Posts from 21st June 2006

21
Jun 06

Day 75: Rome
AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 LOUSY TUNES

I Hate MusicPost a comment • 376 views

Ancient civilizations have always appealed to me. Not just the orgies and debauchery – though they appeal enough to counter the fact that Gin will not have been invented for some considerable time. No, whilst ancient pottery and tales are full of harps, lyres and another musical instruments to torment me, they were not amplified. You could stand in a field in, say, Glastonbury and by virtue of being twenty five yards away NO HEAR ANY MUSIC AT ALL. And Caconfonix in Asterix looked really easy to beat up.

Modern day Greece is not like that. So I decided to make my next step across Europe on a short flight to that other seat of ancient power. Rome. And this was bearing in mind those Cornetto ad’s, a stereotype I thought only restricted to Venice. I was wrong. Almost the moment I stepped off of the plane La Dolce Vita stylee, some inbred loser with a bunch of roses serenaded me in the airport. O Sole E Mio? Arsehole E Mio more like. I soon put him straight.

Rome was very similar to Greece, with its taxis pumping out shed loads of poor music. But I took to the food, the wine and the fact that if – say – Starsailor had been walking down the street it would be really easy to kill them by pushing them under a car.

ROME – The B-52’s

Roam – Rome. It all sounds the same when a chipmunked voice, ultra-perky fifty five year old shouts it out of a transistor radio at you. As a younger woman I had a number of fantasies about the B-52’s. In particular replacing the proto-beehives of Cathy Wilson and Kate Pierson with real actual beehives containing real actual bees that would really, actually sting them to death.

Of course in many ways this single should be called Rome, as their brief existence as the hilariously monikered BC-52’s puts them into the right time period. And what joy it would be to find that they were actually not only from a different time period, but fictional too. Unfortunately some of us had to live through the horror that was Love Shack and its follow up: Roam.

The main lyrics of Roam: namely “Roam if you want to, roam around the world” clearly strikes a chord with me, that being exactly what I am doing. But without the key, “slagging off music in the process” line, we it is hard to sympathise with them. And especially as they tended to Roam to parts of the world where, coincidentally, they were also booked to play gigs. No roaming around Talliban Afghanistan I note where they would have broken more laws that even existed (there is a double jeopardy rule attached to being a band named after a drink named after a haircut named after a flying superfortress). There is little to add here from my previous attack on them except to note that Fred Schneider is such a twat, I am surprised he did not form They Might Be Giants. And Roaming without wings and without wheels might as well as been called WALK.

Stop Of The Pops

Do You SeePost a comment • 516 views

I feel very uncomfortable. VERY uncomfortable. I agree with Noel Edmonds. The BBC are making a massive mistake in axing Top Of The Pops. Perhaps I wouldn’t put it in such cold hard business terms as Edmonds, as just the loss of a brand. But having seen how easy that brand has been to adapt in, say, France – it really is a loss. But the BBC probably do not realise what the possible knock on effects will be.

Top Of The Pops, as a show, may not be packing them in like it used to. And much of that is due to the music television on demand. Nevertheless it was THE music chart show, and as such it lent far more legitimacy to the Official Radio One chart than just being on Radio One did. Radio One is a silly pop radio station, Top Of The Pops was on BBCTV, after the news, and as (shudder) Paul Gambacini says rightly, it was the News Of Pop. So its very existence lends a degree of legitimacy to pop music. Maybe pop music itself does not need this legitimacy, but the BBC does: if it wants to hold on Radio One and even Radio Two. By completely ditching pop to the commercial broadcasters, it is signing the death knell of Radio One. Again not necessarily a bad thing – but probably a bad thing for the BBC.

So yes, TOTP’s value is as a brand. But a brand that informs and influences much of what the BBC does. A brand that, unlike Grandstand, cannot continue without its own idiosyncrasies, its lousy presenters, its juxtaposition of music that surely nobody likes all of. Recently it has been over managed, tried to be cool, be about more than just the music and the shitty presenters. But in a mlti-channel environment everyone is hunting ratings, everyone is hunting recognition. As the BBC does not carry advertising, they need not be as ratings hungry. What they need to recognise is that there is value in owning a program that nobody watches, but everybody knows.

The BBC might as well axe its evening news for exactly the same reasons (the internet, rolling news channels). Keep Top Of The Pops on life support: it not only feeds future nostalgia shows but its existence justifies a large part of the BBC’s estate.