Wednesday, June 21, 2006


I felt like having a whinge about the demise of Top of the Pops, but I'd just be putting on airs. I've only ever seen one episode in my life—this one [YouTube], which tweaked my 11-year-old mind, no doubt. I can't claim that I grew up with it. Still, its cancellation is a sign of something else, something definitely worth a whinge.

It's a given that fewer people care about music anymore. Music is just data, stripped of mystique, to be copied, experienced, and deleted. Anyone who does give a damn what goes in their ears can pursue their interests to the narrowest of any possible niche. A Slipknot fan of average intelligence and resources can work backwards through Slayer, Maiden, and Sabbath and back again through The Dillinger Escape Plan, Melt Banana, SUNN O))) and, having plowed through history and dismissed everything as "old hat," end up amassing an exhaustive collection of Sri Lankan Tamilcore jazz-grind...all in a couple of months. The notion of a single forum for exposing all "pop" music, such as TOTP, is outdated. Not even a whole television channel presenting the breadth of popular music can keep viewers. MuchMusic and MTV mainly air reality shows, because we're all celebrities now. Everyone's a pop star, and we can all buy products that the stars enjoy and join their world of make believe.

People are more interested in gadgetry these days. The corporations have better control over that stuff. People can't just make their own iPods or flatscreen TVs the same way they can rip and burn the new Keane CD. Hardware has cachet. That's why A&B Sound downtown has cleared out all the music from their main floor and replaced it with flash gear for the home. If you're after that new Tool album with the 3D glasses (can't download those!), you'll have to wade through the TVs and digital cameras, round the corner, and take the escalator upstairs. That's where you'll find the art...out of sight, out of mind.