S.S.O.S. (Stop Spoiling Our Songs)

Wake up! It’s Rant o’clock!

If you live in the UK, and are of a “certain age” the word Nationwide used to mean this, a¬† magazine current affairs show – a prototype The One Show, if you will –¬†which ran from 1969 until 1983, airing on BBC1¬†every weekday evening straight after the news:

Ask anyone born after 1983 what Nationwide means to them, from a cultural point of view,¬†and they’ll probably say one of three things:

  1. It’s a Building Society, or
  2. It’s a Building Society responsible for foisting those godawful singing sisters upon us:

Answer: neither of you. She moved house years ago and has never told you where she is now, leaving you to record these hostage videos performed via a twee Glee-filter in an attempt to reconnect with her, just so you can get your greasy mitts on your inheritance.

(Ordinarily, I wouldn’t post the advert in question here, but these are so utterly irritating, I felt compelled to. You’re welcome.¬†Count yourself lucky I chose a really short one.)

Or:

3. It’s a Building Society responsible for foisting¬†really bad poetry upon us.

I could have picked any one of this seemingly never-ending series¬†to post here – they’re all absolutely shockingly bad. This one was the absolute Everest of irritating.

For a start, it’s such a piss-poor effort at poetry, that they even have to add a caption at the start to tell us it’s a poem.

It doesn’t rhyme (yes, I know it doesn’t need to rhyme to be a poem),¬†and it doesn’t scan either (yes, I know it doesn’t…etc etc).

“Laurie” and “Toby”¬†probably think an iambic pentameter is a Scandinavian device used for measuring shapes.

And then there’s the¬†face pulling at the end, saying “Look at us! (We think) We’re so cool and quirky and a hipster!”

I hate them.

Before I watched that advert, I’d never imagined an occupied¬†photo-booth being dropped from a great height into a metal crusher, so at least that’s one thing I’ve gained from it. Every cloud, and all that.

Don’t get me wrong. I like (some) poetry. But frankly, I’d rather listen to this chap:

And these adverts must have a detrimental effect. Surely the point of paying for advertising is to try and persuade people to buy your product, subscribe to your service, join your club, vote the way you want them to. If it isn’t, then Vote Leave could have saved themselves a whole lot of money – the¬†¬£7 million which they were allowed to spend in the build up to the 2016 referendum, the additional (almost) ¬£500,000 they spent¬†on top of that anyway, or¬†the ¬£61,000.00 they were fined on Wednesday, not to mention¬†the possible (if unlikely) jail sentences awaiting some of them.

But I digress. (No, you’re right. I couldn’t go a whole post without mentioning it).)

The point I make is that these adverts have the opposite effect to that intended. I simply cannot imagine that anyone has ever seen either of those adverts and immediately transferred all of their savings into a Nationwide account. Instead, many have moved their cash elsewhere rather than be associated with them (probably).

I suppose I should be grateful. At least we’re no longer subjected to adverts where¬†scantily clad women fellate¬†chocolate bars in an over-flowing bathtub whilst a lizard crawls over a telephone.

Indeed, “poetry sells” seems to be the new mantra in advertising executive land, for just like mould on a week-old Split Tin, it’s spreading.

Look, here’s another one, this time¬†for a telecommunications company:

There, did you hear it?

Not the poem,¬†which incidentally wasn’t written by the girl in the advert, but by some bloke from the Rattling Stick advertising agency. (Yes. I did some research.)

No, not the poem, but the song playing on the car stereo, which seems to have been specifically chosen to make us think she wrote it. It’s by a feminist punk/new wave/goth icon, living legend and national treasure, and yes, she must have given permission for it to be used in the advert, but I really don’t think that when she wrote the lyrics to Hong Kong Garden, Siouxsie Sioux was thinking “one day, maybe this will be used to authenticate words written by some prick in a pink shirt with the collar turned up.”

As it goes, we know exactly what she was thinking. This:

“I’ll never forget, there was a Chinese restaurant in Chislehurst called the ‘Hong Kong Garden’. Me and my friend were really upset that we used to go there and like, occasionally when the skinheads would turn up it would really turn really ugly. These gits would just go in en masse and just terrorise these Chinese people who were working there. We’d try and say ‘Leave them alone’, you know. It was a kind of tribute…I remember wishing that I could be like Emma Peel from ‘The Avengers’ and kick all the skinheads’ heads in, because they used to mercilessly torment these people for being foreigners. It made me feel so helpless, hopeless and ill.”

Fast forward to 2018. Right-wing extremists are on the rise again, in a country where¬†shaven-headed¬†thugs¬†give Nazi salutes at female Asian bus drivers¬†whilst knuckle-draggers protest that the founder of the English Defence League¬†was wrongly imprisoned (even though he had¬†pleaded¬†guilty for contempt of Court, after he live-streamed from¬†outside Leeds Crown Court –¬†which had the potential to cause a major trial to collapse – when he was already subject to¬†a suspended prison sentence for doing exactly the same thing at¬†Canterbury Crown Court).

Perhaps now is not the time to¬†associate Hong Kong Garden¬†with¬†a mobile phone network. Perhaps, just perhaps, we should¬†remember what¬†Hong Kong Garden actually represents instead, and then perhaps, just perhaps, we should¬†reflect that maybe we haven’t come quite as far since 1978 – when Hong Kong Garden was released –¬†as we thought and hoped we had.

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Siouxsie & The Banshees – Hong Kong Garden

Oh and by the way. If you’re going to use Siouxsie in an advert, at least have the decency not to use her as mere¬†background music. Nobody puts Siouxsie in the corner.

More soon.