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'Cage Against The Machine' campaign

 11:10 am on Dec 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

An anti-X Factor "supergroup" has recorded its entry in the race for this year's Christmas number one - the sound of silence.

They were recreating composer John Cage's experimental work 4'33" - the sound of musicians not playing.

[bbc.co.uk ]

So this year's 'surprise' Christmas #1 is looking to be 4'33".


Call me childish, but I really hope there's something like this each year.

There's nothing like a bit of online camaraderie.



 11:18 am on Dec 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

I don't have a problem with Matts single and wish the guy luck - he's worked hard to get where he is


 2:15 pm on Dec 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

Where exactly is he? A poor karaoke singer in the middle of his 5 mins of fame.

Simon Cowell is single handedly dumbing down popular music in the UK and the US. All of these singers sound the same, sing the same formulaic cover versions of boring songs that Simon thinks are great and they are all looking for a shortcut to fame and fortune.

Real musicians who work their way through endless gigs in pubs and clubs have more staying power.

This is the first generation that has had their musical expectations reduced to the point where they think that some sexy girl or good looking guy who dances well and can sing a bit is a superstar.

Bring back the 60s when real talent was everywhere.


 2:24 pm on Dec 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

> Bring back the 60s when real talent was everywhere.

Oh please - next you'll be saying the Beatles was a great band! - ever listened to them signing live ! they wouldn't last five minutes now

As for Matt - he did do the clubs & pubs scene and whilst I'm not a great fan of Cowell he did help a talented signer get a boost


 2:50 pm on Dec 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

Real musicians who work their way through endless gigs in pubs and clubs have more staying power.

Whilst I'm not a fan of all this sameness garbage I believe Matt has done his fair stint of pubs and clubs over the last 10 years or so.

Bring back the 60s when real talent was everywhere.

The thing is that there is real young talent out there, the problem, believe it or not in this day and age, is getting people to listen to it and, more importantly, to pay and go and see these kids play live.

I put on some 100+ live gigs a year, yep every weekend on a Friday and Saturday night and on Bank Holiday weekends the Sunday and Monday too...and we have to provide this all for FREE even though the bands are paid! Yep, booze profits pay the bill.

What do we expect from a gig? Two sets of 2.5-3 hours of live music, no backing tracks allowed...period. Most of the older (30+) rock covers bands can do this with no problem, we even have one teen band and an early 20s who can do this with no problem however the remainder of the bands who apply to play can rarely muster 1 hour.

Usually they are the one who refuse to do covers and they wonder why people do not go and see them. Last Friday night we had a 23 year old acoustic singer guitarist for the usual session playing along with his dad on bass, 60...honestly apart from one Van Morrison song I was not sure which were his and which were covers they were that good and people stayed, listened and watched.

The problem with many of the younger bands is TV and school have both told them they can have their 5 minutes of fame without an apprenticeship. For sure there have been the odd lucky ones but their educators have misled them into believing they can achieve everything by the time they are 20.

Honestly I feel very sorry for many of them, there are very few venues where they can appear, generally it is the pub, maybe the village hall or the 2,000 regional purpose-built for big names-only, expensive ticket gig.

Long gone are the days of bands doing tours in Thamas Traders driving 30-40-50 miles to their next night's gig in the same county, quite simply the operating costs are against it.

The only way to get to see different, quality stuff is to arrange mini tours for a band...you'd be surprised how many bands are quite prepared to work for USD 2,000.00 for a week's regional tour so long as they know their accommodation and sound is sorted!

</oops, sorry, went a bit off topic there!>


 12:46 am on Dec 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

Oh please - next you'll be saying the Beatles was a great band! - ever listened to them signing live ! they wouldn't last five minutes now

Whilst not a great beatles fan I must say that I disagree. They were the greatest pop/rock band ever, they set standards in writing and performing popular music that have never been surpassed, and they are the most successful rock band ever.

Have you ever heard anyone live? They never sound as good as the recording.* Of course the X factor contestants in common with most of the current crop of chart artists all use pitch altering technology on live performances so you never hear how bad they really are.

*The one exception to that in my experience was Jimi Hendrix I heard him live at the Corn Exchange, Newbury he played Hey Joe which was at number one in the charts and it was faultless.


 1:05 am on Dec 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

The Beatles sounded pretty good on the Ed Sullivan Show.


 1:15 am on Dec 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

There are some good newer artists, you just won't find many in the ever growing 'pop' segment.

One thing, I don't think sounding unique or being creative is rewarded like it was in the 60's & 70's.

Maybe that's cuz back then, people were discovering some new "recreational pursuits".


 12:54 pm on Dec 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

The Beatles wrote a great many songs that are still being covered today so statements along the lines of "they weren't that great live" are unfair. Also, compared with the rest, they were pretty good - Ringo Starr was considered to be amongst the best drummers of his day.

The X-Factor is a talent show that caters for impressionable youngsters that can be easily manipulated whilst offering enough to older viewers to keep them reasonably happy. Personally I record it and fast-forward through most of the nonsense (including Cher Lloyd this year) that way a two-hour show comes down to about half an hour.

As a talent show, compared with earlier offerings such as New Faces and Opportunity Knocks, it seems to have a reasonable strike rate - that is to say it does find talent. However, I think most of us would be more impressed by that talent if they could write their own material, however, that would not fit the format, you'd need another show for that.

As for X-Factor rebellions - pointless. If someone does manage to push the X-Factor single off the number one slot at Christmas a) it will generate more headlines - Simon Cowell will be really cut up about that, b) I'd like it to be because someone is good enough, not because of a campaign against the X-Factor.



 11:58 am on Dec 16, 2010 (gmt 0)

Nobody wants a music lesson. People want to be entertained. If nobody other than other artists are capable of enjoying your music then it's more just self indulgence than music.

In terms of critiquing music over it's integrity, look at the the latest stall one movie. Millions go to see it and enjoy it thoroughly. A critic review finds it formula driven, no character development, and the same as any stallone movie in the past 30years. And what we get from that is a dim view of the critic not the movie.


 4:43 pm on Dec 16, 2010 (gmt 0)

probably worth noting that today's artists have to sell about a quarter of the records they did in the 60's to get a number 1

does anyone take x factor seriously? really? it's a tv show, it's not for music and i think most people realise this. where are past winners? nowhere except the odd one which is rare. they're not finding talent, they're doing tele.

they're all just singers doing covers as has been mentioned. it's kareoke with a sob story thrown in for a bit of drama. i blame facebook for making everybody think they're a celebrity. the media aren't to blame as they must follow public trends to stay alive

someone defined facebook as a method of finding out what people you hated at school ate for lunch

i've watched two x-factors in my life, both recent episodes and i saw the beatles get raped repeatedly. i had to watch some of it from behind the sofa.

while i'm ranting, why is cheryl cole famous? why does her opinion matter? was it her abh record when she beat up that girl in a toilet or the ones she mimes to? or for marrying a footballer and getting a divorce?

the x factor is totally scripted. love him or hate him, and i despise him, simon cowell is incredibly media savvy. 'it's immoral to let a sucker keep their money' and he's rinsing pretty much all of the suckers so fair play at the end of the day


 5:20 pm on Dec 16, 2010 (gmt 0)

why is cheryl cole famous?
Because she came through the predecessor of The X Factor - Popstars. This contrasts nicely with
where are past winners?

On average the X-Factor launches one or two careers per series but the winner isn't necessarily one of them. In that regard, it's no worse than any other talent show and maybe better than some.

Of course, if you really want to become a star, getting a role in the Aussie soap Neighbours may be the way to go - it's launched many more careers than the X-Factor, but it has been going longer too.


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