Talent in a Previous Life

Because It's Never Just About the Music

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

The 88th Actual Worst Song, Ever 

Proud. In much the same way a small child who's just been successfully potty trained is.

Broadly speaking, the prospect of London and, by extension, the UK having the Olympics in 2012 divided the country into two camps. Some see it as a great opportunity to showcase Britain at its best, a chance to boost tourism and increase investment in business, while giving the nation something to get behind, celebrate and enjoy. On the other hand, if you're not actually a Government minister, you're probably more likely to consider it to be a complete waste of time, energy, and money, and a sorry affair only of interest to anyone who's daft enough to consider "Running quite fast" to be a skill worthy of celebration, rather than something that's only of any real use if you live in a street mainly populated by hungry cheetahs or have an inability to remember bus timetables. Heather Small presumably falls into the former camp, as we're sure that the motivation for her releasing Proud, both the official anthem of the Olympic bid and The 88th Actual Worst Record, Ever, was purely down to her desire to see the bid succeed and nothing to do with desperately trying to find herself once again in a spotlight that had long since vanished in search of someone more talented and worthy of its attention.

If you believe her publicity, you'd no doubt consider Heather to be big of voice, hair, and personality, though frankly substituting the word "annoying" for "big" fits far more snugly. Undeniably she has a unique singing voice, but so do we and, other than occasional late night sing-a-longs, fuelled more by alcohol than talent, we know better than to inflict our own painful warblings on to the public at large. She initially found fame with M People, a band for whom the phrase "Shite of the highest order" was surely invented but, as a quick glance at the album charts will normally confirm, the public seems to have an insatiable desire for shite of the highest order, no matter how unpalatable it may seem to the rest of us. Fortunately the coming of the 21st century seemed to clear that particular cobweb from their heads, as the last time they made any impact on the charts was in 1999 with Dreaming. No, us neither.

And there, of course, it should have ended. While Shovel periodically finds himself dragged out from his box to reminisce on the Hacienda where he used to DJ - we presume any M People tracks were off the setlist until it was clearing out time at the end of the night - we fully expected - and, indeed, hoped - that that would be the last we saw of the Small. Alas, we figured without Ken "Finger on the Pulse of Modern Britain" Livingstone who decided that she would be the perfect figure to front the campaign to make London an Olympic city and, when we think about it, perhaps he had a point, as she's certainly someone who has potential to get the whole country behind her. When she's teetering on the edge of a cliff, perhaps, or looking at the view from the top of a very, very tall building. Despite the clear awfulness of Proud, with it's cod inspirational lyrics and half arsed gospel influences, this approach somehow worked and it, along with a number of not-officially-bribes from the bid committee, managed to persuade the Olympic organisers that, yes, London was crying out for a large scale regeneration project, funded mainly by the taxpayer - Oh, and some sort of sporting event - so fully deserved the poisoned chalice of the Games.

What have we done today to make us feel proud? Well, we didn't write this song. That'll do for starters.