Why is the BBC telling me this?
There’s a certain symmetry between the British left and the BBC (no shit, huh?). You spend so much of your time defending both of them from brickbats delivered by thrusting Thatcherites and godless-in-both-senses-of-the-word Randians and random Americans who have for some reason decided to take a massive interest in the goings-on of a country halfway across the world and with a quarter of its population, that you never stop to think “Wait… what the fuck am I actually standing up for here”?
You’re basically taking part in the world’s least enjoyable tower defence game, except instead of shooting badly realised graphics of aliens you’re shooting people who say “I see no reason why Strictly Come Ballroom shouldn’t be sponsored”, and instead of playing it for free on Kongregate, you’re coughing up £120 notes a year for the privelege.
I don’t get the BBC’s music journalism coverage. I don’t get the need for it, I don’t see why it’s there. I don’t understand why part of my licence fee should go towards paying expenses for some fucking intern to tell me that indie might be dead or it might be coming back stronger than ever. I can just about see some random justification for the truly awful “Sound of…” polls, insofar as it’s more a dog whistle operation to publicists and DJs as to what they’re going to be pushing this year (sidenote: I heard a track by Martha and the Diamonds today. Fuck me am I glad I don’t care about contemporary music). But stuff like this? And this?
It’s really hard to know where to begin. Their definition of “obscure acts you haven’t heard” is truly colon-dash-o. I mean, we can possibly pass off Sky Larkin and The Low Anthem and Major Lazer as stuff we’re only really congnizant of because we’re in a blog-bubble. But Dirty “these guys were on a Rolling Stone year-end list” Projectors? A Camp, featuring the chick from The Cardigans and seemingly in permanent residence on Radio 2? JACK FUCKING PENATE, who had a top 10 single just two years ago and an NME cover even more recently?
And the schmucks they’ve asked to contribute to this utter shower? We’ll give Simon Price a day pass because without Stay Beautiful most of our ex-girlfriends would have had one extra Saturday night a month to comfort eat in, but who exactly is Phil Singer of There Goes The Fear? Well, let’s take a look at his last.fm account:
I have a pretty bizarre music taste, varying from the most mainstream cheese-pop you could imagine all the way down to some really quite obscure bands…. Always happy to receive new suggestions of stuff you think I might like based on my current tastes!
He sounds like a pretty chill bro, definitely the kind of man you wanna be canvassing about the future of the music industry. It was only when I moved to London that I realised the people who are “randomly canvassed” for their opinions in newspapers are actually the flatmates of whoever wrote the article. So congratulations to Phil Singer: you stuck to the chore rota for a whole month and you were rewarded with the chance to tell everyone that Mew are”not your typical indie affair”.
The partner article on “established artists returning in 2010” is really nothing more than a list of 10 people who didn’t release an album in 2009 (it somehow misses out “Detox”, but I don’t think there’s much fuss about that, so I can see why they’d overlook it in favour of the much-anticipated return of British Sea Power. I can only hope my grandmother lives long enough to see them release their third album).
It’s all good though, whether you’re Matilda Egere-Cooper (who, for the unitiated, looks like the lovechild of Estelle and Brezhnev) worrying that Corinne Bailey-Rae may have been more focussed on mourning the death these past few years than perfect her own inimitable brand of anodyne hippie-soul pap; some guy from Absolute Radio pretending that the Klaxons actually mean anything in a five-year-plan (calling them a “genre defining band”, even without the hyphen, is jaw-droppingly dense); and all-time ILB favourite Seanie Adams saying this sentence without any personal shame:
We can surely expect the same lazer-sharpened wit and anti-hipster cynicism atop his party-starting intellidisco throb.
Any man who can talk about James Murphy for more than 18 words without doing a “lol fattey” gag is a man who has no fucking place in journalism.
In summary: I’m gonna get all Noel’s HQ on these bastards and start refusing to pay my TV licence until all future BBC “phone up some guys who talk about music” round-ups feature Steven Wells on a ouija board and Will High.