Let Down By The BBC

Let Down By The BBC
Image: Treehugger

I opened the curtains yesterday morning to see an inch of snow had fallen and more was falling thick and fast. I’d planned on going into town to get a few extra Chrimbo pressies, enjoy a large cappuccino and chocolate pastry and read of the paper, but one look outside and all my hopes were dashed in an instant. I wasn’t going anywhere. Had it been a Monday morning, I would have been hacked off at having to tread out in it, but as it was, I simply got dressed, enjoyed a nice breakfast and got to work.

Today is Monday and nothing much has changed. The snow has stopped falling (in Leith, anyway) but it’s thick and chaotic outside, and very shortly, I have to venture out in it to get to work.

But back to yesterday. As you know I made a list of things I had to get through and I was pretty successful in the main: I caught up with most of my blogs, prepared the Christmas newsletter almost to completion (there’s something new I want to add in before sending it out), worked on December’s Ranfurly Review and caught up with all my outstanding gig reviews. Why didn’t I get the full list ticked off? Time; I simply ran out of it.

This evening my priorities will be to finish up and publish the Ranfurly Review, publish the newsletter and get my Chrimbo pressies wrapped and under the tree.

So, John Cage never made it past the number 21 spot in the Christmas chart. Very disappointing, although it was good to see other challengers doing better. There was a lot of venom spouted across Twitter and Facebook after it was announced; some people didn’t get it or just wanted to start flame wars.

The bottom line is this: Simon Cowell has lined his pockets by fulling half a million people into buying a record from a nobody, and by doing so has further crushed the creative spirit that once existed in this country. There is no room for genuine, hard working, talented acts, only for pre-packaged, hyped up short term losers. This country buys what Cowell tells it and they think it’s quality. Where, oh where, is the free spirit and wild abandon of the 60s, 70s and 80s?

I didn’t get involved in all the flaming but I did find time to write a letter of complaint to the BBC. My complaint centred around the fact that they didn’t give the record due time or recognition either as a legitimate chart entry, candidate for the Christmas no1. slot, or as a genuinely true and positive artistic statement. They played less than 30 seconds.

Here’s the letter:


I would like to complain about the clear level of bias shown on BBC Radio 1’s UK Chart show this evening, when the full radio edit version of John Cage’s 4’33” was not played to its full length or reasonable length of time.

I tuned in specifically to hear this track, because as a supporter of the Cage Against the Machine campaign, I wished to hear it played in the context of the chart show, given it had been almost entirely ignored by the BBC since its release and up until that point.

There are some in this country that would argue the license fee is too great. I am not one of them. I am proud of the BBC and am happy to pay the license fee, because even although I do not always agree or enjoy the opinions, viewpoints, type or standard of programming, or indeed, the lack of quality programming, I do believe that the BBC is fair, strong and unbiased in its handling of matters of general importance to large percentages of the population. The BBC has in the past been happy to give equal voice to all sections of the population, but not tonight and it is this that is at the source of my complaint.

As such, I was disgusted this evening to find that John Cage’s 4’33” was only played as a short extract and not given the true recognition it deserved, either as a legitimate chart entry, candidate for the Christmas no1. slot, or as a genuinely true and positive artistic statement.

To this end the BBC should be ashamed of itself, and I ask that you respond to this email to confirm why the full (or at least 90% of) version of 4’33” was not played of this track, excluding fade-in/fade-out and the usual DJ chit-chat that we usually have to put up with.

Yours sincerely,

Colin Galbraith

They have 10 days to reply by email so we shall wait and see what they come back with.

Right then, I’d best get those tennis rackets tied onto my shoes and head on out into the snow. Wish me luck!


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About Colin Galbraith

Keen runner, thriller author, Madness fan, Mets fan, St Mirren fan/owner, rabbit tamer, outstanding fake faller. Loves cannolis & espressos. #LFGM
This entry was posted in Edinburgh, Editorial Comment, Music, Publishing and Marketing, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Let Down By The BBC

  1. Dave says:

    They cant play a 4:33 record of nothing Colin. The emergency system auto kicks in if they have more than 30secs of silence and starts playing a pre-recorded programme.

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