Rage Against the Machine, the chart’s answer to Monster Raving Loony?

20Dec09

I love karaoke, dislike talent shows. Does that make me a hypocrite? Whatever the answer, nothing will change the way I feel about the X Factor.

I make a conscious effort to steer well clear of anything that falls under the TV guide Venn diagram categories of ‘talent show’, ‘celebrity talent show’ and anything vaguely affiliated with Peirs Morgan and Simon Cowell.

Naturally, last night’s final installment of Strictly came as somewhat of a relief as it means the BBC can reclaim those lost prime time viewers from rival stations. Dave is, unsurprisingly, the biggest threat owing to its regurgitation of familiar and comforting BBC romps and panel shows that the Blackadder classes have defected to after a sharp intake of breath at the Autumn/Winter Sky Plus menu screen and reverting to hours of ‘brown suit’, ‘ice fishing’ and James May.

No matter how many hours of Dave we consume, just like telly hermits preferring our safe cavern where we can enjoy Dara O’Briain until the cows come home, it is becoming increasingly difficult to avoid things like X Factor and Strictly and this is why today’s verdict for Christmas Number One is playing out like West Side Story’s answer to David and Goliath (if David were a tiny anarchic rock band and Goliath were a middle aged, nipple-belted git).

About a month ago I was barraged by a few identical group requests on Facebook from friends.

Click, ignore, click, ignore, click, click. Ahhh Farmville.

I get very irritated about Facebook groups that go along the lines of ‘If this group gets 1,000,000 members then Tom will shave off his eyebrows’ and ‘RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE FOR CHRISTMAS NO.1’ screamed (with the help of the gratuitous use of caps lock) all that irritates me about those sorts of groups.

Weeks go by, December rolls on and the X Factor is drawing to a close and the requests are growing. My brother, an avid Rage fan is hammering their revving guitar and vocals through the drywall most evenings. The press have taken an interest and Simon Cowell is actually seeing fit to comment on the matter!

I bought Killing in the Name after hearing Cowell brand the campaign ‘stupid’. I thought, anything that makes this man worry enough to speak out about it, and anything anarchically encroaching on his chart territory was well worth 99p. With a percentage going to Shelter, it seemed the modern alternative to donating to Harold Bishop’s Salvation Army brass band.

It isn’t necessarily because I enjoy Rage. I have a few of their songs that I’ve heard through friends and from films that with the convenience of iTunes I’ve been able to select without committing to a discography, however, would I ever be invited to write about musical inspirations in my life, Rage isn’t likely to feature highly. My brother is a huge fan and I can see why. Non-conformist, furious lyrics set to a drilling guitar and percussion score has its appeal. I suppose this is why the record has done so well compared to the wet, forgettable X Factor winner *quick Google search to find his name* Joe McElderry’s lacklustre cover of ‘The Climb’ by Perez Hilton’s puberty princess, Miley Cyrus.

A Facebook group with the power to harness victory (even briefly) from the clutches of the tight T shirt wearing pop overlord, Cowell isn’t the first of its kind this year. We have seen Fox News’s anxiety that a US NHS would be a vehicle for communism vehemently rebuffed by all and sundry using Twitter, similarly, we have seen Stephen Fry lasso millions of people into making a complaint about Jan Moir’s sneering speculation over the so-called subtext surrounding Steven Gately’s death and relationships. Social networking is finding powers that hadn’t been part of the plan during their inception. Powers that need to be played with.

Orwellian notions aside, if nothing else then Rage’s chart endeavours have proven rather comfortingly that a larger percentage of the population than we first thought have little time for X Factor.

For me, it is not the lyrics, and I am not even a sniffter of a die-hard Rage fan, but it is the fact that the crowd have chosen a representative for their protest vote.

Protest voting is much more valuable to history than apathy. Nobody wants the Monster Raving Loony Party in power but if it shows the suits just how many people prefer to use their votes on a ‘group’ who wish to implement a policy such as sticking reprobate youths together with superglue to prevent re-offending rather than vote for another ‘group’ whose manifesto is full of half-baked promises and whose history with you reads like a really bad bank statement then that’s good! Let them see how shit we think they are by voting for somebody who is making a point. I.E. Don’t discard your vote just  because you think the Loony party will come in to power and fuck the country up, that is highly unlikely. The same goes for Rage. Don’t discard your quid for iTunes just because you don’t want them coming up on shuffle. The fact is that it counts as a point against Cowell.

In essence this is about Facebook v Simon Cowell. Rage and McWhassisface aren’t being targeted personally but they are the poster-boys… the cannon fodder.

Because of this I bought Killing in the Name. It is actually a very good record to have on loud while vacuuming, my previous favourite being Bat out of Hell. If you have no love for X Factor and, like me, gave a little cheer when the last nail in the coffin for Big Brother was hammered in this year, then you should have turned off QI and shelled out 99p for Rage. Alas, the votes are being counted and the ‘elected’ Christmas number 1, the final one for this decade, will be announced shortly.

In the end, it doesn’t even matter if Rage don’t win. After all, shows like X Factor do have the sort of gravitational pull that can attract entire supermarkets full of doe-eyed Cliff Richard calendar-owning mouth-breathers into parting with their cash and their evenings, but just like any protest vote, it is better that it happens than doesn’t.

Next year’s plan – find a similar way of pissing off that wank-merchant Piers Morgan and getting his smarmy-git, idiot-journalist face off telly for the rest of eternity.

Merry Christmas!

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One Response to “Rage Against the Machine, the chart’s answer to Monster Raving Loony?”

  1. 1 StephB

    Problem is RATM’s label is sony… so either way Cowell makes a mint. I shall just buy Shakin’ Stevens and hope.


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