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Made in Shoreditch

I also contribute a weekly column to Made in Shoreditch magazine called 'Old East End/New East End', where I look at the relationship between the East End of old and new, looking at the changes and the stalwarts in landscape, residents and culture, focussing on one street or district each week. You can find it here.

Outstaying One's Welcome

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Watching The X Factor last night, for the first time this series, I could not help feeling that the show really is now like an unwanted homeless guy asking for change as you puff away outside a local boozer. It thinks it is far more entitled to your money and attention than it actually is and it hangs around, begging for your hard-earned until you move away (or, in the case of The X Factor, you stop watching - which it seems lots of us have done). It even has the tired, sad narratives before each talentless buffoon sings for their supper (this analogy works on many levels, I know) all the while expecting you to invest in it monetarily by paying over a quid's premium to vote on who stays. OK, so it doesn't then ask if it can steal one of your smokes once you shoo it away, granted, but then again, the homeless guy doesn't want over an hour of your Saturday night to listen to his wretched tales or warbling singing, but just half a minute or so before donation.

Simon Cowell - It's all in the marketing!

Indeed, The X Factor has become a lot less relevant (to use a phrase so favoured by its creator, Simon Cowell). Apparently it is suffering in the ratings stakes, which would affirm the aforesaid statement, and it may lose out to Strictly Come Dancing - always a pointless Saturday night event, at least The X Factor had its moment in the sun - this year overall. I think without Simon Cowell it is just not as entertaining personally. Yes, he is devoid of the slightest thread of moral fibre and says "look" before uttering a statement way too much, but the guy is bloody charismatic - like it or not. Playing the 'bad guy' and talking straight, Cowell gave the show a likeable villain; like a Jimmy Conway of Saturday night TV. Now he's been replaced by that absolutely personality-devoid fat bloke from Take That and, quite frankly, this is not satisfactory.

Anyway, back to the point. The X Factor has gone on for too long. Not content with taking up the whole of  every winter this side of 2004, it has now become a straggler of the worst kind. Maybe, the formula has just proved too, well, formulaic. The weird act who cannot sing (for this see Wagner and Jedward in the past and Rylan this year), the rags to riches story (for this see singing binman Andy Abraham and struggling single mum Rebecca Ferguson in the past and North East lad James Arthur this year, who amusingly mis-spelled insane as inane when tweeting in reply to Jermaine Defoe tweeting about him - see it here) and the stupidly named groups (previously see 4Tune and the hilariously lazily titled Girlband and District3 this year) have all begun to grate harder than a freshly-bought 'Ped Egg'.

Girlband - Wordplay wonder women

Like a recurring wisdom tooth problem, The X Factor is now an unnecessary pain in the molars we could all do without. Nevertheless, it will be the talk of that other pointless mass-marketed tripe medium; the tabloid. Nonetheless, cretinous Facebook friends aplenty will vent their disgust at Tulisa's comments about Kye Sones (what kind of bloody name is that?) and Louis kicking out some unfortunate wannabe. Regardless, culturally-bereft TV shows like ITV's lame breakfast show Daybreak will run features on who stayed and who went each week.

The X Factor has run its course, but you can be sure that Cowell and ITV will want to squeeze every last penny out of it. Instead of calling it a day to keep the show's place in televisual history unquestionable, they will run it and run it until it becomes about as wanted as another Only Fools and Horses Christmas special or another of Jeremy Clarkson's publicly-declared viewpoints. Those with good artistic sense, like Ricky Gervais, know how to say no to another series of something which has proven to be a huge hit just because it will pay well, however, the team behind The X Factor will take something which was a previously-enjoyable cultural phenomenon and turn it into television as Chinese water torture. Only when it becomes completely unprofitable will they stop.

The X Factor is dead, however it will live longer and longer in a vegetative state rather than doing the decent thing and buggering off I fear.

This kid must have been wishing these two would bugger off I imagine also.