* 200 articles. Two years. Whelk. The best of Upsideclown. Might be reprinted.

Coldplay are crap. Discuss.

3 July 2003
James is all yellow.

Aristotle once wrote: "Where there is a dearth of quality, mediocrity is King." And so it was when Parachutes landed upon us, and, it would seem, most of the time since. Because Coldplay write perfectly adequate songs, and have an almost original sound, and actually play their instruments, and do so perfectly adequately, and have clearly become a very successful "rock" band. All very admirable, and, as Aristotle implied, given that there was absolutely nothing else around at the time, a very welcome distraction for the hordes of people sick to the core with manufactured vacuous pop. What's wrong with that?

The problem with Coldplay is that they have their sound, their original songs, their success and all that, but somehow managed to make it as excruciatingly boring as possible. This is not meant in a personal sense (although they are unashamedly privately dull too), but in a musical one. Everything I have heard from Coldplay has been slow, preferably quiet, with a voice that floats over the top waiting to be blown away by a sheep's fart. Coldplay are boring, and this is coming from a person who will turn up Radio 4 when the shipping forecast comes on.

People who know me well may say that my vitriol is inspired by envy. And they would be close, the key to my feelings about Coldplay is that I am, to a degree, resentful of their success, as I am the opposite to Coldplay, i.e. in an unsuccessful but interesting band (please see for further evidence of this). But why do I resent Coldplay's success and not that of countless other hugely successful bands/singers/artists/whatevers out there? I resent Coldplay's success because they are successful and yet seem to be deliberately boring and therefore crap. Allow me to elaborate:

Way back when Parachutes had only just become the number one album, our friend Phil got us into a Coldplay gig at Oxford Brookes University. I was quite excited, because I like live music and hadn't been to a biggish live gig for a while, let alone to one by the New Big Thing. There was a big noisy crowd of pissed up students, and they were well up for catching the crest of the new wave of music early, as well as hopefully a great gig, maybe even some crowd surfing. The band comes on, starts to play, the crowd goes mad. Then, after about one and a half songs, most people are just standing there. The ones that were jumping and shouting now look sheepish. People who came in late have a bit of a shout, realise they look a bit silly, and head to the large crowd at the bar. There is some gentle swaying, and that's about it.

Some bands are better live, and some are not. Coldplay are of the latter. I wish my band could open for them, because I actually feel sorry for the audience. Being at a Coldplay gig is like putting on the Coldplay CD in your living room, but not being able to turn it down and have a conversation, and paying for the privilege on top. Because that's what it's like - the gig was exactly like the album. Nothing played in the slightest bit differently, not even a guitar solo. Hardly even any wrong notes. It was like a boy-girl-band/pop idol gig, but with no dancing, bright lights, fun, or jail-bait teens. Before I labour the point too much, a live gig is by definition unique, a one-off, and that it what makes it more exciting than just whacking on an album. Coldplay managed to remove as much of the uniqueness from it, and, in keeping with their general musical being, made the whole thing as boring as possible.

If greatness was measured by how many middle-class twenty to forty-somethings put on your album with the volume down under the conversation but over the "homemade" Tesco's Finest French Onion soup, then Coldplay would have little or no competition. If, however, crapness was measured by the same people, dinner being over, suddenly getting up and saying "Ooh, lets put something more interesting on, shall we", then my point has been proved many a time in living rooms up and down Middle England. Because honestly, how many people can actually have listened to an entire album's worth of Coldplay without the need of strong locks on the doors, stronger medication, or good old-fashioned manacles. According to research, the average duration is 2.8 tracks, followed by a week off, just to clear the glazed expression that had formed across the victim's face.

And finally, in answer to the question "OK then, so could you do better?", I firmly and with a deep voice answer "Hell Yes". That's the whole point. Come to Cargo in Shoreditch on July 21st, and see a real gig, with some music that is not incredibly boring. Feel free to jump and shout and bonk in the audience, because to our music, you won't look like a knob.


This is the fucking archive

Current clown:

18 December 2003. George writes: This List

Most recent ten:

15 December 2003. Jamie writes: Seven Songs
11 December 2003. Dan writes: Spinning Jenny
8 December 2003. Victor writes: Rock Opera
4 December 2003. Matt writes: The Mirrored Spheres of Patagonia
1 December 2003. George writes: Charm
27 November 2003. James writes: On Boxing
24 November 2003. Jamie writes: El Matador del Amor; Or, the Man who Killed Love
20 November 2003. Dan writes: Rights Management
17 November 2003. Victor writes: Walking on Yellow
13 November 2003. Matt writes: Disintermediation
(And alas we lost Neil, who last wrote Cockfosters)

Also by this clown:

27 November 2003. James writes: On Boxing
16 October 2003. James writes: Jakesy's School of Urban Driving
24 September 2003. James writes: Chapter One
4 September 2003. James writes: The Silicon Soul
14 August 2003. James writes: A Room With 100 Seats
24 July 2003. James writes: English For Beginners
3 July 2003. James writes: Coldplay are crap. Discuss.
9 June 2003. James writes: It Takes All Sorts
22 May 2003. James writes: Lesson 2: Buying his Gran for a tenner
1 May 2003. James writes: Rosencrantz and Leytonstone
10 April 2003. James writes: Character Building
20 March 2003. James writes: So This Is It. What Are We Going To Do About It?
27 February 2003. James writes: Street Level Zero
6 February 2003. James writes: Reference: James Noteworthy
16 January 2003. James writes: Kissing George Clooney for just £99!
26 December 2002. James writes: Hongkong In Four Tableaux
5 December 2002. James writes: We Are Your Idea
14 November 2002. James writes: The Knight Of Spring Fervent
24 October 2002. James writes: Go On, Be Honest
7 October 2002. James writes: Cold Comfort
12 September 2002. James writes: Peas In A Pod
22 August 2002. James writes: Seed Investment
1 August 2002. James writes: We Are QPR
11 July 2002. James writes: The Road to Ossuna
20 June 2002. James writes: Pret A Teleporter
27 May 2002. James writes: A Play On Words
2 May 2002. James writes: Labour Saving Device
8 April 2002. James writes: Beggaring Belief
14 March 2002. James writes: Small Things
18 February 2002. James writes: Drop Dead Letters
24 January 2002. James writes: High-Rise Rhapsody
27 December 2001. James writes: My drift's too hip to resist.
6 December 2001. James writes: My Lord Has No Nose
12 November 2001. James writes: A Job For Life
18 October 2001. James writes: Which is the cleverest animal?
24 September 2001. James writes: Interview With An Automatum
30 August 2001. James writes: Each To Their Own
6 August 2001. James writes: An Escape, In Sonata Form
12 July 2001. James writes: Truckloads Of Goodies
18 June 2001. James writes: There's No Such Thing As A Coincidence
24 May 2001. James writes: It's All True - The Paper Says So
30 April 2001. James writes: A Letter From Prisyn
16 April 2001. James writes: I Quit
15 March 2001. James writes: An Essay In Procrastination
15 February 2001. James writes: Confessions Of An English Sand-Eater
22 January 2001. James writes: The Future And The Pasta
28 December 2000. James writes: Never drink with men in red
4 December 2000. James writes: The Underground
9 November 2000. James writes: Right answer. Wrong answer
16 October 2000. James writes: The March of Proudfoot: Part I
21 September 2000. James writes: You haven't got a chance
28 August 2000. James writes: Bad, man. Wicked
24 July 2000. James writes: I play games with street lamps

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