Their Art Is Clean, But Their Habits Are Not 15/05/2008
Whilst searching for inspiration regarding potential subject matter for this week’s blog and I noticed that on the BBC News Entertainment homepage the 4 top music stories were directly related to artists getting in trouble with Johnny Law:
So I thought I’d delve into the world of musicians and role models potentially setting bad examples for the youth (and easily influenced elders) of this country.
First and foremost I should probably point out from the start that I’m ever so aware that this is nothing short of a mammoth debate that no doubt hundreds of dissertations/thesises have been based upon and that a page long blog won’t even begin to scratch the surface of. There. Happy? Please remember that when you all vituperate me later on…
So the above four stories are all regarding rather large, internationally known artists who all have substantial fanbases of varying key demographics. I’d personally argue that all of them will have fans within the 11 – 16 age range who are stereotypically the unfortunate young bunch to be pigeon-holed as ‘easily influenced’. So let us imagine a technically savvy twelve year old (aren’t they all these days?), sitting down at his Mac Book Air with his Moccachino in one hand and iPhone in the other, wanting to keep abreast of all the latest music news. He goes to said BBC website and the first four stories he clicks onto are drugs, drugs, attempted murder and paedophilic rape. God bless the internet.
Now apart from the fact this child has an extra hand and also far too much money; could he actually be influenced by what he reads?
Thinking back to when I was a young boy (I didn’t have a puppy, and therefore it never followed me around*) I really can’t remember being influenced to do anything negative by the music/movies/media I consumed. All the “landmark rebellion” moments of my youth were through influential friends rather than media; the first time I got drunk was on a can of cider at the rather worrying age of about 9 or 10 years old, as a friend’s dad used to work in a brewery so we nicked a couple of cans to see what all this intoxicatation fuss was all about. I first smoked cigarettes to impress a girl I fancied (which failed miserably might I add; no matter how many Marlboro Lights you puff away on it still doesn’t disguise the fact you’re a chubby little kid with a shit haircut) and the first time I tried pot was behind the local Woolworths with a school mate who managed to get some off “the bigger boys”; not because Snoop Dogg told me to “smoke till my eyes get cataracts” (actual lyric by the way) and I’m sure there may be one or two other discrepancies that may tarnish my otherwise virgin white reputation (that I won’t ponder into on this occasion as I’d still like my mother to talk to me the next time I venture back to Sheffield) that were all committed through either curiosity or through wanting to “fit in”.
So for me personally it appears my parents shouldn’t have been worried about the music I listened to but more the kids I used to hang around with!
My sister on the other hand could have been a different story entirely. She was far more of an obsessive fan then I was as a youth and by that I mean she always went further than just the artist’s products. She was the record companies dream; she’d not only buy the album but also the singles from the album. And the t-shirts. And the concert tickets. And the magazines they adorned the front cover of etc. She’s probably responsible for around a third of Gary Barlow’s personal wealth and anyone who will cry for around 48 hours solid when one of the members leaves the group (you still owe her those two days of her life back Robbie) is obviously emotionally attached to them. So if my sister happened to be as emotionally attached to an artist who didn’t make camp-as-Christmas pop music then could her life as she knows it now be different?
If a 13 year old girl is as obsessed with Amy Winehouse now as my sister was with Take That 15 years ago then is there a chance she might try cocaine to be like her idol?
Would a huge Pete Doherty fan smoke crack as a muse for his own poetry like the ex-Libertines man used to do (and probably still does)?
Both Winehouse and Doherty are fantastically talented artists as well. That’s the annoying thing in my humble opinion because it’s the constant argument their young fans use to defend their actions. Read the NME letter page any given week and 14 year old Nicola from East London will be gushing her little heart out telling the world they “should leave Pete alone” because he is “so talented”.
Yes Nicola. We know this, but he should still have been locked up for more than a month as he’s a continual offender.
At the end of the day; is there actually anything we can do about it? I hate to even utter this becoming-ever-more-cliché phrase but; surely it’s the media’s fault?
Least we not forget that people like Winehouse and Doherty aren’t actually promoting their vices in their music.
Their art is clean, but their habits are not.
And it’s the media who are making their private lives more intensely public than ever before.
Want to stop your kid mimicking their idols? Buy them their CD to be inspired by; just don’t get them the tabloids whose pages they so often frequent.
Right; I’m sure this must have stirred some emotional inside some of you lot! Leave some comments if you agree/disagree with my ramblings.
What I’m reading this week; Dave Gorman’s attempt to cross the US without funding The Man
Interesting service for unsigned artists to have a gander at of the week (new feature that I probably should have started ages ago but inexplicably never did); Arising Artist
*niche lyrical joke of the week – I feel this could become a regular feature: 10 points to the first to point out the reference