Crazy Frog: more rock’n’roll than Coldplay

i>spiked editor Mick Hume's Notebook in The Times (London).

Mick Hume

Mick Hume

Topics Culture
  • It was the frog wot won it!

No, not the referendum on the European constitution, but the other great result of the week – the infuriating Crazy Frog ringtone that reached No 1 in the pop charts, massively outselling the mind-numbing Coldplay. That sounds like another real result for democracy.

The terrible whine of that animated frog on the moped, mixed with an old movie theme tune, has irritated everybody I know, including me. But isn’t that the point of pop music? Here the Crazy Frog stands in the shadows of the likes of Elvis, the Rolling Stones and the Sex Pistols, making ‘music’ that older generations do not understand, cannot stand and want to ban.

A fortysomething such as myself ought to be complaining by now about pop music being a bleedin’ racket, there are no proper tunes any more, what do they think they look like? Etc. Instead, today’s ‘yoof’ music seems bloodlessly inoffensive, played by indistinguishable bands who give worthy interviews about how they don’t get drunk or have sex with groupies.

Even the one singer with an apparently r’n’r lifestyle – that skinny bloke always in the news for taking drugs and sleeping with a supermodel – turns out soft and fluffy tunes.

Chris Martin, of Coldplay, the figurehead of today’s bland bands, is a posh, vegan, self-confessed geek who makes music as pallid as his wife, Gwyneth Paltrow. Before the general election, he gave a journalist a note for Tony Blair which assured the Prime Minister that: ‘I think all the stuff you’re doing in terms of trying to sort the whole place out is BRILLIANT.’ Not exactly Anarchy in the UK, is it? Martin is the musician that the Prime Minister always wanted to be, a prefect in the school of rock.

So, I fear that we will have to put up with the Crazy Frog craze as the nearest available thing to the positive spirit of youth rebellion. However, it is not all good news. Apparently the average age of a Crazy Frog ringtone purchaser is . . . 25. All of those grown men and women still into teeny fads and fickle crazes. It seems that the role model for some of today’s Crazy Frog generation is Mr Toad. Now that is what I call irritating.

  • On the fashion for grown-up crazes, am I the only one who does not get this Su Doku malarkey?

I do get it technically – you write the numbers one to nine in a grid over and over again. Su What is all the fuss about? I am sure that I must be wrong, since many intelligent people enjoy Su Doku, including my wife. It has swept the nation since this newspaper launched it on an unsuspecting public, and there is even talk of a TV show, presumably starring Carol Vorderman from Countdown, who has declared herself a Su Doku ‘saddo’.
But crazes are normally the stuff of the school playground, silly and short-lived fads designed to appeal to the shallow and easily led – that is, to children. No doubt adult fans will insist that Su Doku is far deeper than my daughters’ latest craze, Scoubidous, which involves endlessly knotting plastic strings together. And if it encourages people to read The Times, all to the good.

But spare us from the Su Doku bores bragging about their personal best time for completing a puzzle rated ‘fiendish’ (dictionary definition: very unpleasant). Filling in numbers in a grid, however fast you do it, is not quite the same thing as leading a full life. And if I want a gripping grown-up game that involves selecting the same numbers over and over, I think I shall stick to picking forecasts at Walthamstow dog stadium.

  • Thanks to the 200 or so people who took the trouble to respond to last week’s ‘we are not all Scousers now’ Notebook.

Some might think that this response rather confirms my point about too many of us having a football-shaped hole in our lives, but they made entertaining and emotional reading.

The messages divided broadly between Liverpool fans and ‘neutrals’ outraged by my refusal to celebrate their European triumph, and supporters of other clubs who felt even more bitter about it than I did. I was particularly taken, however, by the Scousers who wrote to say that they entirely agreed with me, that they had felt just the same when United won it in 1999 . . . and that their victory tasted all the sweeter for knowing how much it upset people such as me.

Football, bloody hell.

Mick Hume is editor of spiked
This article is republished from The Times (London)

To enquire about republishing spiked’s content, a right to reply or to request a correction, please contact the managing editor, Viv Regan.

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