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December 12, 2009
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Interesting post about Tiger Woods. Even the bbc are moved to quote tiger’s caddy, who sensationally reveals that he …err, doesn’t know anything about it. Is Mr Woods  paying the price for his years of silence?

Everyone knows who Tiger Woods is, and via his skill and his adverts, he has become incredibly famous. In fact, I would go so far as to say I didn’t realise he previously had such a ‘low profile’. Initially famous for being non-white and a good golfer, he soon moved far beyond this, coming to represent sheer excellence at the sport. His face and status seemed synonymous with golf itself. From my rather detached position (I am no real golf follower) every tournament seemed to be about ‘Who Can Beat Tiger?’ His fame seemed refreshing to me, based as it was almost entirely on his incredible sporting prowess.

But perhaps, in newsrooms across the world editors were apoplectic, furious that his privacy thwarted the opportunity to get potentially juicy stories about his personal life. Perhaps they were unable to accept that he just didn’t fancy living his life through the newspapers, and didn’t feel that he needed to be interviewed in great depth about his ‘life beyond golf’ order to justify his existence in this image-obsessed world.

Now it seems that all of a sudden, years of agonising frustration have come to an end, and newsmen across the globe have finally been able to release their anger, and have blasted it across the world amidst the pungent air of a contented sigh. Pictures of Tiger and his family seem to be everywhere, as if to convince us that he has betrayed not only them, but us as well. ‘He told us he was a family man! He lied to us! He lied to YOU!’ The reality, as is often the case, is far different. It seems to me that he never really tried to ‘portray’ much of an image, apart from via his lucrative endorsements, which were pretty much just based upon his sporting excellence, his quality tied in by ad-men to link with whatever brand was paying him to let them use his photo. If you thought of Tiger Woods, you wouldn’t think “famous family man,” you’d think “shit-hot golfer.” So the public here have not been lied to. Obviously his wife should be pretty pissed off, but for most other people, it’s nothing to do with us.

Perhaps, for those who are generally deeply opposed to odious press intrusion on matters inconsequential to anyone but those involved, in some cases it’s the whiff of contradiction that seems to justify it. It is generally harder to feel sorry for someone who has enhanced their career from manipulating and selling their soul to the savage press, and then gets upset when negative parts of their already laid-completely-bare life are covered as well.

But even if you did subscribe to such a view, and believe that once someone has exposed themselves to substantial press about their private life, they are ‘fair game,’ in Tiger Woods’ case, this irrelevant. He has hardly been hoist by his own petard. He has gained fame by being extraordinarily talented at golf, and little more. Which is why all this press intrusion seems particularly repulsive. Whatever his indiscretions,and they certainly seem numerous, they are his family’s own business. They don’t really deserve such gratuitous exploitation.

*gets off soap box*


The Something Of The Decade

December 9, 2009

In the Guardian

“So what was so intriguingly odd about their top 10 albums of the noughties? I was immediately struck by the fact that seven of the albums were from 2000 and 2001, with one other record from 2002 and another from 2004.”

Perhaps it is not, as Reynolds argues, the fragmentation of our tastes in the latter part of the decade which is the cause of this. Mainstream press, and online behemoths like pitchfork, are vital tastemakers. We are not all islands in a sea of objectivity. Major album releases are talking points, cultural events. Whilst the actual release of most albums cannot have the same massive impact of In Rainbows‘s revolutionary approach, there is generally somewhat of a consensus on good albums. Hype spreads across the internet faster than anywhere.

But albums take time to germinate, to become bona fide ‘classics.’ It is nigh-on impossible to know how important an album released today will be in five years. How will history judge it?

We know how this decade turned out. Albums released at the beginning of the decade can be seen to preempt the decade. Albums released now, to sum up a decade would have to look back. And people want forward thinking music.

Maybe an album released this year would be miles higher up, if in 2019 they do a “best of the last 20 years” kind of thing. But our calendar doesn’t really work like that. We like things in decades and years and months.

So perhaps, if you have an incredible album up your sleeve, you should wait until the start of a decade, if you really crave a long-term legacy to warm your aging heart.

More to follow… in the meantime, this is a good little take on the whole ‘Decade List’ phenomenon  currently sweeping the music press