Posts Tagged ‘X Factor’

The Origin Of Faeces

Posted: August 14, 2010 in Uncategorized
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American Idol judge Simon Cowell will receive an international Emmy award for having “reshaped 21st century television and music around the world,” the International Academy of Television Arts and Sciences has announced.

In the UK and the US, where Cowell mainly plies his trade, there is a long and proud tradition of musical excellence with a succession of great bands and artists creating original music, voicing their message, pushing boundaries, innovating, inspiring others and sometimes even shaping society. The lines of influence are very marked through modern musical history. It’s Darwinian in nature in that the cream generally rises to the top. The best acts exert the most influence on the next generation who carry the baton of musical excellence, propelling it forwards or diversifying it in new creative directions. Sure, anomalies occur and become fleetingly popular. They may add small amounts of peripheral mutation, but they rarely have any significant influence on core music genetics.

Since Cowell’s strangle hold on the music industry took root, this Darwinian process has all but stopped. Rather than the fittest surviving, the sick and weak are artificially elevated into a position of strength. They appeal to a lazy and unimaginative audience, content to be welded to their sofas and be told what to like. They deceive the talentless into believing that greatness is achievable without exerting any effort.


Cowell devotees may try to defend him by arguing there is a punk ethos in what he is doing in that he is providing the platform and the opportunity for anyone to get up there and give it a go. This, of course, is horse shit for at least a million different reasons. Punk was largely about the music with its motivation stemming from a reaction to what was considered an elitist rotten musical landscape. The Cowell karaoke* scheme is the new rotten musical landscape and the motivation of all participants is the desire to be famous at any price and amassing obscene amounts of personal wealth. The music is but a distant faded afterthought and takes the form of karaoke* with the participant’s sole aim being to show off by torturing a single syllable through five octaves for a few minutes.

Cowell is leading us into an era where every act has the prefix of ‘X-factor winner’ or ‘Britain’s got talent star’. He is interfering with the process of natural selection and his genetic manipulation techniques have led to a situation where rather than having a strong and diverse musical gene pool we now have a turgid homogenised one that lacks the variety and diversity needed to continue evolving.

The devotees of the karaoke* merchants may call this view music snobbery. I’m not saying that any form of music shouldn’t exist. Not everyone is blessed with the necessary creative brain patterns to push the boundaries but they should at least be aware that the boundaries exist, what direction they are in and have the common decency to wander over and say hello.

Giving Cowell an award for reshaping the music world is like giving myxomatosis an award for reshaping the rabbit world.

*    Ka•ra•o•ke [kar-ee-oh-kee]
A form of entertainment in which amateur singers sing along with recorded music using a microphone and public address system. The music is typically a well-known pop song minus the lead vocal.

Fan The Flames

Posted: July 18, 2010 in Uncategorized
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Katy Perry inadvertently dropped a giant molotov cocktail on an enormous bonfire of rumours concerning the does-she-doesn’t-she take semisynthetic psychedelic drugs debate.

In a recent interview before being a guest judge at Dublin’s X Factor auditions, she said she hoped to ‘find someone who’s going to change the world’.

Completely off her tits on the stuff I’d say.

Dame Vera Lynn became the oldest living artist in the world to have a No. 1 album after she pipped The Beatles to the top spot. Her album outsold The Beatles’ remastered editions although the Fab Four did occupy 11 places in the top 40 with their reissue records

It’s an encouraging tale for all musicians worldwide. In a music industry currently dominated by pretty young things, with the ‘music’ they produce being largely insignificant in comparison to their visual image and hypeability, it’s comforting to know that acts can still be popular despite being a wrinkly nonagenarian coffin dodger or having two dead band members – infirmities which one might normally assume would be an impediment to success.

Current acts with songwriting talent but without supermodel credentials must surely see this as a breakthrough and there may be some hope on the horizon for pug ugly bands and minger songwriters.

Is music finally making a comeback?

Comeback my arse. It is yet more marketing spin from a bone idle record company in its continued attempt to dupe the public into purchasing regurgitated music.

A crew of engineers at London’s Abbey Road studios have spent 4 years working on the Beatles remasters in an effort to preserve the authenticity and integrity of the original analogue recordings and ensure the highest fidelity the catlog has seen since its original release“. For traditionalists, a box set of mono recordings will also be available – with each disc styled as a vinyl LP.

Why stop there? Why not go the whole hog and recreate the experience of the record buying public in the 60’s? Yes we spent 15 years exacting the sound of a 1960’s multi-play vinyl record player. Each CD recording allows you to hear the vinyl plop down onto the turntable, the mechanical noise of the arm movement as it swings across and then the unmistakeable crunch of the stylus hitting the record surface searching out the nearest groove then being treated to a few crackles before being underwhelmed by a tinny sound.

Demand for Beatles remasters has steadily increased since 1987 when the Beatles were first released on CD with what many audiophile fans deemed substandard sound quality compare to the original vinyl.

Yesterday in particular is a revelation. Free of the reverb that blights the 1987 CD version, McCartney’s voice radiates a damp, autumnal proximity that foregrounds the brittle bitterness of loss.

Give me strength.

You can really tell the difference’ says Beatles expert Kevin Howlett. ‘It’s an extraordinary thing to sit there and hear LPs that you know so well and hear little nuances that you hadn’t noticed before’

The music industry has gone down the toilet and is approaching the end of the u-bend at breakneck speed and what EMI thinks we need are little nuances. Outstanding. So as to present a objective view I tested this out on my £50,000 CD player. I had to play it a few times but I’m sure I heard Ringo let rip with a little squeaker at the start of ‘A Day In The Life’. Well worth £170 and a 22 year wait.

On the bright side, Howlett remarked (and remember he’s a Beatles expert) ‘they sound louder than the previous CD reissues’.

Bugger me. That’s great news for all of us with high fidelity equipment that has an absence of a volume control.

Allan Rouse, the chief engineer for the project said ‘I’ve been working on The Beatles for about 18 years now and I don’t think anything has been a scam, the remasters are certainly not a scam,’ he laughed. ‘I mean, if you call that a scam, then all the bands that have been remastered two or three times already….what’s that then?’

Well it’s the same scam isn’t it Allan? Another marketing strategy pumped out by record companies in their route down the path of least resistance when making decisions to relieve the general public of their cash. Why make any effort to find and fund new music when you can pay a mastering engineer relative peanuts to re-work previously recorded material?

This may be seen as just some more Beatles bashing but nothing could be further from the truth. It’s a rant against the current state of the mainstream music industry using the Beatles remasters as and example of the type of thing we have to put up with these days. Without doubt the lines of influence stemming from the scouse mop tops will remain with us for generations. What they achieved and their lasting influence on music and society is unlikely to ever be repeated by any other act. But until the incumbent musical mindset is challenged with the hideous musical output from monstrosities such as X-Factor and Pop Idol being drowned at birth and the controllers of music like Cowell and his ilk being universally looked upon as as greedy, manipulative, vain, egotistic, obnoxious, self-centred bullies whose sole ambition is to amass personal wealth regardless of the integrity of its source, we will continue to experience a pandemic of dumbed down music on a global scale.

‘Yesterday’ was yesterday. What about tomorrow?

Originally posted @ 14:50:54 on 30 September 2009 on

It’s thrown an entire nation into quandary – whether to watch Strictly Come Dancing or The X Factor. The shows will overlap for at least an hour when Strictly returns, 25 minutes before its rival starts, forcing millions of viewers to make the choice

It really is quite a dilemma isn’t it? Right up with there with whether to ‘go large’ in Mickey D’s.

The manufacturers of tape, DVD and HD based TV programme recording equipment really should ramp up their advertising to explain exactly what their products do. I’m no expert but they could probably be used to circumvent this monolithic head scratcher.

Archie’s personal recommendation is to turn your Tellybox off completely. Not just on standby. Completely off. Trace the power cable from the TV to the wall and pull the plug out of the socket. Seal the socket. Do the same for any other electrical equipment that receives TV signals. Take the aerial off the roof. Sever the electricity supply coming into your house. Take no chances to avoid, at all costs, the possibility of any of this visual sewage entering your home.

Originally posted @ 14:36:18 on 12 September 2009 on

X Factor returns on Saturday and judges Cheryl Cole and Dannii Minogue have given us a hint of the kooks we’ll see. Minogue says: ‘We had one act who is just so bad – do not miss her!’

If you are planning to watch X Factor on Saturday, as you peer out from behind your fingers during the preliminary rounds, constantly remind yourself of the unsurpassed description of the show in Gervais and Merchant’s Extras Special – ‘We wheel out the bewildered to be sniggered at by multimillionaires’. You might just see it for what it actually is.

Originally posted @ 22:00:20 on 19 August 2009 on