CMU Beef Of The Week #336: The Year In Beefs
By Andy Malt | Published on Friday 16 December 2016
Well, 2016’s been quite a ride, hasn’t it? We’ve had ups and… wait, did we have ups? There were probably some ups. I guess a lot of the bad things that have happened have led to some enjoyable Beef Of The Week columns. That’s what they always say, isn’t it? The more to the right politics move, the better the beefs get. I’ve definitely heard people say that.
With all but a few formalities to go before 2016 is all wrapped up and we can get on with 2017, it’s time to take our traditional look back through the last twelve months by way of its disagreements, fallings out, misunderstandings and needless shouting. Here it is, the year in pop beefs…
January: A misunderstanding about phones
Think back to the beginning of 2016. Oh the possibilities. Oh the delights and greatness that may still lay before us. At the time of our first Beef Of The Week of the year, David Bowie hadn’t even died. All that had happened was Adele and Ed Sheeran had briefly fallen out over a misunderstanding about a flip phone. He had bought one for his year off from the internet, and not as some sort of dig at her ‘Hello’ video. Such innocent times.
February: One Direction quickly go in different directions
The BRITs came around, as they so often do, and One Direction were all set to win various awards. Given that they had just split up, er, I mean, gone on hiatus, it would have been a good demonstration of the group’s continued friendship to all show up together to collect their prizes as one (even if it was just one prize in the end). Well, at least two of them made the effort. Though not the two who immediately sprang to your mind. Niall was on holiday and Harry just couldn’t be bothered.
March: Whose job is it to carry the head on the plane?
Things took an unusual turn in March. A dispute over pirated software led Kanye West to tweet of Deadmau5: “# whose job is it to carry the head on the plane # hash tag # do you check the mickey mouse head or carry on # does it get hot?” Meanwhile, PJ Harvey was accused of being the Piers Morgan of music by a Washington politician who took exception to her ode to the city, ‘The Community Of Hope’.
April: The seeds of complacency
Ah, April? Remember April? Back in the days when the smug metropolitan elite was still smug? To be fair, anyone supporting the Remain campaign in the EU Referendum had every reason to think that they were assured a win, given how bad a job the Leavers made of organising pop concert Bpoplive. More of which later. Over in the US, people turned up to a petrol station for a secret Limp Bizkit show that, unsurprisingly, was a hoax. Perhaps this should also have been a warning for the outcome of America’s big election of 2016.
May: Trump finds few friends in music
Speaking of America’s big vote, by May Donald Trump’s campaign was really gathering steam, though few were yet expecting his win. Since that happened in November, the music community has been writing lots of letters asking him for sympathy in their battle against the tech industry. Just hope he doesn’t remember how pretty much every musician was falling over themselves to shout about how much they hated him back in the summer.
June: Piss up v Brewery
That whole Bpoplive thing was still going on. Despite having lost its entire first line-up because of its obvious links to the Leave campaign, Bpoplive continued to claim it was just an event designed to convince young people to register to vote.
Though with that in mind there were two snags with the rescheduled version of the concert. One was that it had been pushed back to a date after the deadline to register to vote. Secondly, the new line-up consisted of two members of 5ive, East 17, Alesha Dixon, Sister Sledge and Rose Royce’s Gwen Dickey. Hardly a youth-friendly line up. Not to worry though, they all pulled out within 24 hours of the new line-up being announced, to be replaced by the band legally known as Formerly Of Bucks Fizz and an Elvis impersonator.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the event in the 15,000 capacity Genting Arena was finally cancelled. All in all, Bpoplive had shown high ambition but no real plan. A little bit like the Brexit advocates the concert’s organisers eventually conceded that they were allied to.
July: Raise your hand if you believe in science
While in the UK, the horror of what we’d just done to ourselves still had half the nation sat like deer in headlights, over in the US there was still a thing you may remember called ‘hope’. Trump may have just been named the Republican candidate in the upcoming presidential election, but what did that mean? It wasn’t like he was going to win. Performing at a Republican National Convention fringe event, Third Eye Blind baited their right wing audience with quips like “raise your hand if you believe in science”. Yeah, that doesn’t seem quite as funny now, does it?
August: Photoshopping [REDACTED] to suggest [REDACTED] is irresponsible in the extreme
The August silly season really couldn’t come quickly enough this year. And I think you’ll agree that Taylor Swift getting into a fight with Northamptonshire Police is some pretty good light relief. This beef involved the police force Photoshopping a photo of Taylor Swift and actor Tom Hiddleston to help promote an anti-terrorism campaign. The tweaked photo was later removed, with police emails obtained under a Freedom Of Information request revealing “a complaint from [REDACTED]” stated that “Photoshopping [REDACTED] to suggest [REDACTED] is irresponsible in the extreme”. It certainly is.
September: It’s all still about Brexit
Brexit still remained a topic of regular conversation in September. Not least because Louise Mensch managed to make every conversation Brexit-themed regardless of what the other person was actually talking about. So when she saw a tweet about the closure of Fabric from journalist Clive Martin, she immediately assumed he was commenting on the Referendum result and began accusing him of being ageist and of not voting. Oh, also, the unnecessary closure of Fabric happened this year. Let’s hope its reopening in January is an omen for the rest of 2017.
October: Bob Dylan and the Nobel Prize
In October, it was announced that Bob Dylan had won this year’s Nobel Prize For Literature. It was a slightly controversial decision, which may have been intentional. What I’m sure organisers didn’t expect was for him to fail to respond in a timely manner. It was nearly two weeks before he got in touch to say he would like the prize. Not that he bothered to go and collect it. And we still don’t know if he will give the lecture that is required in order to receive his prize money. Oh Bob. Meanwhile, musicians were still not making friends with Donald Trump. But it wasn’t like he was going to win.
November: StubHub’s sponsorship of the Q Awards turns out to be controversial
Secondary ticketing has been a hot topic in music this year. After more than a decade of attempts to get the government to do something about it, it is looking like more regulation could be incoming in the UK in 2017. It’s not really clear if Bauer Media took this into consideration when taking sponsorship money from StubHub for this year’s Q Awards. Several artists did give it some time in their acceptance speeches though.
December: Vinyl revival!
It’s all about the vinyl revival now, isn’t it? That’s where everyone’s making their money in music. At last count, music industry revenue was coming almost 100% from sales of vinyl. At least in the imaginations of the media at large.
December’s big story was that sales revenues for vinyl outstripped those from downloads in the first week of the month. Discussion of this generally ignored the fact that that stat said much more about the state of the download market than it did vinyl sales, and that vinyl’s good week revenues-wise was in no small part down to the release of a new Kate Bush live album that cost £52 on twelve-inch.
Speaking of which, if you haven’t bought my Christmas present yet…