Well, we did it!

He's got the X Factor...
Image by law_keven via Flickr

As many of you will know on Sunday evening it was announced that Rage Against The Machine’s song ‘Killing in the Name‘ had made it to the number one spot for Christmas. At the time of the announcement I was sat in a restaurant with Gareth listening tothe radio on his phone. I was shaking with nerves and the rush of joy and elation I felt as the opening bars of Joe McElderry’s version of ‘The Climb’ played as the number 2 song was immense and indescribable.

A large portion of the British public banded together and achieved something tangible. The campaign was well run and Jon and Tracy Morter deserve a lot of recognition and praise. The celebrity backing was also priceless in this battle. On top of this achievement the campaign has also raised over £100,000 (including gift aid) for SHELTER, a charity for the homeless.

However this story is not all happiness and light. The recriminations have already begun. Early on Simon Cowell branded us rage campaigners as cynical and stupid. Later he went on to call us mindless morons. Perhaps these are the cries of someone who knows he has met his match and is wishing to discourage us and undermine our confidence, obviously it did not work. Since the announcement Simon Cowell has been quite gracious in his defeat, the same can not be said for fellow judge Louis Walsh and countless Joe McElderry fans.

Today’s Sun newspaper sported a front cover picture of Zack de la Rocha with devil horns next to Joe McElderry with a halo. Inside, the delightfully biased article featured two small sections called ‘My View’. One was written by Rage guitarist Tom Morello and the other by Louis Walsh. Mr Morello spoke about his pride about being picked by the grass roots campaign and what the band intended to do with their profits (the answer to that is donate the majority to SHELTER). Mr Walsh was not so magnanimous. His comments were derogatory and rude. The words ‘sore loser’ do not even begin to cover the petty and belittling way in which Louis Walsh spoke about Rage Against the Machine. Not the fans, not the Rage campaigners but the band themselves who other than giving their approval¬† the campaign had nothing to do with it. He said that Joe would outsell Rage in the long run, that Rage couldn’t sell out Wembley today and that Joe will. I wish it were true. But as the past has shown, male winners of the X-Factor do not have bright futures. Leon and Steve were both dropped by their record labels shortly after winning. Joe sadly faces the same future.

Well, this topic is pretty neatly tied up now. My final wish for this campaign as it lays dying in the debris of celebration is that it is remembered favourably. That we are not forever branded as bullies stealing the dreams of an 18 year old boy. That we are remembered as people who dreamed of taking something back for ourselves and finally that the British public realises that ANYTHING is within our power.

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Why I care about RATM and Christmas number 1.

Australian/New Zealand Edition
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This will be the smallest and most ineffectual blog to mention the Christmas number 1 race but I have to get my words out there!

I will be buying ‘Killing in the Name‘ on monday and I will urge everyone I know to do the same. Not because I hate X-factor or Simon Cowell or anything like that but because I resent having my choice taken away from me. Sure, the sale of one single might not ever make a huge difference but, just as with a political vote, it’s my right to exercise this power. (I realise that comparing Christmas number 1 to a general election is quite silly though)

The point is that for years now X-factor has stolen Christmas number 1 and I am from a generation that remembers the magic of Christmas number 1. I remember when it used to be a real competition, when artists and novelty acts would put effort into winning that treasured number 1 spot. I remember watching top of the pops just before Christmas with my sister purely to see what would be Christmas number 1.

To me the Rage Against the Machine campaign isn’t about Simon Cowell (the fact that he thinks it is just proves to me the staggering size of his ego) and it’s not about robbing the X-factor winner of their number 1. It’s about taking back an old British institution and making a stand about having our right to cheesy Christmas singles taken away. I don’t want X-factor taken off the air, I want the schedule to be changed so that the winners song is not released to coincide with the Christmas number 1 race.

Other than that I feel really good about this campaign. As lame as it sounds this is the first time I feel I might be a part of something big and worthwhile. It’s not political reform, it’s not a revolution but it is a huge number of people coming together and making a difference. I want to be able to say I was part of it. I want the charity side of the campaign to raise so much money. (Please donate at http://www.justgiving.com/ratm4xmas)

Please tell all your friends and join the fight at http://www.facebook.com/search/?q=christmas+1+2009&init=quick#/group.php?gid=2228594104&ref=ts

Be a part of something big!

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