In the morning RSS-trawl I came across an article about the FAME500 – “a comprehensive depiction of where Britain’s shining stars spent their younger years” . This isn’t really a new phenomenon – actually, between Time magazine and BBC3 you could argue that these countdowns are quite trivial and meaningless, but it’s essentially about how great Britain is, and I’m always down for some British pandering in all but BNP ways.
Perhaps surprisingly, Lancashire came out as the biggest producer of UK talent, even beating Beatles homestead Merseyside, with 1 out of every 29,438 person growing up there becoming famous. Once you realise that Manchester is in Lancashire (wikipedia explains why there might be some confusion over this) – it’s clear to see why it’s at the top of the list. Manchester doesn’t just produce famous bands, it creates whole movements, from Oasis’s working class Brit Pop, to the Hacienda era, to the Stone Roses and even post-punk pioneers Joy Division (apart from the guitarist who is from Salford, a very important distinction).
Here’s a pictogram of the top 10 for the geographically-challenged (click for a larger version):
It’s an interesting analysis, but one with an alterior motive. The study’s producers, 1click2fame say that it was inspired by the UK’s X-factor fever, and as you may have guessed by the company name, their main objective is to try their own version of the “democratic” audition system. With the tenuous link that “accessibility to the lime light has always been an obstacle for those in pursuit of celebrity”, the company state that they will be putting “audition pods” in Tesco stores across the country to give people a chance at auditioning, and these videos will then be put to public vote (the site essentially works a bit like youtube in terms of online community). Head over to the 1click2fame talent competition site if you’re curious.
I probably shouldn’t be so cynical – at least this method gives ANYONE the chance to audition – and that’s the niche talent as much as the crazies, without a judging panel that will filter them out due to “sellability” and good looks, but it probably won’t change the world. I won’t be engaging in any of this business, but I’m grateful that these guys did something a little useful by way of the study to make up for their bandwagon-jumping!