It’s that time of year again, you know the one, Children in Need time. If you’ve read my Porridge blogs you’ll know that I find Children in Need to be somewhat trying: the celebrities are ill prepared for live performances; the links are poor; the gags are poorer and delivered so badly that every single one of them dies on its arse; the newsreaders are not designed to strut their stuff on a dance floor, their bodies don’t bend the right way; the VTs are distressing, deliberately I know, but it doesn’t mean I have to like or appreciate them. They make me want to cry and crying publicly is something I hate doing. They guilt me into giving money I can’t afford every time. And, as is the wont of the standard telethon, it goes on for about 6 hours too long. Nyeeeeeeeeah.
With every telethon, be it CiN, Comic Relief or Sport Relief there is inevitably a charidee single. These seem to fall into 2 very distinct categories: the comedy charidee single and the worthy charidee single. Let me give you an example, in 1986 Cliff Richard and the Young Ones did a rendition of “Living Doll” for Comic Relief (I can’t believe it’s that old). I love that song (not the original you understand) especially when they sing “fies my soul” and when Vivian bashes Cliff on the head with a mallet at the end. As a child of about 10 I loved the silliness of it and the shoutiness of their singing. I love all of the comedy charidee singles without exception because there’s nothing I like more than people poking fun at themselves, I even loved Hale and Pace’s “The Stonk” and bought the single. Don’t tell anyone, will you? Even Children in Need has the odd good single, like the excellent children’s character one that Peter Kay did a couple of years ago but for the most part all charidee singles are utter pop based rubbish. This might not be so bad if they didn’t occasionally butcher a perfectly good song. Or use the Spice Girls, S Club 7 or the SugaBabes (not all worthy singles have been produced by bands whose name starts with S, it’s just a coincidence). Why is it though that when they choose a song to murde…I mean “cover” they choose one I like? Do they do it on purpose? Take Girls Aloud vs The SugaBabes version of “Walk this Way” classically covered by Run DMC in the 80s. It was beyond dire, and they even tried to recreate the video which was both embarrassing and not as funny as they seemed to think.
Now I know what you’re thinking, I’m being all Victor Meldrew again and maybe I am but the fact is it pains me that the vast majority of music produced these days seems to be manufactured pap and that these autotuned muppets think nothing of destroying songs written by genuinely talented artists. And now, you see, I’ve reached my point because what this is really about is my horror at the choice for this year’s Comic Relief official single. One of my all-time favourite songs, Massive Attack’s Teardrop, a beautiful, haunting song has been utterly ruined by the treatment it has received by “The Collective” a group of predominantly pasty, chubby faced 12 year olds who “rap” some new (incredibly lame) lyrics and warble (badly) the original lyrics. I really have no idea who most of them are. I read on BBC’s Newsbeat site (BBC news dumbed down to single syllables for morons) that said it was the “most credible cover yet.” Before going on to explain what credible means. Watch it here (you’ll probably need earplugs unless you’re DWTK).
I’m not against the charidee song per se but I honestly think they would be far more successful and sell far more copies if they always did something silly. I would buy a silly song every year because they make me smile, and I bet there are a lot of people out there around my age who love Teardrop as much as I do and are just as upset as me about it. I know it’s only music but the music I love has always really mattered to me because of the way I can associate it with particular points in my life. And while I know many people now associate it with the theme tune of House (at least outside of Europe) to me it reminds me of being in my early 20s seeing the video for the first time and being totally transfixed.
So I’m afraid Children in Need won’t be selling a copy of their travesty of a cover to me and, as the “brains” behind it Gary Barlow needs to have a word with himself. And to retire from music as a punishment.