It had become a yearly ritual. And one that was becoming all the more tiresome...
'Popular' TV quiz show Never Mind the Buzzcocks has been going for years. One of the features that has stayed the same is its 'Identity Parade'. Here they invite a supposedly failed, washed up pop star from yesteryear to humiliate themselves in a bid to be recognised by the panel. Nobody comes out of it with any dignity.
Producers and staff from the show came and went, but you could always be sure that they would invite my client (and good mate) Jim Bob on to the show. For those of you who don't know Jim enjoyed a fair bit of success back in 90s in toptastic indie rock pop punk combo Carter USM. But more importantly back in the day he had a very long fringe. To be fair he was/is ideal for this part of the programme. Just think of all the brilliant haircut jokes the panel could make?
Jim has no delusions of grandeur. He knows he is not as famous as One Direction (to be fair he isn't even as famous as The Wanted). He is though a published author, and he still has a career. Why make himself a figure of fun? So year after year we politely said a short and sharp no.
When this years request came in I decided it was time to get something off my chest...
I hope you are well this sunny Friday.
Thank you for your email but I will cut to the chase like a man with a crazy axe. The answer is very much a 'no'. And not any old 'no'. A 'no' that is a little weary and sad. Perhaps this 'no' is even a tad disappointed.
You are probably wondering why Mr No. isn't full of the joys of this late summer's day? It may be to do with the fact that this is the seventh (I am guessing this number, but it seems as good as any and I like the number seven) time Jim has been asked. That may explain the lethargy of his refusal? Who can tell? Numbers aren't the easiest people to work out at times.
Anyway, I have always enjoyed Never Mind the Buzzcocks (especially the Simon Amstell period - did you see his sitcom Grandma's House? An underrated gem!). As a viewer though, and you as an exec producer I think we can both agree that the section of the show isn't always that kind to the person on parade. At times it's almost like laughing at a disabled person who has fallen out of a wheelchair. But don't feel bad - it isn't as bad or exploitative as the X Factor as you do things like pay expenses. Money can often change everything! You have to pay your own expenses to look like a banana on Simon Cowell's cavalcade of cruelness.
In my humble opinion I think Jim is too good for this part of your show. That sounds arrogant but I don't think that's a bad thing. At times I don't think the British are arrogant enough. We should say what we mean more perhaps? It hasn't done the Americans any harm, but I digress. You may not know this (why would you? You aren't God. You can't know everything!) but Carter still play sell out gigs at venues like the Brixton Academy. Some 5,000 people pay £25 British pounds to see them, at just that one show. In Scotland we only charge £20 as they aren't so flash with the cash up there. An amazing fact - they even headlined the Beautiful Days festival recently to 20,000 odd people. Don't get me wrong it was full of old crusty dudes but they paid over a hundred quid to get in. So not to be sniffed at eh?
Jim also has a successful solo career and is about to release his eighth album (I probably have that figure wrong too and Jim will sack me. Numbers schmumbers). He may not sell as many compact discs as U2 but he does what I would class as 'okay'. And unlike Bono he isn't going bald. Nor does he always wear sunglasses. If he goes on the identity parade he may as well say on the show "This is the only bit of publicity I can get to push my new album that nobody cares about. Please mention my new album, it will make the hilarious jokes about my old haircut all be worthwhile." But of course he couldn't say that because I don't think you allow the Identity Paraders to speak. Good job too ***. Most pop stars just talk rubbish! As it is though Jim already has a fair bit of publicity planned so I don't think we need to do this. I won't lie, it could be better. The One Show won't book him and that gets six million viewers. They are fuckers quite frankly. Six Music are a lot more amenable you'll be pleased to know.
The last thing to mention that Jim also is now an author and is onto his third novel, and his latest with a major publisher. This isn't 'Barry's Books' giving Jim 20p to write some load of old tosh. This is one of the big publishing guns giving him shit loads of money (he won't tell me how much exactly to avoid paying me properly) to write his new tome. You wouldn't find J K Rowling up on Parade. And now Jim is a published author I have a motto "Only do what the Harry Potter lady would do". I think this will hold him in good stead.
That is it from me you'll be pleased to know. Sorry for such a long response but before you emailed I was having to do something with numbers and budgets and it was hurting my noggin. I think I am doing that deflection thing my psychiatrist often talks about.
Anyway, have a great weekend ***. I hope it brings you happiness and general warm vibes.
Follow Marc Ollington on Twitter: www.twitter.com/MarcOllington