Stop Sir Cliff from inflicting more damage on society

CLIFF RICHARD'S filthy record absolutely has to be stopped from still being No 1 at the Millennium. Maybe we could learn a lesson from Tony Blair and change the way the charts are compiled, replacing the present system with an Electoral College. One third of the votes could be allocated to the fan club of the Prodigy, another third to the Society for Not Putting Robbie Burns to Music, and the final third to a devil-worshipping coven, all under the block-vote system.

Anything would be a blessing, compared to the damage done to society by boosting the morale of Cliff Richard fans. His atrocious offering reminds me of my introduction to Church of England culture, when we were made to sing hymns in assembly. My memory of the words is that they were usually something like: "Oh Lord God who made everything/ trees and kittens and all the lot/ how do you put up with us?/ We're not even grateful, we deserve a good kicking."

One of them went: "Sun and moon bow down before him." And then you get The Daily Telegraph complaining that left-wing teachers indoctrinate kids! Even the most fervent liberal Sixties teacher wouldn't claim that the entire solar system regularly went "quick everyone, get down, it's Che Guevara".

Because his record hasn't been on radio playlists, Cliff is even claiming some kind of radical underground status. As if the only way people could hear the thing were from pirate radio stations, broadcast from a council estate in Peckham, with DJs rapping, "this beat going out to the Church of England posse, the notorious C-L-I-F-F keeping it real for the Sunday School massive".

In fact, this must be the only time that anything has ever been banned from the mainstream for being too mainstream. A Cliff Richard song being rejected by Radio 2 is like a Terry and June script being turned down with a note saying, "We were looking for something a bit more raunchy." Part of the problem is that society has become complacent in the Nineties, with the idea that we can enjoy everything that's bad, especially from the Seventies, as it was all done with irony. But this is an illusion. The Sweet and Are You Being Served weren't being ironic; they were just bad. I reckon that General Pinochet, instead of claiming illness, should say: "Look, it was 1973, I was just being ironic."

And Cliff isn't all right really, in a jokey, Eurovisiony, Abba-y sort of way. He represents everything that's rotten in the state of Britain; he's soulless, passionless, the triumph of mediocrity, a celebration of suburban repression of all emotion, with a false, over-the-fence niceness concealing a bitter, "grass-up-the-woman-on-the-corner-who-claims- benefit- while-doing-a-night-cleaning job" vindictiveness.

What a shameful comment on the decline of post-war Britain, that our response to Chuck Berry and Elvis was Tommy Steele and Cliff. He represents music for people who can't stand music, as show jumping is sport for people who hate sport.

The whole purpose of music is to express the anxieties, the love, the pain that words alone can't. But no one, listening to Cliff, feels a knot in their stomach and splutters, "you really sense he wants the world to know that he's in love with her; that's why he's so adamant about his congratulations and jubilations".

For 40 years Cliff has been making records, and not once has he hit upon a single quaver of sexuality. It's inconceivable that anyone, in all that time, has ever used a Cliff Richard song in the process of seduction. As something to set up a romantic ambience, you'd be better off with the theme music of the BBC's Nine o'Clock News. The problem is not religion. The gospel of Aretha Franklin or Jah-inspired reggae of Bob Marley must move even the most determined atheist. With Cliff, you get sanctimonious Stars-on-Sunday, Vicar-of-Dibley, bring-an-unwanted-tin-of-apricots-to- the-Harvest-Festival religion; the same smiley tambourine-tapping religion that turned the other cheek when he broke the boycott of apartheid South Africa to play Sun City and launched, along with Mary Whitehouse, the "Festival of Light" to counter the movements in support of women and gays in the Seventies.

Cliff has claimed that the idea of singing the Lord's Prayer to the tune of "Auld Lang Syne" was "genius". Of course it was. Right up there with the Sistine Chapel and the theory of relativity. So here's my solution. Next Christmas, he should try the same trick again, but, to prove his commitment to all religions, sing the first page of the Koran to the tune of "My Old Man's a Dustman". With a chorus of:

"Allah's the Almighty

There is no doubting that

He's merciful and vengeful

And he lives in a council flat.

Hey!"

That should be the last we hear from him.

Arts and Entertainment
Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey in Fifty Shades of Grey

film Sex scene trailer sees a shirtless Jamie Dornan turn up the heat

Arts and Entertainment
Fake Banksy stencil given to artist Alex Jakob-Whitworth

art

Arts and Entertainment
'The Archers' has an audience of about five million
radioA growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried
Arts and Entertainment
Ready to open the Baftas, rockers Kasabian are also ‘great film fans’
musicExclusive: Rockers promise an explosive opening to the evening
Arts and Entertainment
Henry VIII played by Damien Lewis
tvReview: Scheming queens-in-waiting, tangled lines of succession and men of lowly birth rising to power – sound familiar?
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift is heading to Norwich for Radio 1's Big Weekend

music
Arts and Entertainment
Beer as folk: Vincent Franklin and Cyril Nri (centre) in ‘Cucumber’
tvReview: This slice of gay life in Manchester has universal appeal
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
‘A Day at the Races’ still stands up well today
film
Arts and Entertainment
‘The Royals’ – a ‘twisted, soapy take on England’s first family’
tvAnd its producers have already announced a second season...
Arts and Entertainment
Kraftwerk performing at the Neue Nationalgalerie (New National Gallery) museum in Berlin earlier this month
musicWhy a bunch of academics consider German electropoppers Kraftwerk worthy of their own symposium
Arts and Entertainment
Icelandic singer Bjork has been forced to release her album early after an online leak

music
Arts and Entertainment
Colin Firth as Harry Hart in Kingsman: The Secret Service

film
Arts and Entertainment
Brian Blessed as King Lear in the Guildford Shakespeare Company's performance of the play

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
In the picture: Anthony LaPaglia and Martin Freeman in 'The Eichmann Show'

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Anne Kirkbride and Bill Roache as Deirdre and Ken Barlow in Coronation Street

tvThe actress has died aged 60
Arts and Entertainment
Marianne Jean-Baptiste defends Joe Miller in Broadchurch series two

tv
Arts and Entertainment
The frill of it all: Hattie Morahan in 'The Changeling'

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny may reunite for The X Files

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Clarkson, left, and Richard Hammond upset the locals in South America
TV
News
A young woman punched a police officer after attending a gig by US rapper Snoop Dogg
people
Arts and Entertainment
Reese Witherspoon starring in 'Wild'

It's hard not to warm to Reese Witherspoon's heroismfilm
Arts and Entertainment
Word up: Robbie Coltrane as dictionary guru Doctor Johnson in the classic sitcom Blackadder the Third
books

Arts and Entertainment
The Oscar nominations are due to be announced today

Oscars 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Hacked off: Maisie Williams in ‘Cyberbully’

Maisie Williams single-handedly rises to the challenge

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Eddie Redmayne in The Theory of Everything and Benedict Cumberbatch in The Imitation Game are both nominated at the Bafta Film Awards
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

    Isis hostage crisis

    The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
    Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

    The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

    Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
    Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

    Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

    Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
    Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

    Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

    This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
    Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

    Cabbage is king again

    Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
    11 best winter skin treats

    Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

    Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
    Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

    Paul Scholes column

    The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
    Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

    Frank Warren's Ringside

    No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
    Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

    Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

    The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
    Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

    Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

    Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
    Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
    Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

    Comedians share stories of depression

    The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
    Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

    Has The Archers lost the plot?

    A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
    English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

    14 office buildings added to protected lists

    Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
    Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

    Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

    Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee