Tune in, turn on and blow out
Music and television used to go together like gin and tonic, coffee and milk or cardboard and tomato sauce. These days there is not much of it - but why? Who killed it - the money men, YouTube or bored punters sick of lip syncing nothings and gurning Ladette litter?Of course when its a Big Rig Silent Disco in a Field all the energy and budget that used to be expended over a years worth of music television big and small gets freebased over a weekend. The BBC's announcement of the "First" "Digital" Glastonbury not only marks the final descent of the Eavis brand into a shitpit of uncool, with the lightweight "This Morning" like One Show kicking off proceedings, but shows how social media hipsters misunderstand the true power of music tv. But how did we get here?If you ended up on some kind of Prison work release and had to sort through landfill, you'd notice that plastic covered paper lasts longer than a fossil. And a lot of it would be TV Guides of some kind. Inside those guides well into the Noughties you would have found all kinds of "Music" related television from Top of the Plops to CD:UK, Live at Wherever, music video comp shows and interview shows with various pop luminaries. Now it's just a few archival trawls from the Beeb and a bit of Dad Rocky Jools Holland. Which is all far less interesting than random YouTube searches.Music was not only one of the first TV formats, it was amongst the most popular. If you couldn't get out to see your favourite star or song, it came across the waves right into your drawing room, sometimes even "live". And TV producers did not have to fight hard to get access to the talent. Any jobbing muso knew that getting on TV sold records, and selling vinyl was where the money was made. So all the people behind the camera needed to worry about was sorting through all the possible talent, and packaging it up in a way that sold to individual audiences. If you were into far out art jazz, bubblegum pop, new wave or even rave there was a show for you.And we all need to be thankful for this era, as classic performances from around the globe ranging from John Coltrane blowing minds to Kraftwerk blowing fuses are now available to all on YouTube and even DVD. Amazing moments in sonic art are being discovered in dusty tape archives all the time. But because of three key changes in the market, the archives is where most interesting musical television is to be found these days.The collapse in sales of singles, long before the digitard era, removed the interest of many producers and labels from pimping their people on the tube.Then the all the "elitists" who ran TV schedules much like schoolmasters, mixing in fun with healthy stuff were pushed out by Greg Dyke like "the consumer is always right" types who chased ratings alone. The notion you would have an episode of Arena on Brian Eno broadcast at prime time because he was important and people should be aware of his work became rejected utterly. Former members of Mis-Teeq visiting the world's poor and The Voice took its place.Unfortunately, much like the infamous radio vandals that turned GLR to BBC London Live, kicking out "inaccessible" shows such as Coldcut's legendary Solid Steel that "excluded" some imaginary stupid punter, music TV dumbed down below the mainstream.So ratings carried on tanking, and instead of asking "Why?" and realising bored teens who already had four ringtone remixes of whatever was being mimed on Top of the Pops were not going to tune in again, music tv producers kept chasing plastic pop down the plughole. And then digital took the last coppers out of it - record sales, where they exist at all, are not connected to TV. The best thing to do is to say "Burn, baby burn" - disconnecting from all this garbage and living in the warm glow of the archive.And archives are just what our vinyl vultures raid for us to bring in the kind of haul you'll see this Saturday. Reggae and dub, yet again, will be prominent, as will hip hop and classic early 90's dance. Also expect more original records straight from Brazil, 80's US soul and of course classic rock and alternative : gangstarr, De la Soul, Cypress Hill, Tribe Called Quest, Jeru the Damaja, George Dekker, Augustus Pablo, King Tubby, Rod Taylor, Earl Sixteen, Jacob Miller, Bob Marley, Dylan, Stones and Beatles, Al Green, BB King, The Diamonds, Creative source, loads of near mint 12's from labels such as Production house, Shut up and dance, R&S, Moving Shadow, Suburban Bass, 2 bad mice, Altern 8, Beltram, Aphex Twin...and much much more!