Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Blog-Royale March 2

In my early teens, I had very few ways of finding out about new music. Listening to songs online with a connection speed of 1mb a day proved about as successful as Emerson, Lake and Palmer's 'Love Beach', though on luckier days my brother would manage to download classics along the lines of an instrumental midi version of the Never Ending Story theme.

XFM was always a good option, with Richard Bacon and John Kennedy's shows sticking in my memory, but for some reason our house had little reception outside of AM frequencies, and only one actual radio. So I didn't get to listen as often as I might have liked.

Then there was NME, which I went through years of buying fervently, only to read about bands I'd never heard (and often never would hear), and attempt the crossword in the vain attempt that one day those Virgin Megastore vouchers would be mine... They never were.

But luckily, even when the radio wouldn't tune, and the NME had been read, there was a constant stream of indie/indie-rock/rock-indie flowing via cable, right into my family home, the unparalleled (for a while at least) MTV2.

At the time, Zane Lowe's Gonzo was a daily fixture in the after school slot, replacing Blue Peter perfectly, and playing a mammoth part in my musical upbringing. Later on in the evening, there was the genuinely eclectic 120 minutes, which introduced me to band after band that sounded like nothing I'd ever listened to (aka, nothing like Toploader).

Years later, long after I'd ceased to have cable access, I was lucky enough to end up working at MTV2 (from Summer 2008) as a broadcaster from festivals, gigs, events that no one else was interested in, and then a periodic slot during Gonzo itself. As well as being part of a brilliant revolving team, I met and interviewed many of the inspirational artists that I'd watched on the channel as a kid (I know this sentence is cheesy, and I've attempted re-typing it, but it's just real talk), everyone from Slipknot to Kings of Leon to The Walkmen to Interpol to Mick Foley (!?) to N-Dubz...

And so it was with a heavy heart this Monday morning, that I found out MTV2 was no more. In a seemingly ham fisted and clumsy re-branding, the powers that be have decided to change its name to 'MTV ROCKS', a decision that I can shed no light on whatsoever. Personally, I don't think they could have come up with a more crass title if they'd tried, but maybe the 14 year old me would be into it.

Unfortunately that's not all either. Zane Lowe announced on Twitter this week, that the up and coming series of Gonzo will be his last. This is a decision independent of the name change, but it's a double blow for a channel that (having already got rid of '120 minutes' last year) has less and less to differentiate itself from any other music station filled to the brim with chart guitar hits. Zane Lowe's Gonzo was the jewel in MTV2's crown, leaving a gaping hole that I believe 'MTV ROCKS' will find impossible to fill.

All of this co-incides with me leaving the channel too, but I look back on it with fond memories on both sides of the television screen. We now live in a world where you can find music videos and live shows in seconds online, so it's difficult to see how music television networks will remain relevant in the near future, especially when the only exclusive content they can muster are shows about Kerry Katona being drunk or Lostprophets reading their top 1,000,000 festival anthems off an autocue.


P.S. Taking the above into account and realising that we maybe need to recognize quality and hang onto it, please sign the petitions below if you believe that BBC Radio 6 and the BBC Asian Network are worth saving.



Or even better, if you have time, email your thoughts on the matter to trust.enquiries@bbc.co.uk

Much love.

1 comment:

Zuzanna said...

I was shocked when I saw on twitter 'RIP MTV Two'. So I turned on the TV and saw it... MTV Rocks. Looking like other crappy MTV channels (quite similar to MTV Poland where are 6h of music, during the night, stupid presenters and terrible reality shows having nothing in common with music). So I thought: oh. Maybe it´s just a name (which I´m not gonna use) and that´s all. Then Zane´s tweet that it´s probably last Gonzo series... What?! I can´t imagine world without Gonzo...
And my life without MTV Two. Without it I would never hear about Zane, I wouldn´t be listening to his show on R1, many bands that I love now would be unknown... I would also have no idea about your being Fred and this blog. Many things changed in my life because of MTV Two.
And the last thing: I remember that during EMA U2 thanked MTV Two and Zane. It was something like: without people like he there wouldn´t be ok with music.
So what´s now?