I HAVE no idea who is number one in the charts right now. I am going to have to look.
OK, it’s Cold Water by Major Lazer (feat. Justin Bieber and MØ). I don’t know who Major Lazer is, but he sounds like me at 11.16 on a Sunday. Maybe it’s a band name. I have no idea. I know who Justin Bieber is, but I don’t think I could pick him out in an identity parade. I have not a single clue how MØ is pronounced.
Similarly, ask me to draw a picture of Drake and I would be baffled. Drake is huge. Drake dislodged Bryan Adams’ record for longest-running UK number one. He may even have succeeded him as number one for all I know. Drake could sit next to me on the bus and I would just tut and think, “Now I have to put my bag on my lap.”
It’s because Top Of The Pops is not on the television any more. Thirty years ago, everybody knew who Robert Palmer was. Your nan would say, “Ooh, I saw that Ronnie Barker on Pebble Mill. He’s a well-turned out young man.”
But famouses are not what they were. The media are fragmented. When we had three or four TV channels, if you were famous everybody knew who you were. Now you can be incredibly famous and beloved among a small sector of the public, and virtually anonymous outside it.
A couple of weeks ago I walked past Waterstones in Liverpool. There was a LONG queue outside, with more young women than there are in the Guiding movement. They were waiting for a signing by Tanya Burr.
No, me neither. But my nine-year-old daughter knows who she is. Tanya Burr does a lot of baking. She is a British YouTube star with three and a half million subscribers. To put that in some sort of perspective, that hated rag which still employs Kelvin Mackenzie, and which sells close to zero copies on Merseyside, has a UK circulation of around one and a half million.
Drop Tanya Burr into a room of pre-teen and early teen girls, and you would be able to hear the squeals on Jupiter. However take her into the Jumper and Ferret on Barnsley high street and you wouldn’t be able to hear the shrugging anywhere because shrugging is silent. But there would be a lot of it, even though Yorkshire people are not very demonstrative.
Drop Tanya Burr into a large square in front of a public building and she would draw a very big crowd, jam-packed with people who think she is the best thing since sliced bread, which would be ironic given her specialism. They would be bashing about saying, “Isn’t Tanya Burr great? Everybody here thinks she is great and there are thousands of us, so we must be right. It is literally INCONCEIVABLE to me that this gathering of people here is not representative of society at large.”
And if you were say to them, “Well, actually, popular as she is among people like you, she is actually not popular out there. I mean, she seems very nice and everything, but there is no way I would vote for her as Prime Minister,” they would be baffled.
And they would say, “Hang on a second. Have you been using this example of a massive gathering of like-minded Tanya Burr fans as a way of explaining to Corbyn supporters that just because they have big rallies full of people who really like Jeremy Corbyn it doesn’t mean that there are millions and millions of people out there who agree with them?”
And you would say to them, “Yes. I am sorry for tricking you into reading this.”
And they would say, “Yes, but I saw a thing on The Canary that said Tanya Burr invented unsliced bread 30 years ago but neoliberal Big Baker suppressed her invention, and it’s only now that bread in its natural form is being allowed to flourish.”
And you would say, “Was that ‘flour-ish’ a play on words?”
And they would say, “No.”
And you would say, “Look, a) bread has to exist in its unsliced form FOR it to be sliced. And b) Tanya Burr is only 27 years old.”
And they would say, “Typical MSM twisting the truth by relying on provable facts. Look around you. Look at all these people. Are you saying Tanya Burr is not popular?”
And you would say, “No, I am saying she is very popular indeed, but only among the sort of people who like Tanya Burr, i.e. pre-teen girls, who are not representative of society as a whole.”
And they would say, “Well, we will see, won’t we?”
And you would say, “Yes. But I am right.”