Chalk and Cheese #5 - Daz Sampson vs. Bob & Marcia

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19 May 2006, 15:29

Well, it could just as well have been Daz Sampson vs. the rest of Europe, or even Daz Sampson vs. the world, because what on earth else looks or sounds like our Eurovision Song Contest entry Teenage Life? Would any other country choose to field a mobile DJ in midlife crisis stonewash denim, cavorting lumpily around a gaggle of teenage girls? Although really, they're not all that young, have a look at the crows feet on some of those lasses.

The youngest was 16, and she's been told she can't go with them to perform at the contest because of "safety", "financial" and "tuition" issues. Not because Daz's lechery is all the more unsavoury the younger the backing singers get, then? In the video for the song, some boys are introduced to the mix for balance, although they are kept separate, and in a move that singularly fails to dispel any whiff of inappropriateness, they are filmed (looking rather embarrassed) mooching around in a changing room, that staple setting of a thousand pr0n shoots. You also suspect that the director or stylist put their foot down and threatened to walk out, because there's not a thread of denim to be seen.

So why Bob & Marcia? Well, I was looking for contrast, and what could be more different to this tat than their 1970 anthem Young Gifted and Black? Do any of those adjectives apply to Daz Sampson? Actually, don't get me wrong or be misled by my casual use of the world tat, like a lot of the stuff I write about on here I can love it while still being aware of massive shortcomings. And it is just ludicrous enough to have a chance at ESC, certainly better than any amount of dreary ballads.

Young, Gifted and Black is a cover of a song made famous by Nina Simone, and in all its incarnations it's one of the happiest, most optimistic songs ever written. I love the later more ragga version by C.J. Lewis & Philip Leo as well. But this is the most famous, and it's near impossible to hear it without feeling full of sunshine and hope for humanity. Your soul's intact, and the world is waiting for you.

Unlike the teenagers in Daz's song, who are fed up of getting advice from their elders, and are very much of the opinion that unless you're young yourself you DON'T KNOW WHAT ITS LIKE, MAN. " 'What did you learn in school today?' - that's what the teachers always say," the song opens. I should point out that teachers are more likely than anyone else to know what was covered in that day's lessons. The question quoted is more likely to be posed by an elderly aunt or awkward gay godparent.

But, whatever, this song is all about the generation gap and how 'they don't know! they don't realise!' The kidz here are going to work it out for themselves. Unlike in our reggae classic, where the message from old to young is 'your life is a lovely precious dream', the BOR-ING advice from the Daz-naggers is about being nice and thinking twice. It's not clear what Daz wants instead, he does say 'treat the kids fine... give the kids time, they won't do the crime.' But what's his definition of fine? Eventually, in the final chorus, while the teachers are whining again, he shouts 'rat-a-tat-tat,' which you may know is often rap shorthand for 'Oh dear, I shot you.'

Ultimately the common ground here is nostalgia and regret. Daz spends a lot of time 'dwelling on the past from back when I was young' and describing the 'haze' and 'struggle' he went through before his exciting rise to the world of 'fast cars' and 'five stars'. Bob & Marcia are troubled too, they say that there are times when they are haunted by their youth. But instead of piling on the hate, they reach out: 'We can all be proud to say to be young, gifted and black, is where it's at."

My money's on Sweden or Belgium.

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  • Orange_Anubis

    never be ashamed of the 90s, sonia was the nuts!

    19 May 2006, 16:12
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