What X-Factor?

Retro microphone on stage in restaurant. Blurred background

Back in November 2009 I wrote an item on local talent.
A simple comment started the ball rolling for this article. “I could have been at home watching the X-factor” was the line that did it. Truthfully though, it was not so much the words, as the rye grin that followed.
The comment came whilst standing in the back room of a local pub in one of the Shires, watching the progression of an open mic night.
A hand full of acts, armed with guitars and the desire to entertain, procured a space on the makeshift stage. Bestowing upon us a mixture of songs, some selected the well known, while others chose from their own writings.
A new face took the platform, almost rigid with fear, but a good adrenaline filled fear. He announced to his audience that this was his first time. Unlike his collaborator, he was unable to hide behind an acoustic guitar. He adopted his first stance with a small barrier of unyielding arms, but as we were to find out, there was no need for this defence. As guitar tones continued to ring out, the newcomers voice started to become stronger. Finally, with confidence growing, he belted out his final song. He’d made it through to the next round…of drinks, that is.
The time came for Landlord and his posse to take the stage. Having been to many a “gig” in the past, it’s a delight to see a group of gents with more skills than some of those I’ve paid to see, purely up there for the fun of it. There were no prima donnas, no hissie fits if something went wrong and no desire to hog the mic.
The next couple of regular acts, calmed things down a little, with acoustic sets. Some familiar sounding tunes to sing along to, all with the flare of that added personal touch.
A tribute to Dire Straits followed; with clean guitar solo’s that made a budding guitarist green with envy.
A younger set powered up by adding a bit of Hendrix to the mix. The recognisable want to get it right was evident in the playing. Fear not, the crowd loved it.
The final group distributed themselves across the stage. Once again, there was to be no disappointments with the blend of their own numbers and some fancy guitaring on a Pink Floyd rendition.
The female from the group was selected to bring the evening to a close.
A fine set of lungs
We departed with the knowledge that we had had a full evening’s worth of entertainment for the cost of a pint or two and a nice pint of real ale or two at that. By tomorrow the stage will return to a dining area, poised for the next venue in three weeks time.
I must now return to the comment at the start of this piece, mainly with regards to the X-factor. Having sat through this mind numbing embarrassment once, a mistake that I do not intend to repeat. I cannot understand why so many people are willing to be parted with their cash, by phoning or texting their vote to a show that, undoubtedly has a pre ordained outcome anyway.
I am told, by those around me, that some of the contestants DO have good voices. Well we can’t all be right, so I have chosen to back down, waiting to see how many of these GOOD singers, those around me buy CDs of.
I know that there’s talent out there, I’ve seen it, in a local pub. So why there’s a need to fabricate and manipulate the general public with this crass excuse for abilities, is beyond me.
Surely talent scouts could source a multitude of un-bridled abilities and make a similar show. One where the outcome might yield a worthwhile artist and that doesn’t just line Mr Cowells pockets.
I wish to add to this item with some sad news, Mick, the ex-landlord to this venue and guitarist extraordinaire, died on Sunday 22nd May 2016.  I notice that the X-factor still has a place on prime time TV, while the true talent has been missed. – RiP Mick.

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