Cynical Vs. Cynical

You wonder what goes through the head of someone that wakes up one morning and thinks, I know what the world needs! It needs a remix of the Baywatch theme tune with a cheap video of people in red swimsuits miming to music that sounds extremely reminiscent of the equally virulent 'Call On Me' by Eric Prydz, smash hit that that was. Here we see the potential for a cheap buck on the back of some misplaced nostalgia for a time in our lives when we had nothing better to do on a Saturday evening than to wile away the time before Blind Date watching some sickeningly plastic actors (and acting) cavorting in slow motion around a beach in California.
Not even the presence of The Hoff can justify renewed interest in this most cynical of TV exploits - we could just as easily have a Knightrider revival but no...

That there's an equally cynical approach to the music industry in our day and age is indisputable: the reality show syndrome is just the shallow end of a business that is happy to treat an artform as a 99p shop commodity, spewing out another nameless, vacuous, mindless drone to pacify a population where, as Dad-Rock king Paul Weller once noted, "the public wants what the public gets".

How did it get to this? Didn't the UK have a reputation for producing the finest music in recent history? Where the US may have pioneered genres, we almost always did it better. In which other country could raw early R&B top the charts, or a massively pretentious concept album about isolation and insanity be one of our top selling records of all time? So how come now we're reduced to being spoonfed mass-produced dross and being told that we'll like it?

I blame Saturday morning TV for this rant, as is usual: thankfully even CD.UK has a bit of style now, whereby the lovely Lauren Laverne can quite happily say that the above-mentioned abomination makes her "want to eat her own legs". I'd maybe eat her legs, but thats a different matter. But still, she doesn't play what she wants to play, because that segment was followed by Will Young's new single, a product of a TV talent show so ego-driven and staged as to be almost irrelevant to the longevity of any given performer. How did we come to a society where what is successful is no longer decided by the consumer as in your traditional market economy, but by your friendly, neighbourhood media multinationals.

It makes me sick, but I could probably opine at length with no real point. So: I lend your ears a song.
There's cynical in the way that profit can be maximised by compromising everything for the sake of quick cash. Then there's cynical in the way that Mark E Smith lives his life: compromising nothing, trading on nothing other than a singular vision at odds with everyone and in line with no-one. It's a scientific impossibility that The Fall were able to release a 25th Anniversary album in 2004, it makes no logical sense that a band who have never yet fitted in with a zeitgeist should be this popular and inspire such devotion. And yet, here they are, the Wonderful World Of The Fall, This Nation's Saving Grace, here performing Prole Art Threat - liner notes describe it thus: "...a humorous diatribe against the soft Left. Rough Trade, the Andrex of the indie Left, were upset. The Fall left."
I looked on my CD shelf and found the band most removed from the nauseatingly cash-grabbing, pandering sensibilities of almost everything on the chart today: it's prole art, and fairly threatening.

No comments: