‘I use Reality TV…’: I feel sorry for the Hives, actually, caught up into a rhetorical-historical argument they didn’t begin and probably would flourish better out far away from, having small-time fun somewhere off media radar. Thin ties and spastic gurning: to a weary ancient like me, this tumbles straight back to pre-punk pub rock, and more Eddie and the Hots Rods at that, a kids-stuff replay of that long-discarded it’s-all-a-laff thrash-battery (than for example Dr Feelgood’s redeemably semi-cubist rhythm-and-blues). But taking seriously and at face value Alan McGee’s provocation in calling his label Poptones — after an intensely complex, chart-mocking yes but also rock-hating PiL song — you watch the Hives not even setting Top of the Pops on fire, and want to just stress (for the 20 bazillionth time) that furiously bashed-out retro guitar readymades continue to be the one thing that can’t rescue popular music from itself, whatever the selling levels. Not to suddenly become a McGee apologist heh, but part of his genuine difficulty has surely been the utter degeneration over the last decade of his primary arena for such debate: the UK rock press. Back when it was something still to value in itself, he held (some of) it in useful and provocative thrall. Now that it’s dying rubbish he can’t get arrested, at least as a mindful stirrer (which of course he is). I wish I wish I wish that (ahem) Indieworld, blindsided by long-stewed moralistic idealism, could look up and grab at the scope opened up for them by popstars and the like. Personally I don’t actually think the charts need rescue, currently, these being rich and strong times, neither narrowed nor tired, but Alt.Pop Idol — in which the non-mainstream machineries of choice and grooming, hype and dissemination, and the dialectics of alt.passion and alt.cynicism, were also laid open to and troubled by and shaken up and jolted by and renewed and rewired by naive and not-so-naive amateur contribution-intervention — would make for a fantastic series. And (unlike the endless and tiringly pointless Poptones Wars on ILM) a fantastic and appropriate platform too, whence which the McGees of the world could allow their faiths serious expression once more, by putting them at genuine public risk again.