Rage Against The X Factor Protests by Lawrence Piddock

January can be a very depressing month. Especially if like I, you’re faced with the prospect of going to work in the dark and going home in the dark. But it’s not all bad. Sure the weather’s just as cold and there’s the prospect of being snowed in just when you need to get somewhere, but there’s always that sense of something new which is particularly handy if the previous year’s been a bit rough. Another welcome aspect is that Simon Cowell is off the telly for a while, and that little spark of gold comes with an unexpected bonus.

What’s that? I hear you cry! Well, it means that you can go onto Facebook for the next few months and not have to be pestered by some campaign to get some poxy record to Number One for Xmas as an X-Factor protest. (More after the jump)

Before you start building my gallows and organising the lynch mob, give me a second. I hate it when anybody thinks that they’ve got a divine right to something. So I’m hardly going to be impressed by Simon Cowell’s assumption that the X-Factor winner is entitled to the Yuletide no 1 slot as a matter of course. However, if you go through the countless Facebook campaigns there’s an air of smug self-righteousness not too dissimilar to that belonging to Cowell himself.

Which is a shame really; I thought that Rage Against the Machine throwing a spanner in the Dark Lord’s works at least had an air of mischief and that three little words that seemed to be absent from both X-Factor and the Facebook campaign that spawned it… fun? I could even laugh at the thought of people buying a song that says ‘Fork you, I won’t do what you tell me’ in large numbers. Hell, as much as I found all the X-Factor protest groups on Facebook depressing I could even chuckle at the thought of John Cage’s 4’33 getting the top spot.

For this Christmas there were over a hundred groups dedicated to getting a particular song to number one, including:-

(Cue the 70s Top of the Pops theme with Tony Blackburn and Noel Edmonds trying not hate each other as they voiceover)

NWA – Straight Outta Compton
Slipknot – Duality
Electric Six – Gay Bar
Biffy Clyro – Many of Horror
(A soul-sapping, depressing song no matter who sings it and however it’s been named/renamed)

Johnny Cash – Ring of Fire
Florence & The Machine – You’ve Got The Love
(Ooh! Let’s show Simon Cowell that real music is about so much more than cynically manipulating a version of an old song to no 1… by …err… getting a cover version of an old song to no 1)

Eminem – The Real Slim Shady
Foo Fighters – The Pretender

And of course Surfin Bird which came closest and at least 15 groups dedicated to getting Metallica the top slot, in the hope of alerting our glorious nation to a little known band who due to the Tin Pan Saruman’s evil reign have only managed to shift a paltry 100 million units.

Rage succeeded mainly through the novelty value and the lack of competition. If you’ve got over a hundred groups campaigning for a particular song the chance of any of them sticking one over somebody I’ve mentioned too many times already are diminished. Obviously some of them are also the work of record labels and PRs who as part of time-honoured tradition have picked up on something after the event. Really, really sticking it to The Man, eh?

Maybe I’m being a teensy-weensy bit naive here but if people really hate a certain TV talent show featuring a certain person then maybe a better idea would be to ignore it completely, don’t mention the bloody programme, don’t mention the people taking part or the judges and their helpers. I’m aware it might take a while, after all it took three years before Big Brother* got the message, but it can be done. And then, hey, why not look at some of the other facebook groups that want to do something worthwhile? For a start there are plenty that are attempting to help local charities or keep advice centres open. I’m just trying to chuck a few ideas around, is all.

Job done, time to go on Facebook. Several ex-members of Rebus have sent me a secret package in Farmville… Pixie Geldof has tagged a photo of me talking to somebody else in Mahiki… hang on, what’s this? Oh it’s a group invite! ‘HELP MARCUS MIDI MIDI’s LITTLE DONKEY TO XMAS NUMBER ONE’. For pity’s sake, does this man not listen? I told him to release the damn thing in Easter when there’s no competition!!

Maybe some solitude is needed. I’ll go on MySpace…

* Word has just reached me that Endemol have just sold the rights of Big Brother to BBC Four. (Apparently we can expect a bunch of upper-middle class contestants and Julian.. Oops sorry, Lord Fellowes instead of Davina)