Matthew Bionic asks…
Dear Ask Ben & Clare
I find James Blunt depressing. For every four bars of his music I hear, I have to punch a kitten, rub my ears on a cheese grater or leave the toilet seat up. It’s unreasonable behaviour, I know, but I desperately need anything – ANYTHING – to distract me from the whiney noisefart of his singing voice.
Why is it, then, when I see him on interviews, he comes across as intelligent, witty and likeable? On the morning of writing this email, he made buggery and porn jokes on Sunday morning telly. The man’s a raconteur and I think I love him. Is there some inverse-proportional relation between the awfulness of someone’s music and their ability to be Actually Quite Nice In Real Life? (I call this the Jon Bon Jovi rule, which Usher also qualifies for.)
Well? Is there?
x Matthew Bionic
You raise an interesting idea, Mr Bionic. A tantalising theory that may shed new light on the very nature of reality. But can it ever be more than an idea? Can it match up to the might of science?
What we have at the moment is what is known in the trade as ‘anecdotal evidence’: we have noticed something but it does not follow that it is part of a larger pattern. I will give you two examples of ‘anecdotal evidence’ so you can see what I mean.
You might see an old lady eating a curry, and then another old lady eating a curry, and then two more, and then decide that this shows all old ladies like curry. However, if you conducted a thorough survey of old ladies asking them if they liked curry or not, you would probably find that some old ladies do like curry but many do not. You would also find that a fair proportion of old ladies won’t eat it because they consider it ‘foreign muck’ and that their opinions on immigration (which they will give you as a Pavlovian reaction to the word curry) will make you wonder if they have, without anyone noticing, had a stroke or some other attack that left their brain short of oxygen for a considerable time.
You might see an old lady and notice she is old, and then notice that another old lady is old, and then two more, and then decide all old women are old. This time, a simple survey with the question ‘Are you old?’ and a simple yes/no tick box set-up, would back up your theory nicely.
So, as you can see, we need some sort of scientific, in depth, painstakingly researched, statistical analysis before we can really answer your question. Luckily, I have been off work this week so I could spend twenty minutes making this:
I’m afraid the evidence is inconclusive.
Gosh, you came back for more, Mr Bionic. How delightful. Hello again.
Before I answer this, your second question to Ask Ben & Clare (for which we are most genuinely grateful), I just need to officially distance myself from Ben’s chart. Firstly, I do the graphs round here, dammit. Secondly, I can’t extend my support to anything which might suggest that Pete Doherty is good in any way, shape or form. Plus, I hear that quite a few people like those Belle and Sebastian dour Scottish folk.
Right, let’s get down to business.
“Actually Quite Nice In Real Life”, you say? Oh. Oh dear. Seeing someone on the tellybox isn’t the same as knowing them in real life, Mr B, jokes on a Sunday or no. I’m sorry, I know you’re a big famous superhero what does public appearances and all, but when people are talking to you out of that big ole 32in screen (ach, I know, I’m a bit behind with the tech stuff), they’re not really talking to just you. I don’t think you actually hang with any of the homies you name above, do you?
Or maybe you do…
Look! There’s you and James Blunt swigging shandies in the back room at the Britons Protection. See! Here’s Jon Bon Jovi ringing you up to ask your advice on how long a pavlova needs in the oven. Watch! This is that moment when you get Usher to do his Sir Alan Sugar impression for that nice Dan bloke on the desk in the Cornerhouse.
In which case, yes, you’re quite right. They are nice in real life, these godawful singers. So, perhaps you’re onto something with your hypothesis. Ever thought of doing a PhD?
Matthew Bionic is less of an international man of mystery since last he corresponded. In fact, you can now read all kinds of weird and wonderful witterings by the man behind the mask at this here weblog: www.bionicmatthew.wordpress.com