Saturday 21 July 2018

I am only one billion hits behind

Sia on The Voice UK
Sia on The Voice UK

John Masterson

I like to think I keep reasonably in touch with what goes on in the world but I am reluctantly coming to believe that this is more impossible than it has ever been. I may as well get real and throw in the towel. The digital world is full of noise, and gems. But it is daily becoming harder to cut through the chaff. I am reminded of an interview Ringo Starr gave at the height of Beatlemania. He bemoaned the fact that he now could have every LP that was ever made, but that he had a friend back in Liverpool who had a collection of about 30 albums that he loved and knew every note of. If Ringo could not keep up with the clutter in the 1960s what chance have we now?

This was brought into sharp focus when chatting with a clued-in 30-something. She casually mentioned the video of Chandelier by Sia and wondered what I thought of it. Thought of it? I hadn't even heard of it. She looked at me as if I had two heads and between the two of them the contents were fairly slim in her mind. In my defence I did have a vague memory of a singer who liked to perform with her back to the audience that I may have seen in the Grammies. That was Sia.

I looked up the video. I had missed out on a fairly spectacular video of the song with amazing camera work and dance by child star Maddie Ziegler. The day I enjoyed it the number of viewings stood at 1.2bn! Something on this planet had been viewed over a billion times and I had not heard about it. It also got four Grammy nominations in 2015 and won best video.

I tried out the Sia question on acquaintances of all ages. To my relief, I was far from alone. I got a lot of the vague recognition of Sia stuff but only one, again a media-savvy 30-something, who knew and raved about the song and video.

There was a time when you could have a bunch of friends with different interests and you could keep in touch with world affairs, music, theatre, film, scandal or whatever. No more. And I don't know what one can do about this. There is so much to read. There are so many sports events to be enjoyed. Every 15-year-old child seems to be writing, singing, composing, blogging and none of us knows which one will be the next Florence or a Machine.

Some of the elder lemons out there who like their music will be fascinated to know that Sia Furler is a niece of Colin Hay, whom Ringo will remember from his days in Men at Work. Of course, Ringo will also know Colin for his time playing with the Ringo Starr and his All Starr Band. The 30-somethings couldn't care less and pointing out to them that "Make You Feel My Love" is a Bob Dylan song and had a life before Adele just make one look sad in their eyes.

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