One of the most annoying things about Radio 1 (leaving almost ALL the presenters out of the equation for the moment) is their insistence on telling you things OFFICIALLY. If it’s not the Official start to your weekend, it’s the Official sound of the summer, or the Official station of some piss-poor festival, Official guide to surviving teen trauma, or even the Official day to change your pants.

But this unlikely coalition of Officialdom and (ha!) pop culture reaches its unholy apogee on Sundays, when Goodier-lite (honestly, it’s like they cloned the bastard) and personality-free-zone Wes presents the UK Top 40. (And while we’re on the subject, what’s with the ‘Hi I’m Wes’ shit: I just want to hear the charts, I don’t care who presents it, it could be a fucking machine and it wouldn’t make any bloody difference to me!!!!!)

Yes, it’s the Official UK Top 40 played ‘exclusively’ on Radio 1, and the FIRST place to hear the new no. 1: BUT ONLY BECAUSE THEY PLAY IT AT ABOUT 6:45!!! (Given that all the charts use sales for their top 10 so there’s never going to be an Unofficial No. 1). But why should a chart based (their proud boast) entirely on sales be any more official than any other top 40? As Tom points out, the number of people who have bought even some of the biggest-selling number one singles has been fuck-all, as a proportion of the population at large. Surely a chart which is based on what people are forced to listen to in shops, and what they download as ringtones, and even on which popstars are in Heat this week, is going to better reflect some spurious zeitgeist, than a record of which fan-bases have more spare cash for multi-CD singles than others?

So why is a Sales Chart somehow more Official? Is it some kind of sop to the poor buggers who actually forked out two ninety-nine for the dubious honour of owning a demo version of some shit album track, put on for the fans, and a remix of the last single, put on to entice any floating buyers? ‘Look — it was YOU that put this track to no. 1, not some motley cohort of pluggers, playlisters and promotions managers. Feel your power! Now BUY SOME MORE!’ Or is it ‘Official’ because the rockist stats-boys can fetishise it as somehow more ‘measurable’?

Because let’s face it, it can hardly be a popularity contest. Just because enough zealots go out and buy an Iron Maiden single on the day after Boxing Day to grab the New Year number one, does not make ‘Bring Your Daughter To The Slaughter’ the most popular, or the most listened-to, and certainly not the best, single of that week. Why should the fact that some sad-sacks are still buying the Black Eyed Frigging Peas single outweigh the millions of right-thinking folk who HATE it? (But could never be arsed to actually buy a single, (increasingly the act of eccentrics, perverts and sociopaths).) But then perhaps that just makes the charts even more like a popularity contest (rather than some fuzzy pseudo-scientific yard-stick) in that its all about compromises and peer-pressure, and no-one really likes the person who comes out on top in the end.