Monday, November 25, 2002

A Bad Night For Di

Not only did she come third behind Churchill and Brunel in the BBC Greatest Briton poll, but before the final debate kicked off Channel Five attempted to recreate her life through her record collection. You hope a bad wrong has been done to her, you really do.

They got Peter York to present - presumably because he co-wrote that Sloane Ranger's handbook sometime in the 1980's; on this basis, whoever ghost-wrote Adrian Edmondson's How To Be A Complete Bastard should have been doing the voiceovers for The Nazis - A Warning From History. Now, while the basic idea - that you might be able to get the measure of the man from the music he chooses to listen to - is a good one, the show suffered from three basic flaws.

Firstly, it relied on those elements of her record collection that were held in safe keeping by Paul Burrell (You remember, Your Majesty? Butler man. He told you he was looking after them for you. Do you remember?), which obviously strained the format before it began.

Secondly, Diana's musical taste has been picked over so many times, you could tick off the bands before they appeared (Duran Duran)?

Third, rather than use the music to try and imagine where Diana's head might have really been, they drew up ten artists she liked, made a list of what they know about Diana, and then joined up the two lists any old how. So, 'Rocking All Over The World'? Right, well, we know that they played that at Live Aid, and she "boogied" when Status Quo played it, and Prince Charles was wearing earplugs (this is meant to suggest he wasn't listening and was some way out of touch - but nearly all rock acts wear hearing protection, too) so that must show that they'd grown apart by this point as their reactions to Status Quo were different.

Trouble is, this supposes that Diana's reaction was like a young persons - whereas, at the time of Live Aid, dancing in an awkward geography teacher way to Status Quo smacked of middle aged, middle class values. Charles bored look was more in keeping with what the youth were thinking.

The programme was sloppy in other ways - "Most people believe [Lady In Red] was written about Diana" claimed York, which is rubbish - everybody has heard the story about how it was written for DeBurgh's bloody wife about six hundred times; it's like trying to claim that people think the original Candle In The Wind was written for Diana.

But where it scored was in the things it didn't set out to do. Once again it exposed just how dull, smug and self-satisified the old Radio 2 school are. Cliff Richard took the opportunity to moan again that he's not played on the radio, you know, and said "It's been said that 'Some People' [his song, not the Belouis Some track] was Diana's favourite song. She had very good taste" and then proceeded to tell a tale about how Diana, Harry, former Radio One DJ Mike Reid and he sat around jamming after a hard day's skiing.

Apparently, Harry asked for Great Balls of Fire, which Reid and Richard took as a request for them to sing, but we suspect may have been a call for judgement to rain down from God. Leo Sayer told a spectacularly immodest story about being told by Burrell that Diana would lock herself in her room and play one of his songs over and over again. Considering he was meant to be so discrete, Burrell seemed to blab an awful lot, didn't he? Sayer's reaction was to say "Wayne Sleep had already told me that." Nice. Locking yourself in with Leo Sayer is a cry for help if we ever heard one.

To try and provide some sense that she wasn't just a dumb blonde with godawful taste (Uptown Girl?) they tried to suggest she'd been developing an interest in classical music - because she had a Verdi album and went to see Pavarotti. Yeah, my Dad met Meatloaf in a toilet once. It doesn't make him Howlin' Wolf.

Then over to the Greatest Britons, where Lennon looked even more out of place amongst the others than he had when the list was just a list. Even Alan Davies, there supposedly to speak for the dead Beatle, admitted that he thought Shakespeare was better.

The most interesting aspects of the two shows were the copyright messages that snuck in. As the credits rolled for Greatest Britons, we were warned that "Imagine - Sole worldwide copyright of Yoko Ono" (or words to that effect) and during the Di doc, Nothing Compares 2U was doctored so that we never saw a glimpse of Sinead without the acknowledgement that it was Universal's property we were seeing. Self-aggrandising and unneccesary.

No comments:

Post a Comment

As a general rule, posts will only be deleted if they reek of spam.