This is why I love rock music – not just the music but the fans. People like this are my people – and this is the best thing ever – well done Italy
I, like millions of others watched in awe at the absolutely amazing opening ceremony of the London Olympics this past friday night. I am will freely admit am not a great writer but this wonderful piece caught my eye and I think is only worthy of saying what we all want to say – By John Robb at louderthanwar.com
However, as a Brit transplanted into the US we watched the coverage on NBC – nothing special there really – at least there shouldn’t have been. It was only later that this came to light – that NBC had decided an interview with Michael Phelps was ‘more of interest’ than a tribute to the people who were murdered on 7/7 by Al Qaeda in London – see the Daily Mail their piece on this (apologies for that particular source but theirs is the most populous article on this).
Sorry let me just repeat that – A dull interview with one of their competitors was far more of interest to US audiences than a moving tribute to the 52 people killed in multiple terrorist attacks in London in 2005. 52 innocent people who died due to an act of terrorism don’t make good airtime. Unless of course they were Americans in which case I am sure NBC would greatly analyze a 2 minute segment with further commentary and specials – perhaps rightly in the interest of their main audience – but not at this time.
I don’t mean to mock any tribute to victims of such awful atrocities – no matter what their nationality. I stood silently in tribute when so many people lost their lives on that horrible day in September 2011 as did millions all around the world. We continue to remember that day not just every year, but daily – especially now living in NY we are constantly (and rightly) reminded of the terrible crime that was committed that day that changed all of our lives. The United Kingdom were first to stand up and support the US’s often controversial military actions after that day. We didn’t question anything – our armed forces reacted and stood alongside the US troops. Further to that many ordinary citizens around the world donated money to the support funds to help out where they could. The world stood by the USA on that day and continue to mark that day as you do.
After that other atrocities in the name of terrorism continued – Madrid’s train bombing, attacks in Istanbul, Egypt, The Philippines, Algiers, Denmark as well as countless continuing attacks in Iraq all at the hands of Al Qaeda. And of course the attacks to a city I know and love – London. I remember that day in 2005 – the first reports of possible explosions in tube stations I used so regularly – the initial lack of panic as it was thought to be something trivial. Then the second report of an incident and the escalation. Then the bus exploding – the pictures of the blood all over that building. The realization and the panic that London was now on that horrible list. And the pictures of the victims everywhere – the injured, the dead – it all brought it back from just 4 years before.
I know full well that America rallied behind the UK that day just as we did – arms across the ocean, best of friends and so on. And I know that the majority of America if they knew NBC’s decision would be as outraged as I am. This is an absolute insult – if the games had been in the US and a tribute a part of any such ceremony – no matter where that was in the world no one would ever consider such an atrocious act of insensitivity, ignorance and disregard for the memory or feelings of the people of that country. It is beyond appalling that they should even treat their response so glibly with Greg Hughes – the spokesman for NBC – stating so nonchalantly “our programming is tailored for the U.S. audience. It’s a tribute to (opening ceremony producer) Danny Boyle that it required so little editing.”.
And as if proof be needed of their dedication to the US audience, the subsequent coverage has been so grossly in favour of Team USA that it is laughable. Don’t get me wrong – a national broadcaster should have a bias for their target audience – but in a country with so many people of foreign nationalities and ancestry living here I would have thought some deviation from the All-American team be available – however all team sports broadcast are only including Team USA and Individual events again have a heavy bias on home efforts. Gold winning brilliance if not by the USA is given a fleeting glance whilst silver medal results are exalted and covered like they were world record winning performances the likes of which we have never seen before. Do NBC not realize this is a global competition?
Did I also mention their coverage of the athlete’s arrivals? I swear the commentators were armed only by a copy of the CIA handbook for guidance on the countries as they came out onto the track. I’m sure it’s far more important to hear about the political land disputes certain islands have had than their sporting achievements. And let us not forget Bob Costas’ controversial personal agenda against the IOC. And incidentally, would it not kill NBC if they must have commentators to at least learn to pronounce countries names properly? ‘Eurogway’ is not to my knowledge how you pronounce that proud South American nation participating.
If NBC need to edit for advertisements and interviews (and remember this was not live but a 3 and a half hour delay after the event – which brings me to why not live?) they should at least have the common courtesy to be sensitive to their countries allies. They should remember this is a world event and not a chance to blanket cover every moment the US participates like it is of complete global importance. And they should forget that the ‘N’ in NBC stands for ‘National’ – if that is your total agenda then the IOC need to immediately revoke your broadcast rights to this wonderful competition.
The Olympics has always been a chance for the world to compete together in peace and harmony – a chance for sport and competition where politics are firmly left at the door. It is not for NBC to use as yet another excuse to show America as being so great and the rest of the world so apparently inferior – including those supposedly of your nearest and dearest. I appreciate the need for US interest in their home team but honestly at the expense of the memory of those who were killed ? That is beyond disgusting – words fail me of how low you sank. For shame, NBC – for shame.
So since the news has broken about the planned closure of 6 music, this undiscovered little gem of a station has suddenly been thrust into the media on a huge scale. Public outcry and response has been amazing – a facebook group with just shy of 130,000 members, many of whom seem active and vocal and are busy complaining to anyone with an ear (myself included) which I am sure simply reflects the type of listener to 6 – a station hosted by people who genuinely love music (see how many are actually musicians themselves – Lauren Laverne, Guy Garvey, Huey Morgan, Bruce Dickinson, Tom Robinson and Jarvis Cocker for starters) and who play to people who are genuinely passionate about music.
In a way, this whole debarcle has brought out something wonderful – I am reminded of a rather daft film called airheads where the lead guy from the bands outs himself as a nerd in front of a baying crowd, whereupon many also admit to their geekiness (including a wonderful cameo from Lemmy who admits to ‘editing his school yearbook’) and thus a unity is discovered and being different is cool. 6 Music is just like that – we are all the musical geeks with more CDs and Vinyl than sense should permit, we hurl abuse at ‘chart shows’ on the TV (I once threw my Pizza at the TV as I was so disgusted with the banality of acts on Top of the Pops) and we tend to go to ‘gigs’ and not ‘concerts’. We are the uncool kids who could quote lyrics ad-infinitum, who study every album sleeve on purchase and the people who can love a piece of music so much it hurts. And 6 Music is our home – a place we are accepted and a place we can unite – and that makes us – and it – cool.
Whilst it is unjust to place judgement on the listeners of Radios 1 & 2, I do get the impression that surely a large percentage of their audiences are the more unenthusiastic and surely less discerning. Certainly with radio 1 to an extent, it is a station akin a canteen where you are fed whatever is on the menu that day – aka the playlist – not of course ignoring that 6 has a playlist also but the difference is 1 abides by its playlist, almost depends on it, whereas 6 has a more relaxed policy – just a few tunes played sporadically throughout the day and virtually no repetition. So thus we can maybe deduce that listeners to 6 are likely to be more radical, free thinking, adventrurous and enthusiastic whereas possibly your radio 1 listener is more happy to accept what is given, more obedient perhaps?
In light of this talk of a public demonstration are rife with many offering to attend. Many are also spending their time making logos, planning action, spreading the word which is all good stuff and I am quietly confident should a planned demo go ahead, just by the nature of the average 6 music listener (if indeed one should exist!) that a strong turnout could be achieved. I guess the passion the listeners have for music they have for the things they hold dear so could be the very thing that makes this campaign successful – I certainly hope so.
Anyway so far so good – just be interesting to see how strong the support is after the weekend, though I hope it remains as strong as ever. Also great is that this publicity is suddenly bringing in a boat load of new listeners which can only do good!
Just a last observation of 6 music listeners – passionate, adventurous, loyal, enthusiastic – I guess that makes us better lovers too!
It has been well publicised that Mark Thompson of the BBC has proposed as part of their cutbacks to close down BBC 6 Music. Now for any of you out there that understand even the slightest bit about my love for real music and haven’t come accross 6 Music before you are missing out on probably the most perfect station there is and something that is part of my daily life. I’ll not go into one of my passionate monologues about why this should not happen, but instead will attempt to offer something for the many people out there who are against this travesty to do something constructive.
Now what I will not do is claim credit for any of the first ideas but just iterate them to maybe a new audience – most of this information has been gathered from the facebook page dedicated to the cause set up by Tracy and Jon Morter, so credit to them for starting it and the 100,000 + members who have contributed.
- State your views to the BBC Strategy Review Comittee or mail them directly
- Sign the Petition
- Get all your facebook friends to join the facebook group – visibility of numbers will count a lot and is being reported all the time in the media at the moment
- Especially if you have never listened before, tune in using your computer to 6 music – the more people listening, the more the BBC will realise the popularity of the station – plus I hope you will discover this little gem and thank me!
- Complain to the BBC directly
- Support the early day motion in parliament
All the above is well and good and will do a lot to help the cause, but I also believe a more visual and well planned demonstration would certainly get excellent media coverage, gain further support and show how strong we believe that this heinous crime to culture is not permissable. Several people on the facebook group have mentioned this and I believe a couple are planning to demonstrate as early as today, but to make this effective it needs thought and proper planning with the authorities.
Things that need to be considered
- Timing – We need to pick a day – people have mentioned 6th of June (6th of the 6th) – significant to the cause, but too late – the decision will be made by the trust on the 25th of May. To allow time to plan properly and gain enough participants I suggest the 15th of May – a Saturday and 10 days before the decision is made. Also allows enough people to plan to get there (like me as I have to fly back to the UK for this!)
- Location – a march to BBC Broadcasting House in Portland Square makes obvious sense, but a small route to march would be better for gaining support. However all considerations should be made for avoiding problems with traffic – we want to win support, not gain enemies
- Although we are effectively supporting the establishment we need their support too so full cooperation with the Metropolitan Police is obligatory. A form 3175 needs to be filled out and more information can be found at the dedicated page on the Metropolitan Police Site
- Make placards, banners – there are plenty of resources and pictures available again at the Facebook group for this
- Absolutely this must be a peaceful protest – any aggro and the station will be dropped and lose valuable support. But I am sure we are all too nice for that!
- Get Support of musicians and other high profile people – if we can get them to participate, we’ll get more media interest
What else can be done?
- Your favourite band forum – if you discuss anything musical on the net, post to gain support – especially if its a band you have ever heard on 6 and would never hear anywhere else (and by my reckoning, that’s a shedload of bands).
- Mail your favourite band members and ask for their support – I wonder if we could even organise a benefit gig to tie in with the demonstration?
- Flyers – if you have access to print flyers, go hand them out on a Saturday and gather support
- Badger your local MP to address this in parliament
- Get all your mates and relatives to sign the online petition – it’s my birthday later in the week and I’ll be asking people to do this instead of buying presents for me – best birthday present I could wish for anyway is 6 music not dissapearing
– and I am sure there are many more things that can be done, but for now I hope this sparks some inspirations in people. This obviously needs discussion and a focal point for it all, and the facebook discussion place is great but may alienate non-facebook members, so maybe an independant discssion forum could be suggested?
Feel free to comment on this page if you think its a good idea, and thanks for reading. And Save 6 Music!!!