Posts Tagged ‘Council Pop’

28th January 2022

Christopher Nosnibor

On seeing / hearing this, I’m reminded of the character of Mike TV in Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, a book I loved as a child, and have enjoyed all over again as a parent – although I always detested the film adaptations, especially the original, not least of all because I doubly detest Gene Wilder: the guy just grates. However, Dahl had a way of making points through his characters, often about ‘good’ and ‘bad’ traits and characteristics and behaviours, and Mike TV was no exception, and it may not have been especially subtle, but then it was a children’s book written in the 60s, at a time when sociologists and psychologists too were becoming interested on the effect of the media, in particular television – the twentieth century opium of the people.

The Assist’s new offering unpacks this line of thinking through a contemporary filter and a more immediate perspective, portraying a character – who’s something of an emblem, a stereotype – whose expectations of life are unrealistic, distorted by media representations. Since the turn of the millennium and the advent of ‘reality’; TV, we’ve been fed an endless conveyor belt of shows that have espoused the idea that anyone can achieve anything, and that anyone can become a celebrity – and, worse still, that being a celebrity for its own sake is something not only achievable, but desirable. It wasn’t so long ago kids would grow up wanting to be film stars, pop stars, models, designers, sportspeople; now primary-age kids are coming through wanting to be reality TV celebs, Instagram influencers and YouTubers.

‘TV Kid’ paints the stark disparity between the dream and the reality, where head-in-the-clouds aspirations – ‘a top flight striker, Well known as a good time provider…A boxing expert, an amateur fighter, walks around to the eye of the tiger’ – are a world away from the stress of bills and so on, the kitchen sink drudgery or life on minimum wage – or, as they put it, ‘Big soup for breakfast, big soup for tea, petrol for Christmas’.

It’s a nifty tune, compressed into a sharp, snappy two-and-a-half minutes. It’s buoyant and upbeat in delivery, with some jangly but crunchy guitars driving it along nicely while brimming with melody and energy. The Midlands act are unashamed in their working class stylings, without being as in yer face as Sleaford Mods (which is no doubt one reason The Assist haven’t weighed in with Fat White Family on the ‘faux working classness of Idles), or as brash and tediously crap as Oasis, and consequently, in rank order it’s the music first and the attitude second. It’s a decent balance, and singer Mikey has just the right amount of swagger in his delivery – cocky, but not cockish, and nicely whetting the whistle for the debut album, Council Pop, out in April.

Artwork - The Assist

AA

Band shot - The Assist