When Making the tune your own
just isn´t enough anymore.
For a year or two now as I have forced myself to watch political programs, chat shows, the great debates in the house of commons and whatever the latest I´m a celebrity , house Jungle party who do you think can get us out of here fad, at least a couple of times a month seeing things at least once just to know what is being produced. I have become more and more vexed . Is it the same scripted dialogue are they all saying the same thing but in the best traditions of X Factor,” Just making it their own.´´.
My latest encounter with this strange feeling or nagging sense of de ja vu has been the latest round of Political Party conferences. It then struck me what I have been living through increasingly since the Media savvy dawn of ´´Things can only get better” new Labour, has been a new form of politics. A form of politics which is a sort of Karaoke Politics, reduced to a Politics Idol sing off. The competition is headlined with General Elections , and the elimination rounds before the Main Karaoke spectacular are at the Annual Conferences, with a bit of touring to bring the feel of the show to the provinces for appearances sake .
There is a core Repertoire across all of the party´s on which styling delivery production values are absolutely essential. No Political Idol can fail to keep to the scripted lyrics and arrangement. Each of the Parties then offer up a fringe repertoire still from re treaded old standards and still instantly recognisable, but almost edgy in the days when they had been part of the Narrative Hit parade, the one hit wonders of yesteryear if you will.
Of course the repertoire has also become increasingly infected by crossover hits from the US repertoire, many of which are fairly cheesy and barely believable but feel good Ballads, standing by your man and that sort of thing and a few of the Good Old Boy anthems strapping the rockets across the shoulders Springsteen sort of stuff, ( Ronald Reagan’s Favorite back in the Day ).
Well the suicide machine of Karaoke Politics appears to be hitting the barriers of credulity. The old tunes , retreaded and made new by imaginative claim stakes to ownership from the Latest Crop of pretenders to the politics Idol Throne are just not cutting through.
The performances are as polished as they ever were the razzmatazz is as impressive as ever, but Like Top of the pops became in the 1980’s The Audience has started to crave the authenticity of Live performance with its immediacy , its interaction and also its improvisation. Responding to the moment and understanding the Present seems to be more important again than Making it your own, while still hitting the high C just like Whitney would have done.
At first I decided, when this thought of , ”are they all saying the same thing”?occurred to me, it did not seem enough to even write a joke about it, but as the show enters what is its 21st season if we take 1995, the year after Tony Blair became Labour leader as the shows debut. I thought it would be interesting to understand why Jeremy Corbyn just does not cut it as a Political Idol Contestant in the Eyes of the Establishment , The Parliamentary Labour Party , The Fourth Estate and if you believe all of them, the good voters of Nuneaton as well.
Politics Idol has been an amazingly successful show it has satisfied the Political Ears of devoted watchers for 21 years and become beloved of all of the Main Stream Parties non of who wish to give up their chance to step up to the microphone and make those Old Songs their own, to go on Chat shows and trot out the same superlatives and derogatory put downs, was the Performance really in Pitch was it really as believable and did it really seem so fresh as When; Mr Blair, Mr Ashdown, The Early Mr Cameron, & that nice funny Mr Hague, were making those tunes their own.
What are these new Bands who insist on playing from another song book all-be-it an older song book, why can they fill the theaters and sell out tickets when they do not even bother to make those Tunes known and beloved of Politics Idol Fans their own?. Is it perhaps that Ms Sturgeon, Mr Corbyn and out in the country and in the Metropolitan areas others and plenty of them , have started a new scene, a grass roots scene where learning and playing your own instruments and writing and performing your own songs and music in a style that speaks directly to the experiences and the moments in peoples lives now! Real peoples problems and frustrations, understood, internalised and addressed with a shared common understanding. A message of concern that things can and should improve.One that above all understands and speaks at one with the voice of the people, The Fans, The Audience, The Target Demographic made Human and not atomised to statistical ratings indexes.
Of Course on Political Idol covering the Sleaford Mods is un thinkable, perhaps a little Green Day or Arctic monkeys but Major Label stuff from professional expert artists who have paid their Industry dues and know the score. Top Down what the record company says goes. Like Punk, Like Dylan Going Electric , Like Metal from the Black Country, Genre changing modern folk Culture expression is finding its voice and more than piping up demanding to be heard. Politics Idol is Toast, no longer a prime time ratings filler.The revolution Ladies and Gentleman is most definately not being televised . The revolution is Live!
Of course there will be the burning of record sleeves and outrages in the popular media just as when Ozzie bit heads of Bats or pissed on the Alamo or Steve Jones called Bill Grundy a dirty fucker or John Lennon said The Beatles were bigger than God.
”Look inside the Eye of your mind and you know you might find a better place to be” Noel Gallagher’s Supernova of a lyric for me, and great advice to the producers of Politics Idol , the Industry has moved on its about touring , getting out there and playing your own shit thats relevant to the people, to the people in person, you can’t rely on marketing campaigns and studio albums to get your songs across anymore . Making it your own today means that actually, it is your own. Its coming from within you and you believe in the tune, in the lyrics and the themes and key changes, The chords and melodies are about situations and problems loves and Lives and losses you have shared and lamented and celebrated, authentic Hard Funky Politics On the 1 For everyone. Get Down!
So there in lies the problem, Jeremy has turned up with a fresh repertoire and the New Labour Parliamentary Band not only do not want to learn new tunes they can not play an instrument. And the Old backing tape of Things can only get better might be re downloadable or streamable on Spotify but peoples ears are Tired of it, they want real live Politics! That is Live , on the road, up close and personal. so get your motor running .
I believe Mr Corbyns Karaoke choice would be. House of the Rising Sun. Its a very easy to play Five Chord Piece, many who learn the guitar learn it as their very first tune, and it should be easily learned by the PLP to take out on the road. In true punk attitude more songs can always be written on the road with the experiences and time between gigs, sitting on train floors and things like that.
Am C D F
Well, I've got one foot on the platform.
Am C E E
the other foot on the train.
Am C D F
I'm goin' back to New Orleans
Am E Am
To wear that ball and chain.
The Electorate, that ball and chain who tiresomely must not be troubled with referenda its bad enough that we compete for their votes every 5th year, a rough Paraphrase of Chuck Ummana on the neverendum debate , recently.
After the Musical intermission dear reader, one wonders Where to round off with This piece. One could consider the Clinton/Democrats and how they Informed the New Labour Narrative style of engagement, one could satarise How Owen Smith clearly has made the Clinton Thumb his own. One could variously have a lot of fun cutting X Factor comments from Louis Walsh, Sharon and Cheryl into snippets of Political Karaoke Gold. It is true that a picture can paint a thousand words and videography can mould the direction in which one would like ones audience to start moulding their Canvas in too.
It might also prove mildly diverting and a litle amusing to take each of the preceding paragraphs and make them ones own for each of the political parties and their Current Political Idol Captains. I mused earlier about Celebrity chef and culinary variations on the theme but I do not even know what the Great British Bake off is and Ainsley Harriet may not still be on British Telly with Anthony Worrel Thomson and who was it anyone who did the show where something had to be done by two chefs with the same set of ingredients.
But I have decided instead to wrap up with a quick few paragraphs on the study of Rhetoric in Ancient Greece.and Later in Rome. First to Rome and Lucian who has this advice handbook.
THE RHETORICIAN’S VADE MECUM
”But first I will be your Cebes and give you word-pictures of the two different ways leading to that Rhetoric, with which I see you so in love. Imagine her seated on a height, fair and comely; her right hand holds an Amalthea’s horn heaped high with all fruits, and at her other side you are to see Wealth standing in all his golden glamour. In attendance too are Repute and Might
and all about your lady’s person flutter and cling embodied Praises like tiny Loves. Or you may have seen a painted Nilus; he reclines himself upon a crocodile or hippopotamus, with which his stream abounds, and round him play the tiny children they call in Egypt his Cubits; so play the Praises about Rhetoric. Add yourself, the lover, who long to be straightway at the top, that you may wed her, and all that is hers be yours; for him that weds her she must endow with her worldly goods.”
Is how Lucian begins to explain the worth in attaining a degree of garlanded heroism in the art of Rhetoric.
´´ the poet who told me that the Good is won by toil. He was in error; I see that the many who toil not are more richly rewarded for their fortunate choice of route and method”
Lucian goes on to recommend the guide to the well trodden road, the Politics Idol Road I guess it could be and for its navigation all that the aspiring young rheoritician requires is this.
”I will first give you a list of the equipment and supplies for your15 journey that you must bring with you from home, with a view to making your way rapidly. After that, I will show you as we go along some practical illustrations, add a few verbal precepts, and before set of sun you shall be as superior a rhetorician as myself, the absolute microcosm of your profession. Bring then
above all ignorance, to which add confidence, audacity, and effrontery; as for diffidence, equity, moderation, and shame, you will please leave them at home; they are not merely needless, they are encumbrances. The loudest voice you can come by, please, a ready falsetto, and a gait modeledon my own. That exhausts the real necessaries; very often there would be no occasion for anything further. But I recommend bright colorsor white for your clothes; the Tarentine stuff that lets the body show through is best; for shoes, wear either the Attic woman’s shape with the open network, or else the Sicyonians that show white lining. Always have a train of attendants, and a book in your hand.”
Rhetoric and Sophistry go hand in hand and were shunned by the Pre Socratic Philosophers , but Aristotlerevised his opinion and saw some redemptive qualities for the Art. Sophistry is a little heard word in modern popular politicaldiscourse but is often practicedand the Politics Idol Model of entering the competition for peoples votes is if you read just the whole of Lucian’sSatire of Rhetoric fully formed as a metaphor for The modern Day notion of Karaoke politics.
Timon of Athens one of ShakespeareGreek tragediesgave rise to a categoryof misanthropy known as Timonism which can be contrastedthen with Cynicism .
The etching and its Commentary explainsthe rest
The New Live Indie Politics is cynical in the best sense of Diogenesit sees what people can be is angered by what people have become and is seeking a way of Galvanizingall of the human energy currently banished to compliant fandom and consumerisminto a movement that can and will demand to write the tunes to which they will dance.