow on my way to work (Papa Roach, Last resort); to walking to Tessa’s house when we’d first started going out (Electric Soft Parade, There’s a silence); to touring around the UK with The Attic Project (The Ziggens, Fat Charlie)

It never ceases to amaze me how music has the power to do that. It seems so vivid as you don’t just get a few flashing images in your mind, you get a full sensory reminder as if you were actually there. You can remember events and thoughts that were occurring at that time. It helps you remember things about a time in your life, places or people that had completely evaded you previously.

If you listen to music all the time, then any deep and buried memory of your life could be just a song a way