I regularly post Youtube links onto my Twitter account. These are mostly music videos ; I enjoy music and post anything that takes my fancy. It is a fairly eclectic mix, although I confess that it is heavily skewed towards the nostalgic. I am in my fifties, after all.
Yesterday I put up a link to a Top Of The Pops performance of “I Love You Love Me Love” by Gary Glitter. This attracted comment; not on the music, but regarding the artist. To be honest I had some doubts about posting it – after the comment I decide to delete the tweet and Facebook entry. But, it did get me thinking.
None of us are saints, although I accept that Gary Glitter’s sins scale heights not usually seen by most of us. (To be honest, I know little about his crimes. I rarely read about the foibles of celebrities, and am certainly not keen to examine the details about sex crimes.) Many artistes are flawed, and it is a judgement call as to who is still acceptable.
Being of a nostalgic bent at times I enjoy the old editions of Top Of The Pops shown on BBC4. They are repeats from 1979, my favourite chart year. There are gaps in what is shown because some of the presenters are embroiled in sex abuse scandals (Operation Yewtree). Whilst I can understand why some episodes cannot be shown, it is somewhat frustrating – the musical acts that appeared on shows presented by Jimmy Saville et al are largely innocent.
The same could be said of the Glitter Band, backing Gary on “I Love You Love Me Love”. Their contribution is now tainted by association.
Should you stop listening to tainted acts? Is the music tarnished when the artiste is caught out? What is acceptable, and what is not?
I saw Gary Glitter perform in 1988. He was thoroughly entertaining, and whilst much of his output could be described as naff and camp, it certainly got the Cliffs Pavilion crowd going.
I am as appalled as everyone else by the crimes of people like Glitter. I do not currently own any of his music, and am in no hurry to acquire any. But I am troubled by a blanket ban. Scratch beneath the surface and you will find contentious issues in the pasts of many musical acts. Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis, Sam Cooke, and The Rolling Stones – a random quartet where self-censorship could apply.
I deleted the tweet in case it offended anyone. I utterly condemn anyone guilty of sex crimes, but am genuinely puzzled as to where this leaves me as regards to their output.