Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Gordon in the morning: Picking through the leftovers

Naturally, Gordon Smart is forced to the edges of his own section by the Britney story, which is left in the safer hands of US editor Emily Smith. At least in the paper, his marginalia is allowed the main stage. He's leading with a story about how great the new Robbie Williams stuff is.

Yes, like his boss and previous incumbent of the space, Victoria Newton, swore that Rudebox was brilliant.

Gordon, though, fails to live up to his surname:

I THOUGHT that ROBBIE WILLIAMS was supposed to be on strike?

Well, yes, but obviously he's got to talk up the stuff he's doing now - it's hardly going to bother EMI if Williams says he's withholding without anything to withhold.

Indeed, Smart seems to be part of Williams' negotiations with EMI, offering Robbie a chance to show his label bosses - supposedly - what he's missing. Smart struggles to decide if Williams is a clapped-out figure of fun, or a musical genius.

He's a figure of fun:
Rotund Robster

He's a musical genius:
it’s a Reason To Be Cheerful for Rob

He's terrible:
I’m not quite sure how you are supposed to know Robbie is on strike. He’s sat on his backside for most of the past year anyway.

He's wonderful:
And singing funky pop numbers is what Robbie does best.

He's rotten:
Apart from eating muffins and drinking coffee, of course.

Gordon's inability to decide if Robbie is a fat, washed-up, lazy nobody or Britain's leading musical talent seems to have been stirred up by Williams working with Chas Jankel. Smart seems unable to slag off Williams while he's working with a Blockhead, but at the same time is afraid to praise Williams new stuff in case it turns out to be as embarrassing as Rudebox is if and when it gets a release. Newton's creeping round Williams might have been pathetic, but at least she managed to retain a consistent approach across the length of a sentence.

We're not entirely convinced Smart has much more of a vague idea of who Chaz Jankel is, either:
Jankel was credited for the funk influences in Ian Dury And The Blockheads, who had a hit with the brilliant Reasons to be Cheerful, Part 3.

- which is accurate, but on a par with "The Beatles had a hit with a song called Love Me Do".


Ben.H said...

Rudebox wasn't just embarrassing, it also helped several thousand EMI employees out of work:

"The company is understood to have more than a million unsold copies of Robbie Williams's Rudebox album, which it will send to China to be crushed up and used in road surfacing and street lighting."

That's up there with the Atari 2600 ET cartridge debacle.

Anonymous said...

Arggh, I remember attempting to play that game...absolutely awful.

simon h b said...

Ben... the great thing about that Snopes story on the Atari cartridges is the pay off - that they flattened them and covered the site in concrete "to prevent looters". Considering the games were unsaleable at any price, who they hell were they expecting to go looting?

Still, it's pleasingly reminiscent of Benny Hill's grave

Anonymous said...

Considering the games were unsaleable at any price, who they hell were they expecting to go looting?

I know, right? Personally I find the uber-capitalism of such maneuvers both disturbing and entertaining. When I managed merchandise retail, we had to destroy damaged merchandise like stained t-shirts if we couldn't first sell them at heavily discounted prices; getting caught keeping the stuff was an offense subject to termination.

I often had to try to explain the company's thinking on this to understandably confused new employees while we marched the stuff to the mall's trash compactor:

"Basically, if the company can't profit from it, no else can even enjoy it. They'll see you in hell first!."

simon h b said...

It's similar to the way supermarkets make left-over food inedible, lest it be eaten by hungry people.

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