Sunday, 9 September 2012

Editorial: Art Fist Issue Nine editorial

There’s something incredibly sinister about the X-Factor. I could never put my finger on it previous years, but I think I’ve worked it out: the X-Factor is like a bad 1950s science-fiction novel. Imagine the concept: set in the dystopian near-future, a TV station gives the masses the opportunity to choose their pop-star for the year. The competition is open to anyone above the age of 16, the hopefuls are sent to an arena, where they perform a pop song in front of an audience who demand greatness or humiliation. The judges sit, like Roman Emperors, ready to give the thumbs-up or thumbs-down to those who dare to take the challenge. Like the best science fiction, this book would satirise the social and political system of the day, shedding a stark light onto our own lives, so we are shown exactly what we are, what we have become, and it’s not pretty. But, this is not great science-fiction; this is a bad science-fiction novel from the 1950s. Its satire is crude and obvious; its light is more of a dull flicker than a blinding glare. The idea that we all get a vote, but that we have to pay for it, with real money, the notion that we, as individuals, can effect change, but only if we pay, is somehow a reflection of the illusion of democracy that we find ourselves in. If we vote incorrectly, then the star is ditched (remember that Steve from the first series? You don’t?). But, it doesn’t matter, the process will begin again and a new star will emerge. So you see, it is satirical, just not very subtle.

If these arguments don’t convince you of the complete and utter sinister nature of the X-Factor, then simply look at this year’s hopefuls. At the time of writing this, a group named after the porn star Candi Rayne (only spelt differently), and some little cry baby sporting Ming the Merciless eyebrows and ill-fitting hats, have been booted from the competition. With the first lot, no doubt, appearing as wank-fodder in the next issue of Nuts and the little-hat prick presumably crying down the microphone is some working-men’s club; we have to look to the remaining contestants for our Christmas number one.

So who’s it going to be? That Jamie Archer guy? The one who’s “rock” and seems to draw at least 95% of his personality from his hair? I’d love to walk up to with some clippers and shave him: “where’s your personality now?” There would of course be no response from his stupid face except a sense of incalculable loss and humiliation. It would be beautiful. What about that cute one with the sob story, you know the one, or that one ‘who deserves a second chance’ or that girl who really wants to sing because it’s her life, and she was singing before she could speak? Or maybe, just maybe, Jonathan and Edward will win.

On the whole, I consider myself to be a calm, rational person, but when Jonathan and Edward come on screen dancing and swaggering like a bad parody of Denmark’s finest export, The Cartoons, something happens to me. Maybe its what happens to Bruce Banner before he turns green and starts smashing up the place, but I get this anger that starts to surge up through my body, a pulse begins to beat in my head and I get the desire to hurt them, I mean really hurt them. I’m talking barbed-wire-baseball bat off a steel cage hurt, I’m talking tables, ladders and chairs. This Saturday, on pay-per-view, Jon Cronshaw takes on Jonathan and Edward in our main event: a no-disqualification, hardcore extreme match-up in the steel cage. I’m oiling up my pythons as I type this, hell yeah! I have to say that I have never known two people as annoying and sinister at the same time as Jonathan and Edward. If they ever remake the Shining they would be cast to replace those creepy little girls, only to be replaced mid-production after the director’s anger boils over and he hits them with the steel chair from the top rope. I hope they win.

Originally published in Art Fist magazine, 2009.

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