X Factor

Well, given that nearly all my friends are either watching the X Factor, or complaining about the X Factor, I thought I might as well add to the overwhelming pile of nonsense. Louisa watches it, and I usually half watch while practising my guitar or playing a computer game.

Firstly: I don’t like the X Factor. But not for the same reason as most my friends who are complaining about it. I don’t like it cause it’s cheap telly. Too many recaps and voice overs and soundbites. And not enough music or analysis. It it was done properly, openly, and honestly, I think it would be fascinating. Simon Cowell is very good at what he does. Who obviously has a very low opinion of the music buying public (probably warranted, as people do buy the XFactor singles, and go to the live shows).  Oh, and another reason i dislike it: the volume of the crowd is far louder than the volume of the music. The moronic screaming is annoying. Also, I think it’s a bit of a shame to see good interesting vocalists go through the X Factor process. A couple of them sounds increasingly dull and bland every show. But again, Simon Cowell knows what he’s doing and whoever wins will end up making him a load of money.

But, I have to say, I find all the people complaining about the XFactor more annoying. It’s only mainstream weekend tv. And if you’re not a fan of Dr Who, there hasn’t been anything good on tv at that timeslot for years. Lots of years. I think all the musos mainly complain as they feel threatened (which is fair enough if your livelihood depends on it). They see how easy it is for a average-good singer to get national exposure by singing some dull covers. Whereas your average local muso has spent the last few years plying their trade in pubs and small venues in their home town, with pretty much nothing to show for it.

But why complain? Why not try and do something constructive. Yes, pop music in pretty dire these days. Bands seem to be more famous for being famous, rather than innovative. But that wasn’t always the case. The Beatles, Led Zep, Pink Floyd, Prince, Radiohead etc were hugely popular while still being innovative. Then there are also many examples of really really good musicians writing and recording pop music with mass appeal, but still working in incredible musicianship. Go listen to the instrumental parts on all the old Motown hits. All the session musicans where jazz guys, and their playing shines through. Same with Chic. Great fun dance music, with incredible bass and guitar playing. And go check out Michael Jackson. With Van Halen on guitar solo.

I have no firm suggestions. But if a daft facebook campaign can get Rage Against the Machine to Christmas number one, then surely it’s possible for a load of interesting and talented musicians to get together and do something interesting.

Although, then again, maybe not. By all accounts, the music industry is a pretty wretched, nasty place. And I’ve come across plenty of pointless petty arguments in local music circles too (and not all of them involved yours truly!). I guess cause folk often put their heart and soul into his hobby of ours. And when you do that, its easy to take things personally.

Anyway, apologise for this rather pointless post. I guess if  I was motivated, I could edit all of this into some sort of coherent essay. But why bother. I have the flat to myself so I’m going to get some guitar practise done while watching the snow through the window.

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