Thursday, January 18, 2007

Randomiser #18: 18 January 2007

Today's song: The Arctic Monkeys, "A Certain Romance"

The British music press has always had a tendency to talk up mildly successful indie bands beyond their true level, which makes me highly sceptical of anyone they're pushing really hard. The Arctic Monkeys, despite their appalling name, are actually one of the better discoveries of recent years. Is "Whatever People Say I Am..." a classic album? No, but it's an exceptionally good debut album. It's got the tunes, the real-world connection, the grass-roots feel, the slightly rough-around-the-edges element, and it's got some damn good songwriting for a debut album.

In many ways, the Arctic Monkeys are the band that the music press tried to pretend the Libertines were. Except they can actually play, they write better songs, and they built their reputation on the strength of their music rather than on their antics in the London media social scene. (Not that the Libertines are bad, exactly - they're just several orders of quality further down the ladder than people generally make out.)


- The Celebrity Big Brother controversy is now reaching surreal proportions, with protests on the streets of India, and over 27,000 complaints to Ofcom - which is actually quite nice to see, because the previous record for mass complaints was held by religious extremists complaining that Jerry Springer: The Opera was an offence to their faith, and I take some pleasure in seeing it shattered by people whose complaint is at least a little more reasonable. Ratings are through the roof, of course, but this is looking increasingly like a staggering PR disaster for all involved. Today, Carphone Warehouse officially withdrew their sponsorship for the show, on the grounds that they refuse to associate themselves with racism. (They might also have figured that they'll get more, and better, publicity by going this route.)

Meanwhile, Shilpa Shetty seems to be on the fast track to canonisation. CBB has always been trainwreck television, but never on quite this scale. There's a thin line between courting controversy and committing professional suicide, and the show's producers seem alarmingly unaware of how close it is.