Twitter Facebook RSS Feed
No Sacred Cows  
Toby Young
Saturday 8th January 2005

Never mind the's the Sex Pistols

Yawn, yawn. Here we go again. First we had the Greatest Briton. Then we had the nation's best-loved film. Now, the organizers of the Brits are asking us to vote for the best single since 1977.

Why 1977? The purpose of the competition, apparently, is to celebrate 25 years of the Brits and--wait for it--the Brits began in 1977. But hold on a minute. Doesn't that mean the Brits are 28? Presumably, the reason the organizers are pretending it's the 25th anniversary of the Brits--and they've helpfully put together a list of 25 singles to choose from--is because 25 is a more memorable number than 28. In other words, the whole thing is a bit of PR flimflam cooked up by a couple of half-witted marketing men after a particularly long lunch at the Groucho Club.

The list of singles is staggeringly banal. Will Young's 'Leave Right Now' is included, but not 'God Save the Queen' by the Sex Pistols; Sting's 'Fields of Gold' is there, but not 'Roxanne' by the Police; ABC's 'The Look of Love' is judged worthy of inclusion, but not 'Miss You' by the Rolling Stones. Indeed, the compilers seem to be completely unaware of the various trends that have animated pop culture over the last 28 years. There isn't a single ska record, for instance, nothing by the Specials or Madness or the Beat. Acid house is completely ignored, as is dance music in general. It's composed, more or less exclusively, of the kind of muzak you hear played at low volume in shopping malls across America's midwest.

For some reason, Radio 2 has elected to join forces with the Brits and invited its listeners to whittle down the list to five records from which the Brits judges will select the winner. Surely, this flies in the face of Radio 2's concerted effort to inject itself with a bit more street cred? What's the point of hiring Jonathan Ross, Dermont O'Leary and Mark Lamarr if you're going to be associated with such a middle-of-the-road competition? You might as well bring back Simon Bates.

My advice to any Radio 2 listeners tempted to vote in this ludicrous poll is to ignore the pitiful selection drawn up by the brain-dead panel and "write-in" their own candidates. For what it's worth, here is my selection of the best 25 singles since 1977, none of which are included on the Brits list:

'God Save the Queen' by the Sex Pistols

'Teenage Kicks' by the Undertones

'Another Girl, Another Planet' by the Only Ones

'Another Brick in the Wall' by Pink Floyd

'Killing An Arab' by the Cure

'Less Than Zero' by Elvis Costello

'Come On Eileen' by Dexy's Midnight Runners

'Sex & Drugs & Rock n Roll' by Ian Dury and the Blockheads

'I Don't Like Mondays' by the Boomtown Rats

'Miss You' by the Rolling Stones

'Too Much Too Young' by the Special AKA

'Madness' by Madness

'Mirror in the Bathroom' by the Beat

'Where's Captain Kirk' by Spiz Energi

'Ace of Spades' by Motorhead

'Going Underground' by the Jam

'Karma Chameleon' by Culture Club

'Wake Me Up Before You Go Go' by Wham

'Tainted Love' by Soft Cell

'Relax' by Frankie Goes to Hollywood

'Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now' by the Smiths

'In the Name of Love' by U2

'Blue Monday' by New Order

'Common People' by Pulp

'Firestarter' by the Prodigy


Am I the only person who's growing a little tired of the whole Belle de Jour phenomenon? Belle de Jour is the nom de plume of a high-class call girl who records her adventures on the Internet, though many people suspect that she's actually a journalist perpetrating an elaborate hoax. Indeed, several newspapers even "outed" me as the prankster behind this scam, a claim that went down very badly with my wife. She got the wrong end of the stick and thought I was writing a book about my relationship with a high-class call girl.

Last year, Belle de Jour landed a six-figure book deal, a fact which led to a renewed bout of speculation. The names in the frame included Erotic Review editor Rowan Pelling, a writer called Isabel Wolff and a little known author called Sarah Champion. All three have denied it. The book is being published on January 20 and, like most people who've been following this story, I assumed the real Belle de Jour would unveil herself at the launch party. This was the moment we'd all been waiting for.

Unfortunately, it doesn't look like this is going to happen. I've just learnt from the publisher, Orion Books, that she intends to keep her identity secret for a while longer, presumably in the hope of prompting another round of speculation to fuel book sales.

I can't help feeling this strategy will misfire. You can only keep people guessing for a certain period of time before they lose interest--and this particular game has been going on for long enough. I feel like someone who's slogged through an 800-page mystery novel, only to discover on the final page that I'm going to have to read the sequel to find out whodunit. Enough is enough.

Belle de Jour, the time has come to put us out of our misery. If you leave it any longer, by the time you finally do take off the mask no one will give a fuck.


Oh dear. I've spotted a libel suit waiting to happen. The director of a play called Sketching Lucian, a portrait of Lucian Freud, has sent a copy of the script to the famous artist. "I'm aware that Freud can be touchy and parts of the play aren't entirely complimentary," says the director, Mike Miller, "but he's said he's curious about it so the script is in the post. It'll be interesting to see his response."

If Mr Miller is under the impression that Freud will respect his freedom as a fellow artist he may be in for a nasty shock. I predict that the egocentric old monster will immediately pass on the playscript to his solicitors and ask them to threaten Miller with a libel writ unless he consigns the manuscripts to the flames.

[ FIXED LINK ] Bookmark and Share

Twitter RT @msjenniferjames: So 'Manchester Lesbians' physically blocked a group of women activists from a GRA meeting today AND LITERALLY ALL THE…  (1 hour ago)


The shocking truth about Jordan Peterson by Wesley Yang -
The intellectual dark web by Bari Weiss -
How identity politics is harming the sciences by Heather Mac Donald -
The fall of the German Empire by Ross Douthat -
How Tom Wolfe became Tom Wolfe by Michael Lewis - Vanity Fair
The neuro-diversity case for free speech by Geoffrey Miller -
The Age of Outrage by Jonathan Haidt -
The Warlock Hunt by Claire Berlinski -
Is classical liberalism conservative? by Yarom Hazony -
The Implosion of Western Liberalism by Patrick Lee Miller -
The Eton of the East End - Daily Mail
The reactionary temptation by Andrew Sullivan -
The book that scandalised New York intellectuals by Louis Menand -
To understand Britain today, look to the 17th Century by Adrian Wooldridge -
The crisis in France by Christopher Caldwell -
A Visit to Michaela School by Patrick Alexander -
Why parenting may not matter by Brian Boutwell -
Trump Establishment's Cultural Significance Explained by Michael Wolff -
Branching histories of the 2016 referendum by Dominic Cummings -
Putin's Real Long Game by Molly K McKew -
The Flight 93 Election by Publius Decius Mus -
How the education gap is tearing politics apart by David Runciman -
What's wrong with identity politics by Graeme Archer -
Grammars and the grain of truth by Jonathan Porter
Anti-Brexit: Britain's new class war by John O'Sullivan -
The English Revolt by Robert Tombs -
Democracies end when they are too democratic by Andrew Sullivan -
Human beings really are making progress by Steven Pinker -
What ISIS really wants by Graeme Wood -
A society ripe for Submission by Douglas Murray -
Why I'm a Conservative Teacher by Jonathan Porter -
Corbyn's Inconvenient Truth – He wanted the IRA to win -
Why I've become Tory scum by Tony Parsons -
Inside Westminster's free school -
Robert Conquest obit -
Jeremy Corbyn is not an anti-Semite – it's so much worse than that -


Andrew Lilico
Andrew Sullivan
Arts and Letters Daily
Bagehot's Notebook
BBC News
BBC Sport
Benedict Brogan
Brendan O'Neill
Bruce Anderson
Coffee House
Conservative Home
Damian McBride
Damian Thompson
Dan Hodges
Daniel Hannon
Ed West
Frank Furedi
Guido Fawkes
Harry Phibbs
Iain Dale
Iain Martin
James Delingpole
James Wolcott
Joe Murphy
John Rentoul
Labour List
Mark Steyn
Matt Drudge
Mehdi Hasan
Melanie Phillips
Michael Wolff
Nick Cohen
Nick Robinson
Nikki Finke
Paul Waugh
Peter Hitchens
Political Betting
Right Minds
Rob Long
Rod Liddle
Sophy Ridge
Stephen Pollard
The Arts Desk
The Corner
The Daily Beast
The First Post
The Omnivore
The Onion
Tim Shipman
Tim Stanley
Tom Shone


AA Gill
Aidan Hartley
Allison Pearson
Allister Heath
AO Scott
Boris Johnson
Charles Moore
Cosmo Landesman
Daniel Finkelstein
David Brooks
Fraser Nelson
George Monbiot
Giles Coren
Henry Winter
James Delingpole
Jan Moir
Janan Ganesh
Jeremy Clarkson
Jeremy Warner
Jim White
Jonathan Freedland
Lloyd Evans
Manohla Dargis
Martin Samuel
Mary Ann Sieghart
Matthew d'Ancona
Matthew Norman
Maureen Dowd
Michiko Kakutani
Owen Jones
Patrick O'Flynn
Paul Krugman
Peter Bradshaw
Peter Oborne
Philip Collins
Polly Toynbee
Quentin Letts
Rachel Johnson
Rod Liddle
Roy Greenslade
Tim Montgomerie
Trevor Kavanagh
UK Book Cover

  • Buy the book on

  • Buy the book on

  • UK Book Cover

  • Buy the book on

  • Buy the book on

  • Audio Book Cover

  • Buy the audio book from
    Whole Story Audio
  • DVD Cover

  • Buy the DVD from

  • Buy the DVD from

  • IMdb Page on the film