Monday, August 08, 2005

The Google Season: Alistair Griffin (Part One)

The Google Season: Alistair Griffin (Part One)

I was wondering if I was going to tackle the Griffin google because it's a bit of an odd one. Not that googling Griffin is odd, I did that myself a long time ago and the next thing I knew I was in a nightclub in Derby having my breasts signed by him. Well, there were steps in between those two events, but the fact that the initial google led to everything that followed can't be denied. But this isn't about my googling. It's about your googling. And unlike the people looking for information on tubicles or Gatsby the people who google 'Alistair Griffin' and end up here already know who Griffin is. And, I suspect, that a good proportion of my readership has come into contact with Griffin - if not literally, then through his music, or through people rabbiting on to them about him. But equally there's that small but significant proportion who don't know who Griffin is. And I don't want to short change either group, though the latter is undoubtedly easier to deal with.

Given that 'who is Al Griffin' appeared in my comments yesterday I'll tackle that in this first blog part. Griffin is better known under the moniker of Alistair Griffin*, or maybe - and unfortunately - the guy who came second in Fame Academy**. Which, for anyone who doesn't follow the ins and outs of British reality television, is basically Big Brother with a weekly singing competition***. Needless to say I got totally swept up in it back in the summer of 2003, possibly because Griffin spent a good amount of his time in the Academy without his trousers on.

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Actually as much as I'd like you to think that's true it's a bit of a disservice to Griffin. Being only human I'm not saying the lack of trouser thing didn't endear me to him, but what really hooked me was his voice. Even singing covers to karaoke style backing it managed to stop me in my reality tv viewing tracks. But then this isn't supposed to be about me, it's supposed to be about Griffin. So he did the reality tv thing, came second in what is widely acknowledged as being the most biased television final ever screened and was signed up by UMTV records. His first single, 'Bring It On' [voted second cheapest video on MTV Hits], reached number five. Then came the album of the same name which managed number 12 a fortnight later. The next single, 'You and Me [tonight]' [don't ask about the brackets, no one knows why they're there], hit 18. Less than two months later, with no fan fare, UMTV pushed Griffin overboard. So he was now an ex-reality tv star who'd been dumped by his record company. It's not the most glowing sentence I suspect I'll ever write about him.

I guess this is where the story should end. There haven't been any more singles or albums after all. But instead Griffin seems to have taken it down a knotch [if one can call supporting Robin Gibb in Germany taking it down a knotch], moving away from backing tracks and questionable childrens television and producing instead the acoustic, and utterly spinetingling, Live In Germany cd. There was also his own mini-tour complete with a dancing bear. Seriously. Which basically brings you up to date. As much as a couple of paragraphs ever can. Maybe I should instead just point you in the direction of what Griffin really should be known for - his music - and leave it to speak for itself.

But if that is Griffin then it certainly isn't the full story. I've covered some of my thoughts and experiences of ending up trailing around the country after Griffin in this blog, which you can read in the Griffin Archive but if I were to point you in the direction of the post that still sticks in my head it would be this one. I'm not sure how much sense it makes to anyone who doesn't know the back story or who doesn't know Griffin but it's the blog that probably says why I believe in him the best.

If that answers some of the questions of one group of readers then it's just rehashing familiar ground for another group. And I do wonder what I should offer up to you. I guess that all I've ever been able to offer is myself, with a few hasty snatches of Griffin in the middle. And, curiously, I can't do that tonight. Because, in as much as my blog can ever be about anyone other than me, this one should be about Al.

Tomorrow, however, I've an Epsom Racecourse story to tell...

*Though I don't think of him as 'Alistair', he's always 'Griffin' here in DA Land and since the first time I met him he's been 'Al' in real life. I reckon I'm allowed to mess around with his name, though, as he inadvertently saddled me with 'Coza' for life.

**Please be impressed at my desire to inform, given that's the only time the tortous-reality-television show has been given its correct name.

***So I have to confess to stealing that description from Griffin's reality tv cohort, James Fox. But I'm allowed to do that as Fox is my best friend.****

****He just doesn't know it.

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