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Thursday, 17 December 2009

A Sting in the tale

Sting. Where did that come from? I mean Reg Dwight becoming Elton John I sort of get. At least it's a proper name, although someone once warned me never to trust a man with two first names (Rory Stewart take note).

But how in all of God's fair creation did Gordon Sumner morph into Sting?
Is it just me, or is there something just a little
prétentieux about giving yourself one name. Like Jesus or something. I mean even Elvis had two names and he was the king. Maybe that's why "Sting" always looks so bloody "smug"? Bono's just as bad, although much more annoying - his whole save the world routine is really begining to grate (you're a pop singer you daft ejit). As as for The Edge - what the fek? Get over yourself.

Can't fault the man's music though - Every Breath you Take remains genius. Nor can I question his views on the X Factor where he recently argued, rather eloquently, that the show
encourages contestants to "conform to stereotypes" whereby they are either Mariah Carey or Whitney Houston or Boyzone and as such "are not encouraged to create any real unique signature or fingerprint."

He goes on to suggest that the X Factor judges themselves have no recognisable talent apart from self-promotion and advising them what to wear and how to look. In short, he says it "has put music back decades."

Which rather got me thinking. Is the book industry any different? After all, you can't write a thriller these days without being better, like, or worse (heaven forbid) than Dan Brown. And if you write an even vaguely successful spy novel, you're by definition the new Le Carr
é or Fleming. Children's fiction? You know the answer as well as me. The publishers are at it too, pushing "the new Martina Cole" or claiming that someone is like Andy McNabb, except that this writer actually writes his books.

Which rather begs the question, if the book industry is like the X Factor, then who are the judges? Well my vote (ba-da-boom) is with the book retailers. After all, they pretty much call the shots these days. They can make or break a name. And you certainly don't want to cross them.

So who's who?

- Sharon Osborne = Woolworths - no longer with us but remembered fondly
- Louis Walsh = WH Smith - fallen on hard times recently but comeing back strongly
- Danni Minogue = Asda - friendly, if rather overshadowed by older sibling (Wall-Mart)
- Sheryl Cole = Amazon - people's favourite and the one all the other judges / retailers secretly want to be like

- And Simon?
Tesco of course. At the end of the day, their opinion is the one that really counts. And they have a terrible 1980's haircut / logo.

The supermarkets / judges have always been very kind to me so I can't complain. Maybe I'm part of the generation that has seen the book industry go back decades, although I don't see anyone else doing what I do? You tell me.

Gordon, either way, I'm with you. (Although I still can't forgive you for mangling the role of Feyd-Rautha in Dune..)