The death of everything

I had the misfortune to read the diary of Pixie Lott in today’s Guardian. I was drawn to reading it by the fact that they splashed big on this “exclusive” in their usually trustworthy Film & Music supplement with a huge picture of this young lady, and I took this to mean that she mattered in some way. Also, and I’m not playing dumb here, I had no idea who she was, or that she’d had a number one hit. (I didn’t even know she was a singer when I first saw her name, although the name itself had crossed my radar somehow. I certainly didn’t know she was British.)

So, I read her diary – and you may do the same here – which appears to cover two and a half months, from June to August, during which the Essex princess plays an industry showcase, goes to LA for an awards ceremony, makes a video, answers some stupid questions from “European journalists”, has her photo taken, goes abroad again, Tweets Little Boots, gets bronchitis and plays the V Festival: “Last year I camped there and I loved the whole experience, although it rained in the morning so I rang home because I only live 15 minutes away and I was like, ‘Dad, can you come and pick me up?'”

Except it’s not a diary at all, it’s an interview conducted by Paul Lester dishonestly presented as a diary, as if perhaps Pixie Lott wrote it or something. Anyway, it’s not Pixie Lott who offends me, yeah? (I’ve since listened to her number one hit and it could have been made by anybody – this is hardly front-page news in R&B-based pop music.) I’m offended by the fact that the Guardian thinks I should be interested in this bubbly, 18-year-old stage-school brat. If ever an artist needed some context, it’s Pixie Lott, who instead appears fully-formed in my newspaper, as if I should already know about her and care. Unless the whole thing’s an elaborate pisstake? I mean, listen to this:

“I’d love to move to London, somewhere central, near the action, where it’s busy and buzzy. I’m looking a bit 1960s today. Sometimes I dress more indie, or I might be hippieish, or classic and designery, or vintage – it depends how I feel. Nothing fazes me. That’s just my personality.”

Pixie Lott is 18. God help us if there’s a war.

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63 thoughts on “The death of everything

  1. I can't work out why the media focuses so much on attracting the demographic that are, presumably, meant to be interested in this kind of thing – aren't they, also presumably, supposed to be the self-same demographic that access traditional media the least. Why would The Guardian allow so much space to be used on someone of so little interest to the kind of people who actually go out and buy a copy?

  2. Last week the Observer provoked a similar howl from me when they ran a 'feature' on Pixie Lott's garden. That would be her Dad's garden, I assume (I wasn't as brave/curious as you and didn't read it.).I keep buying these papers, partly from habit and loyalty, but it's almost as if they want to make me stop.

  3. I kept ignoring he in the free papers, assuming she was pixie geldof. She seems scared of her belly button and wears granny pants to cover it. She's in the cover of fhm too. Her marketing machine is doing well.

  4. The Guardian is fast becoming unreadable, I suspect a brain drain is going on in the old medias, George Monbiot Goes Fishing, Youth Hosteling with Chris Eubank etc etc..Dont worry if theres a war, we can rely on America, Go West Collings, spread you're seed WEST… recognise our youth culture for what it is and what it always was.

  5. Starting to think that the Guardian is a bit like Woolworths it will go out of business because it is full of crap that people don't want to buy, and bacteria covered overpriced pick'n'mix. And when it's gone people act like it's the end of the world. There is room for a newspaper that has intelligent news in it. That doesn't seem to be the Guardian.They used to be able to get away with this kind of rot but it's actually a lot harder to get through the silly season now than it used to be because of things like twitter.

  6. Is there still a number 1 single? Why? I don't think it's age that detaches us from that stuff anymore, it's just that there are so many channels it's hard to keep up. How many "records" do you have to sell to get a number 1 now? How do they measure sales? Pixie who with the what now?

  7. Andrew, you have just outed yourself as a grumpy old man. Come on, join us by the fire, it's not warm out is it? Put on your cardigan and light your pipe, we've no time for smoking bans here. let me tell you a hilarious story about Johnny Rotten, them were the days…They actually were, even though I'm too young to remember em. This Guardian article – you have to blame the editor really for such a crappy lazy article. Any ole shite about some popstrel. Although as was pointed out she was featured in a gardening article in the saturday paper a few weeks back. She must have a very good PR company – or else the record label pays for lots of advertising space. Corruption? It certainly seems like an advertorial to me.

  8. I think we're safe, she's unlikely to get called up in the event of a war. It'll be much deeper into the conflict before they start to call upon the criminally insane…

  9. I've heard Pixie Lott's songs being played on Radio 2 but I couldn't, for the life of me, tell you what they sound like. Instantly forgettable disposable pop/pap. I really hate those laid-on-a-plate precocious stage school brats. I'm more of a Little Boots man.

  10. A few weeks ago the Observer Magazine was presented as a 'Gardening Special', with interviews and pictures of various celebrities, authors and professional gardeners about why they love gardening. The front cover of the magazine was a shot of the adorable Pixie Lott (who?). She was also the lead article in the feature, with several more very big pictures of her. But (as she was very willing to admit) she doesn't even like gardening, or have one of her own. She just goes round her Mum's or her Aunt's house and sits out in the sunshine.It was a huge scam / sham piece of reporting, that seems to imply that Ms Lott's management team have done some wonderful deal with The Guardian Media Group to promote her any which way they can, regardless of the content.This is a link to the online version… http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2009/aug/16/margaret-drabble-pixie-lott-miquita-oliverI recommend the last paragraph of Ms Lott's interview: Despite not being the Alan Titchmarsh of the pop world, Pixie still finds inspiration in the outdoors. "If I'm really happy or upset," she explains, fiddling with her trademark headband, "then that's when I want to write a song, so I'll go to the bottom of the garden and write down my feelings – you get the best lyrics when you are in the emotion of the moment." She's currently living with her parents but wants her own place in London so she can go dancing at Camden's KoKo without getting in trouble – she once told her mum she was at a friend's when she was really out clubbing. Her mum saw the photos on Facebook. Of course the key feature of her new place will also be her own outdoor space "with a pond and fairy lights and a pool", which, says Pixie, "will be wicked".Cath Rapley• "Boys And Girls", Pixie Lott's next single, is released on 7 September, and her debut album Turn It Up a week later.

  11. Yeah, Andrew commented on Little Boots in one of the Edinburgh podcats. She'd said something about "Not being just a dumb blonde" or summat. But she's alright by me as she's about the only celebrity I've seen getting on with the cooking on "Something for the Weekend" without saying "should I use this spoon?" and then tapping the food with a weak wrist.

  12. I don't object to her father's background, or even if she writes her own songs.What I find nauseating is that she sounds manufactured and her video for Mama Do with all those stage-school dancers really screams "disposable crap" at me. Plus all this PR-related guff assuming that anyone is interested in her life just because she has a recording contract to make music which some people must presumably like.In fairness, I prefer her new single, but I haven't seen the video yet!The contrast with Lily Allen, say, is huge. No doubt Lily also has a big PR machine, but she comes across as more genuine and innovative (and indeed interesting) in her own way. The exception to me was "LDN" whose video reminded me of a cynical record company exploiting its new young star that it didn't yet really understand – a bit like "The Youth of Today" by Musical Youth.Sorry, have gone a bit off topic here!

  13. Little Boots, whose music I have nothing against and shouldn't really be in the same blog entry as Pixie, told the Big Issue: "I'm not just a pretty face with no brain." Which rather suggests that she is a pretty face with no brain, but not just that. Which is why I brought it up on the podcast. It struck me as a bit of an own goal.

  14. I think you are all taking a very short term view on this article. The Guardian are clearly taking taking a punt that this lass will soon have a sudden fame enduced melt down a la Winehouse or Allen and this will be a handy reference for the inevitable 'where did it all go wrong' piece when it happens. Innit?

  15. You know that underlying the superficial exterior of Pixie and those like her is a pitiless ferocity and single-mindedness that means if there ever was a war she'd be one of the first on the front line ripping apart our enemies with her bare hands. I've started to notice news articles presented as interviews recently. One of the newspaper's journalists will be interviewed by another one of the newspaper's journalists to present a story that requires no such format. I'd dig out the examples but I can't be bothered. Trust me, they're out there.

  16. I'm quite relieved to find out it was really an interview. When I read it this morning I thought it really was a 'diary', written by her management/PR not her of course, and was shocked at how badly they had ballsed it up. I feel much better knowing that a journo was trying to get her stage-school self-absorbed prickishness across in a more subtle way.

  17. Ditto @ISBW. I still obstinately buy the Guardian on a Saturday even though I flick through 90% of it and the other 10% makes me incredibly angry. In fact, reading an interview with La Roux (who, OK, cf Little Boots shouldn't be lumped in with Pixie Lott, but still I find both uninteresting and shrill) in the Guide, some quote about hanging out with Mr C in the Nineties made me so angry I actually threw the Guide against a closed window with a primal roar. And then felt incredibly foolish as I was on my own, and had to sheepishly go and pick it up to read Brooker.What do you do if you're in papers though? A cynical buying public, so much good writing available for free on the internet, how do you compete with that? Glad it's not my trade…

  18. "If there's a war" (more on this later) Pixie won't be on the front line, she'll be entertaining the troops.This is actually ideal, since you could just send any young blonde out to mime along to her tracks and none of the troops would notice it wasn't her. That way, she can appear in multiple troop shows at the same time. Pretty efficient, no?And anyway, what do you mean "if there's a war"? THERE IS A WAR. Maybe you should be reading the front pages of the papers rather than the Film & Music pages.

  19. Andrew you're an old git.You need kids – then you'd know all about her. Er, not that I do particularly. I was 'aware' of her, put it that way.The Graun always does this – like a gawky old Uncle trying to be hip with the kids at a wedding, and everyone snorting behind their hands. I know, let's have Beth Ditto as an agony aunt! I've got an idea – let's not, eh?Mortifyingly, when I pick up The Times recently, I'm nearly always reasonably interested in it. But I'm a Guardian drone by training, since childhood, so it'll be many more years of being horrified at how rubbish large sections of it are now (eg: the entire G2 section) before I made the switch to – ugh, Murdoch, of all people.

  20. Mikey – according to something I read (might have been Popbitch), the video for Lily Allen's "LDN" was illegally filmed and there were henchmen "suggesting" that local residents to stay out of the shot.The only reason that Little Boots is mentioned here is the fact that she also has bleached blonde hair and is a musician. Ms Boots apparently did the traditional apprenticeship of writing songs in her bedroom and then gigging around Leeds until she got noticed. Whether this is better than Pixie Lott's stage-managed, stage school background is subjective (but I know who I prefer). Incidentally, I am not a fan of Adele, but she shows that attending stage school need not be a barrier to actually being quite talented and having some personality. Where is the article on "Adele in the garden"?

  21. Oh, and back to the point Andrew:I think the point is simply that younger readers might be interested in Pixie Lott; the fact that this article is online as well as in print will mean that young men who want her and young ladies who want to be her can get their fill for free.Remember, newspapers choose their stories on the basis of what will make them the most money and little else. Just because you and I are not interested in her doesn't mean that she won't sell issues/increase the number of hits.

  22. Would you all have commented in such a way about a male singer? Hmmm, not sure.Anyhow, I think the music scene at the moment is saturated with female 'electro' acts, all of whom generally blur into one another.None of them are anything but bland in my opinion (La Roux's voice is actually grating and although Little Boots' early stuff was ok, but she seems to have sold out – there, I've said it – completely.)This means that the record labels have to generate as much exposure as they can, in order to make their act stand out from the rest of the crowd, who all look, dress and sound pretty much the same.Gardening supplements are a criminally underexposed area for record label marketeers to exploit.Once that area becomes saturated, they'll move on to the Business section: "These are what stocks I done bought, innit" giggles an excited Lily Allen.

  23. Interesting charge of subconscious sexism there, Chris. Although I think any 18-year-old who came across the same way would be fair game. Also, I never made any musical comparisons to Little Boots etc. (she mentions Little Boots in her "diary") – Pixie's music seems to be identikit American-style R&B, not fashionable electro.

  24. Duncan, I didn't realise other people had said "God help us if there was a war." In my case, I am directly quoting something Mark E Smith said in an NME singles review circa 1990, possibly in reference to a publicity photo of an indie band of the time – anybody else remember this? Anyway, it stuck in my mind as a very funny comment, and that's who I was referring to. It wasn't a quiz. And it certainly wasn't random. It was very specific indeed. For the record.

  25. Subconscious sexism is like secret dancing, only slightly more evil!I was mainly referring to Stephen's post above, not the blog entry. I agree that male or female they're still fair game.I use 'electro' in loose terms really – I know Pixie and Lily are a different kettle of fish – but to the average, not-up-to-date music fan they must all blur into one single figure, in the same way as the boyband saturation of the mid 1990's.Keep up the good work Andrew, loved the Edinburgh podcasts, although it did sound like you and Richard were going to fall out with one another at one point!

  26. I know precisely which point you are referring to, Chris – I think it was podcast 5, when I suddenly call him a "fucker", which is rather out of character for podcast me, as I usually soak up his abuse, and something must have snapped. But we moved swiftly on. We are not going to fall out over anything said in the podcast.

  27. That was exactly it!Maybe the Hitler moustache is slowly but surely taking over Richard's personality!I guess the pressures of Edinburgh must have got to you both on that final day. Was thoroughly enjoyable nonetheless, though.

  28. I refer you to my grumpy old man comment about the seagull woman.Is there some kind of festival the Guardian is trying to shift copies at this weekend?(On a tangentially related note: there's an Edinburgh stand-up show on 6 Music. What the fuck's going on?)I suppose if I were in my teens, I might not wonder what Pixie was doing in a quality newspaper. Indeed, I daresay it did used to happen then, and I didn't wonder at it. Of course in my paper I have Alex James's cheese and no one ever seems to question what the hell that's doing there. Actually, thinking about it, I don't understand what half the stuff in the paper is there for.For what it's worth, I thought Mark E Smith said "God help us if there's a war" in every single NME interview he gave from about 1984 until I stopped buying it. And it always made me laugh. He, of course, was a born soldier.

  29. Andrew – MES's "God help us if there's a war" crack was directed at the then singer of an up and coming combo called Verve whose lead singer, calling himself Mad Richard, claimed he could levitate!

  30. Chris – I like to think I'd have unfairly used completely different sexist stereotypes it was a young man who was being so vacuous in a broadsheet.It's hard to remember the feeling of knowing it all many of us had in our late teens. I have both disdain and admiration for it. I remember seeing a group of (mid teen?) kids covering Stand By Me on a Saturday morning kids show years ago.The presenter asked them why they'd chosen to cover Ben E King's classic."Because our manager told us to" I chipped in. Their answer was funnier: "We thought we could make it even better."Nice.

  31. We may seem like grumpy old men but the modern western generation has grown up surrounded in a synthetic environment, saturated with shallow, hollow, manipulative advertising on tv, internet, video games, movies, music.In this inevitable Global Economic Meltdown, Capitalism may be collapsing around us but it isn't a crisis for humanity, but Freedom from an inherantly corrupt and ethically flawed system.People let's not delay any longer the end of capitalist consumerism.Boycot the corrupt manufactured Big Corporations, Governments and Organised Religions don't waste any time or money on them any more. We will be better off without them and can return to the beauty and majesty of Nature.

  32. The Guardian… a love/hate relationship.I'm pleased to see people share this silent fury. Did it happen when they 'went Berliner'? Because I don't remember this kind of thing happening before these enormous byline picture days. I would list the things that now annoy me about it, the things that wind me up since I've got old and grown a beard. I would do that, but I'd be here all day.

  33. I saw an old copy of The Times the other day – one of those "your birth date" editions, for Edna up the road, who was 80 that day.The front page was covered in little classified ads. No headlines, no pictures; just announcements of births, deaths, meetings and articles for sale. I think, from readers to readers.So it feels like the arc of newspaper development over the 20th century might be a story of reader adverts being replaced by corporate adverts and headlines-as-twisted-entertainment, then further infections like press-releases-as-stories.Interesting. My beef with the Guardian is the way its stories are structured: so many of them have an exciting-sounding headline, then a story that gradually "builds" to a sort of coded admission that the headline was bullshit. That "Diet pill promises eternal fitness for everyone" story that ends with a sentence like "it's only been tested for a week, on frogs, and it didn't really work even then." Or "Scientists say computers will think within ten years," that becomes "they'll only be simulating one ten-thousandth of the brain, and they'll be taking insane flying guesses about how 99% of the components work."I think Ofcom should insist on an apology for every article that does that.

  34. George Monbiot Goes Fishing, Youth Hosteling with Chris Eubank etc etc.That would be a George Monbiot piece worth reading, something of a first for me.As for Pixie, I'm sure she's just marking time until she inherits Dorset.Or marries it.

  35. I didn't see the article but what it seems to boils down to, according to the desriptions, is this:an annoying squeaky stage-school trustafarian tosses about doing 'meeja' things for a few weeks. We are expected to care.FAIL.Thankfully, I missed this one in the Grauniad. Must've have been fruitlessly searching for Brooker or N&Q. Maybe it was Marina Hyde taking the piss?

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