Sunday, May 09, 2004

COMMERCIAL BREAK: So, it appears that the 'official' England song for Euro 2004 is going to keep in all the stuff about your forefathers dying and the tears, but they are losing the "in no man's land" bit, replacing it with "En-ger-land." So they've dumped the bit about it being a coming together of two opposing sides calling a truce in favour of a dim-witted patriotic terrace chant. Nice.

Can't imagine Yorkshire Bank will be too thrilled, either, at finding they're sharing the song they've used to bed down their new campaign (every so often, Yorkshire Bank like to remind people they exist, being the banking world equivalent of Soya Milk or Sweet Potatoes - everyone knows they're available, vaguely, but there's a feeling they're not quite the real thing and nobody's entirely sure where you'd find them if you wanted them). This new campaign has got a slightly pomped up version of Altogether Now underneath it, which they could have just about got away with when it just sounded like a vaguely touchy-feeley tune; now they're flogging their bank with a terrace chant. Coming next week: NatWest selling ISAs with "Stevie Foster/Stevie Foster/What a difference you have made..."

Of course, there have been many instances in the past of radical songs being denatured and co-opted by the other side: Desmond Dekker's Israelites rewritten as a ditty for stuff that wasn't even butter ("wake up in the morning/wanting some breakfast/what margerine will I put on my toast?/oh-oh... Vitalite"); Labbi Siffre's So Strong was brutally robbed of its heritage as a pained serving of warning on the white South African government that they could never defeat the demands for black recognition when it was slapped over an advert for a brrm-brrm car; and now another Aparthied era song has been covered in piss and flogged for a few quid. Eddy Grant's demand to "Give Me Hope, Joanna" may not have been the greatest of the Botha-bashing singles, but it was no less important for that, playing its own part in keeping up the pressure on the Aparthied Regime. Now, though, it's been bought up by a yoghurt company, and reworked as 'Give Me Yop, My Momma' - complete with a horrible cartoon effect visual. What makes this worse, of course, is that Yop used to have a perfectly servicable jingle all of its own - "It must be Yop!" - which I suppose we will never hear again. (Presumably because to keep it honest, it would have to be written as "It could be any one of several over-priced yoghurt drinks.")

And we can't even begin to understand the Areva advert, which shows lots of energy related things happening to the strains of Funky Town. We don't know who they are, or what they do, but from the looks of the sector they seem to be in, 'Funky Town' is a bit of a stretch - 'humdrum suburbia' might be a bit closer to the mark.

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