The Architecture Of Comedy with Prof Jeff Seacombe

Prof Jeff Seacombe outside the Applied Laughter Studies Annexe

Like any artform, comedy has rules and, whilst it is OK to break these rules, it is still necessary to understand and appreciate them before one breaks them. Picasso could paint like Velasquez before he started painting birds women with six tits and one eye. Einstein understood the laws of physics inside out before he went back in time and killed Adolf Hitler and stuck a tenner on Shergar.

Likewise anyone considering embarking upon a 300 date tour of shithole theatres across the north and a guest spot on Jonathan Ross discussing their upcoming BBC3 sketch show and kiddy porn ‘book research’ bust with a bit of scripted banter must appreciate the laws of comedy before attempting to master them.

In this lecture, I use the clichéd metaphorical device of comparing comedy to a building for reasons that I don’t fully understand. I suppose it’s better than using a trite culinary metaphor, by a pinch, but not by much. I digress. One must approach the comedy business as one considers the construction of a skyscraper, a public toilet or a home for the mentally ill.

Stage 1 – Choose you plot carefully.

Having a skyscraper in the middle of a supermarket carpark, a public toilet right next to a gay bar or a home for the mentally ill across from a knife shop would be madness. In comedic terms, one must always consider the positioning of your comic building before buying the sand and cement and employing east European labourers with amphetamine addictions. (please note this lecture will contain a few racist insults, not because I am racist you understand but because this is itself a post-modern device to shoehorn lazy racial stereotyping masquerading as irony.)

What else is in the neighbourhood? How will your building stand out from the rest of the shops, flats, dog tracks and abortion clinics? Simply designing a building that is the tallest, the most ornate, the wackiest is one thing, but there are other considerations too.

Stage 2 – Design The Blueprint

Once you’ve selected your ideal site, one should consider matters of style and utility, form and function, Is the comedy construction there simply to make people laugh in a traditional joke = laugh formula or do you intend to make the audience go much deeper than a mere belly chuckle and consider their own futile existence on this fucked up planet and ending their tragic and tedious lives immediately upon exiting the theatre of fun?

As a famous critic once said ‘it’s a piece of piss to get people to laugh but almost impossible to get them to stab themselves in the neck with a joke about a dwarf stuck in a waste paper bin.’ Careful consideration should be given to what kind of audience you are aiming for before even marking a solitary mark on your plan.

Is the half-wit Peter Kaye type who will laugh at any reference to 1970s frozen food adverts or the Lancashire accent? If so, then maybe a comedy KFC ‘Drive Thru’ (note American spelling) would be required, wher e’diners’ could achieve instant gratification through chicken popcorn blasts of greasy MSG jokes referencing weathermen and dinner ladies.

If it’s the easily pleased Michael McIntyre demographic who prfer their comedy packaged in safe, seated auditorium with comfy seats, relaxed lighting and 4 quid bottles of lager for sale in the bar, then maybe a Premier Inn style hotel with attached Steakhouse would be an option. After all the customer is always right even when they’re a bunch of cunts, so employing a cheery receptionist with a skin condition, an ill-fitting blouse and a crucifix to welcome your guests to their stale spunk smelling cut-price room would be a good start.
High-brow, so-called alternative comics such as Vic and Bob, Ant and Dec and Dick and Dom have now become every bit as mainstream as Brucie, Tarby, Ronnie and the 70s golf set comics, so avoid blatantly designing your building in the same manner as these hilarious double acts have built their own constructions. Maybe 6th form surrealist art deco has been ‘done to death’ then why not design an art deco surrealist building?

Other comics have upped the ante and now question the entire notion of comedy itself. Frankie Boyle’s act for example resembles a Victorian Asylum where inmates receive lector-convulsive shock therapy to their genitals whilst the warders wear pig masks and piss into the mouths of orphans.

Or Stewart Lee whose comedic house may have a roof where the drive should be and furniture on the outside with a garden in the front room. That’s because Stewart’s house is a bit like the famous Pompidou centre in Paris where the inside is the outside and the outside is the inside. Although this ‘deconstructivist’ approach is hardly novel, there are few architects who still cling to its radical rules or anti-rules, so there’s a big gap in the market for an office block that has a helipad under water or a bungalow with 68 floors.

Part 3 – bricks n shit coming up soon……

It’s all PR!

just some of the 40o Italian politcal parties in the 2013 election

just some of the 400 Italian politcal parties in the 2013 election

With the Italian election now over, no doubt we’ll hear the same status quo spin about proportional representation leading to weak coalition governments. Now, this may well be the case in some circumstances but it’s not as if OUR weak, coalition government is doing such a great job. More people voted against the Tories than for them in the last election, yet somehow they’ve cobbled together the most right wing programme since the Norman Conquest. Even in the US, that beacon of ‘representative democracy’, the system offers two parties of the right who neutralise each other via the Senate and House of Representatives. Italy’s current leader was imposed by the Germans as was the Greek ‘technocrat’ in order to secure Euro bail out money.

One of the main arguments used by those who are opposed to Proportional Representation is that using such a system breaks the link between the MP and their constituents. This defence is wheeled out time and time again, as if those MPs who win via the first past the post system somehow take all their voter’s opinions and views into account when voting in parliament. Such a fallacy exists only in the minds of the political class and their chums in the media who believe that they exist in order to serve their respective constituencies and are not, with the odd exception, a bunch of self-serving careerists who vote according to their own best interests.

I was reminded of this when our local paper reported that Halton MP, Derek Twigg had voted against same sex marriage in the recent bill. His decision, so he claimed, was based on the views of his constituents and ‘his own judgment.’ Hmmm! Let’s look at Derek’s voting record since he became an MP back in that glorious Spring of 1997, when Tony Blair’s New Labour government were going to transform Britain into a vibrant, low wage, flexible, zero regulation, ethical foreign policy, education boosting, class war ending nation of go-getters.
Twigg’s record shows how those MPs who want to climb the greasy ladder of party favourtism always tow the line.

http://www.theyworkforyou.com/mp/derek_twigg/halton#votingrecord

Now, I must declare an interest at this point. I worked with Derek during the 80s and 90s when we were both CPSA union reps at the Dept Of Employment in Runcorn. It was an era of increasing ‘militancy’ both within the councils and the unions, including CPSA. ‘Twiggy’ was an impressive organizer and speaker, holding the chair job for many years and did a lot of good work for our members in Runcorn. He always had political ambitions and the Halton ward was one of the safest Labour seats in the country.

As one of the youngest Labour Party councilors ever, Derek obviously had an eye on his home-town seat. (Halton is one part of Runcorn and all of Derek’s town, Widnes). Even though he’d been a tireless councilor for many years, he had a task trying to get the nomination for the candidacy as the Blairites were trying to shoe in their pals and cronies into safe seat certs. Eventually Derek won the nomination and was elected MP for Halton in 1997, where he’s remained ever since with a massive majority.

This isn’t a personal attack on Derek. I don’t agree with his politics but he’s always been a decent, friendly lad. What I do object to, is his (and other MPs) deciding issues for themselves and then pretending that they have some kind of mandate for voting as they do. Whether this is the invasion of Iraq, the awarding of PFI contracts, the attacks on the trade unions who continue to fund the party or the issue of gay marriage, no one person can claim to ‘use his/her own judgment’ on how to balance their own views against those of thousands of others.

Of course we can’t have ballots and referendums for every single vote which is parties have – what are they called? – oh aye, ‘manifestos’ so you have an idea of what they’re agenda is. MPs can never and have never acted ‘on behalf of their constituents.’ They act on behalf of themselves and their personal or party interests (often the same thing). Halton has its fair share of Torys, Lib-Dems, fascists, communists, atheists, Mormons, rugby league fans and homosexuals. PR would at least take these people’s views into account and in a true democracy all views should be represented, even those on the fringes (like mine). Yes, this means I don’t mind having a BNP candidate as, even though they repulse me, there are many repulsive voters whose repulsive opinions should be recognized and reflected. My views probably repulse as many people but so what, everyone’s the sovereign of their own soul brother.

Now, I’m not sure for certain but perhaps religious doctrine influenced Derek’s ‘No to gay marriage’ vote. If so, then Derek may well be representing the borough’s hard line catholics and other anti-gay voters but there are others who support the bill, gay and straight, Labour and Tory, Catholic and Protestant. I’m not saying there would have been a majority in favour, as obviously views depend on gender, age, background and other factors but let’s not present these votes as ‘scientific.’

In the 2010 general election Derek won the seat with 57.7% of the vote. Even if all the other parties combined their votes (Tory = 20.2%, Lib Dem = 13.8%, BNP = 3.8%, UKIP = 3% and Green = 1.6%), they still wouldn’t have beaten Derek in the first past the post system. Yet don’t those other 42.3% of voters not deserve some representation, even the worrying 3.8% who voted BNP? The BNP are not supported by and large by extra-loony disaffected Tories (that’s UKIP’s graft) but by the marginalised, white working class who feel abandoned by Labour.

Ofcourse this is only part of the story because the turn out was only 60% yet this low figure was actually the best turn out since the 1992 election, when it was 78.3%. Here are the Halton turn out figures since the 83 election:

1983 = 73.3%
1987 = 78.3%
1992 = 78.3%
1997 = 53.2%
2001 = 54.1%
2005 = 53.1%

Now, these pathetically low totals tell their own story and can be interpreted in a variety of ways but here’s mine. People, especially Labour voters who supported the Party through the dark days of the 80s and 90s, wanted and deserved a Labour government that represented their interests. They also wanted payback for the misery of 28 long, desperate years of Tory mis-rule. What they got was more of the same with a shiny, consensus gloss. The class war was over, we were all middle class now, we had to work harder and expect less, we had to compete with the emerging economies and accept privatization as a fact of life. The drop between the 92 and the 97 election was perhaps due to stay away Tory voters knowing they’d lose and disillusioned Labour voters who felt betrayed by Blair.

Derek Twigg supported all Blair and Brown’s policies and he was rewarded with a junior ministerial job in 2004. I’m not knocking him, that’s how it works; MPs either get bullied into voting against their ‘conscience’ by whips (the clue’s in the name) or simply do what they’re told. If they don’t they’re out, unless they have a very powerful local support base. Let’s not crack on that MPs decide on every decision based on careful algebraic calculations.

Derek stayed clean during the expenses scandal and, as a Liverpool fan who was at Hillsborough, has campaigned on this issue for decades, yet all MPs are now cast in the same pit; ‘they’re all the same’ ‘they’re only in it for themselves’ ‘they’re a bunch of liars.’ This cynicism has been born out time and time again as politicians say one thing and do another, ask others to play fair yet lie and cheat to feather their own nests or get themselves out of various scrapes.

De-selection is one tool to get rid of a serving MP, another is death. General elections generally give us results we could all predict. New Labour’s 97 victory was more of a protest vote against Major’s scandal hit regime than a rallying cry for the ‘third way.’ Similarly Cameron’s Lib Dem propped government was only able to win after a disastrous few years under Gordon Brown. Most people don’t care too much either way as long as they’re doing OK, as long as they can treat themselves to a holiday or a new car or a fancy telly, send their kids to uni maybe and hold down a half decent job. Socialism thrives at times when the ruling class really begin to take the piss, times like this in fact.

Me, I want global socialist federalism and an end to the nation state. I actually think the EU doesn’t go far enough, it should strip all powers away from state parliaments in the first step to a global superstate. There may only be a tiny percentage of us who cling to this ideal but our views deserve representing just as those who support gay marriage deserve something better than an MP, any MP who uses his own judgment when deciding which way to vote on such a sensitive issue.

Why The Anti-Female Circumcision Brigade Make Me Puke by Brendan O’Maggot

The liberal elite would have us believe that slicing off a young girl’s clitoris and sewing up her vagina is somhow ‘cruel’ and ‘barbaric’ but nothing could be further from the truth. The truth is that women in countries where this custom is practiced actually feel liberated from the tyranny of orgasm and sexual pleasure by having their clitoris cut off with a rusty knife when they reach sexual maturity at the age of eleven.

How are we to judge them? How these self-elected do-gooders howl with their elitist liberal sense of outrage. Yet, as they sip rioja and nibble at foraged herbs in their Islington and Hackney gastro-pubs, Somali women drink gasoline from socks as they struggle to survive the Liberal war on ancient customs that date all the way back to thirty years ago.

They live in a desert while the professional forage liberal lentil elitist shriekers live in million pound Georgian town houses sipping foraged mugweed and nibbling on a fine Bordeaux. Maybe the likes of Polly Toynbee should try a bit of clitorectomy themselves as it would free them up not only from their sexual frustration but also their tedious feminist liberal elitist self-elected foraged outrage.

I have recently had my obediant Malaysian muslim girlfriend circumcised and she now has hours once spent pleasuring herself with kitchen utensils to devote to looking after me, the guy who saved her from a life of drudgery and patriarchal oppression.

I would heartily recommend every women to have their daughters circumcised at the first opportunity, maybe even upon birth and then they will be able to live fulfiling lives devoted to their intellectual boyfriends and husbands in their journalistic careers instead of kow towing to the self-serving demands of a screeching foraged Georgian champagne egotist elitist so-called ‘socialists’ who claim to speak for ‘us.’

6music – In BBC Trust do we trust?

bbc trust

Further to our 6music piece, I sent the blog link to the BBC Trust arguing that 6music has failed to abide by the recommendations they first set out way back in 2006 and then after the last review in Nov 2012. This was their response and my response to their response.

Ref: 1912853

Thank you for your email and for sharing your blog.

There is no date set for the next service licence review of 6Music, however, I have shared your comments with colleagues in the Trust who worked on the previous review.

As the Trust has no role in day to day editorial decisions, I have also shared your email with BBC Audience Services for their information.

Yours sincerely

John Hamer

Keep it brief eh John? I know you’ve got a lot on your plate protecting paedos and passing round the hat to cover Lineker’s wages but what a cop out! Anyway here’s my response….

Dear Mr Harmer,

The criteria for improving 6music’s reach was set 6 years ago (1st jan 2007) when you had this recommendation :

5.4 Reflecting the UK’s nations, regions and communities

BBC 6 Music should make a contribution to this purpose amongst its audience by stimulating, supporting and reflecting the diversity of cultural activity in the UK, within the defined remit of the service. Its live
music coverage and its coverage of music festivals should reflect activity throughout the UK.

Through its broadcasts and its online presence, BBC 6 Music should facilitate and support the growth of communities of interest in the music it plays.

You also noted :

6Music is intended to appeal to all enthusiasts of popular music outside the mainstream since the 1960s. However, the station currently appeals less to older people, to listeners from lower income households, to women and to ethnic minorities.

The existing and rather desperate campaign trailing 6music on all BBC TV channels is symptomatic of this failure to address the middle class, middle English, middle aged demographic of presenters and listeners alike (with the odd exception). The sad fact is that 6music is regarded by many (not only by myself) as a cosy retirement home for older, Radio 1 presenters, panel show ‘comedians’ and former members of white indie bands. One foot in the past (the Stones – how radical! One foot in the future – Planet Rock, a tune from 1982!!).

The recent ‘top 100’ 6music tunes (from a pre-selected ‘playlist’ – how ‘alternative!’) only demonstrated the lack of direction and a seemingly complacent commissioning attitude that refuses to engage with truly ‘alternative’ British sub-cultures and regional scenes. There are pirate stations, internet stations, specialist and mainstream local radio programmes who perform a much better job of representing the under-represented groups you refer to above with a fraction of the budget you lavish on 6music (or zero budget).

If you are monitoring their performance then you obviously have no complaints about 6music’s existing schedule, which is itself an indictment of the Trust. How have they achieved the above aims? Let’s see some evidence of them even trying. If you’re not monitoring it, then that too is an indictment of the Trust because what’s the point of making recommendations then not taking action if they’re not implemented?

Whilst acknowledging that the trust doesn’t play a ‘day to day’ role in editorial decisions, it should shape the scope of the remit and use its powers to monitor as set out below:

Annex I: Performance measurement framework

The BBC Trust has the function of assessing the performance of the Executive Board in delivering the BBC’s services and activities and holding the Executive Board to account for its performance.

It uses the framework described below as the basis for its assessment of BBC 6 Music. The framework uses a range of metrics based around the four drivers of public value:

Quality

Reach

Impact

Value for money.
The Trust can amend this framework without this constituting formal variation to this Service Licence.

Let’s take value for money for a start. In 2006/2007 6music received a budget of £4.9m yet in this financial year received £7.8m almost a two fold increase. Yes, I know the BBC spin is that its figures are increasing but from a very low base and still miserably low for a national digital station that receives relentless free promotion via other BBC outlets. I’d be interested to see how its ‘cost per viewer per hour’ bill compares to say Radio2 or even local BBC radio.

I say all this (it might be hard to believe) as a fan of the ‘idea’ of 6music, which should be a safe harbour for those of us (like myself, aged 47 still active in music and culture and with a diverse range of musical interests from Stravinsky to Stones Throw). I live in the north west of England which is healthily represented in terms of presenters on 6music but even here it’s the same old faces, former NME writers, indie band members, TV ‘celebs’ and we all know that some don’t select their own music and see 6music as an easy buck or a stepping stone to bigger things.

There’s always a balance to be made between populism and integrity and I’m not advocating ghettoisng 6music as a home of obscure or ‘niche’ music but the old northern soul DJ mantra ‘two you know, one you don’t’ still holds true for breaking new or unheard music. There’s certianly enough money sloshing around 6music to invest in nurturing fresh talent especially in ‘the regions’ (as we’re patronisingly referred to) and especially with the facilities avaialable in in Salford Media City.

Us & Them : Channel 4 and homegrown terrorists Pt 67

complicit-460x259

Channel 4’s obsession with ‘home made terrorists’ has been a feature of its drama and documentary schedules ever since the 7/7 bombings. In part this is a genuine refusal of those in positions of power to acknowledge that anyone could be angry enough to regard the invasions of Iraq or Afghanistan as illegal and hypocritical acts of imperialism masquerading as ‘spreading democracy.’

When Israel is allowed to slaughter thousands of Palestinian civilians with the tacit approval of the west, whilst China is allowed to suppress their population because there’s billion dollar contracts at stake, whilst socialists, ecologists, anti-globalisation campaigners, pacifists and muslims are regarded as ‘enemies within’ by the British political/capitalist establishment, why would anyone dare to question the ‘war on terror?’

In part, there’s also a genuine ‘black propaganda’ element to isolate and marginalise those ‘bad muslims’ who do not want to ‘join in with the British way of life.’ Channel 4 has been at the forefront of this campaign of vilification and last night’s in many respects, excellent drama ‘Complicit’ underlined not only the media’s but the political spin master’s message.

In the world of our political and media overlords, these ‘extremists’ simply woke up one morning and decided to plant bombs on trains and busses, for a grin. These ‘homegrown terrorists’ are dupes, they have been fooled into their view of the world by false prophets, probably with hooks for hands, eyepatches and parrots screeching ‘death to Israel’ instead of ‘pieces of eight. ’ These evil jihadists are intent on destroying civilisation ‘as we know it’ (y’know KFC n’ shit) and replacing it with a global caliphate based on sharia law. Their motivation is simple; they want the promised paradise of martyrdom and those lovely ghostly virgins. Silly boys!

Now, this isn’t a defence of such acts in any way. Of course targeting civilians on their way to work, students, tourists and shoppers was a wicked act. Such random acts do nothing to further a cause and cause zero impact to those who use selective warfare to enrich themselves and their corporate pals. Not only have the ‘homegrown’ plots been counter-productive but often they’ve been botched and farcical; the shoe bomber, the underpants bomber, the Glasgow car bomb. These people aren’t the IRA, never mind Al Queda, they’re just a disparate bunch of angry young men who are fuelled by a sense of injustice.

Chris Morris’s ‘Four Lions’ was perhaps the best critique of the confusing and confused mind sets of some jihadists, people who are committed for a variety of reasons yet lack the essential guile and subterfuge required to become genuine guerrilla fighters. The suicide bomber, unlike previous ‘volunteers’ has the ultimate weapon however, cos he or she aint coming back to plant another bomb or shoot another soldier. That’s how committed they are. Faced with such fanaticism, it is any wonder the intelligence services and the military fear suicide attacks so much and want to present these men and their backers as one dimensional monsters.

And so to ‘Complicit.’ As I’ve said, in many ways, this was an excellent drama, well acted, well produced and well directed. It covered some telling issues in an understated if a tad unbelievable way. David Oyelewo plays Edward, a black British intelligence officer with a burning love for ‘his country.’ Edward thinks he’s discovered a plot by a radical islamist called Waleed Ahmed to bring ricin into the country. However, he finds it hard to persuade his white bosses that his ‘hunch’ deserves ‘resourcing.’

Here there’s an excellent exchange with his female superior, the icy automaton, Judith who questions why Edward feels he’s been overlooked for promotion without ever mentioning the fact of his skin colour. She knows why he thinks it and he knows she knows but he won’t say it and she therefore dismisses it. There’s a great shot when Edward and two black cleaners are the only people in the office; he’s THAT dedicated y’see, working all hours to catch this motherfucker. He’s the only black face in the pub but that don’t get Eddy down cos HE REALLY LOVES HIS COUNTRY. Note to terrorists; get inside MI5 by signing on as a cleaner!

The slow pace of this drama unfolded in a way that made sure you were watching a BIG IMPORTANT PRODUCTION with BIG IMPORTANT THINGS TO SAY. Yet, for all its style and Cairo location shots, the whole thing felt about as real as an episode of Spooks. Edward meets the ‘man from the ministry’ a typical Oxbridge toff type who has arrested Waleed and two farmers he was buying the raw materials (castor bean waste of all things ) to produce the stuff. The farmers and the suspect have obviously been tortured and the Egyptian police and military blame each other and both are seen as vicious and incompetent. This causes the man from the ministry problems as y’know torture’s kinda frowned upon by the do-gooders.

The (pre-Islamic Brotherhood) Egyptian authorities found no ricin at the farm and Waleed sticks to his story about these farmers being his friends and knowing nothing about ricin. He’s just a muslim on his way back from a wedding in the Yemen, so Edward goes the farm himself, on his own (cos he’s a maverick loner see?) and after a quick shufty finds three canisters of ricin in a ditch. Doh!!

But, Edward’s faced with a dilemma of his own because Toff Boy is playing by the book, the fool! Ed knows Waleed is lying through his teeth and so interviews Evil Muslim Man on his own. There follows an almost comical dialogue between the two as they both explain their own take on ‘Britishness’ and ‘freedom’ until, right on cue, Waleed asks Edwards why the establishment have let ‘a nigger’ into MI5. Seemingly Edward, despite previous scenes, has never actually thought about this and explodes yelling ‘BECAUSE I LOVE MY COUNTRY.’ Er, so that’s done and dusted then. Eddie gives Waleed a bit of rough treatment then – wouldn’t ya know it – this cool and collected assassin literally spills the beans and says the ricin’s already on its way, ready to go.

Oh no, now this is a major ballache. Eddie knows that he can get a torturing colonel he’s unearthed to get Waleed to confess where he’s sent his deadly package but also knows this would break the do-gooder protocols forbidding the torture of suspects. Blimey!! He can’t to sleep for worrying. He blimps at the attractive Egyptian girl from his bedroom window again for a bit of light relief. He doesn’t want to torture Waleed but then he doesn’t want to be responsible for a ricin attack on his beloved homeland.

Eventually, Edward makes the call to the Col, Waleed gets a Cairo pedicure and toff boy tut tutts at his treatment. Ah, but the canisters have been tested and one does contain ricin, so Waleed was lying all along, just as Eddie knew. Back in London, rather than get a hero’s welcome, however, Edward’s ordered to meet Dame Judith Sourtits (who reads The Guardian don’t ya know cos we’re all in this together yah?).

The address Waleed gave up under torture was false – maybe someone could’ve checked that beforehand eh? – so the ricin’s still out there somewhere ‘ready to go’ maybe tomorrow, maybe next year, maybe never. That’s what ‘terrorism really is’ as Waleed kindly points out. On top of all that, some do-gooder Egyptian blogger has photographed the Terror Colonel with Edward together, exposing the spooks to yet more lefty accusations of torturing innocent terrorists. Can’t have that old boy, off you go, flanked by two security guards. Clear your desk and good luck finding another job. Maybe you could become a cleaner or something?

See what thanks these guys get for protecting us from evil doers? Makes you sick dunnit? Cue, Waleed Ahmed with solicitor playing the good citizen tortured by the evil intelligence services act and cut to innocent London day trippers pedalling around a lake, visiting a pop concert, or watching their kids enjoy a ride on the carousel. Hey, that’s Eddys daughter and there’s Eddy in a tracky not a nice suit and he looks haunted because the ricin’s ready to go, maybe today, maybe next month, maybe next year, maybe never. That’s THE REAL TERROR see?

There you have it (spoiler alert far too late eh?). The creed according to Channel 4 and the western governments to justify their illegal wars and the suppression of ‘free speech.’ Free speech has limits you see. You can’t expect to see the Afghan war from the Taliban’s side because that might throw up some awkward questions. You can’t listen to those who supported Gaddafi or Saddam or Hamas or Assad because you may find yourself agreeing with them.

These people must be rendered as inhuman, as other, as tyrants and fanatics, as threats to global peace and especially business just as those Ruskies were, just as those Chinese were before they ended up making everything. North Korea’s next on the list except they’ve er, got nukes and a real army so let’s go easy eh? Just stick to the ‘mad man spending his starving country’s money on weapons instead of food’ line.

People who offer a different way of life, a different notion of society, community or belief rather than invented nation states that protect the wealthy and divide the poor, are the enemy whatever era we live in. They are the enemy because money makes money and nothing can interfere with that one basic principle; greed and self-preservation is what all of it’s about. Nothing more, nothing less.

Today’s ‘islamists’ are yesterday’s commies and anarchists, who were last century’s Jacobins and witches who were last millenia’s infidels and heretics. I’ve got no doubt that there are some utter psychopaths, sadists, women haters, despots, murderers, rapists, child killers and monsters among the jihadists, just as there are in any society, yes, even within the BBC and the Houses of Parliament, even within the Vatican and The Pentagon.

Do we gain any more understanding of the issues that produced 911 or 7/7 by refusing to accept that any opinion that doesn’t conform to a pre-ordained narrative is invalid? Do we find out anything about what motivated young British born men to blow themselves and others up by dismissing them as ‘evil.’ This kind of opinion can get you a jail sentence these days because there are limits to free speech in any democracy.

It’s US v THEM. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

WHAT NEXT FOR JOEY THE RAT ?

having fielded offers for a few years he’s now ready to bring the church to forefront of family entertainment.  Whilst there is no doubt Pope Benedict has dragged the Catholic Church kicking, screaming and ultimately accepting the 16th Century he now feels “I have taken them as far as I can, you know, man, it was  good times but the business has moved on. People see through all that shit these days” said “Joey the Rat” taking up his old name. “I was tryin’ to make an omelet dude and I guess I walked on some shells. So what..I quit. Call  me Ex Benedict”

Reflecting on a short but prosperous gig at the Vatican Joey has told close friends of the “hours of anguish completely smashed out of my tits” in the months leading up to shock resignation.

Talking to YKTD last year at the “We Are Not Knonces” festival The Rats closest friend Sir Cliff Richard said  “It creeps up on you bro. One minute you are smashing it, ya got bread, ya got wine, more ho’s and bitches than a nigga can dream of…feel me?” lamented Cliff “nigga realise, nobody listens man, they still fucking, cussing and giving birth…too many fucking babies yo”

Looking back over the centuries The Rat openly sheds what appear  wet concrete  tears as he recalls the good times…”There are no brothers now, Just stupid amateur nonces. In my day we scared ’em too good to grass” a laugh breaks free from in among a thousand demon voices as he confirms “the games dead lad”

Milwall away 1979 : "I robbed this scarf off Harry The Dog"

Milwall away 1979 : “I robbed this scarf off Harry The Dog”

So the speculation mounts, where does The Rat go now?  His latest tweet, to Joey Barton, said “I got plans lad for on the out, I’m no mass, all class brother but first I need to kick back and go get me some sun”. Freddy Starr replied “you can’t have mine but I’ll get the Hairy Cornflake to lend you his, he’s off school”.

What next ?  Here’s what the bookies say :

1. Vocation, Vocation, Vocation
Kirsty and Phil are joined by newcomer Joey as they help young men find a home, job and a life of paying for fuck all, literally, ever. “you wanna be a priest, right here is where you start prayin'”.  5/2

2. God The Bounty Hunter
The Rat joins Jesus and family as they bring wayward souls back into the church. Will Joey REALLY be allowed to retire or…will he have to face down “God” in the back of a big car that really is fucking massive ? “go with Jesus bra”  ODDS 3/1

3. Grand Designs
Whilst George carries on the upgrade of his caravan, and tries out a tent in a tree, we catch up with Joey the Rat and see just how far he has come with his build. Two hundred  centuries and more stolen treasure than any other cult on the planet..BUT..will the artexing in St. Peters be dry enough to take a coat of eggshell before Easter ?  100/1

Personally I think Joey the Rat is being overly optimistic in planning ahead. Some say he is determined to “check out dem Saga holidays” whilst others maintain far from trying to promote a bit of an arl schism he will be happy to “just do something piss easy like those insurance gigs Stratford Johns and Parky do. You can never have too many pens”

All the best Pope lad.

The Big Five & Level Playing Fields

big 5

When we used to speak of ‘The Big Five’ in English football, these were the teams we meant :

Liverpool
Everton
Manchester United
Arsenal
Tottenham Hotspur

They were the big five, not only because of their mass silverware but because they had the biggest crowds too. More spectators equals more revenue equals better players equals silverware, a simple and obvious formula for success. It’s not a guarantee by any means, but by and large this has been the way not only in English but global football.

The current orthodoxy is that modern English football, especially since the beginning of the Premiership, has reduced the capacity for smaller, less financially equipped clubs to win the top prizes. The biggest prize of all being the league title, up until the beginning of the European Champions League that is, when all that really matters is that you’re in the top four.

Yet, if you look at the statistics (bore alert!) showing all the old 1st division and Premiership title winners and runners up since 1960, then it becomes apparent that there has never been a period in modern British (and this will apply to other leagues, whether Serie A or La Liga) where the biggest clubs haven’t dominated the top honour.

The composition of the Big Five, Big Three or Big Two will of course change over time. If we use the aforementioned usage of the Big Five of English teams then the only exceptions from 1960 were;

1st Division Winners

Ipswich Town 61/62
Man City 67/68
Leeds United 68/69
Derby County 71/72
Leeds United 73/74
Derby County 74/75
Nottingham Forest 1977/78
Aston Villa 1980/81
Leeds United 1991/92

Premiership Winners

Blackburn Rovers 1994/95
Chelsea 2004/05
Chelsea 2005/06
Chelsea 2009/10
Man City 2011/2012

Our understanding of the Big Five was forged in the 70s and 80s so there are a few caveats to the thrust of this. However, there were only 14 seasons that an ‘old’ non-Top Five team won the title, and not even 14 teams, only 9 teams who weren’t Liverpool, Everton, Manchester United, Arsenal or Spurs in 53 seasons.

Of these 9 teams, only Ipswich, Derby and Forest were true ‘small’ clubs. Leeds, Villa and City were all big city clubs with long histories in the upper echelons.

The Leeds team under Don Revie were runners up 5 times between 64 and 72. They were THE team, one of the big TWO of the era and only became a non-big five team in the latter 70s and 80s. Ipswich were runners up twice under Bobby Robson’s stewardship and both Derby and Forest succeeded largely due to Brian Clough’s managerial talents.

Forest were also runners up in 78/79 the season after winning the title but they also won back to back European Cups in 78/79 and 79/80 with Villa also winning it in 81/82. Villa were maybe the odd one out, as their success wasn’t really due to either money or gifted management. Ron Saunders was a good manager but no Bob Paisley or Brian Clough.

The obvious counter argument to the ‘money = success’ formula is Manchester United, who were always classed as a Big Five team, even though they were never contenders for the title in the twenty years between winning it in 66/67 and coming runners up to Liverpool in 87/88. The Fergie era was about to begin but even though they’d been relegated in 74/75, United still had the financial clout and the crowds to book a seat at the top table.

This is where truly great management and a fair dose of luck comes into play. Alex Ferguson was on the point of being sacked when he finally put some silverware on the table with the FA Cup victory over Crystal Palace in 1990. The 90s belonged to United, winning the European Cup Winners Cup in the following season and then finally winning their first league title and the first Premiership title in 25 years in 92/93.

The birth of the Premiership was designed with television rights in mind. as the biggest clubs demanded a larger share of the broadcasting revenue. Yet, the main challengers to United in the early days of this ‘super league’ were Aston Villa, Newcastle United and humble Blackburn Rovers.

Or maybe not so humble, as Rovers chairman Jack Walker had injected millions of his personal fortune into the club. Kenny Dalglish came out of his post-Hillsborough retirement to manage the team and top signing, Alan Shearer lead the line with Rovers coming runners up to United in 93/94 and then reversing those positions the following season. It was a short lived moment in the sun, as it is for all smaller clubs. The beneficiary’s money is finite and decent managers and players eventually move on to bigger clubs who either pay better wages or win more trophies.

The Premiership Big Five was no longer the old 1st Division Big Five of the 60s, 70s and 80s. Only Man United and Arsenal could really class themselves in this arbitrary league within a league and both Merseyside clubs faded away in the 90s, although their crowd revenues and past glory still counted for something.

In the decade between 1992 and 2002, Man United and Arsenal won the title in every season, United eight times and Arsenal twice, although the North London club were runners up on four occasions. United were runners to Arsenal in 97/98 and Liverpool came back from the dead to launch a serious challenge in 2001/2002.

Arsene Wenger’s scholarly approach and the revenue generated by Sky’s huge financial injection resulted in the world’s best players coming to the English league rather than the old greats playing out their final seasons for whopping pay packages. The unbeaten Arsenal team of 2003/04 boasted Thierry Henry, Patrick Vieira, Robert Pires and Dennis Bergkamp, all players operating at the very peak of their powers.

The Premiership was now THE league to earn big bucks and fancy new stadiums were constructed for the new breed of football ‘consumer.’ Those who failed to adapt like Liverpool, Everton, Spurs and Man City were left behind as super stadiums catered for 60, 70,000 plus supporters.

Then along came Chelsea, who were similar to Leeds, one of the sleeping giants of the old 60s and 70s big clubs. Whereas Leeds United’s foray into the big time in the early 90s, when they won the league in 91/92 and embarked on a European crusade ended in tragedy, Chelsea played it different. Leeds’ model was based on the mistaken belief that paying massive wages is a guarantee for success but it isn’t and it never has been. Especially when the club’s finances couldn’t support such largesse. Yes, the chances are that the better players you have, the more trophies you’ll win but there has to be something more than that too. Solid management, professional board structures, monetary self-discipline and a balance of players in temperament and ability.

The Man United team of the 90s and 00s had a core of local lads raised in the youth team who complimented the Cantonas and the Ronaldos. Gary Neville and Nicky Butt were never the gifted players that David Beckham,Paul Scholes or Ryan Giggs were but they played their part, they got stuck in. That invincible Arsenal team may have had a smattering of truly great French and Dutchmen but it also had Martin Keown, Ashley Cole, Sol Campbell and er, Ray Parlour.

It wasn’t until Roman Abramovich appeared on the scene that Chelsea began their onslaught. The Russian oligarch’s frenzied spending then opened the doors for other global high rollers who banked on easy success and franchise models imported from other sports in other countries. It doesn’t work like that, it never has and it never will. Money alone is never enough and Chelsea’s league titles were built on Cockneys like John Terry, Fank Lampard and Ashley Cole more than Mourinho or the countless super stars who’ve worn the royal blue jersey since the Russian came to West London.

Despite all his millions, Chelsea’s desperate attempt to win the Champions League only succeeded after nine long years. Losing to Man United in the 2008 final, they eventually beat Bayern Munich in last year’s final and their owner could finally smile before sacking the manager. Chelsea are now arguably on the slide as their core English players come to the end of their careers.

The obvious successors to the Chelsea model are Man City, who have their own oil rich despot to pump millions into buying great players in a stadium that they got on the cheap from the council. Yet, for all their millions City were humiliated in European football, a squad that in terms of talent should be up there with Barcelona, Real Madrid or AC Milan simply weren’t good enough to compete at the top level and neither for that matter were the team they’d usurped, city rivals, United.

Since 97/98 up until City’s triumph last season, either United, Arsenal or Chelsea either won the title or were runners up. That telling statistic only underlines how a combination of solid management and financial clout counter balance each other. With United and Arsenal, it’s no coincidence that both teams have managers who have been allowed to build and rebuild teams, even in Arsenal’s case when a lack of silverware over many seasons would have done for most gaffers.

Chelsea’s millions have managed to paper over the obvious shortcomings of their owner’s egomaniac demands. It’s too early to write Chelsea off yet but when Terry, Lampard and Cole retire and Roman finally loses interest, where then for the Blues? In United’s case, the Glazer family have taken a back seat while they rape the most profitable club in the world.

Unlike Hicks and Gilette at Liverpool, these canny Yanks have had on-field success to deflect the green and gold campaigners. They haven’t tampered with a winning formula and in Ferguson, have a manager with enough personal clout and power to keep things ticking over while they count their millions in Florida.

As City’s waning title challenge and European humiliation proves, simply throwing money at a club and hoping some of it sticks, is never a good idea. Perhaps the Sheikhs, the Oligarchs, the Franchise Fuhrers, the Chicken Emperors and all the other spivs, gangsters and demi-Gods of the game will soon take stock as Uefa tries to ‘level the playing field’ as the old cliche goes.

Spending caps may well curb some the worst excesses of the biggest clubs but as Europe suffers from a seemingly unending recession, there may yet be a resurgence in South American and East European club football or new superleagues further east, in China perhaps. The best players and managers go where the money is and if the money’s no longer in England, Spain or Italy, then they’ll go wherever it is.

But let’s not pretend that it’s been any other way. When Liverpool were at their 70s peak they broke the British transfer record bringing Kenny Dalglish from Celtic as did Forest with the signing of Trevor Francis at the height of their success under Clough.

Yes, the gap between the £440,000 paid to Celtic by Liverpool in 1977 for King Kenny’s signature and the 80 million Man United received from Real Madrid for Cristiano Ronaldo 32 years late,r may appear to be world’s apart but the essential logic is the same. The top teams pay top dollar.

So, let’s not hear any more about the big clubs squeezing out the smaller clubs because they always have done. Yes, I can still remember the names of those Leeds and Chelsea, Derby and Forest, QPR and Ipswich players from the 70s. They were exotic because of not despite their origins and their club badges and most of them went on to sign for bigger clubs eventually. They always do.

ECHO MOURNS RAPID DEMISE

rapid2

CLOSED: the notice confirming to the shocked masses that closed down Rapid has…erm…closed down

Over the years the one thing the Liverpool Echo was ace at was making people believe it was actually a NEWSpaper and not a rag that relied on advertising, death and footy. Today it mourned the closure of Rapid Hardware, who are one of the Echo’s biggest and longest-serving advertisers and is the ones that’s  not Taskers.

Obviously the Echo isn’t arsed about loss of advertising revenue but is more concerned over how “shocked” people where when they were faced with sign on the door of the closed down Rapid that read “closed until further notice”.  Obviously shocked because closed really means open in their world ?

The Echo have asked questions and have been told that “final closure cannot be ruled out”.  They must be absolutely gutted but they don’t let on. They can’t be as gutted as “John, 63 of Kirkby, went down to try and collect a £140 lamp which he bought five weeks ago and is in the shop window.

“The lamp is right there in the window – we would happily take it now but we can’t. We’ve always been loyal customers of the store, but we’re really surprised at how the closure has been handled. “

The lampless John added, with a spirit of Monkhouse delivery and absolutely no sign of irony, “We’re totally in the dark now”.

rapid

SHOCKING: REALLY shocked people outside a shut Rapid.

My heart bleeds for the Echo, and lampless John,  it really does. Perhaps to go some way in compensating for the loss of Rapid’s advertising revenue it would be a good idea to ask Merseyside Police to start paying for their various “crimestopper” advertising…oops sorry…”community initiaves” backed by The Echo.

I mean surely ad-man genius ideas such as photoshopping a santa hat onto random mug-shots of “lids” then calling it  “The 12 crooks of christmas” was paid for by somebody ? come on, surely THAT’S not journalism.

Whilst sparing a thought for the staff at Rapid and those at The Echo advertising department who have probably already been laid off, I do get a sense of peace knowing karma is at work and it will hopefully not be long before we see the demise of this insipid rag.

That’s one death notice I’d love to see.

STORAGE WARS

storage-wars

Now into it’s 3rd series Storage Wars is a show where tramp divs with dough  buy stuff that div tramps with no dough have forgotten they had in storage.  An auctioneer and his wife sell shite with the enthusiasm of Sotheby’s flogging a Da Vinci yet strangely with the linguistic prowess of a fat american meff farm auctioneer selling pigs.

Nobody knows what is in the lockers. Well we do, we know it’s tat but hey…who knows what you might find worse still what you don’t find if you get outbid. You gotta have this unit !  The show has a “cast” who are both the beating heart of the thirty minute feature and the only bidders with names and money and of course the “wow factor”.

Dave Hester or “Dangerous Dave” is brewstered. he’s been buying shite for ages and has the most money…in the world. His signature bid is shouting the word “Yuup” which unbelievably makes Dave sound twice the  twat he looks. Dave’s speciality is “bidding up” which is basically pretending you want the shite in the locker thus making one of the other divs pay more than they should. Dave is currently suing the production company after exposing the earth shattering news that items are planted in lockers because people are not enthralled by your basic tat. Personally I don’t see it. I mean we all know somebody with a 1950’s Wurlitzer Jukey or a bit of Clarice Cliff in storage. You can’t kill the magic Dave.

Darrell Sheets “The Gambler” is an six foot plus dope with more vests than brain cells and a son “Brando” with less of both. Often bid-up by Dave as second richest meffs they often cop for the odd amazing surprise, this game is full of them. In among the dead fridges, tellies and with the heady aroma of binjuice in the air these old pro’s will most likely unearth something, not planted by anybody at all, worth absolute grands. We don’t know though, until we get it appraised. Thus giving us a glimpse of meffs with shops selling tat at outrageous prices. These are contrasted against newcomers to the storage game “Jarrod and Brandi”. They have a new thrift shop, bitch, and ultimately buy proper bad shite. One day, maybe they will be just like Dave.  The “comedy” element is provided by Barry Weiss. An old tanned perv who is never far from a hired car, innuendo or shit joke.  Barry is big in hollywood, is connected and well rich but hey, just like dead rich Dave, he can’t resist buying a box of shite for a grand.

The target audience is sadly the mainstream. These are people who need telling what it is they are watching, what they are doing in the show, what they just said and how they felt when it was said. The same people who switch channels in the ad break even though they know, through experience, that EVERY shit channels goes to adverts at the same time. They still switch, and will continue to switch regardless, just like we all do.

bad meffs looking at tat

bad meffs looking at tat

Program highlights: “The Gambler” upon finding a box next to a dozen fishing rods and bait boxes informed us he’d hit the goddamn motherlode and  jackpot with this “fish detector”.  Sadly a quick glance at the box it was in revealed the object as being just an arl metal detector. If nothing else it was an opportunity for us to join another fat old tramp  keeping his dinner warm in his 2 ft minty beard. He’s on sun-kissed West Coast beach detecting beard dinner money.

You can find the same episodes of Storage Wars all day, every day on, where else,  The History Channel. Old shite indeed.

Don’t forget to pay the lady !

Vicarious lobotomy rating : 8/10

Stop The Clocks – why 6music sucks!

The 'diverse' 6 posse

The ‘diverse’ 6 posse

.

So, after all the, let’s face it, pre-planned media onslaught to ‘Save 6music’ a few years back (lead by er, high profile 6music radio presenters) the latest audience figures show that a whole 1.8 million people tune in each week, representing a whopping 4% of the potential audience.

Now don’t get me wrong, if I have to listen to any radio station while I’m angrily tapping away at my keyboard for a bit of background noise (as I’m doing now) 9 times out of 10, it’ll be 6music. That’s because of all the radio broadcasters out there in the multi-media firmament, it’s the least shit. Not much of a recommendation but consider the opposition…………

Exactly! I’m listening to that poor man’s Vernon Kaye, Shaun Keaveney as I type this. He’s just interviewed Harry Hill regarding his forthcoming Sausage Time Tour and this maybe expresses 6music’s major flaw. Keaveny began on Xfm, the breeding ground of many 6music DJs over the years. Poached 6 years ago, his ironic northern style of humour perfectly fitted the station’s profile. He replaced that ubiquitous BBC fixture, Phill (with two LLs) Jupitus, a man who is seemingly unaware of how annoying his voice and face are.

Harry Hill’s gone from wacky alternative comic to ‘national treasure’ (there are now 56 million national treasures at the last count) and 6music is full of fellow panel show comedians and former minor pop stars who almost all share that oh so ironic presenting style. Irony is the last refuge of the piss poor. Hey, they say, eyebrow arched, we don’t take this seriously you know, but hey, we’ll appear on any old shit to earn another buck.

6music should be exactly the radio station for me, someone who bought the NME religiously throughout the 80s and 90s but aalso bought Blues & Soul, Mixmag, Wire, Select, Muzik, Jockey Slut and many others. In fact before it was launched, we tried to get something similar launched on Radio Merseyside, a programme (not an entire station) devoted to the sounds that got us through our youth into our (then) late 30s; 60s, glam, punk, soul, funk, hip hop, indie, house, techno. The main man there met us but told us he’d have to shift a long running folk show to accommodate us and there was no way he was going to do that.

Our pleas that there was a substantial audience out there of housebound people in their 30s and 40s who were still into music but rarely went out to gigs or clubs, fell on deaf ears and a year or so later 6music was launched and I was happy that atleast there was something worth listening to as I sat typing nonsense about training shoes and suchlike.

However, in the intervening decade, rather than expanding its remit and potential audience, 6music, for all the hype it receives on mainstream TV via plugs inbetween BBC1 programmes has hardly set the world alight. Its audience is still tiny despite some pretty high profile presenters and desperate attempts by the BBC to talk 6music up as a vital part of its public service remit.

So who listens to 6music? Former NME readers I suppose, were the bedrock of its audience in the early years. DJs such as the unimpeachable Gideon Coe kept the standard high and the ‘banter’ minimal. He was long ago shifted from his afternoon slot to a late evening ‘Peel’ type ghetto. The mornings, afternoons and early evening has been handed over to the ironists and the kind of voices you used to find on wunnerful Radio 1 (literally in the case of ‘Lammo’ Mark Riley and Mark Radcliffe).

Weekends apart, the general thrust of all its daytime shows is anaemic ‘alternative’ rock with the odd ‘dance’ and ‘classic’ pop tune. I would assume the average 6music fan is someone who either goes to or watches ‘Glarsto’ and clap along to Tom Jones ironically, the type of person who watches 8 Out Of 10 Cats and thinks Sean Locke is ‘absolutely hilarious.’ Maybe they’re not even that clued up, maybe they’re Jack Whitehall fans and at some time that whopper will have his own show on 6music, deffo.

I’m not against the publicly paid for model of broadcasting as long as it reflects the diversity of the potential audience and 6music fails that brief despite it being ordered to do so by the BBC Trust. Pirate stations and web based broadcasters manage to do this with little or no funding or exposure. The BBC operates as a state funded cartel, squeezing out the opposition whilst claiming to be doing US a favour.

6music received an astounding £7.8 million in 2012/13 to cover its costs. Now let’s admit that there the usual overheads, studio costs, royalty payments, engineers and producer costs, marketing and promotion, newsreaders and associated guests and sidekicks to weigh in, I wonder how much of this generous slice of public money goes straight into the arse pocket of the presenters. Stuart Maconie don’t come cheap these days y’know.

Yeah, all those ‘Save 6music’ campaigners were doing it for the kids maaan, not out of personal self-interest. It’s not as if the station hasn’t been ordered to reach a wider audience. The BBC Trust had these recommendations back when they ‘saved’ it:

3. Grow 6 Music’s reach and strengthen aspects of the service which make it distinctive without increasing costs (actually its funding has increased from £6million in 2008-2009).

a) 6 Music’s audience is growing but the station is still reaching only a small percentage of the population and there are relatively few visitors to its website. To realise its potential the station must raise awareness and increase its reach.

6 Music is intended to appeal to all enthusiasts of popular music outside the mainstream since the 1960s. However, the station currently appeals less to older people, to listeners from lower income households, to women and to ethnic minorities.

The station should increase its appeal to alternative popular music enthusiasts from groups which are currently less likely to listen. In particular the station should seek to attract older listeners, given that the average age of its audience is 36.

During the course of this review, the Executive has developed plans to grow reach and the Trust will track progress over the coming months.

Implementation date: ongoing

b) 6 Music has developed a more focused brand identity to help the station promote itself to the audience in a more targeted way.

We will amend the station’s service licence to reflect this. The first line of the station’s remit will change from:

‘The remit of BBC 6 Music is to entertain lovers of popular music with a service offering music from the 1960s to the present day’

to

‘The remit of BBC 6 Music is to entertain lovers of popular music with a service that celebrates the alternative spirit in popular music from the 1960s to the present day’.

Implementation date: spring 2010

Well, would you say that minor change to the station’s remit, the addition of the words ‘that celebrates the alternative spirit in popular music’ has been achieved three year after its implementation date? I don’t. I’d say if anything, the station has become more white, more middle class, more narrow in it’s scope, more complacent, more reliant on ‘celebrity’ presenters, more mainstream, more smug. But don’t take my word for it, just look at the frankly embarrassing Top 100 records of the past 10 years as selected by 6music’s own listeners: (selected from a ‘shortlist’ as obviously listeners can’t be trusted to form their own opinions).

Number 1 on that list? ‘Clocks’ by Coldplay. The rest of the list is a wearyingly predictable run down of ‘mainstream alternative’ as I’m going to call it. The odd black face here and there – Bloc Party at 31, Outkast at 34!! No place for Burial or any grime artist apart from Dizzee at 92 (maybe the only one the shotlisters could remember) ,certainly no underground hip hop, no techno, no dubstep.

I hope the BBC Trust are reviewing this piss poor performance to cater to a more ’diverse’ audience the next time it’s dishing out its millions. If the BBC is to deflect arguments that it is a monolithic Oxbridge retirement home that simply reflects its own cultural values and prejudices then it needs to begin actually nurturing new talent out there in the inner cities and urban centres not rely upon the same old faces, saying the same old things and attracting the same old audiences.

Never mind, Lovely La La Luaren Laverne’s on now, she’s the ‘mainstream alternativ’ Fearne Cotton.