Cosmic Slop #11: How harmful can boybands be?

Zayn Malik: one direction home

Zayn Malik: one direction home

Watching in horror at the reaction of One Direction fans following Zayn Malik’s departure, Getintothis’ Shaun Ponsonby points the finger of blame at the group’s representatives. 

Now that Zayn Spice has left the Directions, I can’t see a picture of them without hearing the Countdown Conundrum music in my head. Admittedly, that’s an improvement from the endless stream of profanities I’d heard in my head previously; “make b****** music a f****** product, will you? Bunch of c****. Sell art like it’s a f****** car? F*** you, you pieces of s***,” I would bellow through my internal soliloquy.

Of course, as a Motown buff I’m a total hypocrite for using that argument against them. But then Berry Gordy hired accomplished jazz musicians, amazing producers and some of the greatest songwriters of all time. One Direction (read: Simon Cowell) has done none of those things. It’s really the laziness of the material that their own songwriters called purposely “vanilla” that is so offensive.

Point being; it could happen any time now. As soon as a boy/girl band loses a member, it all starts going to shit. We’ve all seen it happen time and time again. Take That lost Robbie Williams, The Spice Girls lost Geri Halliwell, Atomic Kitten lost Kerry Katona, Branch Davidians lost David Koresh…admittedly more dramatically than those listed above. All of them broke up shortly after losing key members (except Branch Davidians).

Naturally, this is something the writers and readers on this site are fully aware of. We also know why this is. For a group like One Direction, the music comes second or third. Catchy song on the radio is all well and good, but it’s no match for their personalities. Their songs are no better or worse than any failed attempt at a boyband out there, they just had the good sense to give these canvases “characters” to portray, a la The Monkees, compared to some of the charisma vacuums that have been cynically packaged in the past.

They’re sold as personalities, and that‘s what their young fans are relating to. Once you start losing the personalities, the attention starts to wane. Such a fate is inevitable due to the utter lack of personal freedom that one gets in a manufactured group.

Still, I always find myself baffled at the borderline disturbed actions of the teenybopper. Really, what’s going on there? I really like Bruce Springsteen, and Steve Van Zandt is my favourite E Streeter, probably more on personality than anything else. But I didn’t have a full-on breakdown when Van Zandt pulled out of a tour due to other commitments, and I certainly didn’t hold a candlelit vigil and post it online as a smack in the face to those out there who have had loved ones who have passed (yes, someone did that for Zayn Spice).

A candlelit vigil that one fan unironically posted online following Malik's depature

A candlelit vigil that one fan unironically posted online following Malik’s depature

The whole “#cut4zayn” trend on Twitter – encouraging fans to self-harm in memory of someone who isn’t dead – was genuinely horrific, as was the response of some fans’ pleas trying to get others to stop; “imagine how Zayn will feel if he knew you were doing this”. Who gives a fuck about Zayn? Don’t ask them to think about him more, give them confidence to think about themselves more. That’s what these kids need, someone to reach out to them so they value themselves and don‘t think the only people that matter in this world are pampered semi-singers who haven‘t got a bloody clue that they even exist, and likely don’t care anyway.

But it’s encouraged. I haven’t heard much from the group’s representation discouraging young people from doing this. Hey, isn’t it all publicity? Doesn’t it just make them seem like the most important autotuned puppet show in the world today? By definition, if you’re not discouraging, you might as well be encouraging them. You don’t get a pass for staying out of it. If you are going to willingly fuck with the emotional state of vulnerable young people for your own financial gain, then it’s on your vile head.

I refuse to judge these kids. I was never into this way of thinking when I was young. Hell, most of my heroes were already dead. And I’m sure as hell not qualified to attempt some kind of psychological evaluation. Although, weirdly, Jim Lea from Slade is. Who knew?

But the one area I can’t help but be a sanctimonious prick is when it was reported that there had been over 200 calls to employment law experts from people asking for compassionate leave from their jobs. If there are people out there who are old enough to have a job, and mature enough to understand that you may need to contact employment law experts for compassionate leave and you are doing so over this, then you deserve to be fired. For the sake of both the company and, let’s face it, the well being of the economy.

Imagine asking for compassionate leave when Jon Stewart announced he was stepping down from The Daily Show. Or when Bill Ward announced he wasn’t joining Black Sabbath on their reunion tour. How would that go down in the office? “Sorry Joe, I know your mum and dad were in that horrific car crash and are both on life support and you could be an orphan by the end of the week, but Chantelle really likes this commercial spin-off from The X Factor and one of them has just left, and we can’t have you both off. She did ask first.” It doesn’t take Jim Lea to see the problems with that facade.

It is so beyond the realms of comprehension that I am entertaining the idea of calling bullshit. PR plant to get headlines, surely? Also known as more exploitation of vulnerable people.

But we all know this. So all things considered, I hear you ask (in my head), why have I written about 1D this week? Everyone is talking about it, and you yourself have criticised music publications for talking about X Factor shit.

Well, firstly…you’ve got a lot of nerve, shitbag.

Secondly…the answer is simple: One Direction fans will read anything with their name on it and react badly if they don’t like what they read, so I’m hoping it’ll get more hits to the site and gain notoriety from a crescendo of threats. A cry for help, as I’m sure Jim Lea would tell you.

If they can exploit them for their own gain, I might as well give it a shot.

In conclusion, if I’ve learned anything from this last week, it’s that Malik looks surprisingly like a young Stalin. I know that isn’t profound or anything, I just wanted to draw your attention to it. Which I have done below, with their names hilariously captioned incorrectly.

zane stalin

Zayn Malik?                                     Stalin?



Led Zeppelin have released an interactive video to promote the new Physical Graffiti reissue. In true Led Zep style, it’s actually an interactive video of Willie Dixon, and they just slapped their name on it.

A petition has launched to stop Paris Hilton from DJing at Summerfest in Milwaukee. FINALLY…a petition I can get behind.

KISS’ regular moron-for-hire Gene Simmons has spoken about his distaste of bands using backing tracks on stage. Which is fine, but he also admitted KISS use backing tracks. Moron.