Tagged: Campaigns

Raging Against the X Factor

Fantastic. It’s Christmas Day again. You’ve stuffed your face with turkey and all the trimmings. The Christmas pud nearly set fire to the curtains (again). Crackers have been pulled, and various family members have insisted on taking embarrassing photos of you wearing a downright silly paper hat. You’ve just avoided a minor civil war over whose turn it is to do the washing up. You’ve opened all your pressies and expressed your dutiful delight at those horrible socks you seem to get from your auntie every year. Your uncle is now snoring in the only comfy armchair in the room, and you’re desperately looking round for a way to escape The Great Escape on telly again. Help!

Someone turns the radio on. You groan, knowing that, today of all days, all that will be playing will be schmaltzy, saccharine seasonal pop and horrible manufactured Simon Cowell/X-Factor tat. But wait! What’s this?

The DJ is playing the Christmas number one, and suddenly the living room is full of the sound of righteous rage, ripping through the speakers and terrifying your granny. “FUCK YOU, I WON’T DO WHAT YOU TELL ME! MOTHERFUCKER!” yells Zack de la Rocha fiercely, making your prudish auntie blanch as you sit there, grinning secretly at the sheer fabulousness of it all.

Actually, the very idea of Rage Against The Machine getting the Christmas number one is not as far-fetched as it may seem. In fact, it’s a very real possibility this year, due to the sterling efforts of Jon and Tracy Morter’s Facebook group and the Rage Factor! online campaign, which have been supported by hundreds of thousands of British music fans already and have raised thousands of pounds for charity in the process.

Reacting to the truly ridiculous fact that, since 2005, every British Christmas number one single has been by one of Simon Cowell’s X-Factor pop nonentities, and to last year’s very nearly successful campaign to get Jeff Buckley’s definitive version of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah to the top of the charts instead of Alexandra Burke’s reality show recording of the same song, this year’s campaign clearly demonstrates how many people are heartily sick and tired of the same old bland pop music dominating the charts.

When I was young, there was always a mystery and excitement about who was going to get the Christmas number one. It was very rare that there was an obvious shoe-in for the position, unlike the situation in recent years. It would seem that I’m not the only one who would like to see a return to the good old days when we would be glued to the radio at 7pm on the last Sunday before Christmas, breathlessly waiting to find out who had won the coveted Yuletide top spot.

The campaign has rapidly caught the imagination of internet users, as well as those in the real world, and has attracted  comment and backing from musicians and celebrities including Bill Bailey, Phill Jupitus, The Prodigy, John Lydon (yes, that John Lydon), Stephen Fry, Ross Noble, Skin (Skunk Anansie), Enter Shikari, Matthew Wright (!), Lenny Henry, Fall Out Boy, XFM, Kerrang! and Metal Hammer magazines, Five TV and countless other mainstream media outlets. It’s taken on a life of its own – and maybe it’ll work this year…

So, to ensure that the Christmas airwaves are full of the festive sounds of Rage Against The Machine, you need to buy a download of Killing In The Name from one of the many digital providers listed on the Facebook page here any time between today (13th December) and the end of next Saturday (19th December)- and also visit the campaign’s JustGiving page to donate to the vital work done by the homeless charity Shelter over the Christmas period and beyond.

You know what to do…

UPDATE: WE WON! Yep, Rage Against The Machine’s Killing In The Name is officially the 2009 UK Christmas number one, by at least 50,000 copies! And, in the process, Rage fans have raised more than £75,000 for the homeless charity Shelter.  Great to see the music talking for a change – and a job well done by all involved…

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The Third Runway – A Victory of Sorts?

I’m wondering if it is really true. I’m wondering if this really is victory – because no-one seems quite sure either way yet.

After all the campaigning and letter-writing and protesting, and after the government’s controversial decision on the matter, the ‘announcement’ that BAA will not be submitting plans for the third runway at Heathrow before the 2010 general election slipped out with barely a whimper last week in an article in The Sunday Times.

As one of the thousands of people who live under the Heathrow flightpath and who have been involved in the various local campaigns against the third runway, I should be dancing in the streets and cracking open the cooking champagne as a result of this apparently new decision, but, if anything, it’s left me feeling even more confused than before.

The final decision on the third runway was always going to be a complex and controversial one. Any financial and economic benefits of its development had to be weighed against the impact of a new runway on the lives of the communities in the immediate vicinity and under the wider flightpath of the airport. Or at least that was the theory, anyway.

Of course, when major projects like this are in the planning stages, the agencies involved (whether of big business, government, or – in this case – both) will always make lots of colourful and seemingly sincere noise about how they intend to listen to and take on board the views of ordinary people, particularly those who live locally to the development, and about how this type of consultation is an essential aspect of their decision-making process.

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