Monday, May 03, 2004

BANK HOLIDAY MUSIC TV: As we sit here, watching Britney's Onyx Hotel on T4 and understanding why she's selling so much merchandise on the tour (it's pretty dull, and we'd be wandering off looking for something else to do - maybe it's more exciting to actually be there?), we're trying to recall if anything musical on TV this weekend has challenged BBC Parliament's rerun of the day democracy died (twenty-five years to the day, they're reshowing Decision 79 in full - it's frightening how much like Alan Partridge Michael Cockerill looked back the day Thatcher won power), and we're concluding that, really, no. Saturday night saw BBC round off its otherwise blameless Music Live week in Belfast with The Beautiful Night, which seemed to have artists chosen by getting a contestant on Ken Bruce's Popmaster to name as many Irish acts as they could think of. ITV did a double dose of Stars In Their Eyes, adding a soap special to the kids' special: they're all special at the moment, probably so nobody gets to feel their feet are in the permanent presenter shoes left vacant by Matthew Kelly. Seeing Dead Barry off Eastenders being Meat Loaf was no real shock, but evil Cilla from Corrie turning into a frigteningly accurate Kirsty MacColl could have had us warming to her. Lukily she was back doing her lopsided guilty face and being mean to Les, a dog and Chesney (in ascending order of cruelty-to-dumb-animals meanness) the next night and that soon evaporated.

Sunday night's Faith and Music was always going to be tricky, coming straight after The South Bank Show on Jeanette Winterson would be a hard enough slot, even if it wasn't filled with Terence Trent D'arby. It'll come as a surprise to many that he abandoned a pop career - only in the sense of leaving thousands of unsold records behind him, surely? - and he was an odd choice for the programme which has rapidly used up all the actual devout pop stars willing to talk about it in public. "He is a very spiritual person" puffed the Bob Harris voiceover, like a heathen couple desperately trying to convince a vicar why they should be married in church and not in the registry office above a branch of Hepworths. The best bit, though, was the attempt to suggest that the belief that D'arby had been wronged when he was portrayed as a raging egomaniac. To put those days behind him, he'd changed his name. To Sananda Maitreya. So, to prove he was no big head, he chose to rename himself 'saviour of the universe.'

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