Sunday, December 30, 2012

2012: A year in music

As sang by Big Brother One’s Craig Phillips in ‘This Time Of Year’, publications and websites are awash with what they believe are the best records of 2012 and over here at The Monograph we are no different…
Well, I say no different however but some readers will know by now that I am not actually a fan of music and therefore have no idea what the best albums are. In fact I prefer Frankie and Benny’s to Frank Ocean, Alton Towers to Alt J and flying ants to Flying Lotus. So rather than provide any insight, I’m basing my top ten on the best-selling records this festive period (with figures supplied by MTV).
House-wife and prisoners’ favourite One Direction start the sexy run down with the tenth best-selling album this year – which isn’t bad considering that they’re not old enough to rent Robocop. Their album, ‘Up all night’, which refers playfully to the night when they couldn’t sleep because they ate too many sweets, has been a surprise hit both in the UK and across the Atlantic with 1D now rivalling the successes of other British exports including Vinny Jones, Mad cow disease and Piers Morgan. ‘Up all night’ is unquestionably the album that these kids have been waiting to make their whole career…their WHOLE career.
Paloma Faith inexplicably comes in at number nine this Christmas with her second album, ‘Fall to Grace’. The record, which is presumably about a small hat or the smell of something or other in Camden, is a transparent extension of her unique style and exuberance. Indeed, I could say that artists like Paloma Faith are the back-bone of the British music industry, but if I did I’d be a liar . At number eight is Rihanna who, like Paloma Faith, is a woman. Unlike Paloma Faith however, Rihanna is awesome and whilst her choice in men leaves a lot to be desired the huge selling ‘Talk that Talk’ proves she is able to both talk the talk and also walk the walk. You’re welcome.
jessie j Best (Selling) Records of 2012BBC ones’ ‘The Voice star’ and legendary outlaw Jessie ‘J’ James takes the seventh position with ‘Who you are’. The title suggests a delightful assertion of self and also the second part of what I would say to her if I met her…with the first part being ‘I don’t know’. In addition to being a successful music star Jesse J is also the world’s first bi-sexual which, according to the Guardian makes her somehow ‘sexuallyy valuable to young teens’.
Mumford and Sons (or their equally middle class moniker ‘M&S) are in at number six with ‘Babel’. In truth, this record isn’t actually as bad as I thought – it is in fact much, much worse. The album , which is the sonic equivalent of beige, is named after the Tower of Babel which was built by man to get to heaven. According to the Old Testament God then, skateboarded down it and made us all speak different languages for some reason.
Bombastic, bloated and lacking in any real substance, it is pretentious idiosyncrasies such as the name of their album which contribute to opinion of the band being so split. But why do they rile some many of us – is it because they are articulate, successful and dress like 19th chimney sweeps or just because of their crippling mediocrity.
Like Mumford and Sons, Ed Sheeran is perfect for people like me who don’t have the time, energy or inclination to find anything better.
Because Coldplay are popular no one likes them, making it pretty remarkable that they managed to sneak into my countdown with the fifth best-selling album of the year. Mylo Xyloto (pronounced ˈmaɪloʊ ˈzaɪlətoʊ’) is the eighteenth studio album from the Southend punk trio. The band’s tiringly reclusive and media shy Chris Martin describes the record as a concept album influenced by HBO’s ‘The Wire’ (seriously) and standout tracks include ‘Bunk’s rap’, ‘Stringer bell: Louder than Hell’ and ‘McNulty’s funky bunker’.
At five is Lana Del Rey, whose rise to fame is comparable to that of Lily Allen – but American and therefore better. Lana massed 20,000,000 views on YouTube before someone thought, ‘shit, I can make some money here’ and snapped her up. Since then, she has been popping up giving lacklustre and questionable performances of songs that sounded better as 15 second snippets on adverts. In fact, her performances have been the subject of much debate drawing criticism from people on the internet like me.
ed sheeran Best (Selling) Records of 2012Next up and probably a firm favourite of the sort of people who say things like ‘dot com’ in conversation after words like ‘tired’ and ‘annoyed’ is Ed Sheeran with the abstractly named ‘+’. Ed revolutionized the musical world in 2012, wowing fans by playing his guitar as a guitar, but also hitting it from time to time like a percussive instrument. So progressive is Ed that this year he did the world a huge favour by covering ‘All along the watchtower’ with ‘Devlin’ – a song which, I think we can all agree, that Jimi Hendrix never really nailed. Like Mumford and Sons, Ed Sheeran is perfect for people like me who don’t have the time, energy or inclination to find anything better – making him kind of like the frozen pizza choice of music.
Despite being released in 2011, Adele’s ‘21’ is still the second best-selling album of 2012 and I fully believe she has what it takes to be remembered alongside other British greats like Dido, Beverly Knight and Martine McCutcheon…if she plays her cards right. Just pipping Adele to number one this year is Emeli Sandé who, for some reason now uses her middle name as a stage name. Emeli shot to fame by contributing the tuneful bit in Chipmunk’s 2009 ‘Diamond Rings’; a song which remained his biggest hit until his untimely death in 2010 when he drowned in a tragic paddling pool accident. Unphased, Emile continued to assert herself on the heartless industry by contributing the singy bits to other rap messes from ‘Pro Green’, ‘Tinie Tempa’ and ‘Wiley’. Emile eventually came into her own earlier this year following the success of her single, ‘Next to me’ which is currently being sang by no less than 50 buskers as we speak.
What a year in music.

Friday, June 08, 2012

The future's shite, the future's orange

Good day,

It would appear that the future is in fact not so bright…

I have been a customer of orange since 'snake' was on your contract phones so forgive me if I seem a little bit frustrated by my own the disappointment at your consistently mediocre service and this most recent episode. Let me go back some time, I was delighted when I was phoned by a member of your staff and informed that I was able to upgrade my phone and, in early 2010 I decided that I too wanted to ignore friends and cheat in pub quizzes so opted for an iphone. At the time the iphone 4 had been out for a few months, however not being technically minded I was unable to see any real difference between the 4 model and the 3Gs (a mistake I have learned to regret) and, always mindful of further economic downturn, redundancy and an inherent need to be frugal I decided to take 3Gs phone on an 18 months contract. 

Eighteen months on and my phone was like a horse waiting to be shot; it wasn't soiling itself or anything but was lagging, sluggish and reluctant to work. Sadly it seemed best to put the old girl out of its misery and so it was a good job I was at the end of my 18 month contract...or at least this is what I thought. You can therefore imagine my disappointment when I was informed that, unbeknownst to me I had taken out a 2 year contract. At this stage I must ask why anyone would think I would take out such a lengthy contact on a phone which I knew would be obsolete but, as I was unable to prove otherwise (as I did could not locate my contract and for some reason you do not keep contracts) I made my peace with this additional plight.

Six long months on and my two years of service were finally up recently so, like a good boy I set off for the orange shop only to be informed that it wasn't ‘quite’ two years yet as I had been allowed to upgrade three months early on my last contract. Allowed you say? I would say I was advised, or perhaps more appropriately coerced so to say ‘allowed’ seemed a bit much. Anyway, I wasn't going to let this dampen my spirits - after all, this is new phone day! I’ll just upgrade early again - get me a 4Gs and then probably sell my old phone in a pawn shop and get drunk with the proceeds. The poor girl in the shop looks at me, her face says it all: ‘Sorry Sir, you can’t upgrade yet’. My head swells with a noxious mix of disappointment, frustration and downright fury. Why on earth not? What’s wrong this time? What did I ever do to you? She responds with clear embarrassment and informs me that ‘Orange have changed their contracts and they no longer allow early upgrades’.

This is where I get a little cross, you see I have been 'allowed' to upgrade early for the past 7 years. It was suggested to me in store that early upgrades were customer 'rewards', however we both know that it is merely a ploy to keep greedy customers in contract. Whether this is a contractual obligation, it is unquestionably become common practice and protocol and to simply go back on your own terms and promises is nothing short of lousy as well as reminiscent of a certain political coalition.

As it stands I believe that you have broken the terms of your contract with me and therefore I have decided that I no longer intend to adhere to my contract with you. Please respond with an acceptable response and explanation promptly or I will cancel my contract. Rest assured I will happily be taken to court with this. Or just let me bloody upgrade?

 Kind regards,