Thursday, June 01, 2006


Punishment For Sin Sin Sin

Though hardly an avid follower of the charts, I spotted that Robbie Williams has a new entry this week with Sin Sin Sin. Despite his supposedly being Britain’s most popular artist and constant coverage in one of the few ITV programmes getting solid ratings – he even got the Radio Times front cover, making it an outstandingly propitious week in which to launch a single – he was unable to do better than number 22, the lowest chart placing he’s ever had. By coincidence, it’s his first single since his court case about the shocking allegation that he wasn’t heterosexual.

Mr Williams’ previous lowest chart placing had been number 14 for South of the Border, a single that was viewed at the time as such a dismal performance that his record company might drop him. Then he released Angels and suddenly displayed talent, and the rest – until now – has been a history of success, with singles as dead a cert for the top five as with any artist. What can possibly have gone wrong?

I remember when I first heard of Take That; perhaps to no-one’s surprise, it was in the then Student Liberal Democrat office, when another gay member of the Exec shoved some teen mag in front of me in which five young men were displaying their bottoms. With my usual finger on the pulse of pop culture, I didn’t pay them much attention. In the years since, my opinion of Mr Williams’ looks and music adjusted upwards – quite cute once he stopped trying to look twelve (nice chest once he stopped shaving it, and so forth), a handful of outstanding singles – but not my so-obvious-it’s-impossible-to-miss observation that he was playing to the gay market. In lyrics, interviews and every other pose he’s flirted with being gay or not, then suddenly sues as if it’s something shameful and, goodness, he’s never been so. It’s a bit late for lawsuits when you’ve posed as a sodomite, and literally like something out of a different century to regard it as so terrible an accusation it needs court proceedings. Why not just apply to a court to legally change your name to ‘Tosser’?

A popular star has been here before. Even in the much less pro-gay times of the early ‘90s, Jason Donovan sued The Face magazine. He, too, won a Pyrrhic victory, and since then… (FX: sound of tumbleweeds)

It seems that Britain has grown up a bit too much to find this sort of public protestation of prejudice endearing, and the curse has struck again. Perhaps next time a star is accused of having a different sexuality to his own, instead of thinking bigotry will pay he’ll just say “Don’t be so silly,” or “Yeah, whatever,” and move on like any sensible person. ‘Til then, enjoy the spectacle of what happens when someone tells the people he’s been making money out of for a dozen years that they’re a pile of shit.

Next: the penny drops with Labour voters.

It may be a backlash, though to be honest I think it's just down to the fact that this is Robbie's fourth (?) single from the album (which I think was one of his biggest-selling)...

I never tire of seeing their first appearance on Gay Byrne's 5 O'clock Show - an early '90s' Village People.
Oh, don’t spoil it ;-)

I have a feeling it’s only his third single from the latest, though I could be wrong - and haven't all his albums sold jolly well, and had several singles stripped from them? Either way, none of his follow-up singles have done nearly as badly as this before.

The real point, though, is that you take your schadenfreude where you can, regardless of any opposing evidence and certainly without giving him time for the probably inevitable bounce-back. Heh.

I notice that this post has ‘failed to chart’ on Lib Dem Blogs, appropriately. Hmmm… So, are individual posts ‘singles’ and blogs themselves the ‘album charts’? Or am I just reading too much into this while in the mood for popular beat combos…?
In which case is Lib Dem Blogs Aggregator the greatest hits (or the Atlantic 252)...?
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