Sunday, 1 November 2009

There's So Much Brown Stuff...

It appears that Stephen Fry has had enough of Twitter. A follower described some of his tweets as “boring” and Stephen decided he’d had enough.

“Think I may have to give up on Twitter. Too much aggression and unkindness around. Pity. Well, it’s been fun.” He wrote.

Although the comment was fairly innocuous (there are worse things to be called than boring – just ask Danyl Johnson) I have a certain sympathy for the man. His ongoing battle with mental illness is well documented and when you are in a temporary weakened state of mind, over-reaction of some sort is to be expected. He has since stated that he might reconsider and has commented on the fellow who left this message with ... “Feeling terrible for that poor guy. He had every right to call me boring. Not his fault it caught me at a vulnerable time. Pls be nice to him.”

The reason for this latest response is that the man who called him boring has been inundated with hateful tweets himself. Cyber bullying anyone? In fact it has rapidly become clear that a social network site like Twitter has the ability to take bullying to a higher level. If you were ever bullied at school you might have had to face down a handful of fuckwits, but on twitter this can be magnified a thousand fold.

When you “follow” people like Fry, who have more than a modicum of wit and a few brain cells to spare, the world of twitter can be fun and frivolous (and we all need a dose of F&F from time to time), but in the hands of a man/woman-child with all the feeling of a tree stump it can be quite dangerous.

Which takes me back to Danyl Johnson. For those of who you break out in the hives at the thought of watching X-factor, (I am an unapologetic fan of the show and you can blame Hughie Green) he was the contestant on the very first show of this series whose audition earned him over 6 million hits on Youtube. His most recent performances on the show have apparently earned him comments on twitter such as, “most hated contestant ever”, and “more hated than Hitler”.

Oh, puhleeeze. (See me? I am so down with the kids)

You’ve got to think that anyone who posts comments like that has just turned 21, grown their first pubic hair and has gained just enough social graces to know that you should take the dishes out of the sink before you piss in it.

In the real world we can take time to realise this, but in the rarified atmosphere of one of the nation’s favourite TV shows it’s not so easy to make such a judgement. And judging by Danyl’s performance on X-factor last night, these comments are getting to him. He was, it’s safe to say a glimpse of his former self and as someone who enjoys watching talented people and who thoroughly enjoyed his first performance it was incredibly sad to see. Danyl, you’re better than that, dude.

It seems that people are determined to dislike the man. Tweets were posted last night that questioned whether or not the below-par performance was an act to gain sympathy. And some of the gutter-press noted that no, he’s not bi-sexual, he’s gay. (This rumour has been posted to damage DJ’s rep because it seems that the great unwashed in this country can only take to a gay male singer who comes out after he is successful) Can the man sing? Yes. Do we really give a shit who he consents to play hide the sausage with? No. This is me sending a big GROW UP to the twats who thought it was important to write this nonsense.

What has gone wrong for Danyl? After that first show he was a shoe-in for the title. In fact, they should have just given him the cash and the contract there and then. Since then, of course he has earned the sobriquet of “most hated”. WTF is going on?

My view is that you can blame that uniquely British mindset that has us build people up and then once we feel they are too big for their boots, shoot them back down. There is a certain habit of thought that has many of us thrill at someone else’s professional and personal demise. It’s not smart, it’s not clever and is quite frankly a mindset that holds the nation back from truly being successful on the international stage. Gordon Brown should ignore his fiscal policy for a few months and invest in a nationwide hypnotherapy course that gifts us with the ability to fully celebrate individual success. It’s too easy to blame the media, they can’t work their vileness without a strong degree of collusion from the public, but I wouldn’t be too far off base if I suggested this programme began with certain elements there.

How did we get so stupid? And who gets to decide the Stupid Agenda? C’mon people it’s time to grow a (few thousand) brain-cells. Or at least attempt to work with those we have.

Sheesh, I’m getting too serious. Back to the X-factor. The attention Danyl received initially meant that many of the knuckle-dragging, window lickers out there felt he had to be pegged back down. How dare he be so good? That’s so not the British way. Just ask Susan Boyle. Although, to be fair, we have gone back to loving Susan.  (Or has that changed again. I so can't keep up)

Also affected by all of this are the twins, John and Edward. They have received the opprobrium and praise of the British public in equal measure. Jedward, as they are known appear to be great kids. However, to be brutally honest, they cannae sing and they cannae dance. During last night’s performance they forgot the words, got in each other’s way and looked like the very definition of amateur hour. Take any two boys from any playground in the country and I’m sure they would be every bit as talented as these guys. What they did do, however was give it everything they had. They poured their joint heart and soul into their performance, they enjoyed every second of it and for that they have my admiration.

Week after week on the X-factor, Jedward receive cheers and jeers in equal proportions. It appears we like a tryer (no matter how – with apologies - talentless they are) just as much as we like to knock down the successful. Remember Eddie the Eagle? In any other country he would have been derided at worst; ignored at best. In the UK he became a national hero. Which is kinda nice and sad at the same time. See me. Seeing both sides of an argument is a curse I tell you.

Anyone want to write a thesis entitled How TV Reflects the National Psyche? With a sub-theme of Do the Media Reflect or Direct? Oh, shit let’s not go there. Who’s got the time? I’ve the X-factor result show to watch.


  1. the current national psyche is too dark a place for me to roam!!

  2. OK, you've made me feel sorry for Danyl. Even though I don't normally waste my money by voting on any of these shows (though I am glued to the tv on Saturday and Sunday evenings) next week I will vote for Danyl, OK?

  3. I was wondering how Danyl was doing. I agree they should have just declared him the winner on that first performance. Alas, bashing the successful is a global custom especially those who dare to be superb on the first try. No matter what the underdog's talent - he garners the attention. Maybe Danyl will now be the underdog and regain his votes. Sad.

  4. As an intellectual aesthete, I have absolutely no idea what you're talking about here Michael.

  5. Uh-oh, I called Bill erudite on my new website, lol. Doesn't that make him more intellectual than artiste?

  6. Thank you, Catherine. Yurrapal.

    Marley, Bill is so brilliant he can call himself any number of erudite, intellectual aesthete just being the least of it.