For a while my brain was like 80′s Berlin – rent asunder by two opposing ideologies. The baton-wielding right hemisphere rejoiced at Rage Against The Machine’s festive chart victory, while the decadent left hemisphere felt only sadness for Joe and a pityless ennui toward the whole pointless exercise. My mind vacillated between the two camps like a bi-curious Zebedee on heat. Would it be Gertrude’s leathery rifle holster, or Dougal’s rusty sheriff’s badge? Oh the agony of choice. But then I felt The Truth slide lil’ roomy back in his mansack.
Yes, RATM’s single is the first download-only No.1 in history, and it tops the first chart to be railroaded by social networks – namely Twitter & Facebook – but isn’t the whole campaign just a glorified flashmob? And aren’t flashmobs initiated and attended almost exclusively by c*nts? Like ignorant teens on the cusp of Holocaust denial, have we already forgotten those self-harmful T-Mobile ads that posed the question ‘what would you do if you had unlimited texts?’
Just in case you can’t read it, this one says “I’d text all the musicians I know and we’d start a superband.” And then you’d play an impromptu gig in the street, or on an open top route master, so everyone can revel in the majesty of your c*ntitude as you expertly ‘jam’ with two dozen drama school wanna-be’s you’d never met before, you impossibly popular pre-raphaelite c*nt. Can’t you imagine him revelling in the RATM campaign? Can’t you picture him pouring over his Macbook, cackling at his defiance of Cowell – aka The Man – as he retweets RATMFORXMAS#1 every three seconds? Yeah, the original idea might have been interesting, but was gifting RATM a seasonal hit the ‘right’ thing to do? Of course not.
Yes, the idea of Cowell sitting down in bloody August to decide which AOR ballad should be Christmas No.1 is enraging, because the Christmas No.1 used to mean something. It was Sir Cliff, Shaky, and St. Winifred’s School Choir; it was ‘Stay Another Day’ and Band Aid. These were genuinely popular songs by genuinely popular bands. But do any of you who bought the RATM single actually like RATM? Cowell isn’t forcing anyone to buy Joe’s single. People aren’t downloading ‘The Climb’ because they’re ’Syco’-phantic sheep. They’re shelling out because they’ve followed Joe for months, genuinely like the boy, and want him to succeed with a Christmas Number One. That’s an infinitely more honourable sentiment than buying a shouty song no-one particularly liked in the first place just to piss off Simon Cowell.
So what if the Christmas No.1 is now just the commercial climax to a TV show? Maybe we should all feel suitably disgusted by that, but we shouldn’t be blaming Cowell for the shift in our viewing & buying habits. Is it his fault that non-X-Factor artists have failed to capture people’s imaginations this Christmas? Have we so soon forgotten the Christmas chart toppers from Bob The Builder and Mr Blobby? Shite gets to the top of the charts every year, but at least it’s shite people genuinely like.
It’s the height of c*ntish conceitedness to rig the result in favour of a song no-one likes, and very few genuinely like RATM. They may cheer the concept and appreciate the delusional sense of rebellion that goes with it, but that’s hardly what the Christmas No.1 should be about. I’ve already seen tweets jokingly encouraging folk to make ‘The Climb’ next year’s No.1 and one of the consequences of this week’s result is that that could now happen.
All those heralding the power of social networks as the dawn of a new democratic age should think for a minute. The Twitterati may now be able to cock a snook at the majority of true song lovers under the guise of defying a pop mogul, but what’s the point of that power if it only serves to reduce the charts to a pathetic in-joke? It’s easy to sneer at Joe McElderry as Simon’s pop puppet, but we have to ask ourselves who’s the sheep when we’re clicking straight to iTunes from a retweet.
Buy what you like, but buy what you like.