Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 17 September 2014

Show snub wasn't a lost opportunity

Confession: Paul Weller was turned down by talent show

I've a vinyl LP by The Jam somewhere. Always preferred them to Marmalade, despite the latter's decent version of Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da Etc.

The Jam cocked a snook at the Establishment with songs like Eton Rifles. Later, Paul Weller, the band's conductor, went all soulful, snapping his fingers during songs and so forth. Never a good sign.

As I got older, I would still occasionally play the earlier stuff whenever I was angry and about to riot, perhaps after slugs had eaten my dahlias or Radio 4 had moved the shipping forecast.

Imagine, therefore, how gasted my flabbers were on reading that The Jam had once auditioned for 1970s talent show Opportunity Knocks. Opportunity Knocks was the X Factor of its day, except it was right cheesy and lacked the latter's class.

Weller recalls: "Thank God we got turned down on the audition. It could all have been so different." Now he says he'd be too embarrassed to be a judge or contestant on a television music talent show and that he's never even heard top boy band - excuse me while I consult my notes - One Direction.

Indeed, had Paul been starting out today he might be singing: "Hello, hooray, I'd prefer the plague to Simon Cowell!" - a sentiment which is fervently supported by all decent citizens.

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