Saturday, February 24, 2018

Old Grey Wistful Test

Old, grey and gone, just like most of the participants and audience. So it's been 30 years since the last OGWT and about 40 years since I last watched it. BBC4 dug up the carcass last night in a mixed evening of bad conversation and good performances as they set about framing their version of history. Strangely it was Gary Numan who fared the best with a convincing if bizarre set, something I didn't expect to like but did. The past remains a strange place, best left in a box or a box set and displayed for only reference and not to be pored over and dissected. Most interviews fell flat too, turns out that all drunk musicians want to do is ramble on a bit about their careers and their latest low-key project, never saw that coming.

Twitter resounded with live complaints and praise, who and what was excluded, who and what was included. Where was ... ? Nobody could be happy with everything and the poor editors must've had a tough time shoveling in what they could and cutting what they did. Not enough women, punk, fusion, jazz, new wave, historic moments and genres displayed; all  excluded or overlooked they moaned via smart phones, "feckin' hippies" being the whipping boys. They're all close to correct but it was at best just a magazine style show and subject to BBC culture and journalistic taste and preferences so there's a limit. Sadly the bitter truth is that live music (rock, pop and the rest) struggles to convince on TV. You can't put artists in boxes, play big tunes through tiny speakers and get all the best camera shots in 40 minutes of rounded 21" screen action. Except for Alice Cooper maybe.

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