When the music dies ...
There was a time, in an age long before drive-thru dry cleaners and stuffed crust pizzas, that I was something of a performer.
Not a very good one I hasten to add but a performer nonetheless and one that was often seen, microphone in hand, in some of the less salubrious bars and pubs in towns and villages across the land.
If there was a karaoke on, I would be there, usually fuelled by a pint or six of whatever was a pound a pint that week, along with a year’s worth of pork scratchings or scampi fries. Singing would be to overstate it but there was one tune above any other that would always be at the heart of my repertoire - The Leader of the Gang by Gary Glitter. That was then because, as we know, the music stopped abruptly for Glitter when he was first arrested for possession of horrific images and, ever since, he has rightly become one of the most reviled figures in the land.
I have not heard one of his hits for well over 20 years because a) I don’t really feel comfortable tapping my feet to the music of a convicted paedophile and b) not a radio station in the land will play his tunes.
We now often hear the question whether the art can be separated from the artist, due to a fact that a number of high profile performers have found themselves in the dock. Now, arguably the biggest star of the past 40 years, Michael Jackson, has been reportedly dropped from the BBC Radio 2 playlist following fresh revelations in another documentary, which focuses on allegations from two men who say they were abused by the late star when they were children.
At the time of writing, it is just one radio station, albeit the most popular in the UK, that isn’t playing his back catalogue but it will be interesting to see whether others follow. Throughout history there have been a number of public figures who have had huge question marks over their character, yet people don’t always shun their work.
It seems to be the trend currently that famous sexual offenders are systematically removed from public view but will it ever be acceptable to listen to or even sing their songs again?