Friday, 12 December 2014

Spotify My Soul

There are only three things in the world that I hate, and one of them is Spotify.

If the Ohio Players had wanted a string of unlistenable adverts played after every two tracks of their Live 1977 album, they'd have put them in - like or Jay-Z. Nothing ruins an album like a whiney Christmas advert or some prick telling me how much I need a phone that doubles as a hipster beard trimmer. Spotify will gleefully interrupt my '70s funk to play me some contemporary bullshit which it insists is incredible, despite the audible evidence to the contrary.

Why not just turn down the volume? Because Spotify is very clever and pauses the adverts when you mute them - they know when you're not paying enough attention, like the telescreens in 1984. Why not just take out your headphones? Because then I don't know when the advert's finished and end up missing the first 15 seconds of Sweet Sticky Thing - it's easy to overestimate the length of the adverts, because when you hear them they seem to go on for ever.

An album is a piece of art - unless it's Jake Bugg, obviously. You wouldn't draw a McDonalds logo on a Turner painting, or try to sneak a PC World advert into a Jane Austen novel - "It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a tablet that can replace your laptop." 

I understand that Spotify is a business and it's free to use, using the absence of adverts as a tantalising incentive to pay for a subscription. But the sheer frequency of the adverts, coupled with this unnecessary telescreen technology, suggests that Spotify doesn't really care about music - it cares about selling you expensive crap you don't need.

If this is in any doubt, look at this picture - Spotify have helpfully compiled a playlist of all your favourite songs from adverts. It's one thing to subtly use advertising to fund your passionate project, it's another to force adverts down our throats disguised as art. But the big question is - who listens to that?!

Probably quite a lot of people, which is extremely depressing. The John Lewis advert that I've not seen but is definitely awful was released alongside a penguin toy that cost £95 - and sold out in under 24 hours. And as for that Sainsbury's advert - sticking a corporate logo on the end of a completely irrelevant film about World War I is all kinds of wrong.

But I digress. If you're on Spotify, you can listen to loads of great stuff. You can listen to a Grateful Dead show from 1966, or Blind Melon's first two albums, or a Grateful Dead show from 1973, or James Brown Live at the Apollo, or a Grateful Dead show from 1982. But no. You're listening to the music off of adverts. I hope you have a terrible Christmas. 

Saturday, 29 November 2014


As you know, I love everything in the world, with the exception of three things. One of those things that I love is drum solos (of the 1950s).

Foolishly extending my trilogy of blogs about drumming into a trilogy of four, here (in chronological order) are my top 5 drum solos of the 1950s.

1. Drum Boogie - Gene Krupa 1952

Gene Krupa was really the first super-star drummer, who brought the drums from their traditional time-keeping role and into the limelight as a solo instrument. This solo at the end of Drum Boogie, from 1952's Drum Battle at JATP, captures his extraordinary energy. It's his poor old snare I feel sorry for. 

2. Buddy's Blues - Buddy Rich 1955

Buddy Rich and Gene Krupa would famously play drum battles, but they were ultimately pointless because it was impossible to work out who had won. Together, they recorded the album Krupa & Rich in 1955, featuring this unbelievably fast solo from Rich. Buddy's Blues sounds like the work of a drummer with way more than 4 limbs.

3. Oscalypso - Art Blakey 1957

From his 1957 album Drum Suite, Art Blakey's Oscalypso is an irresistibly elusive piece of music. Exotic rhythms combine with twanging guitars to create a strange and immersive atmosphere. The recording was originally intended as a run-through, but Blakey ended up using it on the record. And you can see why.

4. Drum-A-Mania - Jack Costanzo 1958

The great bongo player Jack Costanzo, AKA Mr. Bongo, is now 95 years old and cooler than anyone you know, young or old. He closes his 1958 album Latin Fever with Drum-A-Mania, a blistering two-minute bongo solo. And by blistering, I mean seriously, get that man some Savlon.

5. Take Five - The Dave Brubeck Quartet (Joe Morello) 1959

Take Five, from Dave Brubeck's 1959 album Time Out, is known for its fantastic 5/4 time signature, catchy piano hook and cool sax melody. Not only is it one of the greatest jazz pieces ever written, it features an unpredictably choppy drum solo from Joe Morello. I don't have a joke to end on. It's just a great song.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Funky Drummer (Parts 1 & 2)

As you know, I love everything in the world, with the exception of three things. One of those things that I love is bands with (at least) two drummers.

To close my trilogy of totally ignored drumming blogs, I'm going to explain why all bands should have a minimum of two drummers, using 5 examples:

1. Rock n' Roll Stew - Traffic (Jim Capaldi, Roger Hawkins and Rebop Kwaku Baah) January 1973

Traffic tear the roof off the Winterland Arena by stirring three percussionists into Rock n' Roll Stew. That's three more drummers than The White Stripes.

2. Pretzel Logic - Steely Dan (Jeff Porcaro and Jim Hodder) May 1974

I included a Steely Dan performance from this London show on my top 5 drum solos of the 1970s, and this version of Pretzel Logic is so good it prompts Donald Fagen to admit: "I thought that was pretty well done myself."

3. Not Fade Away - Grateful Dead (Bill Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart) September 1975

This Grateful Dead show at Lindley Meadows is notorious because the entire band was particularly high. And this is the Dead we're talking about. To make matters more surreal, a woman in the audience was having a baby. Now that's a show to remember. Hopefully.

4. Use the Force - Jamiroquai (Derrick McKenzie and Sola Akingbola) September 1996

The infectious combination of Derrick McKenzie on drums and Sola Akingbola on percussion drives Jamiroquai's groovy Use the Force, which ought to be the theme tune to the upcoming Star Wars movie.

5. 4th Movement of the Odyssey - Incubus (José Pasillas II and Brandon Boyd) November 2004

Talking of Star Wars, the soundtrack to the game Halo 2 features a 4-part odyssey from Incubus, which would be annoyingly pretentious were it not so amazing. Part 4 builds from its exotic percussive opening into Mike Einziger's storming guitar work. It's the perfect soundtrack to fighting aliens in space.

Hopefully that's a convincing list. If I ever see a band with any fewer than two drummers, there'll be hell to pay. In memory of the great Jack Bruce, who died on Saturday, I'll leave you with Cream's phenomenal 16-minute Spoonful. Cream only had one drummer, but it was Ginger Baker, which is like having hundreds. 

Saturday, 27 September 2014

Give The Drummer Some

As you know, I love everything in the world, with the exception of three things. One of those things that I love is drum solos (of the 1970s).

The response to my last blog about my favourite drum solos of the 1960s was entirely non-existent. So here, in chronological order, are my top 5 drum solos of the 1970s!

1. Good Lovin' - Grateful Dead (Bill Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart) February 1970

Grateful Dead appeared in my top 10 drum solos of the 1960s, and it's safe to assume they'd also feature on my '80s and '90s lists if I could be bothered to write them. This version of Good Lovin', recorded at the Warehouse in New Orleans, includes a typically wild drum solo (duet?) from Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann. The Dead had just been busted for drugs and had to post bail, so this gig was held as a bust-fund benefit, which saw the band joined on stage by Fleetwood Mac's Peter Green. And what do we get in 2014? Kings of Leon joined on stage by Chris Martin. That's what. 

2. Friday Night, August 14th - Funkadelic (Tiki Fulwood) July 1970

Speaking of drugs, Funkadelic's Friday Night, August 14th is an unbelievably cool slice of '70s funk that closes with a superbly (psuperbly?) psychadelic drum solo from Tiki Fulwood, from their awesomely titled 1970 album Free Your Mind... and Your Ass Will Follow. According to bandleader George Clinton, the album was an attempt to "see if we can cut a whole album while we're all tripping on acid." It turns out that they definitely could.

3. One Word - Mahavishnu Orchestra (Billy Cobham) March 1973

One of the world's greatest living drummers, Billy Cobham rose to prominence as drummer for Miles Davis and went on to redefine jazz drumming in John McLaughlin's Mahavishnu Orchestra. A particularly fine example of Cobham's fusion drumming comes at the end of One Word, from the classic album Birds of Fire. He still performs at the age of 70, just like your grandparents don't.

4. This All Too Mobile Home - Steely Dan (Jeff Porcaro and Jim Hodder) May 1974

No one combined jazz and rock quite like Steely Dan, and the rarely heard This All Too Mobile Home proved the perfect closing number for this London show. Each member of the band exit the stage one by one until just the two drummers remained, leaving Jeff Porcaro and Jim Hodder to end the show on an electrically energetic closing jam. "Sweet dreams my brothers, goodnight."

5. Fire - Ohio Players (James "Diamond" Williams) November 1974

Fire by the Ohio Players is one of my favourite funk songs, which I first heard on a That '70s Show CD but is also apparently the theme song to Gordon Ramsay's reality show Hell's Kitchen. That obviously spoils it a bit, but not enough to ruin Diamond's groovy percussion break, which intertwines with Sugarfoot's funky guitar and Merv, Pee Wee and Satch's cool horns. Oh yeah, they all had amazing names, huge afros and white capes. The '70s were unbelievably good.

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Drum Solos Are Boring!

As you know, I love everything in the world, with the exception of three things. One of those things that I love is drum solos (of the 1960s).

So here, in chronological order, are my top 10 drum solos of the 1960s:

1. Toad - Cream (Ginger Baker) December 1966 

When the notoriously unpleasant Ginger Baker wasn't threatening his bandmate Jack Bruce with a knife or battling heroin addiction, he was thundering his way through solos with a pioneering use of two bass drums. Toad is one of the earliest recorded rock drum solos, a piece of musical history from the original supergroup.

2. Cold Sweat - James Brown (Clyde Stubblefield) July 1967

The 1960s saw the origins not only of hard rock, but also of funk. No single individual has greater claim to popularising funk music than James Brown, who in amongst his various noises shouts "Give the drummer some!" in the middle of the extremely funky Cold Sweat, to which drummer Clyde Stubblefield responds with a particularly groovy mini-solo.

3. My Generation - The Who (Keith Moon) September 1967

Keith Moon hated drum solos, once reportedly stopping mid-gig to yell "Drum solos are boring!" So this isn't actually a drum solo, but it's my blog so shut up. The Who were known for destroying their instruments on stage, and Keith Moon, another early adopter of the double kick drum, would load his kit with cherry bombs to make it blow up. For their performance on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, Moon used considerably more explosives than usual, resulting in an unforgettable climax to My Generation that caused a momentary break in transmission, singed Pete Townshend's hair and left Moon with shrapnel in his arm. So-called rock bands of today take note, this is how it's done.

4. Catfish Blues - The Jimi Hendrix Experience (Mitch Mitchell) October 1967

Recorded at the BBC, this unbelievably cool Jimi Hendrix cover of Robert Petway's Catfish Blues features a very nice drum solo by Mitch Mitchell. Admittedly I just wanted to include Mitch Mitchell, because his name is Mitch Mitchell. 

5. Alligator - Grateful Dead (Bill Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart) January 1968

Is it still a solo if there are two drummers? That's one for the philosophers. All I know is how hard it is to pick a Grateful Dead drum solo from one of the travelling hippy troupe's 2,300 odd gigs. And I mean odd. But this Alligator drum break in Seattle is a prime example of Bill Kreutzmann's rhythms and Mickey Hart's percussion forming the centrepiece of a typically psychadelic jam. Not bad considering they were all higher than Snoop Dogg watching 2001: A Space Odyssey.

6. Channel One Suite - The Buddy Rich Big Band (Buddy Rich) July 1968

This has all been child's play up until now. No one played the drums with the sheer level of effortless talent as Buddy Rich, who brought popularity and personality to drumming while taking centre stage with impossibly tight jazz solos. One of the finest of these comes at the end of Mercy, Mercy's Channel One Suite, in which he double-handedly tears the roof off Caesars Palace. And he had a black belt in Karate. 

7. Sex Machine - Sly and the Family Stone (Greg Errico) May 1969

Sly and The Family Stone's album Stand! is a perfect slice of '60s psychadelia, featuring the awesomely narcotic Sex Machine, which Greg Errico closes with a simple but dynamic drum solo. He'd later play with the likes of Santana and Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead, in a combination of rock and soul that demonstrates the way psychedelic music breaks musical boundaries and blurs them together, until they're very, very hazy.

8. Do What You Like - Blind Faith (Ginger Baker) August 1969

Ginger Baker's importance in rock drumming cannot be understated, so here he is again. Blind Faith's Do What You Like was written by Baker himself in the unusual 5/4 time signature, showing that not only could he drum, he could also compose. Like the angry Buddy Rich, only much angrier. 

9. Soul Sacrifice - Santana (Mike Shrieve) August 1969

Woodstock 1969 is the stuff of musical legend, with a lineup that included the Grateful Dead, Sly Stone and of course Santana. Glastonbury-goers would have hated it, all those rock bands. The latin-rock giants became one of the festival's highlights, thanks to a blistering Soul Sacrifice drum solo by then 20-year-old drummer Mike Shrieve. If you were there, I hate you. 


10. Moby Dick - Led Zeppelin (John Bonham) October 1969

Who better to bring us out of the '60s and into the '70s than Led Zeppelin, with their quintessential instrumental Moby Dick. It's hard rock at its purest, from the bluesy Jimmy Page riff to the junky cowbell beat, sandwiching John Bonham's classic drum solo which takes us rattling into the 1970s.

Thanks for reading and peace out etc.

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Load up the 4x4, it's Festival Time

There are only three things in the world that I hate, and one of them is Glastonbury.

I've never been, because if I had £210 I'd spend it on something useful, like shampoo or some Garfield books. But this year, the festival that Iron Maiden's Bruce Dickinson accurately described as "the most bourgeois thing on the planet" reached hellish new heights, when festivalgoers objected to Metallica headlining their rock festival.

In fact, it turns out that the last thing Glastonbury attendees want at their rock festival is a rock band. According to one poll, 80% of festivalgoers wanted to sell their ticket after Metallica were announced. First and foremost, this shows the stupidity of spending £210 on a ticket for a concert where you don't know who's playing. If you did that, you're an idiot. It's like spending £210 on a holiday to a mystery location, then complaining when it's North Korea or Stevenage.

So when it's announced that their rock festival will be headlined by one of the world's biggest rock bands, they're pissed off. Because they didn't want rock music at their rock concert. They wanted to eat overpriced organic burgers and watch Kasabian and Jake Bugg and Kelis. I'm with them on that last one, I hope she did Milkshake. Repeatedly.

Sorry for having a go at the middle classes, but don't worry, The Guardian is fighting the corner of that wholly unfortunate and victimised group. It's just frustrating as a fan of rock music, because there are people all over the world who'd kill for a chance to see Metallica. And I mean that literally, some of those fans are insane. So it's frustrating when these festivalgoers respond with such snobbery. Because that's what it is, a bunch of dullards sulking about their organic 6 Music holiday being wrecked by a rock band.

I know some of the criticism towards Metallica was based on frontman James Hetfield’s supporting bear-hunting, and while that's a thoroughly laudable objection, we still can't start filtering acts based on their personal views. That would be ridiculous. You'd have to investigate each member of each band individually, to check none of them have opinions we dislike. We don't programme festivals based on the acts' personal lives. Lily Allen is Keith Allen's daughter, and they let her play. 

The more widespread objection was simply that Metallica's metal sound was unsuitable for the festival's "hippy" vibe. The festival that's sponsored by mobile phone giant EE. Who are owned by telecoms multinational Orange. Where all the acts are signed to labels owned by Universal and Warner and Sony. Dolly Parton owns a theme park. Lily Allen lives in a £3m house in the Cotswolds. Kasabian are idiots. Hippies? They're all corporate cock-sucking dicks, you pricks. Just admit that you don't want a rock band at your rock festival.

Now it's all over, and of course everyone loved Metallica because who wouldn't? And the awful festivalgoers are all back at their awful jobs, because my suggestion to lock Glastonbury with everyone inside wasn't taken seriously, leaving them free to post inane Facebook statuses about how relieved they are to finally have a shower, though not nearly as relieved as us. But I will never let them forget how unbearable they were for complaining about having to see a rock band at their rock festival.

I'll leave you with Adam Buxton's fantastic Festival Song, but first some more from the great Bruce Dickinson: “In the days when Glasto was an alternative festival it was quite interesting, but anywhere Gwyneth Paltrow goes and you can live in an air-conditioned yurt is not for me.”

Saturday, 7 June 2014

Baby Please

There are only three things in the world that I hate, and here are three more of them.

3. Before I lived in London I had no idea public transport could instantaneously transform. I don't mean like Optimus Prime, I mean the way you can board a train on the underground only for it to completely change service while you're on it. The driver will make an announcement like: "When you boarded this train it was a Hammersmith and City line service to Barking, but now it's a Circle line service to Tower Hill. Sorry!" The other day I was told that my train to Hammersmith was going to stop at Moorgate and then go backwards. No other mode of transport could get away with that, and it's completely baffling from a metaphysical standpoint that something can change entirely what it is whilst in operation. "When you boarded this train it was a Piccadilly line service to Cockfosters, but now it's a shoe."

Yes, that is a magazine called Gurgle. With a title like that it's either a baby magazine or pornography, and I'm not sure which is worse. Actually of course I do, the baby magazine is far worse. "Top chef shares his baby recipes" boasts the cover, unclear whether it means recipes for cooking babies or recipes for baby food. Surely it can't be the latter, that would be insane. Why do we need a "top chef" telling us how to cook for babies?! They'll eat literally anything. Mush up their favourite toy and they'll wolf it down like a stoner eating pizza, the idiots.

Maybe this is just about me hating babies, but these magazines seem to be spawning faster than the stupid brats themselves. There are publications called Baby London and Baby Surrey, as if there's any difference between the two! I suppose this all serves me right for going to Waitrose. 

1. Dawn O'Porter. When presenter Dawn Porter married actor Chris O'Dowd, she changed her name to Dawn O'Porter. That's just worth remembering.

Here's Jurassic 5.

Friday, 9 May 2014

Public Eye

There are only three things in the world that I hate, and one of them is the public.

More specifically, I hate the things that people think it's acceptable to do in public. You can't walk down the street without someone playing the piano, or trying to talk to you, or telling you to stop screaming. Here are three things it shouldn't be acceptable to do in public:

3. Eating sushi. I like nothing more than buying an espresso so I can pretend to be a giant drinking a regular cup of coffee. Ask anyone. But when you sit in public with your tiny food and your tiny chopsticks and your tiny fish-shaped soy sauce, you look unbelievably stupid. I know you think you look cool, the smug expression plastered all over your wasabi-stained face makes that painfully obvious. But believe me, the reason we're all staring is not out of admiration. People hate you. They're waiting for you to finish your ridiculous meal and sheepishly sneak into a garage for a pasty.

2. Watching films. Stop watching films on your phone. If Ang Lee had wanted Life of Pi to be watched on an HTC he'd have spent much less time on the tiger. 

But try telling that to the man I saw on the train who thought that was an acceptable thing to watch on his phone, happily insulting the work of every single person involved in the making of Life of Pi. Actually, that seems fair.

Stupider even than him is the man I saw reading the Metro on his iPad. People only read the Metro because it's free and it's there. If you've got an iPad connected to the internet, you can do almost anything. You can look at brilliant pictures of cats, or watch Fail compilations on YouTube, or enjoy some pornography. And what was he doing? 

Reading the Metro. Maybe there was an unmissable article about a man who eats slugs or something.

1. Being pregnant. I mean seriously, it's 2014. And yet, people still think it's acceptable to go out in public whilst being pregnant. Have some self-respect. You'd have thought the shame of getting pregnant in this day and age would be enough to drive anyone into the sewers with the rest of the brainless pond-life, but some of them actually seem proud of themselves. I've seen them, wearing their "Baby on Board" badges. So I'm supposed to give up my seat on the train for you, because you were too stupid to use protection like they teach you in school. You're so self-obsessed that you think the world needs someone else with your stupid genetics, even though it can barely hold the strain of the exploding population and your exploding ego. Not only do the rest of us have to suffer the long-term consequences of there being a tiny version of you running around a dying planet, you also expect us to stand up for you because you're so brilliantly impressive for failing to take precautions. But if anyone reading this is pregnant, congratulations etc.

Here's The JB Conspiracy.

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Shoot To Thrill

There are only three things in the world that I hate, and one of them is crap that only works in thrillers.

It's generally accepted that the laws that govern the fictional worlds of film and TV are quite different from the pesky logic that we real folk have to contend with on a daily basis. But there are recurring techniques in thrillers that surely don't work in real life, which our on-screen heroes are programmed to do by lazy writers. Here are 3 examples:

3. Spying from cars: Our protagonist Mr Lovely is tailing Mr Nasty, waiting for him outside his house. So where does Mr Lovely hide? In the bushes? Up a tree? In a bin? No, in a car, parked right outside Mr Nasty's house. Last time I checked, windscreens are see-through, otherwise people would crash more. But not in thrillers, where being in a car seems to turn you invisible. It doesn't work in real life and you'd get a parking ticket.

2. CPR: Mr Lovely's girlfriend, Miss Pretty, has been killed. She got run over, set on fire, shot in the face, run over again and then died of cancer. But wait, Mr Lovely knows CPR, and shouts things like "don't give up on me now!" while pummelling her suspiciously exposed chest and shoving his tongue down her throat. And Miss Pretty comes back to life, spluttering water even though she hasn't swallowed any. In our boring world, the chances of CPR completely working is around 2%, according to some website I just found. It's likely that those who are revived will die within a month, which puts a real dampener on the end of most thrillers. Imagine that, everyone who's ever been revived on screen has actually just died a few weeks after the credits rolled.

1. Using guns on your buddies: While it's true that most gunshot wounds aren't actually fatal, I'd still be cautious about shooting someone I cared about. But characters such as Sherlock and James Bond are happy to lodge a bullet in their friends, their expert marksmanship guaranteeing the survival of their loved ones. There are surely too many variables in play to warrant such a casual attitude to gunplay. And the reason I say using guns rather than just shooting is down to Lost. On the craziest island outside of all those party islands, characters are constantly thwacking each other over the head with rifles to knock them out "for their own good." Once passed out, Charlie can be carried to safety by Locke or whoever, and we get a few gloriously peaceful moments of Charlie being unconscious. This seems like another massive risk, given the high probability of them never coming round or being concussed. I don't really know what that means, but it sounds bad. They could become seriously brain damaged, but in the case of Charlie I'm not sure anyone would notice.

Sunday, 2 March 2014

That You Criticise

As you know, I love everything in the world, with the exception of three things. One of those things that I love is HBO's True Detective.

What I don't love is the stuff that's being written about it. Not since NBC's Hannibal have critics fallen over themselves in such a hyperbolic frenzy. Here are three things people need to stop saying about True Detective.


The oft-repeated un-opinion that True Detective is "like a movie" is, to use a technical term, donkey bollocks. The crime-drama is protracted and slow to an extent that no movie would ever get away with. If a film was paced like True Detective, you'd turn it off. When people compare it to cinema, all they mean is it looks nice and has film stars in it. As a piece of criticism it's superficial, hacky and lazy. You can't just say a TV show is like a film because it's good, TV has been better than film for ages now. With the amount of money and talent that's moved to TV over the last few years, TV has overtaken film to the point that we should really start saying that a good film is "like a TV show." Twin Peaks and Breaking Bad aren't like films. Films are crap. With it's drawn-out, unravelling mystery, True Detective is nothing like a film, it's very much like a TV show.


No, the real star of True Detective could not be Louisiana. Because it's a place. The real stars of True Detective are, get this, its stars. The clue is in the name. I see what The Guardian man is trying to say, but calling the show's setting its "star" seems to undermine the work of the director and cinematographer and everyone involved in putting it on screen. Louisiana contributes relatively little towards True Detective's success, because, and I can't stress this enough, it's a place. This is the sort of pretentious thing people say to sound clever, which is actually completely meaningless. It's the sort of thing I might say. 


I've written about these ridiculous claims made by critics, that make you question their motives. Clearly these nonsensical headlines are just hit-generators. Maybe True Detective will be the best show of the year. But it's fucking February. No opinion you currently hold on the subject has any worth at all. The level of disingenuous non-discussion by professional critics seems to be reaching staggering new heights, with reviewers mindlessly saying anything to get traffic or a retweet from Lena Dunham. You have the best job in the world, all I ask is that you think about what you say. 

Thanks for reading, here's Who Are You by the brilliant Skindred.

Sunday, 2 February 2014


There are only three things in the world that I hate, and one of them is boring main characters (in good TV shows).

A lot of television dramas start with a person going to a new place, an unusual place full of interesting people. The protagonist is therefore our point of entry into this strange new world; they're our "in". There seems to be this idea that they have to be as "normal" as possible, in order for us to relate to them, as they become our eyes and ears. This means we're lumbered with a boring main character, in an otherwise excellent show. This idea that protagonists have to be dull is nonsense, as we can see from the huge number of great shows whose lead characters are interesting, weird or downright insane. People like Walter White, Agent Dale Cooper or even Dexter, before it went crap. Here are 5 examples of boring main characters (in good TV shows):

5. Piper Chapman - Orange Is The New Black 

I've written about my love for this Netflix-produced prison drama and its diverse range of brilliant characters. So why do we have to spend all our time with the smug and unlikeable Piper? Why can't we spend it with Nicky, or Morello, or Alex? The answer is that it's based on Piper Kerman's memoirs, and it's the fish-out-of-water displacement of a New York middle-class woman into the nightmarish world of prison that drives the whole narrative. Still though, she is a dick.

4. Lana Winters - American Horror Story: Asylum

I've also written about my love for this joyously bonkers horror drama, and Asylum saw some of its most mental moments. There were Nazi doctors, killer nuns and even a psychotic Zachary Quinto. And who were we stuck with? Lana Winters: Lesbian Journalist. Spock should have killed her when he had the chance.

3. Will Graham - Hannibal

This one isn't even a good TV show. It's actually rubbish. But there's good stuff in there, most notably Lawrence Fishburne as Jack Crawford, and of course Mads Mikkelsen as Hannibal Lecter. But not Hugh Dancy as Will Graham, who twitches his way through terrible dialogue with all the charisma of Nicky Campbell. Stupidly his deductive skills seem to amount to psychic ability, a bit like Sherlock but without any of the charm.

2. Buffy Summers - Buffy The Vampire Slayer

Obviously I'm in love with Buffy Summers, who isn't? But she is one of the show's most boring characters. She's annoying, whiny and has the worst taste in men since that German woman Nigel Farage is married to. In fact the only people more boring that Buffy are the men she falls in love with. But that Riley Finn sure is a dreamboat. 

1. Jack Shephard - Lost

I love Lost. But Jack is without a doubt the most boring main character in a good TV show. "Can I tell you about how I got my tattoos?" "Have I mentioned my dad lately?" "Would you like to watch me cry?" Shut up! We're on a magical island with characters as brilliant as Locke, Sawyer and Hurley, and you just go around feeling superior and/or sorry for yourself. But at least he's better than Charlie. 

Thanks for reading, here's Buzzcocks.