Cosmic Slop #5: Can music television learn from sport?
This week, as music fans were forced to read about X Factor news, Shaun Ponsonby asks why sports fans don’t suffer a similar fate.
Originally published on Getintothis
It’s been a slow week for the kind of fare we would usually feature in the ol’ Slop. No-one’s making a colossal prick out of themselves, and we’re in that weird post-Grammys, pre-BRITS lull. Pretty boring out there.
Bez running for political office? Too easy. Miley Cyrus entering a film to a porn festival? That’s just a natural career progression for her, to be honest. Lady Ga Ga is engaged? So what? Sam Bailey dropped from Syco? Well, we all saw that coming. Surge Knight held…
…wait, go back one…
Sam Bailey dropped from Syco? I’m on a music website, why am I reading about Sam Bailey?
Maybe this seems petty, but I still get pissed off with reading about the X Factor in music publications. It’s not a music show, it’s a show that uses music for other means. The kind of fan who scours the internet looking for interesting music news from all sorts of different artists is unlikely to be the same audience who give a toss about the latest charisma vacuum of an X Factor warbler who have inevitably been dropped by Cowell and his cronies. Preaching to the choir here, no doubt, but it really irks me.
To put this into context; a music publication talking about X Factor is the equivalent of Sky Sports News reporting on Total Wipeout, talking seriously about a middle aged trucker from Barnsley falling off Crash Mountain and into the water below as if sports fans give a shit about the exploits of contestants on fluffy Saturday night entertainment shows.
But that wouldn’t happen. Because, for reasons that cannot be determined by a mere human brain, sport is treated with the utmost respect by mainstream broadcasters and music is not.
This is puzzling. Granted, I have more interest in spoons than I do in sport (and I’m pretty bloody ambivalent about spoons). But it is, for all intents and purposes, over when it is over. Most sport is completely in the moment. It will barely be remembered after the fact. When the season’s over everybody is already focussed on next year.
Music, on the other hand, is an art form. It lasts forever. Young football fans are far less inclined to go back and watch football matches from 50 years ago than young music fans are to go and listen to Motown and The Beatles. Think about the amount of times you’ve heard Kool & The Gang’s Celebration compared to the amount of times you’ve seen an Ian Rush goal celebration from 1987.
In fairness to Rush, I feel the need to refresh your memory on what that would look like…
I accidentally caught some Sky Sports News fairly recently, and noted the level of respect they showed their source material. Obviously from my perspective they were just yabbering on about a bunch of stuff that seemed unimportant and trivial (and what the hell is a Messi, by the way?), but it mattered to them, and it showed. It was like a Christopher Nolan film, where every line of dialogue is delivered like it is the single most important sentence you’ll ever hear in your life. They were still analysing a game from three hours ago as if it was an important scientific discovery, they built up the next game as if they were two world powers going out to war. They were excited, and having fun with it, whilst speaking as intelligently as one can when discussing twenty two fully grown men kicking a clump of leather around grass.
And what music programmes are there that treat music with so much respect? Maybe Jools Holland when it’s actually on, but other than that it’s hard to think of one. I’m not suggesting we need to sit and analyse each note in every song for three hours, but we could do better than we currently do.
For example, who’s hosting the BRITS this year? Former child stars Ant & Dec. Who hosted the BBC Music Awards last December? Celebrity Juice captain Fearne Cotton and former Big Breakfast host Chris Evans.
Now, who hosted Sports Personality of the Year? Former Welsh International Gymnast, and daughter of the former Wales International Football team Terry Yorath, Gabby Logan.
It’s sad that something millions of people around the world cherish so dearly is treated so haphazardly in this regard. Why isn’t there more variety? We could use a laid back, knockabout music show like Sky’s Soccer AM. We could use a music TV channel that discusses music the way BT Sport discusses cricket. Why can’t we have a serious music discussion show in the vein of Match of the Day? Sky Sports isn’t full of reality shows, so why are MTV and VH1? Music broadcasters could learn a hell of a lot from sports broadcasters.
Perhaps it’s demand. The sports fan tends to be more fevered than the music fan, even when they are the same person. They’re more likely to keep tabs on every single game in the league than I am to listen to every single album on the charts. That would mean listening to Tom Odell, and I am frankly not prepared to do that.
When rock and roll first came along, the media reacted as if it were just a passing fad, and it seems the attitude hasn’t changed much. Is it too much to ask to treat one of the truly great art forms, one that has probably inspired more people than any other, with a little bit of R.E.S.P.E.C.T?
Guns N’ Roses’ Richard Fortus has unironically defended Axl Rose‘s tardiness, stating that “he goes through a lot to walk out onstage“. Yeah, well, I go through a lot to walk into the office every day. Except, if I show up three hours late I get fired.
Jack White has appealed for the end of the debate regarding his tour rider. A debate that I remember ending about three weeks ago. He’s really just brought it up again out of nowhere after everybody already forgot about it.
Johnny Depp has formed a supergroup called The Hollywood Vampires with Alice Cooper and Aerosmith’s Joe Perry. Which is weird, because a few weeks ago he claimed that actors who go into music are “sickening”.