TV Review – Reality Check: Cassidy

It’s A Bit Embarrassing, And In Front of the Cameras

(originally published 1/7/03 in Inform Magazine)

Occasionally, a programme will come along that you can’t help telling all your friends about in an inarticulate way that expresses the serious collapse of all belief systems. Unsigned Liverpool band Cassidy appeared on an episode of Reality Check (Channel 4), in which a therapist gives help to those who need it whilst we get to watch. As it turns out, it seems people in shite Oasis wannabe bands need an awful lot of help.

Cassidy have got plenty of credentials to emulate their heroes. For a start they’ve got a pair of arsey brothers who have the Gallaghers’ stroppiness down to a tee, with a resulting equal loss of originality.

We join the programme as our nervously-spoken therapist Kate talks to the boys from the band, who are all lounging around in a classroom looking like they’re not enjoying it much. “It’s a bit embarrassing, and in front of cameras,” moans guitarist brother Dave (Noel), putting in an early bid for being the more arsey of the pair. One wonders why they agreed to take part.

The impression is that Kate doesn’t think much of their music. “What about the loaves and fishes?” she smirks, referring to one of their lyrics. Singing brother Paul (Liam) is outraged. “I was a single parent with two kids and I’ve just come out of committing suicide three fucking times! You haven’t been there where I’ve been.”

Dave leaps in to help his brother, for the first and last time. “I reckon you should apologise to Paul.” But Kate is unapologetic. “How was I to know that? So in that case what I did was not to humiliate you. I didn’t set out to do that but your brain thinks I did. See the difference?”

“I see the difference,” mutters Paul, not knowing what else to say in front of this punishing logic.

Kate investigates Paul’s fatherhood further. “I’ve had them for four years now,” he explains, in the manner of someone who suffers from piles. He was 21 and the mother was 16 when they married, but Paul blames most of his problems on being bullied at school, something he shares a lot with most people who aspire to be super-rich pop stars with rampant egos.

The band go into Parr Street studios, having “just twelve hours hours to record a track,” according to the bizarrely grim voice over. But Paul’s not having it. “There’s no way I can produce a CD with a throat like that.” No-one seems to remember the Beatles recording Twist and Shout in one take with John’s voice shot to bits. “Do you want quality or fucking crap?” Paul enquires.

“Well stop talking then,” answers one of the ever sensible rest of the band, who would probably love to get shut of Paul if they weren’t such a charisma-free zone. “He’s just being a fucking twat,” says Dave, tuning up and showing sympathy for his stricken brother. “He did this the last time we were in the studio.”

Before the boys can start recording, Kate has to deal with Paul. She wants him to take in a breath. “Oo, I felt like I pulled something then,” says Paul. “Shut up and do it,” says Kate, her calm demeanour wearing down in front of someone who could give Mariah Carey lessons in diva-dom. “That was fucking pure shite!” croaks Paul after an attempt at recording a song best described as weak. “I can’t get it any better than that.”

“This is typical of Paul,” says Kate whilst Paul expends what voice he has left on complaining in the background. “It’s just fear.” Perhaps choosing to perform in front of people was not the best choice of career then. “It’s no good me fucking me voice up is it!” screeches Paul, oblivious.

Kate gives up trying to get into Paul’s head so she suggests more practical cures, such as gargling with salt water. “That’s a bit dangerous that,” counters Paul in all seriousness. “If you swallow it you could throw it up.”

Dave now recognises he could never compete with his brother in the arsey stakes. “If Kate says something to me, I will take in what she said, because I’ve thought about it totally. But Paul don’t. He’s got his own little thinking pattern in his head.” Meanwhile Paul is turning his little thinking patterns onto his bandmates. “It does me head in that, when they don’t take two minutes to listen to me. I can’t do any better than I can.”

“Today’s events convince Kate that strong measures are needed,” says the eldritch voice over, as if Paul is Saddam Hussein. Kate’s rather odd solution to Paul’s behaviour is that he is to take regular cold baths, otherwise he can no longer take part in the programme. “I’m not doing cold baths!” exclaims Paul, but turns up for the next session anyway. “I’m not going to sit here like a child,” he says, sitting there like a child. “Paul,” says Kate, slowly and carefully, “Can you, in the next ten seconds, make a big step, in your head, to get on the other side of this state of mind?” Paul seems to know what the hell she’s talking about but Dave delivers a scary ultimatum. “15 minutes more of this and I’m going. Serious.” Why 15 minutes?

On the contrary, I could have watched it all night. Calling this episode of Reality Check the Spinal Tap of Indie Rock is inadequate. It was much more than that and nailed just how petty, pathetic, stupid and laughable rock ’n’ roll has become. No wonder people want Elvis back.

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About klausjoynson
I'm a writer, editor, musician, DJ and cartoonist. Contact me at: klausjoynson(at)gmail.com or follow me on Twitter: @KlausJoynson

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