Saturday, September 3

The nicest guy in the music business.

You're a musician; you're probably in a band. You work away for ages, writing songs, rehearsing, and very, very gradually getting good at what you do. When you get very good, you might be able to get to the stage where you can consistently get fifty people through the door at your gigs. Then you can start making a bit of money: maybe forty or even fifty quid a gig, split between you and the rest of the band. If you play in some other city, you might even make enough money to cover your petrol money. Then you might get a bit of press attention, and even some interest from a small record label or two. Eventually, after years of hard work and probably thousands of pounds of expenses, with a lot of luck and a lot of talent, you could be performing in front of talent scouts for major labels. Maybe. And a tiny, tiny fraction of the tiny, tiny fraction who get that far might get to play in front of someone near the top of a large record label, someone with the power to put millions of pounds into making you a pop star.

There is another way. Thanks to Simon Cowell, all you need to do is queue up for a while. Sure, it's a long queue; people wait overnight. But still. That's all you need do: no rehearsal, no gigging, no having to chuck drunks off the stage, no abandoning gigs mid-song as the venue gets flooded, no being fleeced by dodgy promoters, no spending a fortune on sending hundreds of demos to people who'll throw them straight in the bin. Just turn up, queue up, and you get to skip the years of hard slog most famous musicians went through, and just walk in and perform in front of a panel of judges who have the power and money to get your first single straight to Number One.

And people complain.

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