06 November 2007

The Ghost glides by, hitting everything in his path

We all have our heroes. And they will all inevitably let us down, some day.

Stephen Walker, otherwise known as The Ghost Who Talks was one of the reasons that I began listening to 3RRR, all those years ago.

His show, The Skull Cave which still broadcasts every Friday evening, is still one of the greatest trips through music that you can go on.

And if you know how to do it, I fully recommend that you somehow record his show when it's on next off the webcast and listen to it on your MP3 player. I must learn how to do this one of these days.

Anyway, Mr Walker now has a blog at The Age online. He writes well, normally. Just the other day, I was telling one of my mates about a great post where he was exposing roots music lovers for the reactionaries that they are.

But like I was saying, sooner or later, all heroes fall on their arses in one way or another, eventually.

The offending post was this one from last week, where Walker let fly at the ARIA awards night for the fact that it was crap.

Yeah. Award nights are rubbish. We knew that.

But rather than offering something new, Walker unleashed tired and derivative observations about the night that were uninspiring in their insipidness.

I'm going to take the lead from one of his commenters, Evil Roger, who picked up on the unoriginal theme and ran with it.

Firstly, Walker chose to make the observation that, "Music award shows are so formulaic aren't they?"

Wow. Talk about leaving yourself wide open. Roger let him have it with one barrel, but kept the other primed for the big stuff.

He next criticised the compere, Rove McManus, for being an "entertainer (not a musician)". Interesting. Last I looked, entertainers' jobs were to do this sort of stuff. His point about not having a musician in charge of proceedings was baffling, in light of a later observation that he makes.

However, we will continue. Walker then proceeds to criticise the "moshpit" down the front, right down to the "Moshpit Coordinator" who appeared in the closing credits. Walker has a point about this, but conversely, I'm going to give the organisers points for this. I so wish that the next Oscars night has one of these.

In other words, Walker was right. It's so very, very, hide-under-the-bed-and-cringe lame. But it's a thousand times better than all those music awards nights where people just sit in an auditorium waiting for their name to be read out and then feigning complete crystal meth breakdown while their one hit rings out across the gathered throng.

So what else does Walker poke fun at?

"...A succession of awards calculated somehow or other by someone or other..." Bloody hell, Ghost. What did you think you were watching? Terminator 2?

"...A bunch of relatively inarticulate winners who snigger and mumble their way through a list of "thankyous" that are generally meaningless or indecipherable to the average viewer." And you thought that a musician presenting the awards would be a good idea? What were you smoking, Ghost? And where can I get some?

"...Oh and a couple of actual musical performances scattered through the evening." Just in case you though that he fell asleep.

Honestly, this review just blows. Walker somehow manages to combine the intellectual snobbery of the 'über-cool' inner-city music goer with the charming naïveté of someone who believes that award nights actually award excellence, or maybe that Spïnal Tap weren't a colossal joke.

Check out all those umlauts! ROCK!!!!

You could just pick and choose the clichés that Walker uses here.

And, if it wasn't enough to come across as the most pretentious review of a music awards night ever, Walker saves his worst for last with some of the most disgraceful cheerleading for "an intimidating" Nick Cave that you ever saw.

Granted, Cave was a worthy inductee into the ARIA Hall of Fame. I can't believe that I just said that. But as far as Walker's concerned, his surly and arrogant demeanour added some much needed 'tude into what was, to Walker, a wasted evening.

John Butler being "co-opted into a KFC advertisement"? Gimme a break. Any wanker who gets this sanctimonious about veganism while smoking the insane amount of weed that he does deserves to be taken down a peg or two.

Incidentally, didn't Channel Ten get exactly what they were after with their subliminal advertising? The controversy in the media named the companies involved so many times, I just had to laugh.

I normally quite like Walker's blog. And there is no army on the planet that can stop me listening to Walker's radio show.

But this post was an embarrassment for the Ghost. His only shining lights came late in the piece where he finally wrote something of merit about Gotye's, Butler's and Keith Urban's musical slots. He really should have watched that excellent doco on SBS instead.

Half a star.


Plonka said...

I'd settle for Butler being brought down a peg or two just for being Butler. And if he ever writes another "song" again it'll be way, way, way to soon.

It was a rather lame review though..

Dikkii said...

My thoughts on the tired and wheezing old genres that Butler mines are something that I might blog about some day.

Or not.

It's the fans of this old stuff who really shit me, not the performers. You know, the fans who say, "You have to love this stuff. You like rock and roll, don't you? This is what rock and roll came from and therefore it is good."

Butler, sanctimonious pig that he is, appears to at least be free of "artistic" pretence.

Plonka said...

I have to admit, grudgingly, that the man plays a pretty mean 12 string. But if I wanted to hear a 12 string played really well, I'd break out my vinyl and crank up some Leo Kottke. Or even Melissa Etheridge in a pinch.

I really do dig the old stuff, a fact to which my vinyl collection attests, but I have to say, all this talk about "roots" rock and how Butler plays "genuine" blues is a complete crock. Listen to Robbie Johnston (if I spelt that right) then listen to Butler... Poles apart they are, poles apart. He doesn't play real blues, he plays catchy tunes dressed as blues...

And all his talk about the evils of money and greed, yet go to his web site and check out the massive amounts of marketing he employs in order to stay wealthy. The man's a complete hypocrite...

This is turning into a rant isn't it? I think I'd best leave it there...:)

Dikkii said...

Nothing wrong with all of that.

I don't think that I can add to it, either.

Plonka said...

What's ascii for a self satisfied and sanctimonious smile?

Dikkii said...

Sadly, I don't think that blogger comments allow ASCII illustrations.

The Rev. Jenner J. Hull said...

(1) I'm hoping that the ARIA formed before our American counterpart, the RIAA. Because if the American version came first and didn't see or consciously choose the acronym "ARIA," then that proves, conclusively, that they are insufferable douchebags with no aesthetics.

(2) You have a very solid point, Dikkii; watching any awards show and complaining about it being lame is like saying "dogs kick ass," "old people are wrinkly," or "Guinness is better than Bud." This is exactly why I gave up on awards shows long ago (except the Razzies, which can be very, very hilarious).

(3) Why no likey Nick Cave?

Dikkii said...

G'day Jenner. Nice to have you back.

1. "...insufferable douchebags with no aesthetics."

Good question. ARIA is quite a great deal more "musical" than RIAA. I actually kind of hope that the RIAA did come first, because I still have a feud with them over the Jammie Thomas debacle, and would dearly love another reason to laugh at them.

Great line too, by the way.

2. The Razzies have an awards night??? This I gotta see. Imagine the red carpet special!!

3. Because he's an insufferably arrogant git whose smarmy demeanour has him pegged at more pretentious than a train-load of Lou Reeds and Laurie Andersons.

Having said that, I quite liked the following tunes of his:

The Mercy Seat
The Weeping Song
Jack the Ripper

I can take or leave the rest, but would have no hesitation in selling him out when the great unwashed rise up to lynch the "artist" class.