I Wish I Was A Punk Rocker

My inbox has been swamped over the last couple of days with friends in the music business sending me links to what looked like a breakdown, a complete despair filled rant at camera from a Scottish singer named Sandi Thom.

You may remember her number one hit ‘I Wish I Was a Punk Rocker (With Flowers In My Hair)’ which topped the chart ten years ago, becoming one of the year’s top four biggest sellers.

I met Sandi just once, and we chatted over a drink at the BBC club in London. She seemed lovely, and I’ve since been very happy to have her as a friend on Facebook, so the video of her crying, swearing and complaining that radio won’t play her new song worried me. The meltdown ends with her saying she’s had it with the music business and is now giving up.

But she won’t. Artists rarely do. It’s something they feel compelled to do, even if there’s an audience you could count on the one hand of a fish.  

We’ve all had bad days where we feel the world is against us, not appreciating or wanting our talent and hard work, but most of us swallow our pride and get on with it. Sandi, however, is heavily pregnant and I would have assumed that folk would make allowances for the fact she has more hormones swirling around her system than a Russian Olympic shot putter. But no! Many have done the usual and easy Facebook trick of insulting her, alleging it’s all a scam, or saying she’s got no talent so why doesn’t she get lost.

Even her former manager, who knows her much, much better than I do, took to Facebook and said she was deluded and needed help. But I’m left wondering why people can’t simply leave her alone and treat it as a bad day at the office.

I guess the public love to see the cracks exposed, what they assume is the rock star Hollywood lifestyle crashing and burning and exposing the fact that we’re all the same in the end. This gives them some sort of pleasure, what the Germans call schadenfreude. Wasn’t it Gore Vidal who said “every time one of my friends succeeds a little bit of me dies?”

It’s a hell of a way to get through life, relishing others misfortunes and basking in their failure.

I once went back stage at a Michael Barrymore gig, after he had received a standing ovation, and he was disconsolate. I told him he had blown the roof off and everyone loved him, but he didn’t believe it. The tears of a clown, I suppose. The audience wouldn’t have believed me if I told them back then, but I wonder how many of them subsequently celebrated his downfall.

We ARE all the same – same insecurities, same feelings and hurt. Madonna has off days when the confidence sags, so does George Clooney, Jay Z, and any other big star you can mention. Would you be tempted to ridicule them? What about your friend, your neighbour or postman? What if they had a meltdown because they didn’t feel appreciated? Would you take to Twitter and Facebook to slate them too?

If the answer is no, then let’s agree to leave Sandi Thom alone. If the answer is yes, unfriend me now.