Did we like it?
If Channel 4 was a depraved, binge-drinking lout, Transmission “With T-Mobile” would be its 500th forlorn attempt to lick up the vomit it prematurely disgorged in axing The Tube to once more taste the succulent flavour of a hip live music show. Unfortunately to us, it just tastes like sick.
What was good about it?
• Lauren Laverne is a great presenter, largely because she genuinely seems to love music and seems admirably uncomfortable in the staged atmosphere that has the stench of all of those unused corporate seats that stained the World Cup.
• While it is hugely derivative of The Tube, its endeavour to host a show from a different city each night along with the sense of forced amateurism (or that could just be Steve Jones) does mean there is a sense of authenticity and excitement at each venue.
• The Long Blondes and Plan B. The presence of whom at least illustrate a willingness to showcase up-and-coming bands/singers.
What was bad about it?
• Transmission “With T-Mobile” doesn’t just surrender to the corporate side of music it waves its white flag with gusto, hands over all the best hotel rooms to the invading force, organises a victory parade to wave them into the capital during which all the cute children are ushered to the front to have their hair endearingly ruffled by the marching soldiers, provides a phalanx of prostitutes for the occupying troops, betrays any dissidents by pointing out which attic they’re holed up in, offers a local landfill site in which to dump the bodies of said dissidents, and within a week changes all the street signs into the invaders’ language.
• The Zutons. We know they’re capable of great songs, such as Confusion, but Valerie just sounds like Coldplay being moulded into a glass effigy, stuck in a presentation box and shook about by excited children until it shatters into a million largely uninteresting fragments; apart from the saxophonist’s legs that are shamelessly used as the defining image of the band in much the same way as Kojak used his bald head.
• The cartoon Professor who hopes viewers don’t have a memory longer than 12 years and thus be able to recognise the similarity in the jobsworth monotone to Steve Coogan’s repressed, haunted pool security guard from The Day Today.
• One of the adverts during the break was for Lostprophets’ latest album; a band who are the equivalent of a bike you could leave unpadlocked at a kleptomaniacs’ conference and be sure it would be there when you returned.
• Steve Jones who seems to believe that smug, supercilious style that he employs on Saturday morning to an audience of easily impressed teenage girls will be good enough for a “cutting edge” music show. He has this annoying habit whereby he’ll over emphasise a single word in a sentence, this edition it was “inaugural”, as though exhuming a fabled treasure of Ancient Egypt from the bowels of the Cheops Pyramid and is just blowing off the last grains of sand while presenting it to a symposium of enraptured, over-rich Victorian socialites. And what’s worse, Jones will herald bands with meaningless platitudes such as “inspirational” and “mighty” when what he really means is “thank god someone’s agreed to come on our show”.
• The interview section is far too drenched in the rancid milk of celebrity fawning and would be far more at home on GMTV under the witless auspices of Ben Shepherd or Jenni Falconer. This week’s guest was Alesha Dixon, ex- of Mystique, and just like last week’s guest Jody Latham, the talk soon dived headlong into salacious tittle-tattle not seen in such senseless volumes outside of the pile of magazines in a doctors’ surgery waiting room. The conversation was twisted as awkwardly as Steve Rider trying to emote enthusiasm for football on to the subject of Alesha having sex in a toilet with her beau – reality show parasite MC Harvey – her singing career seemingly forgotten about. And, ignoring her career again, the interview also focused on her role as a dumb podium dancer in a video featuring the talented but tiresomely arrogant Pharrell Williams.
• The statistic that “one in seven households has a copy of The Beautiful South’s Carry On Up The Charts”. Something that is far more terrifying than learning half of all teenagers are addicted to crack cocaine. Ownership of Carry On Up The Charts is clear evidence of evolutionary obsolescence like one of those tree diagrams you used to see in biology lessons where a branch of a species stopped for no obvious reason.
• The cringing efforts at “kitsch” in having Sir Jimmy Savile as a guest.
• The lauding of the apparent exclusivity for The Arctic Monkeys’ “new video” for Fake Tales of San Francisco. It might be new, but it looks suspiciously similar to the video of the song shown ad infinitum last year on MTV2. And if the Monkeys were going to record a new video, they would surely have included their new bassist (unless he’s a little chubby too and we’ve got them mixed up).