Tuesday, January 24, 2006


One of the moments in the compelling but depressing documentary The Corporation, which records how far down the transfer of power from society and state to private companies we've got, is some idiot burbling away about how great it is that you might hear people talking about something cool in the street, and not realise they've actually been paid to have the conversation to be overheard by you. That man, if he hasn't yet realised how skewed his moral compass has become and decided to make ammends by doing something more useful to the planet (shoving kohlrhabi up his own ass, for example), will doubbtless be thrilled to hear that Sony-BMG has been paying buskers £40 a throw to play Johnny Cash songs to promote the soundtrack to their Cash biopic.

(If you're wondering how the film came to be made, let's just say walking into a Hollywood studio and saying "Would you like to make Cash?" is probably the easiest pitch in the world.)

Obviously, if you were a busker you'd be in hard place trying to turn down a guaranteed payday, and you can't really blame them for it. And, while it's hardly as huge as some of advertising's stupid plans (firing a massive light into space to plug something, the Sheila's Wheels commercial, and so on) it feels like another little bit of ground being lost to the corporations.

The real surprise? This isn't the first time it's been done. And guess who came up with the plan?

Travis are credited with dreaming up the idea, which was then used to promote the Hugh Grant film Love Actually.

We're not sure how it was used for Love, Actually - perhaps they made the bouncers dress up in suits and mutter "I can play other roles, you know, didn't you see About A Boy, do I look too bored in this?" under their breath.