Rage Against Christmas
A Rant by Richard Bull on this Christmas debacle

In the immortal words of Noddy Holder: “So here it is Merry Christmas, Everybody’s having fun”. My, my, if only it were that simple.

A few weeks ago a thing popped up on my Facebook page suggesting that I join this group. You know, one of those typical Facebook bullshit things that people send saying “This is a group for people who like to have lemons for eyeballs” or something. But for once it caught my eye. Let’s make Rage Against The Machine number one for Christmas? Hmmm, I am intrigued. Go on. “Fed up of Simon Cowell’s… blah blah”. Well, yes, that was enough for me. I shall join. I want to be a part of your crazy gang.

And then I didn’t think about it for a while.

Then I started to hear rumours of a buzz. Something was actually happening with it. People were actually taking notice of it for once. And amazingly within a few days the members of the group had jumped into the tens of thousands. And then hundreds of thousands. Last time I checked it, it was at close to a million.

Conversely though, I did watch the X Factor final. Not for it’s musical merit of course but just to see what we were up against. Now, I have absolutely nothing against Joe McElderry but the thought of a karaoke version of an awful song being number one for Christmas is just not good. I am sure Joe is a talented singer but the work ethic of doing it for yourself seems to have disappeared (I could also rant about footballers wives here but, well, that’s not for now). When I was a teenager I was inspired by Noel Gallagher, Jarvis Cocker and James Dean Bradfield. They did it the real way. Say whatever you want about Noel Gallagher but he was working on a building site and he had Definitely Maybe already written in his head. Can you imagine that frustration? Noel may have been the inspiration to make me pick up a guitar but it was James that made me really want to learn how to play the thing. And Jarvis, well, I just adore his soap opera stories.

Anyway I digress.

Rage then did a live thing on the radio and swore like we all knew they would (Well, duh, that’s the end refrain of the song. You can’t really ask a band like Rage to say “Ice Creams, I won’t eat what you sell me”).

So, cut along to the other Sunday. I’d had a shit weekend and to make it even worse I tortured myself by listening to the entire top ten of the UK British singles chart. Believe me, it is a shitstorm. (Personal note – However, Journey were number 9 so that is just brilliant). And I’m thinking there is no way this will ever work. And then, Scott Mills does a pause before announcing the number two slot. Eventually he say’s “its Joe”.

I go absolutely apeshit. I never actually get to hear the song (Joe’s one), as I’m too busy firing up Rage, which I know will be on in four minutes anyway.

But, BUT. And this is where it may get messy. Is it very Christmassy? Well not really. But to some, yes it is. It is the defining moment of the year to most. And this will be the time when people remember that you do not have to accept whatever crap is presented on a plate to you (metaphorically). Does the song say anything about Christmas? No, of course not. But then again did Mr Blobby? Did Bob The Builder? Did even that really good version of Mad World by that chap whose name escapes me from the Donnie Darko soundtrack? No. Gone are the good days of the Christmas number one.

I really hope that next year we don’t have multiple repeats of this campaign as it will all end in tears. If there is to be another campaign it has to be for one song that everyone is behind. And whoever does that and in theory has a great song, it will not work. Unfortunately it will never be done again. It was a one off event that did get us all together. And also most importantly it has raised, as I write anyway, just over £90,000 for the Shelter charity purely in donations. And that makes me even happier than Not Simon Cowell being number one.

Most of the people I work with were not happy about it. But I am not happy with most of the people I work with.

And all this shit about Rage being signed to Sony is insignificant. No one was doing it to piss off Sony. No one was doing it to piss off Joe. No one was doing it to even piss off Simon Cowell. To be fair, the man is minted. And on the cover of NME. See, that’s how bad things have got. The point is to not just fucking settle for what is inevitable. Which is generic shit. The internet and television has made things a lot easier I know. I for one would never be able to do this in a newspaper as I couldn’t be arsed to buy a stamp. I wouldn’t even have the confidence to ask for one in a shop. Last time I tried I was bombarded by how many I wanted, which size book blah blah. It was terrifying.

I’m not even a huge fan of Rage Against The Machine to be fair. I’d have settled for Lady Gaga but things only work as much as you make them work. Merry New Year all.

I hope I made some sense.

Richard Bull