Donald MacInnes: 'It seems even Simon Cowell has at least one admirable quality'

Donald is impressed that, when it came to dispensing with the services of Louis Walsh from The X Factor, Simon was willing to pull the trigger himself

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The Independent Online

I have never hidden from you my pulsating disdain for Simon Cowell and all of his works, so you may be surprised that he features as much as he does in this week's doings. And while I have never gone as far as to claim that the stack-heeled guru of teatime mediocrity is actually in league with the Devil, I do believe that he, at the very least, has Satan's ear. If not his email address.

In truth, I only reference "The Cow" because news broke this week that he had decided to dispense with the services of Louis Walsh from The X Factor and was willing to pull the trigger himself, rather than have one of his nodding yes-bots do it. And although I have never had to fire someone from a job, it reminded me of an incident from my past. And it's an incident the recollection of which still gives me a guilty tummy when the weather is just so.

Back in the old country, I was in a band with three other blokes. Our bass player was this guy called Pete who had answered an advert in the local paper. He was a pretty unassuming bloke, a reasonable musician and his biggest crime was probably that he always seemed to have bits of food encrusted around the corners of his mouth after he had eaten. It always seemed to be egg. Even if he had had tomato soup.

His biggest selling point, though, was that his parents had a garage, in which we could rehearse. Afterwards his mum would even appear at the garage door with a "Coo-ee! Peter!" and a tray laden with sandwiches which, despite our sotto voce rock'n'roll sniggering, we would devour. And before you ask, yes they were egg. Although sometimes she did corned beef and tomato.


Anyway, as I said, he wasn't a terrible bass player, but we just didn't ever feel that he was on the same wavelength as the rest of us. We played a few gigs with him and, while he held his own quite well, it always took me six tries to explain a new part to him and it was beginning to get a bit wearing.

One day, we suddenly got some record company interest. They would finance some recording time in a proper studio. It was a dream come true. But we were damned if we were going to start on our road to stardom with our slightly mis-shapen bass player. The crusty food around his mouth was bound to lessen our chances.

So we sacked him. Well, the guitarist sacked him. Myself and the lead singer were too yellow-bellied to carry out the coup de grâce. We just sat in the room while the guitarist (to his eternal credit) hummed and hawed through a telephone call to the distraught Pete. And it still shames me. But Simon Cowell was better than that.

Like a broken clock being right twice a day, it seems even Simon Cowell has at least one admirable quality. And I find that profoundly depressing. I so wanted him to be perfectly evil.

Twitter: @DonaldAMacInnes

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