OKAY - I've just about had enough I can take. I don't watch X-Factor, or any of the other so-called reality shows masquerading as entertainment. But on Facebook and Twitter tonight I have seen normally sane and sensible people getting their lattes all frothed up about manufactured rubbish. Even broadacasters I respect like the BBC's William Crawley have been getting involved in posts about spurious, talentless, so-called 'acts'.
Can they just step back for a minute and look at the things they are getting all so engrossed in?
No, I doubt it: such is the allure of the filthy luchre that Cowell and co peddle with a slick production and a stylist there are few of the hypnotised massed ranks of deluded who will lift their eyes beyond the over-produced set [as I mentioned I haven't watched the rubbish, but I've seen the so-called 'news' reports on it and the tabloid hype].
Which, of course, led me to a moment of reflection - or beer fuelled ranting!
"Back when I were a lad" the promotion of popular music lay within the gift of Top Of The Pops, and latterly the likes of The Tube.
You could expect pop songs sitting next to Motorohead and Marillion, Judas Priest juxtaposed with jumping dance troops; or even Iron Maiden matched on TV next to New Romantic frilly shirts.
I mention Judas Priest deliberately. This blog kicked off in 2006 when I met, after way too long, my friend Mark and his wife Sylvia when Judas Priest played at the Odyssey with Scorpions. I was, at the time, busy trying to explain by way of gigs and playing rock and metal CDs endlessly in the car to both my children that they could think independently about music (as long as it had guitars and drums!). Meeting Mark and Sylvia re-kindled days arguing over whether Ozzy or Ronnie was the best Sabbath singer, necking beers against a backdrop of Lizzy and Slyvia's devotion to John Sykes.
The relevance to today is that then there was a reasonably fair spread of musical genres across mainstream media. We could devote our time to rock and metal with TV playing metal acts as equals to the likes of Duran Duran.
The mainstream media has now become a cold house to hard rock and metal. Bands now rely on merch sales and touring to recoup the costs of albums; even the mighty Iron Maiden admitted in an interview with Classic Rock that they would need 1,000,000 sales of Final Frontier to break even (and thankfully Bruce and Harry Harris accountants can rest easy as it looks that total will easily be reached!)
But, here is what the mainstream media misses: there is much more longevity and sheer songwriting talent in hard rock and metal than will evet be noticed by the likes of X-Factor wannabes. Northern Ireland has a small population, yet has had a disproportionate amount of horns worthy acts and individuals happily corrupting the young and old.
The Answer have played to more people than watch X-Factor - several times over. Therapy? have sold more albums than any of the Cowell creations. SLF have retained integrity when they could have easily become a tribute act to past glories. Acts such as Million$Reload are scoring record deals, and that is not to even mention the likes of Trucker Diablo, A Little Bitter, Escape Fails, Last Known Addiction, Black Freeway, Interrogate and the many, many more that lay down the licks night after night.
But what of the future. Will we ever see The Answer on an X-Factor like show? Can you imagine a stylist trying to get to grips with Cormac's flowing locks? They'd need a team to hold him down and another team to see where the hell to start. The future, I fear, is to see more and more of the TV for the gullible and the gormless.
Will, we ever see proper live acts - you know with an actual drum kit, guitar and bass amps and people who know how to play them on the main TV stations again? [I am reliably informed by someone close to the production crew on X-Factor et al that they don't have bands as it takes too long to set up their 'shit' and they refuse to have their music altered/dubbed/mimed.]
So where is all this waffle going?
Apart from being a rant (it's my fecking blog I can rant about what I want!) it is also a call to the acts in Northern Ireland to keep on doing what you do, keep on playing and keep on just being some of the best artists this forsaken planet has ever seen. Keep on being musicians not numpties. Keep on recording music that is exciting and engaging. Keep on playing the Limelight, the Pavillion, the Diamon Rock Club, and anywhere where you can get three or more together to rock their tiny socks off!.
Keep on playing gigs, and cranking it up to 11 and raising a glass to rock and feckin' roll.
To quote Trucker Diablo...DRINK BEER, DESTROY!
This rant is now officially over :)