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Collins & Maconie V Swine

by Phil Thornton

In his column for last month’s Word magazine, Andrew Collins had a pop at magazines, newspapers and broadcasters for encouraging and giving over valuable space to ‘bloggers.’ Naturally he repeats the criticisms of other journalists and broadcasters by couching his attack in terms of ‘quality’ but what these critics, pundits and talking heads really fear is their cherished postions as ‘social commentators’ or even ‘opinion formers’ being challenged, especially from -yeuch - ordinary people!

Collins and his pompous ilk are almost all from exactly the same privileged Middle English backgrounds and cannot contemplate that they arrived at their exalted status not by hard work or - God forbid - talent but via the same old Public School/Oxbridge, grammar school/top university career ladder that has propagated the media for generations. Collins, with his magazine and newspaper columns, with his highly amusing autobiographical book deals, with his TV appearances and BBC radio programmes doesn’t see why ‘bloggers’ should steal the food from his table.

It’s not greed that provokes his ire of course. No, he’s the sort of person who’d cover his tracks by quoting that well known cliché, ‘opinions are like arseholes, everybody’s got one.’ HIS opinions of course are worth far more than YOURS or some jumped up obscure ranting blogger. Now I wouldn’t know how to blog to save my life and have little interest in the so-called ‘Blogosphere.’ I can sit and look at Google for hours and be totally unable to think of anything to type into it other than ‘leg sex’ and ‘Panini Stickers.’ Yet Swine is, I suppose, little more than a big fat Blog, allowing us to vent our spleens and indulge our passions without the corporate control or editorial meddling of ‘professionals’ like Collins and his complacent, self-satisfied chums.

Of course there is some right old shite parading as critical insight on the internet but a quick browse through even Amazon will prove that there are some very skilled and perceptive amateurs who’d put Collins and his former NME, 6digital, Word magazine mafia chums to shame. The internet has provided alternatives to the bland, sanitised mainstream, the very bland, sanitised mainstream that NME hacks used to rail against before they eneded up at The Telegraph and the BBC.

Still Collins hasn’t sank as low as his partner in crime Stuart Maconie, who far from being satisfied with HIS magazine and newspaper columns, HIS humorous autobiographic books, HIS TV appearances and BBC radio programmes has succumbed to providing voice overs for DFS (short for Don’t Fuckin’ Sign in 3 years interest free credit-land). See those of us who came of age in the 70s and 80s are the new indie/oldie demographic and products are targeted at US. That’s why you get Maconie’s chummy Wigan accent oozing through every available digital orifice.

Collins and Maconie have assumed an almost paternalist position within the modern media; they are every bit as cosy, unthreatening yet gently witty and charming as Ken Bruce or Terry Wogan. Most of all though, they are very PROFESSIONAL, It’s their JOB, their CAREER, their fucking LIVLIHOOD OK’ That’s why they’re so dismissive and elitist about AMATEURS, the likes of us, who still have real jobs and real lives away from the cosy comfort of Soho and Hoxton, who still manage to put together this pile of shite each month with no budget, no marketing, no editorial control or corporate financing and with no other purpose than to a give a voice to unapologetic amateurs of all persuasions.








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