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Is T in the Park’s safe line-up actually a risk?

Geoff Ellis

Geoff Ellis

The announcement of the T in the Park line-up has been greeted with disappointment from most quarters, with festival head honcho Geoff Ellis accused of playing it safe after last year’s event failed to sell out for the first time in recent memory. On the face of it, it looks a sensible enough move from a strictly business point of view. But does the unimaginative bill actually represent a much bigger risk for the event than the organisers might realise?

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I Love to Hate You

Hate is a very strong emotion. Genuine, feral hatred of another human being isn’t, to put it mildly, all that nice. We are all guilty of the continual misuse of the word. We at ELM do it, in a mock-narky, psuedo-aggresive ‘how did that fanny get a record deal?’ jealous rage. It’s all fun and games till someone loses an eye, I suppose, but we genuinely don’t wish any real harm on Dido, except maybe a long-running sore throat.

Look at the world of TV and the critical kicking Horne and Corden are getting just now. True, they may be massively over-exposed and tediously omnipresent in our lives at the moment, but I’ve heard they are nice to their Mums and that the fat one does have more things in his repertoire other than a high-pitched laugh and a huge wobbly belly. The point is you don’t hate him; not in a way you’d hate George Bush or George Galloway.

So, I’ve been wondering, why do we do it? Why do we invest so much passion in fake enmity? Music is so powerful, so private and public and objective and subjective and difficult that when you love it, when you really really love it, it annoys you that people don’t see what you see. How can anyone prefer the anodyne bombast of Razorlight ahead of the chiming beauty of Yo La Tengo? Why would you put a Green Day record on ahead of the Clash? What sort of human muppet would own a Duffy record but not an Aretha Franklin one?

But it’s not just that. It’s fun to pretend to hate essentially harmless people. Think of the amount of perfectly justifiable frustration you can spill out against people who have the temerity to make bad music. Amy MacDonald, Paulo Nutini, Lily Allen – these people are crap, but they are successful, so it’s fair enough so long as we don’t rob them of their dignity (which is impossible in Allen’s case as she does it to herself, she does, her and no-one else.) I’m sure they can cope with a bit of a slapping when they are taking to the stage in front of thousands of idiots (see, sometimes you just can’t help yourself.)

So let’s hear the acts you love to hate, that you actually take pleasure in despising. Let the first ELM Hall of Shame be filled!