Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Day 104: Smells like.....

When television’s “Idol” progamme was in it’s infancy, after the first series, there was a ‘global Idol’, a one-off show that brought together the winning contestants from around the world. I’m referring here to the worldwide franchsise of “reality” shows whose mission it is to annually unearth the next big singing sensation.

It was an over-two-nights contest that numbered Guy Sebastian from Australia and, I’m guessing, Kelly Clarkson from the USA (I can’t quite remember) among the acts. Each country also got to bring along the judge who seemed to bring the most piquancy to his or her own country’s panel of three sitting on high, in other words, each country brought it’s own version of Simon Cowell.

I’m certainly not anti-Simon Cowell, I think maybe someone should have a word with whoever cuts his hair and lays out his wardrobe of a morning, but apart from that, the guy appears to be a straight-shooter and he certainly was on that night.

Deep into the menu of power balladeers and would-be divas, along comes a Norweigan young man - I’m pretty sure he was from Norge - a shaggy fellow, seemingly the antichrist of what Idol is and what Idol might stand for. Musically and metaphorically, he gave Idol the bird, launching into Nirvana’s ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’, chanelling Kurt Cobain in the process. The audience went wild and kinda crazy (but hey, they do that with most songs) and for a moment there, something weird was going on on the Idol stage via this interloper.

From judge to judge they praised him, gave him plaudits, complimented him for being this “breath of fresh musical fragrance” amongst the 'safe' others and so it carried on, until it got to Simon Cowell.

Simon Cowell opened his appraisal of the young man and his performance with this “you are like a sheep in wolf’s clothing”. Simon went on to elucidate, in his very singular way that he has, how he thought this young man had come onto this very mainstream popular music programme which has a pretty clear agenda and tried to take some sort of musical high ground by doing the Cobain/Nirvana thing (the guy had engaged in vocal if not physical mimicry of the late Cobain) ‘looking down’ upon all the other contestants from this place of superiority. “Furthermore...” Cowell went on to say “Kurt Cobain would probably roll in his grave at the thought of his music being performed on a show like Idol”. But there was more: if the young man was committed to that musical path, then he wouldn’t come within a country mile of this programme; if he was really into that somewhat alternative trail and wanted true credibility in that field, then the last thing that he would do was to be on Idol. I think Simon Cowell stopped short of calling our young friend from Norway, a fraud.

From the comfort of my viewer’s armchair, I agreed with Simon Cowell. I don’t think it stopped Kurt’s dopplegänger from scoring well and progressing in the competition and I hope that I was wasn’t revelling in schadenfreude (a tad too much Germanic there?) watching a hopeful singer cop a sort-of schlacking (there were plenty of other judges to balance the ledger) but gee, it was something that stuck with me and made me think about being an impostor?

Day #104 Tip: Beware the worship of false idols
Friends often tell me that I’m really funny and, I must modestly confess, that I like to think of myself as a bit of a wit. However, I don’t write funny. When someone suggests that I should write a comedy script I always respond that being mildly amusing and coming up with the odd line or two to make you laugh is a whole other thing to writing comedy. Is that my truth or am I hiding behind something?

I know that I can have a belief that drama is more noble than comedy, but fear not, I won’t be lying down on the therapist’s couch of my own Blog to analyse how and why that might be. Consequently, I may harbour a belief system that tells me that to write drama rather than comedy may then be a worthier pursuit? I’m not sure and I should never believe anything that my head tells me, yet it’s worth making a note of and paying attention to.

Somewhere in McKee’s Story (not over the rainbow) there’s a passage or two where he talks about letting the writing reveal to us (the writer) just what we’re writing about; it may be that the person who likes to think of themselves as optimistic and of a sunny disposition actually has dark tales to tell, a shadow side of themselves to reveal? And, conversely, he or she who sees themself as a patron of tha darker arts may have stories of triumph and toil to relate.

I must be very careful about the adoration of false deities.

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