“We’ve got a brand new entry at number two. To explain more, here is Newsbeat’s music reporter Sinead Garvan.”
At least so said the BBC Chart Show presenter Jameela Jamil. I will stand in for Sinead for the time being and do as best I can to ‘explain more’.
No. I’m still not happy.
On the off chance that you popped by my blog a couple of days ago, you may know that the BBC didn’t please me this week, after they chose to censor the Official Chart Show, by culling a song from its broadcast on the grounds of ‘respect’ for one person, neglecting the fifty-thousand behind what they should have been reporting. You will also know that I didn’t want the campaign to get ‘Ding-Dong! The Witch is Dead’ to number one, in celebration of Margaret Thatcher’s demise, to succeed. This turned out to be the case, as 6:55PM on the 14th April 2013 brought the eagerly awaited announcement of the outcome: it charted at number two.
To be honest, I am disappointed. In fact, more than that. I think that it is the worst possible position.
The news, was presented as a news report (The full, if abrupt transcript is available to read here) in a very peculiar Newsbeat news flash, something we will likely have to wait a long time to hear again. Not since the deadly seriousness of the Military Wives hitting number one in 2011, or perhaps even the rise of Elton John’s ode to Princess Diana in 1997 has the Chart Show mood plummeted to such a solemn mood.
If the BBC can be given any credit, the clip of the song played lasted for an epic seven seconds, rather than the five seconds originally promised. That said, I was surprised by the fact that they even called the song its full title.
There is no denying that making it number one could have been even more fantastic fuel for protest in favour of free speech, that even some supporters of Thatcher have promoted, and have even encouraged the campaign’s success for this very reason, such as Conservative MP Philip Davies, and UKIP leader Nigel Farage, as a symbol of the free speech that she stood for. Whether those really were her policies is a different matter, as there are many who will disagree that that was her frame of mind. Either way, this would have been good. And as immature as it is, there are those who would have taken great pleasure in winding up broadcasters just that little bit more.
I think that BBC causing a fuss over a song outside of the Top 3 could have been a marvelous symbol of over-reaction and unnecessary censorship, damning them as the song was predicted to enter the charts at number three at the time. After all, it sold just 52,605 copies (miniscule next to the 500,000+ that Rage Against the Machine’s ‘Killing in the Name’ sold during in one week in the battle for the 2009 Christmas number one slot). The additional publicity caused by the BBC’s choice, that drove it higher in the charts, gives them a slight victory. A sort of ‘we told you so’ as it appeared so high.
Such lower positions could have caused what I said that I hoped for in my earlier post, and still do (making charts matter once more), but it is now something that will inevitably be remembered as nothing but a failure by a few cyber hooligans. Not as a bold attempt at a statement. Not as massive memorable controversy to represent a situation for years to come. Just one big puerile ‘nothing’.
It now holds the record for the shortest Top Ten single in UK chart history, clocking in at just fifty-one seconds, but it will remain a whisper amongst the shouts of other important chart events. Bryan Adams’ sixteen-week number one reign. Gnarls Barkley get the first download single number one. Rage Against the Machine top the chart. Remember that time that female Prime Minister died and people were singing a nasty song? Maggie something? It rings a bell, but… nah…
At least until Queen Elizabeth II follows the Baroness’ example, and it gets a mention when reporting a campaign to get this to the top one day. I wonder what approach the BBC would take.