Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Staff announcement: Raging against the machine required aisle 6

I've always cherished the memory of seeing a Rage Against The Machine fan helping his Mum do the weekly shop in Asda, wearing his "I won't do what you tell me" tshirt while his mam sent him up and down collecting Dairylea Dunkers and Bisto granules.

So it's with some delight to discover that Asda and Rage Against The Machine have come together again, as a member of the electronics department in the Fulwood store decided to stick on Killing In The Name during shopping hours.

Customers were not amused at hearing "fuck" quite so often as they shopped.

Which, of course, would be quite enough of a story for most people - Asda looked awkward and said 'sorry', plans to get Peaches to perform in the coffee shop hastily dropped. Everyone happy?

Well, not really. This is a storm in a teacup, and so it needs some stirring. I mean, won't someone think of the children?

a song peppered with foul language was blasted out yards from a children's aisle.

Just yards from the bit of the store where the crayons are sold? Will the f-bomb now be ingrained in those crayons, perhaps leaking out every time a curly-haired nipper draws a picture of Jesus?

That's good, but what sort of fuss is it if there isn't a completely spurious parallel drawn by a councilor desperate to get their name in the local paper? Could the Lancashire Evening Post find one of those for us?
Preston City councillor Jennifer Greenhalgh, for Garrison ward, said: "I am absolutely appalled. They have got to take responsibility, and that is not being responsible in any shape or form."

Coun Greenhalgh said the supermarket's gaffe is comparable to the recent scandal involving Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross, who broadcast a lewd answerphone message on BBC Radio 2.

She said: "It is insupportable and, like the BBC, somebody has to be held to account. Children now are open to all sorts, but to get it from Asda is ridiculous.

Yes, it's exactly the same as Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand, as someone who wasn't there is calling for heads to roll on the basis of a sense of wounding they can't quite justify. Children shouldn't have to have all sorts thrust at them in an Asda. Except in the sweets aisles, of course.

But look: the outrage is starting to wane - can't we add some confused self-appointed guardian of the nation's morals to try and keep this going?
John Beyer, director of Mediawatch UK, said: "Asda should issue a policy statement to say this kind of music should not be played. I have never heard of this before."

Yes, come on Asda: do as the bloke from Mary Whitehouse's old gang says - remove that policy which encourages staff to play songs featuring profanities. He has never heard of "this" (what? the song? people choosing their own music at work with unfortunate results? supermarkets? the 21st century?) before.

Naturally, Lancashire Evening Post readers - god-fearing clean-living types to a man - probably won't have heard of the Raging Machine band. Can you bring your readers up to speed?
In September, Rage Against The Machine, sparked protests after they were not allowed to perform at a political rally in Minnesota.

The left-wing rockers had planned to play at a convention called the Ripple Effect all-dayer, which was held to coincide with the Republican Party Convention. When prevented from playing the band marched through the streets with a megaphone, as fans chanted their songs.

Very, very possibly, those people chanted the song with the rude word in. Sadly, the Associated Press coverage of these incidents don't record how close the chanting crowds came to the children's aisle - nor, indeed, if they might have been secretly funded by Wal-Mart.

I'm not sure the Lancashire Evening Post believes that Zac and his mates will react to being thrown off the shuffle on the electronics store CD player by marching on Fulwood, yelling rudeness through a megaphone like some sort of fuming Ty Pennington, but they do seem to imply that might be a risk here.

Luckily, though, the paper indulges in a spot of investigative journalism: has Asda learned its lesson, or have they added Touch Me I'm Sick to the playlist?
When the Evening Post visited the supermarket, Asda FM – which broadcasts to all its UK stores – played a variety of family-friendly songs on the PA, including Love Me Do by The Beatles and We've Got Tonight by Bob Seger.

Isn't that Seger song about having a one night stand? Would MediaWatch approve of children having their ears stuffed with a song like that? I can't believe that at the crucial moment, the Post suddenly goes soft on premarital sex.

[Thanks to Simon T for the story]

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is probably about the right time to get into the elevator musak business. There's probably some lovely calming instrumental version of Killing In The Name out there on one of those cds near the front of your local Co-Op.

I'm quite glad nobody handed any of the scum at Mediawatch the full lyrics to the song. "Some of them that work forces are the same that burn crosses" probably wouldn't impress them much.

The funniest thing, of course, is that we're probably mere days away from the annual trotting out of complaints from the same sort of people about how their Christmas is being ruined/destroyed/taken away from them by people (who one never actually comes across in reality) "banning" Christmas songs everywhere (read: a single shop in Birmingham that nobody's been in for years where in fact they're not banning them at all, they're just waiting till Christmas week before they put on some compilation). Pot, Kettle... you know the drill. Ah, Middle England. You've got to love them (or they'll complain)

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