I don’t know if, like me, you’ve ever mislaid the synapse that gets your brain and body working after too much two-quid plonk. I often find, in that state of mind, it’s a challenge to focus on the buttons of a remote control and you end up watching any old shit. Shit like Singing With The Enemy, a reality show in which two bands (both of whom will make you sit up shouting “never heard of ’em”) are managed by a famous manager (“never heard of him”) and made to collaborate on a one-off single. The point is that the bands are complete opposites. A hip hop collective might be expected to record with a gay cabaret act perhaps. Or, as I witnessed through waves of drunken nausea in the early hours of Sunday morning, they might pair a godawful ‘punk’ band with a technically able but woefully out of touch Christian hardcore group.
This was really, really poor programming which may, just possibly have succeeded were either band even moderately well known. Or if the hotshot Manager was a recognised face. Sadly I can’t remember his credentials but the fact is it doesn’t matter, as his only input was to turn up every other day, swear a bit and tell either band to buck their ideas up before claiming the ‘success’ of the final recording as his own when the conclusion happily stumbled into view.
The first band was Paparazzi Whore, a name which was either born out of their sense of irony or via simple wishful thinking. I doubt the paparazzi will ever allow The PWs to whore themselves in any shape or form as their music is completely terrible. The band’s rhythm section is made up of two long-haired, scared teenagers who, to their infinite credit, kept their mouths shut throughout as they sat in the midst of arguments looking far too cool to get involved. The lead guitarist was an early-40s ex punk who looked just that little bit too old for all this. They were finished off with two singers. For singers, read ‘shouters’ or ‘low moaners’. The guitarist’s girlfriend, Micci, thought herself to be an anarchistic sex pot with the look to match. In actuality she was about as edgy as a spherical Alan Titmarsh and looked like that male model who used to front Menswear.
Her partner on the mic was Suzy, apparently her bit on the side in real life, a dreadlocked crustie whose look was about ten years out of date. The Levellers have all got tidy haircuts these days – apart from the idiot who played bass – and I reckon Swampy’s probably a recruitment consultant by now. Suzy was even worse than Micci in the vocal area, incapable of carrying a tune and even when shouting lacking any form of menace. Perhaps sensing her complete pointlessness, Suzy left the band by the end of the show.
The ‘story’ aspect to the show was shaped around Suzy’s exit. Dweeb, the Christian rock group who they were due to work with, apparently showed her the light when lead singer Tim read from the Bible midway through the bands set. Tim is a risible, untrustworthy dickhead who is one of those types who, though unqualified to even preach, thinks they’re the second coming. He’s a David Koresh in waiting. Either that or just a cheesy born-again speck of idiocy from Coventry who, if he should ever read this, would smugly forgive me for bad-mouthing him, wrongly thinking that being platitudinous and forgiving would make him instantly better than me and would earn an extra stamp on his passport to paradise.
What kind of name is ‘Dweeb’ for a band anyway? It raises the hackles even thinking about it. The fact they put brackets round it try in order to try and make it somehow different smacks of even more fervent desperation. To add to all these problems, their music is slick, Chilli Peppers-lite rubbish, so contrived it’s not even worth remarking on how unremarkable it is.
The Christians lapsed into self-parody on a number of occasions. When Paparazzi Whore brought strippers on the stage in their gig early on, (bringing brief visual interest to a show dominated by goon-faces) the Dweeb boys left the floor and went to the bar with their colas, discussing their commitment to god and refusing to ogle boobies like any self-respecting, red-blooded male should. One of them spoke behind his gingery sheepdog curls to camera stating that it would be wrong to look at the stage as he’s engaged and he didn’t want to disrespect his fiance by becoming involved in temptation. Struck me as odd. They were strippers, stripping in public, not paid up prostitutes attempting to envelop him in their pre-paid holes.
Their prayer-meetings were also unintentionally amusing. Watching teenagers pray, decked out in T Shirts and jeans, with wacky haircuts and skater trainers is odd. Where their peers would be talking about Beastie Boys rarities or Tony Hawk’s ollies and grinds, these chaps nattered about, like, how incredibly awesome the holy spirit is, yeah? as though they were showing off new pegs on their BMX. It just made them look incredibly phoney.
The final outcome was that the bands recorded a pile of drivel together, something about how the listener should believe in whatever it is they believe in and respect what other people believe too. Which is a bit wishy washy. It also suggests we should respect those who believe in Jihadi terrorism. Or ritual sacrifice. Or enforced abortion. Or all kinds of things. The vocals were appalling, needless to say – Tim Dweeb totally overegged the pudding, wailing like a banshee over Micci’s tuneless rumbling. When they gathered together to play it live, with Suzy watching in the wings, the sense that everyone had just wasted a couple of weeks of their lives was tangible with Suzy potentially about to waste the rest of her life hanging out with a bunch of born again berks.
You can hear their collaborative effluents here, if masochism’s your kink.