Jen Tile on Selling Out

Jen Tile on Selling Out

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Hello everyone,

I am fairly certain that I will receive a few nasty letters after today’s column, so before I commit literary suicide, let me say outright that I am a fan of the Parlotones. It’s an awesome achievement that their albums are lapped up by both youngsters and shall we say “distinguished” persons such as myself (I refuse to use the term “older” as vehemently as Amy Winehouse refuses dental treatment).

I am sure you have noticed that the Parlotones are taking over TV land. Every second advertisement features the band flogging diverse products such as life insurance and hip-widening chicken pieces. Oi vey! When I was a spring chicken rock stars were in to more interesting things, like rebellious young girls and heroin.

I am the first to stand up and applaud South African artists when they reach the top, but I think that the minute you utter a phrase such as, “Hi, we are…and we would like to discuss toilet paper with you”, you’ve sold your soul. I’m not saying artists should die penniless, but they should die with dignity intact.

Perhaps the band’s varied commercial interests are an indication of the state of our music scene. If there were more money to be made from doing shows, perhaps their music wouldn’t be featured as backing tracks for colour copiers. If artists could get by on gigs alone, maybe so many of them wouldn’t have to resort to being cover bands that play at corporate functions, where liquored-up old lushes in their evening gowns jump up and down like cheap tarts, singing along to renditions of Loslappie, Give Me Hope Johanna and Sweet Caroline.

My final plea to the band is a beauty-related one. If you are going to wear make-up, take tips from rockers like KISS. Sure, they had ridiculous perms (in the 80’s we all did) but at least they aimed to entertain, not merely to use their musical ability to sell disability cover.

That’s all the space I have for this week, I’m off to the mall to buy a new pair of binoculars for, shall we say, bird watching.

Email me if you have any comments. Positive or negative, I’m a big girl I can take it. I promise.

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