Daily Archives: 14 December, 2009

Rage against X-factor – Rage against the machine for christmas number 1?

Unless you’ve been living in outer space for the past week or so, you’ll probably have heard about the campaign to get Rage against the Machine’s ‘Killing in the name of’ to no.1 in the UK singles charts for Christmas, instead of the latest offering from this years winner of X-Factor. The campign group on facebook now has over 720,000 members.

For too long Simon Cowell has held the Christmas no.1, the UK charts, and indeed, British culture to ransom. The spectre of millions of people, particularly young people, spending their saturday evenings watching the same turgid processed-pop week after week is tragic. Even Sir Paul McCartney is at it, whoring himself on the X-Factor final, when if the Beatles were on X-Factor, Cowell would almost certainly turn them down for being too boring. Yet this is a man who inflicted the music of Robson and Jerome, Zig and Zag, the Teletubbies and the Power Rangers on us. A man who implores us to give money to charity, but could donate a million pounds in one cheque and not miss it one bit.

I believe in choice. And free choice, not being coerced and conned into thinking that you like something, only because it means that someone can make money out of you. Its all short term exploitation of people, and all the time people keep letting themselves be spoonfed, Cowell and co. will keep taking. Pink Floyd’s ‘Comfortably Numb’ comes to mind. It is a very real symptom of a society in decline. It is killing real music and real talent.

How many truly class acts have come out of any of the reality music programmes? Like her or not, Susan Boyle can sing. And I guess Leona Lewis can too. Not my sort of music either, but Will Young has held down a career. But apart from that? How many young people have had their dreams built up then dashed? And not only that, but we are left with the very sad but real situation where young people think being on X-Factor is a legitimate career path.

The first winner of X-Factor, Steve Brookstein, was dropped by Simon Cowell twelve weeks after having a number 1 single. He was last seen singing on a ferry with Chico. He, someone who knows more than anyone what X-Factor represents, is supporting the campaign to get Rage against the Machine to Number 1.

And for those who are thinking that RATM are signed to Sony, and Simon Cowell works for Sony, its not the same. They are signed to separate sub-labels, Cowell makes no money out of this. OK, so maybe Sony will make money out of it at the same time, but Marx’s Communist Manifesto was sold in bookshops – sometimes you have to do what you can to get your message out there.

But Rage against the Machine are anti-capitalist, I hear you say? would charts matter to them? Well, who knows for sure… but I feel they would certainly approve of a large group of disaffected, frustrated people coming together to give the establishment a giant kick up the arse. ANYTHING that gives someone like Simon Cowell a wake up call, and lets him know that he cannot take the British public for granted, has to be a good thing.

The campaign has also raised well over £10,000 for Shelter, a charity that aims to help homeless people – a cause thats very appropriate near christmas, and one that Rage against the Machine would support.

To find out how you can help ‘Killing in the name of’ get to number 1 for Christmas, check out this link here.

This could be a defining moment in British Culture…



Filed under debate, Music, News

Navy Days back in Portsmouth for 2010

The annual Navy Days is set to return to Portsmouth Dockyard in 2010, reports the Portsmouth Evening News.

The event, running from Friday 30 July until Sunday 1 August, will see several warships on show, including one of the Royal Navy’s new Type 45 Destroyers. There will be other Royal Navy ships, some from foreign Navies and other water-based displays. There will also be aircraft displays over the harbour.

The 2010 Navy Day’s will be what the organisers are calling a ‘trimmed down’ version of 2008’s ‘Meet your Navy’ event, where more than 30,000 people filled the Dockyard. They are hoping to generate the same level of interest as in 2008, but how they will do this with a ‘trimmed down’ version remains to be seen. To be a big draw it really has to have an Aircraft Carrier on display if possible, and one or two ships that don’t normally come to Portsmouth, such as HMS Ocean or one of the assault ships, and some interesting foreign ships.

Events like this are crucial for the Navy, so often the silent service in terms of promoting itself. The old style Navy Days events used to be hugely popular, until they were scrapped as a cost-cutting measure. And of course, sadly, we don’t really have that many ships to look at any more. Since the mid-90’s the Navy has made do with some version of smaller event in Devonport or Portsmouth every other year.

But in a time of looming budget cuts and debate over Britain’s defence policies, if the Navy wants to play to its strengths then it has to be proactive about engaging with the public and inform the wider world of its work.

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Filed under event, Navy