Kim Kardashian has been accused of many things over the years, but this week brought a new addition to the charge sheet: killing rock’n’roll. The accuser? Sinéad O’Connor, who adduced that the presence of Kardashian and her cleavage on the cover of US magazine Rolling Stone was evidence that “music has officially died”. “Bob Dylan,” she added, “must be fucking horrified.”
Lost in Showbiz confesses that it doesn’t know what to think. On the one hand, it likes the cut of O’Connor’s jib enormously. It thinks Mandinka is a total banger. It thinks she is one of the few international stars to have grasped the full potential of Twitter: it looks back with awe on the happy fortnight in 2011 where her feed on the micro-blogging site became an apparently unending torrent of jokes about sex toys and intriguing revelations about her family – “I have an aunt with two vaginas.” It misses her updates on her attempts to find a husband (“must be no younger than 44, must not be named Barry or Nigel”), and her exhortations to her followers to give anal sex a go: “Just once … try it up the josh.”
And it confesses that it thinks she may have a point regarding the cover of Rolling Stone. Has it really come to this for the former home of Hunter S Thompson and Lester Bangs? Has the one-time standard bearer of rock’n’roll and the counterculture been brought so low? What must its previous cover stars think of this new nadir? The greats who once stared out from beneath its legendary masthead, every one of them the living embodiment of the surly, anti-establishment spirit of rebellion, the true, pure creativity that comes when the kids decide to stick it to the man, ignore society’s petty bourgeois mores and set their own rules for the future. Simon Cowell. Princess Caroline of Monaco. Gary Busey. Jenny McCarthy. Lance Bass of N’Sync. Victoria’s Secret model Laetitia Casta. MC Hammer. Whoever the models were that illustrated the cover story Looking For Mr Goodbody – Are Health Clubs The New Singles Bars? “Snooki” from Jersey Shore. The cast of reality series The Hills (“OMG! Do they really hate each other?”). Legendary names, names who made it big armed only with three chords and the truth, names redolent of an epoch, now sadly long gone, when a place on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine was a hard-won thing, like the stripes you earned with pure rock’n’roll attitude, great music and disregard for the norms.
And, like O’Connor, it imagines Dylan’s horrified reaction to the present turn of events. It pictures him in a hotel room somewhere on the Never-Ending Tour, jabbing an accusatory finger at Kim Kardashian’s décoletté image, shaking his head with a righteous snort. “You know what that makes me think of? The past.That time I did that commercial for Victoria’s Secret lingerie and put out a compilation album that was only available through their stores – back in the golden days, the days when rock’n’roll was peopled by artists with integrity, before it became corrupted and controlled by commercial interests, before people would do literally anything to make money.”
And yet, for all it sympathises with O’Connor’s viewpoint, Lost in Showbiz looks around it and asks: can we really say that music is dead, however much the presence of Kim Kardashian on the cover of Rolling Stone suggests it may be? Look at this week’s charts. What do you see? A host of hot albums by feral young acts, records possessed by the ungovernable, earth-shaking spirit of change and progress, eager to kick over the traces of the past, interested only in the thrill of the new. Neil Diamond’s All-Time Greatest Hits. The Very Best of Fleetwood Mac. Paul Simon: The Ultimate Collection. The Who Hits 50. Lionel Richie: The Definitive Collection. Bon Jovi’s Greatest Hits. Led Zeppelin’s Houses of the Holy. And at number 25, the Best of Glenn Miller. As a general rule, Lost in Showbiz doesn’t like contradicting a lady with a massive tattoo of Jesus on her chest, but come on, Sinéad! Can the Day the Music Died really be upon us when there are young bucks like that strutting around town, playing rock’n’roll the like of which has never been heard before in all its long history?
And look at what’s coming up. A new Coldplay album! But not just any new Coldplay album: a Coldplay album which, as Lost in Showbiz reported earlier this year, is rumoured to be based around the newly single Chris Martin’s “love escapades”! And if guitars aren’t your bag and dance music’s your thing, look lively – Simon Cowell’s new talent show Ultimate DJ is nearly upon us! Lost in Showbiz chooses to ignore those cynical voices who suggest that DJ technology has long advanced past the days of vinyl and turntables and that the auditions for Ultimate DJ are therefore essentially going to consist of a stream of blokes walking on and peering at laptops, as if Syco were recruiting for a new IT department. It’s sure it will prove to be one thrill after another – it’s the handiwork of a Rolling Stone cover star from the days when that meant something, after all – more proof that music’s death has been greatly exaggerated.