Idols & Idiots

Let’s go back in time now to when you sat glued to Top of the Pops waiting for your favourite band. Or the time when you camped out all night just to get front row seats at that big gig you’d waited so long to see and you’d cheered at the top of your voice and couldn’t speak the next day.

Remember when you got older and you didn’t want to pay so much for tickets? But you bought them for your kids instead and complained they never used to be that much when you were younger.

The natural progression of turning into an old git comes to us all. With every generation the cycle repeats and we turn into the safe, responsible, slightly older people we are today. This phenomenon usually takes place in your mid to late 30s, when you start moaning about the rubbish played on the radio and the kids of today.

So what do you do when you’re caught by the firm clasp of old git syndrome, like me in your early 20s? You seem to spend half your life frustrated by the so called musical idols of today acting like idiots and doing anything but getting on with their job and playing music. After all it’s what their paid to do.

You only have to turn on your TV or glance at the front page of the tabloids to find the various stars and singers hitting the headlines for yet another drugs problem. The prime suspect here is ex Libertines and Babyshambles front man, Pete Doherty, who’s constantly facing prosecution on various drug charges. Add to that list George Michael, Amy Winehouse and The Streets’ Mike Skinner who have or are currently battling similar public drink or drug problems.

Drug-plagued musicians are nothing new. Back in the days of free love and psychedelic celebs in the 60s performers like The Beatles and the Rolling Stones were known for their enjoyment of such substances. The harsh reality was realised for some with the accidental overdose that resulted in the death of guitar legend, Jimi Hendrix. Drugs were more accepted back then, than they are today. However, the irresponsible individuals that currently litter the charts are still left with adoring fans despite their idiotic and illegal antics.

Drug misuse is only one of the many problems within parts of the music industry. It is also increasingly worrying the number of artists I see behaving badly on stage in front of hundreds of teenage fans. This has been very evident recently whilst going out reviewing several live shows around the UK recently. The first band in question are Bowling for Soup, an American pop/ rock band who’ve recently visited England for their ‘Get Happy’ tour, though some fans were far from happy when the music turned into childish antics for cheap laughs. Whoever thought it would be funny to get a teenage boy from the audience, to perform the Jackass-style stunt of kicking the bass player in the groin, was very wrong.

Stunned looks and uncomfortable expressions spread throughout the room. They had managed to get a laugh from all the under 16s, however the older members of the audience were not impressed.

It was surprising when the same stunt was re-enacted at Fall Out Boy’s gig at the Manchester Apollo a month later, the only difference this time is that the MC copped a kicking instead. Admittedly the audience, consisting of chaotic and violent school kids, found this hilarious and shouted for more. Then as the music resumed the audience continued pushing, crushing and trampling each other. To clarify for us oldies, this is regarded as a new form of ‘dancing’.

Is there any wonder why kids are battering each other to bits in the audience, when they’ve got violent stunts acted out by their musical heroes, which are passed off as being ‘a bit of fun’? The fun stopped when children in the audience were being trampled and having to be lifted to safety by Fall Out Boy’s security team.

The problem is not a question of being old and out of touch. The reality is that bad behaviour is not acceptable in any form on any level, whether you’re a rich rock star or a young music fan. It’s a shame that kids sometimes don’t reject the ideas that their idols present. Many celebrities in the public eye either don’t realise or don’t care what their behaviour portrays to impressionable young fans.

Maybe one day when the youngsters get to their early 20s they’ll realise their idols were just idiots after all.

– Charlie Barker

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