I was reading my friend Fiendish Thingie’s post about the current battle to be the Christmas Number 1 and it got me thinking. You should go and read her post, it’s good.
The story – as concisely as I can do it – is this. Every year, for quite a few years now, the Christmas Number One in Britain ends up being the single released by the new winner of The X-Factor (which is a TV talent show). It’s something of a forgone conclusion. This year, a campaign has sprung up to elevate an alternative song to Number One and, so far, the battle for Rage Against The Machine’s ‘Killing In The Name’ has shown astonishing momentum.
My reaction to all of this is summarised in the title of this post:
I don’t care at all really.
But then, as I was walking home today, I thought about it all a bit longer and a bit harder. And maybe I do care, a bit more than I initially thought anyway.
I have no love for either song, no particular animosity either, just that aforementioned meh. But the battle is doing something which is perhaps beyond the Christmas No. 1 and maybe something that’s good.
I’ve watched The X Factor quite a bit and the overwhelming impression I get from it, - from the way it is presented and produced - is this: Four people are elevated to the status of Kings and Queens, Princes and Princesses, Lords and Ladies – and the common people of the country are brought before them to entertain them and we - the rest of the minions - are allowed to watch.
If these common entertainers please these judges/royalty, they may be beamed upon with super-white teeth and whisked away to foreign climes temporarily, to see the more public rooms of the palaces where these God-like people reside. The ultimate prize is that elusive possibility of being elevated up to those heady heights forever.
You get the idea.
What I like about the current goings-on is that it at least manages to brush the certainty and security of these people on-high. These people who were certain that their 'chosen one' would be lauded by the people simply because they said it should be so.
In a year when the comfort and security of practically every ordinary person has been rocked in one way or another, it is perhaps fitting that these ivory-tower people should get at least the tiniest taste of the unexpected too. Life doesn’t always turn out as you might want it to and this holds true for all of us, be it prince, pauper or X-Factor judge.
And maybe there’s a message for our politicians and leaders too. If the people have finally become disaffected with being told what their favourite song must be and if they have actually acted and changed that for themselves then they can go and do it for other things too. The people still have some power. Think carefully about that. Carefully.
I think maybe I thought about it all too much on my walk home today.
I tend to do that.