NMMTV – No More Music TV – 26/11/08
Firstly, apologies for the delay in blogging this week but I do have a rather genuine excuse; I was on holiday. Alas now I’m back and raring to go and I thought this week we’d have a gander into music on TV in this day and age. Firstly, lets have a glance into the trainwreck that is Top of the Pops…
Top of the Pops was cancelled.
Ting Tings said they wanted to play it (don’t we all?)
Then Simon Cowell wanted to take it to ITV
Then the BBC thought “oooh, if Cowell wants it then there must be something in it” and decided to bring it back for two festive specials.
So now we can all sit down after eating far too much in honour of the birth of Christ (because he went mental for turkey and roast tatties) and watch various pop acts belt out their biggest hits of the year whilst Fearne and Reggie have terrible banter in-between. Lovely.
I personally miss TOTP as it used to be one of my weekly highlights back in my youth and even though there was a good chance I’d only like one or two songs featured it was a brilliant way to keep abreast of the UK’s current popular music squeezes. There was nothing finer than watching a one hit wonder who knew for a fact that this was their one and only time to grace the BBC studios, belt out their pointless 3 minute ditty with such vigour and passion because they knew that for every cheeky glance into the camera there would be a cheer in some distant local pub where they originally hail from. “Oh look! There she is! It’s Michelle on Top of the Pops!!! Quick! Turn it up!”
As Popjustice rightly point out; there must be a demand for it as for the last couple of weeks ITV have staged a music themed programme showcasing some of the country’s finest pop talent (although there was no Tony Christie in sight, tut tut) so there must be someone out there who wants to watch something within this ethos. The best ITV has ever achieved in music TV was when the brilliant SM:TV became the perfectly entertaining CD:UK on a Saturday morning with Cat Deeley holding the reigns.
On a side note; whatever happened to Saturday morning kids TV? SM:TV was potentially one of the best things on the idiot box when it was on. If you can watch this and not laugh then I don’t want to know you.
Channel 4 have had a go recently with ‘Transmission’ and the simply awful ‘Green Room’ which was just a dire format for a music TV show. Who thought of that?
“I know let’s put cameras in the green room and let the artists mingle to see what they get up to when we’re not watching.”
“But will they not ‘act up’ in order to appear wacky, fun, interesting and different which will just come across as contrived and poor viewing material? I have it on good authority that all Leona Lewis wants to do before going on stage is read Grazia magazine and have a Mint Chocolate Kit Kat; not make small talk with two ex-Hollyoaks actors who inexplicably still get asked to be on these kind of programmes.”
“Maybe; but Nokia are giving us shed loads of cash.”
Transmission was enjoyable enough but always on at ludicrous o’clock and the producers felt it necessary to intertwine performances with interviews of the artists to make it more of a magazine format. There is no need for that in my opinion; I can read interviews elsewhere which will be more in-depth and not have some Welsh pillock try to make funnies with the guests as he’ll be inevitably trying to get into their knickers afterwards. Interviews can be entertaining enough when the guest themselves have a rich history within the industry, not when they’re Scouting For Girls.
Cue Later with Jools Holland; yes, he has interviews but with usually effortlessly interesting people who viewers and other artists can take something from. For me, LWJH is only one of two current music programmes that get it right. There is a broad range of music that spans various genres and the artists want to play the show due to its inherent kudos. There has been no other music show that has resulted in me discovering as much new music as LWJH (take this brilliant rendition of Nick Cave’s ‘God is in the House’ by Camille O’Sullivan for example).
The other show that I’m quite fond of is Live From Abby Road which features some rather good acts (and The Kooks) showcasing a couple of songs in the world’s most famous studios. The artists talk about their music but without an interviewer and it genuinely makes the viewer feel that they’ve had an insight into what goes on behind the scenes of their favourite artists. Click here for a couple of noteworthy performances from Elbow and Muse.
At some point this millennium MTV stopped playing music videos anymore and instead starting showing programmes about absolutely nothing what so ever. The Hills? Just what is the point? I do get quite excited when I visit the parents and I get to watch MTV2 four an hour or two so I can catch up with what’s happening there but for me music TV is slowly but surely becoming a dead medium. I’d choose a live music show over watching music videos any day of the week and with YouTube and music-focused video sites such as Muzu TV where you don’t have to sit through half an hour of guff to see something you want then it can only be a matter of years till we start seeing stations shut down.
Muzu TV is well worth checking out by the way if you have video content at your disposal.
So what do you think then? Bring back TOTP I say. Its needed for our children and our children’s children.
Glad we sorted that out.
Time for your input readers!
In a blog in the not too distant future I’m going to pose some questions to some real life A&R people and maybe a couple of other industry professionals to give you guys a look into the murky minds of the music industry. So this is your chance to ask that question that has always been burning in your mind but never been answered thus far: Want to know how to get an A&R man to your gig? Do A&R for major labels believe their employers have a future in this industry? What do they look for in a demo? If you have any questions then either comment on this blog or get in touch in that way you lot always seem to do.
What I’m listening to this week: Tony Christie (with his brilliant new album ‘Made In Sheffield’ – go and download ‘Louise’ and ‘Born To Cry’, they’re both superb), and in preparation for Friday Envy and Other Sins and Married To The Sea.
What I’m reading this week: The Dice Man by Luke Rhinehart (AKA George Cockcroft) – I considered ‘living by the die’ for all of ten minutes the other day; far too exciting of a prospect for little old me.