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Our Crack Snapper

snapper.jpg Snapper: The trouble with artists sponsored by The X Factor, Britain’s Got Talent and The Voice is that they are prey to the kind of propaganda that encourages people to believe that the future is a cover version denuded of context
 

I, naively, assumed an artist was someone who worked hard for years and years to learn their particular craft; I didn't know the term could be bestowed on a person ten minutes into a light entertainment program. Is this an example of our accelerated culture or just gross stupidity? I tend to the latter, I’m afraid. Not because I think karaoke singers can’t be artists, and, let’s face it, they can’t, but because it supposes that singing and hoofing is a valued addition to the skills people need in modern Britain to prosper, and, more insidiously, that hard work is for the mugs among us who are not artists (mugs who are put on this earth to serve said artists). It’s a strange tag to give someone who is destined to flame brightly for one six-part series and then burn out into probably richly deserved obscurity – hopefully gaining an idea about what a real artist is by reading Scott Walker or PJ Harvey’s life story on Google during the dead time between takes and learning in the process that most artists are more interested in their craft than with the various baubles thrown their way by tat makers and advertising execs who are unwittingly making late capitalism resemble the last days of Rome. Real artists don’t wear bling, dress like catwalk models or give money to Help for Heroes. Some of them even pay their taxes, take their kids to the local school and hate anything that smells of The Daily Mail. And, shock horror, some of them actually work at their craft for years and years without any reward and, unlike light entertainment’s narrow definition of what an ‘artist’ is, do more than just sing and dance. The trouble with artists sponsored by The X Factor, Britain’s Got Talent and The Voice is that they are prey to the kind of propaganda that encourages people to believe that the future is a cover version denuded of context and, thus, conviction. The implication? Original material be damned! These naïve hopefuls also deeply misunderstand what an artist is or can be, and rather than being forced by TV producers and researchers to go on telly and sing karaoke should be looking to the work of Kate Bush, Grayson Perry or Jeanette Winterson to understand what a real artist is. Karaoke has its place, as do premium rate phone lines, rigged votes, and the views and opinions of people like Tom Jones and Jessie Jay. But then again so does art that isn’t based on the common denominator or sold in family friendly chunks in a game show waiting for a thumbs up or down.