Friday, 30 August 2013

MY OPINION: The X Factor - A shit stain on the pants of culture

Here's an article to show to anyone you know who has become brainwashed by karaoke shows....

I know it's hugely ironic to urge people to ignore something, before writing an extensive feature about the subject in question. But I feel that I must get this anger out of my system and deliver THE final critique that will wake people up. I'm going to sum up this subject in such detail that  no-one else EVER has to talk about it again, OK??? OK...

The subject I am referring to is the new series of ITV's cheap, nasty "talent" show The (e)X(crement) Factor. This tacky programme isn't anything to do with music, it's about attention seeking and grabbing TV viewing figures. I wouldn't be so disgusted if the "artists" produced by this show weren't clogging up radio playlists and preventing real musicians and artists from breaking through to a wider audience. I don't see any reason why anyone would choose to watch this garbage instead of using the time to discover interesting, creative and uniquely talented people instead. The only reason this show and the appalling acts that it spawns have become successful is because of the cheap and nasty way they generate publicity for themselves. In the days leading up to the launch of the new series, already the tabloid newspapers were hyping it up, giving the show yet more free publicity.

Why do newspapers feel the need to write about The X Factor anyway? If anyone was interested in the show, then surely they'd watch it instead of reading about it in a newspaper? It seems to me that some sort of deal has been done with the ever-scandalous Murdoch press, so that Cowell's poor quality show can receive more coverage, yet again leaving no room for musicians and artists to achieve any noticeable exposure.

Some comment that the show's creator Simon Cowell has become rich from humiliating people, and that is an absolute fact. But don't expect me to feel sorry for the victims. If people are prepared to risk humiliation just for a shot at short-term fame, then they deserve all the misery they get. It's their choice to go on this cheap, nasty show and by doing so, they prove that they're not "doing it for the music" as some of them will try and claim. If you're really doing it for the music, then you won't mind taking the time and effort to write your own songs, and if you really love music so much then perhaps you will have learned how to play an instrument? If you're that passionate about music, you won't mind years of constant gigging in small venues to work your way to the top. The long gradual climb to success also allows the artist to develop their own sound and style. In direct contrast, people go on the X Factor to try to take a short cut to fame, without doing anything to deserve it, or without doing any of the hard work every talented musician has to do. So if you go on that show and get humiliated by Cowell, then it serves you right.

They may also be “forgotten about” by the majority of the general public, but at least many of indie’s former chart stars have always kept doing the same thing they always did: writing songs, recording them, and playing them to people. Due to the fact they’ve always been able to come up with the goods, they still have dedicated fanbases, even if they are smaller than they were in the 90’s. The only thing that’s changed is the fact that they’re not in the singles chart anymore. Pop singers only exist to make money, and when their moment in the limelight is over, they give up on their career as puppets and spend a bit of time enjoying the money they conned mostly from the pockets of the world’s children. Then, when they miss that attention they used to get, they attempt to desperately relaunch their careers, often with disastrous results. Why would any fans have a reason to stick with them once they’re out of fashion and out of the limelight? Their big hits are written by well-paid songwriters, who aren’t going to want to write for them when their success dries up. Because they don’t come up with their own music, they can’t be relied on to keep producing output of a consistent quality. There is no glory in being a pop star. Fake illusions of glory, yes: money, fame and popularity. But in the end, you’re left with no credibility, and no way to turn back and do start again differently. Meanwhile many genuine musicians may be penniless and ignored, but they have something more important and valuable than fame and money: a collection of work that they can be proud to call their own.

People have asked me if I've heard boyband One Direction and their attention-seeking cover of 'Wonderwall'. I don't need to. In fact I have tried my very best not to exposed to even a split second of ANY X Factor act. All you need to know about them is that they were launched by The X Factor. And if someone takes part in that show they do it for fame and money. Like I said before, if you're "in it for the music" and you REALLY have something to offer, then you'd be more than happy to go through the normal process of working your way to the top. So when people accuse me of being "ignorant" because I criticise these karaoke singers without even hearing them, the answer is simple. I don't NEED to hear them to know that they're worthless. Plus I haven't got time to listen to them, I'd rather spend that time checking out music that actually has a chance of being good. 

I don't think that not liking the X Factor makes any of us "elitist" or musical snobs, it's just plain simple: we prefer good stuff over bad stuff, and no "taste" can make excuses for that disgrace of a programme. Declaring it to be a steaming pile of dogturd isn't an opinion, it is simply stating a fact. If you gave someone the choice of eating a slap up meal or a shit sandwich, would they be an "ignorant" snob because they would rather have something nice than something hideously nasty?

Furthermore I HATE how this show symbolises the mentality of a dumbed-down culture, where men in suits choose what people hear. Year after year the quality of the show (and its contestants) becomes worse and worse, it's almost like they're testing the public to see just how low their standards can sink. And the lower people's standards get, the more easily Cowell can get away with releasing any old shit and seeing it sell. It seems like he's laughing at all the people who buy his products and telling them "come on you mugs, roll up and buy more of my shit, you fall for it every time!" while sneering at artists and musicians "you're trying hard to make good music and you won't get anywhere because everyone's buying my rubbish. And i'm not even trying! It's so easy for me! I don't even need any more money, yet I'm going to carry on producing this crap JUST to keep myself in the spotlight." How much worse can it get? Is it going to come to the point where one day people's standards become so low that they will buy a recording of someone taking a shit? So it's in Cowell's interests that he keeps on producing crap, after all with all the free advertising it gets, it's going to sell no matter how bad it is, and he wouldn't want his audience to start expecting something special. 

The show has also helped create a shallow culture where thick and talentless people are famous and the truly talented barely get a chance to be heard. In the 70's the public were buying Pink Floyd records. In the 80's they were buying Smiths records. In the 90's it was Oasis. Now people's standards have dropped to such a low that the singles charts have become entirely separated from the actual music world. People have been conditioned to accept any old rubbish the radio plays them, and more of these awful "talent" shows have cropped up as well, including Cowell's OTHER show 'Britain's Got Talent' or to give it its full name 'Britain's Got Talent But You Won't See Any Of It Here Because Talented People Don't Need To Go On Tacky Reality TV Shows To Prove Themselves'. After years of frankly disgusting manufactured rubbish clogging up the UK charts, does this utter prick really need to make MORE money? All his acts have proved to be nothing more than puppets, not a single one of them possessing even a trace of talent. To call the garbage they produce "music" is an insult to every hard working musician out there. A slap in the face for gifted and creative artists who are ignored by the public in favour of whatever new puppets the latest reality show has produced.

They use the hype and the publicity to make it appear to simple-minded or easily led people that 'The X Factor' is somehow an event, and they condition these people to accept this poor quality rubbish as entertainment. During the first few weeks of the show, they do the tired old routine of showing people who obviously can't sing very well, just to get people to tune in. Why do people tune in? Because they think it will be funny and by laughing at other people's lack of talent, it will probably make them feel better about themselves. Seeing contestants humiliated by the judges gives the impression of drama taking place, and people shallow enough to watch it will soon be on Facebook or Twitter spouting off about the latest "events". And because other people on social networking sites see others talking about it, they feel like they're somehow missing out by not watching it. It's a cheap, easy ploy and it requires no effort whatsover from the show's makers. Their whole show is based on taking advantage of thick and easily-entertained people, and they fall for it every time. 

By making it as annoying as possible for intelligent, well-informed people, this also helps stir up more promotion. People have asked me if I've heard the show's boyband One Direction and their attention-seeking covers of 'Wonderwall' and 'Teenage Kicks'. They know things like that aren’t going to go down well with music fans. They are fully aware that it's going to create a shitstorm. For people with taste, it can be very difficult not to criticise this programme, and when fans of the show hear these opinions, they realise deep down that they’re being sucked in by rubbish, and get offended by being made to feel like idiots. So it makes them even more determined to keep watching it and talking about it. Attention seeking is what it’s all about. Do any of the winners go on to make valuable contributions to the world of music? Unless “the world of music” has become a nickname for Simon Cowell’s bank account, then no. Morons and the misinformed can try and argue all they like that “these singers must be good because they’re having number one hits”. That’s not going to help in ten years time when they’ve wasted all those years singing whatever they’re told to, rather than developing as artists. Plus, by that point the hits will have dried up, no-one will remember who they are, and any money earned would have been spent. It’s the worst of both worlds. 

A few days ago my friend Jason B tweeted me to tell me news of an upcoming event at The Kings Arms, a hotel located in out home town of Melksham. In terms of live music, this hotel has recently played host to a couple of brilliant charity gigs that featured the region's finest up-and-coming bands, but following a recent change in management, it seems they think that having rock bands there may "lower the tone" of the newly refurbished establishment. Jason's Twitter message read: "Steve Brookstein to appear at The Kings Arms...". A little bit confused, "who?" was my reply. Was I supposed to know who this Steve Brookstein is? A local singer perhaps? Then I was informed that this individual was in fact the very first winner of The X Factor! A small column on page 5 of the Melksham News confirmed this: "This is the first of many live cabaret nights planned" said the venue's manager. Brilliant. All that hype, all that fuss, all that headline-attracting bullshit and what for? A cheesy twat singing cabaret at a hotel.

The competitive element of the programme keeps people interested, and whichever acts are judged to have the most current commercial appeal are chosen to progress to the show's next stage. This is followed by weeks of viewers being exposed to these acts, as well as hearing others talking about all the show's latest gossip and reading about it in the newspapers. Basically no matter how bad his acts are, they will still continue to benefit from free advertising, something real artists don't get.

Then there's the end product of the whole thing where after the series ends, the acts get signed up to Cowell's label, featured all over the tabloid press, and then release the most truly stinking attempts of music known to man. Written and created by other people, all the "artists" have to do is turn up to the studio to sing and the resulting atrocity is swiftly manufactured before being played repeatedly by lazy, unimaginative commercial radio stations. Of course it's all cover versions and painfully bad "originals" given to them by terrible songwriters, but depending on how much attention the braindead mainstream media give the faces fronting these money making projects, they're bound to sell more than all the good records that don't benefit from a huge amount of free advertising. Hence you get completely useless bellends like One Direction and JLS, empty headed puppets who have no chance of ever creating anything of artistic and creative value. And they're actually famous? Why?

It baffles me why anyone would willfully listen to any of the substandard trash the show pumps out, instead of listening to remarkable and special music written and created by talented people, the people who will CREATE the classics of tomorrow rather than doing cheap cover versions of songs from years ago. If a band like Yuck were able to get their songs heard on radio and telly then they would inevitably become big, and their songs would probably be used for an X Factor singer to cover. But Yuck CAN'T become popular because the radio is full of X Factor contestants. 

Basically the point I'm trying to make is, if there's no new music breaking through then what are the reality show singers going to sing in a few years time? The show's contestants sing songs by bands like The Beatles, U2 and Oasis, yet none of those bands could have had the chance to make it big if these karaoke shows existed back then. Therefore the contestants would have nothing to sing now. Some people will watch someone like Olly Murs singing something like 'Hey Jude' and think to themselves "this is really good, i'm going to buy his album" when they should be buying a Beatles album instead, since it was of course them who crafted the song. They've got a nerve: they prevent musicians from being noticed by the public, and yet they use songs by these musicians so their contestants have something to sing. It's a slap in the face and it's a disgusting insult to bands and artists everywhere. 

I have no respect for these useless contestants because of their complete lack of talent, and I have no respect for them as people because of their greed and selfishness. Then there's that utterly despiseable, squeaky clean cunt Murs, who has the sort of sickeningly smug facial expression that seems to say "I sang other people's songs on a TV karaoke show so I deserve to be famous". Enjoy it while it lasts. Because it won't last long. None of them do. Even if the public are constantly exposed to them, it's only a matter of time before the next X Factor winners (and losers) are the main focus of Cowell and his company.

The X Factor thrives off of publicity (good AND bad), and if the show is starved of attention then it will wither and die. So this article is to be my final word on the whole subject, and I've hopefully opened people's eyes and proved that this show and its products are utterly worthless. 

So next time anyone you know mentions The X Factor, don't begin ranting about how bad the show is because that's what Simon Cowell wants you to do. He and everyone else who manufactures the programme are all aware that they're producing nothing but shit, yet they also know that lots of easily-led, easily entertained people and idiots around the country are falling for it, and they know that intelligent people hate it. And having a show that provokes such strong reactions is what gains them even more publicity. 

So let's ignore it. Ignore the show, ignore the people talking about the show, ignore the newspaper stories about the show, ignore Cowell and ignore every fame-hungry talentless piece of shit that takes part in it. Instead let's talk about good music and proper musicians who feel proud of creating something themselves and who can achieve success purely because of their unique style, talent and ability.


  1. Very well said! There is so much to say on the matter that you didn't even get to the fact that X Factor has killed the Christmas no.1. I feel so sad every year that the battle for no.1 no longer features on my list of festivities... I was always holding out for the year that an actual Christmas song has won the top spot.

    However I do think that TV talent shows are starting to die a death now... the same way the consumers tired of Big Brother - and that is still going apparently!

    1. According to a tacky tabloid paper the other day Cowell is "fuming" because people are getting bored of his rubbish and they are starting to switch off! It also said he's trying to bring back Dannii Minogue because "the viewers like looking at her boobs"... A demonstration of how much intelligence that show attracts...

  2. I feel sorry for the celebrity judges on the show, who tarnish their careers by being part of something that no intelligent person takes seriously. Over here in the U.S., that's Demi Lovato and Britney Spears right now. Of course, no one obviously ever took Britney Spears seriously as an artist in the first place, so it's actually appropriate that she's on such a joke show.

    I feel sorry for Demi. She got her start with Disney, which is a joke, and now she's on "X Factor", which is another joke. It's a shame, because the girl can sing. It's too bad she wastes her talent.