Saturday, March 05, 2005


Who says there is no justice in pop? Well, actually, they probably say it quite a lot here, and they've got a point, because despite the fact that acts like Mania, V, Girls Aloud, Rachel Stevens, Annie and Alcazar have released some stunning singles over the past year or so, the record-buying public at large seems to prefer to spend their cash on the latest slice of ruh-n-buh mediocrity by Nelly or Usher.

It saddens us that very few people in the UK - specifically people or institutions of influence, like national radio stations or music journalists - actually use their status to point out how formulaic a lot of the stuff that clogs up the charts really is, preferring to just think "oh well, at least they wrote it themselves and it's got a nice guitar solo". It's even worse when people commit the cardinal sin of releasing really terrible records and escape unpunished.

We were relieved, therefore, to hear this week that Dizzee Rascal had been arrested. "Finally," we thought, "the music police have tracked him down after that truly terrifying 'Happy Talk' sample and the risible rapping of Band Aid 20, have placed a restraining order that prevents him from going within 200 metres of a recording studio, and have asked him to retrospectively repay the Mercury Music Prize money so that it can be used to buy a couple of thousand kids a copy of What Will The Neighbours Say? so that they can realise pop isn't vacuous or uncool."

Imagine our disappointment, then, to find that he'd been arrested after police had found him in possession of pepper spray. Yup, pepper spray.

Remember what we said a few paragraphs up about people who tread a line of mediocrity? It seems appropriate that a serial offender like Dizzee Rascal should, in what we at Panda Pops are going to assume is an attempt at a cool US-gangland-style arrest scandal, do such a mediocre job of it. No drugs, no guns, just a canister of pepper spray. How very dull. This, we suspect, is what happens when you give Joss Stone a Best Urban Act award - no wonder the UK record-buying public would prefer to Buy American. At least they get arrested with style.


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