OK, my thoughts on the Rage Against The Machine thing in brief.
I realize that if RATM get to Number 1 for Xmas it will not mean the end of The Man, and that all the money will go to Sony either way, and yet I will be chuffed if it does. This is because:
There's something about the tone of the naysayers that is getting on my wick. The idea may be flawed, but they seem hellbent on ignoring the good points like a bunch of fucking killjoys. I'd like to see Merzbow as this year's Yuletide smash, but Killing In The Name Of will do just fine. Copenhagen is going on, it's a popular tune with a certain nostalgia factor, I'd be hard-pressed to think of another song that would embody the message quite as well ...blah blah blah.
I think the hegemonic grip of the corporate karaoke culture represented by Cowell's X Factor could do with a kick in the teeth, even if it is only a symbolic one. It's a kind of bread and circuses where the white bread is mixed with milk and the lions look like Sharon Osbourne.
Half Man Half Biscuit did advise us that it's cliched to be cynical at Christmas, but let's face it Christmas does breed a special kind of misery and part of that misery is the soundtrack. Hearing the same records year after year in a prescribed ritual of consumption and self-gratification adds to an overwhelming sense that one is taking part in a festival of conformity that it isn't easy to opt out of without a very expensive plane ticket. I would like to think that as a result of this campaign the normal maddening drip-feed diet of Slade, Wizzard, Band Aid, Mariah Carey, Wham and all the rest of them might be interrupted at any number of office parties, get-togethers, family gatherings or pointless nights down the pub by a band called Rage Against The Machine. As a sometime DJ, I'm tempted to talk about how certain songs can channel crowd mood and energy, but suffice to say I think this song would work a treat in the context.
Personally I don't buy MP3s, and I don't vote in stupid competitions where you have to pay for the privilege, but if you do buy one song this Christmas I would urge you to make it this one. If you don't want to, well you know what to say...
The organisers of the campaign are asking people to donate a pound to Shelter if they buy the track, and it's hard to see what's wrong with that.