Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Everything I Could Be

Everything I Could Be
"I could have won that show and probably did...but that's another matter"

Some how I don't think that DA is the place for me to be musing over what Griffin meant when he wrote the above in his Boro/York/Whitby programmes last year. Not of course that the BBC/Endemol would get much if they sued me (apart from maybe lots of penguin books and several hundred shoes), but because - as much as I like a good gossip - I don't have the facts. I only have the rumours. And as bitter and twisted as I still am about the whole issue, it's a disservice to Griffin to deal in such rumours.

But what is a fact is that today is the second anniversary of the final of the tortuous-reality-television show. And by this point in 2003 it was tortuous. I'd ranted, written angry letters to Now magazine and even ended up crying after watching Griffin at the post showfeedback bit. Because my competitiveness, which is more than capable of embracing competition by proxy, has one limitation; fairplay. If I engage in a competition I play by the rules. I kind of hoped that the BBC might too. As it was they didn't and the car crash that was the final was so painful that I can't watch the announcement without crying to this day. Because a biased reality tv show is one thing when it's Big Brother, it's another when it's messing with people's dreams and futures. In that evening I hated everything about the programme, about people's lives being served up for entertainment whilst the viewing public could switch off and return to normality. And maybe I even hated myself a little bit for watching.

If that night marked an ending, the last marker of a summer where I licked my wounds, wrote the first draft of SSoB and watched more reality television than is good for any one person, then it also marked a beginning. Five weeks later I met Griffin at Boro Lights. There was the excitement and the enthusiasm of those weeks in the build up to his first single, then the album, then the five song set gigs. The tortuous reality television show faded from view.

But we can't deny that it existed, or that I watched, or that Griffin was part of it. Because to deny it would be to ignore everything wonderful that has come out of that flawed, often painful but occassionally rather amazing programme. I most likely would never have known of Griffin, never have stood, propped up, crying at how beautiful his voice was. In directly I'd have never had a drink with Fox, gotten free beer from Riccardi or been groped by Peter Brame. I'd never have heard Megson singing 'More Than Me' and stolen the line for this blog, or terrified Bazza at the Silver Bear concert or left Jamie Theakston in a sulk at a charity cricket match. I most likely wouldn't have been to Middlesbrough, The Bedford or The Clapham Grand and I certainly wouldn't have been to Swindon or Bristol or Stockton. There would have been no radio tours, no 'buy one get one free' inspired dancing in a cage, no JCS stage dooring. More importantly there would have been none of the odd, hilarious and wonderful people I've met along the way. There would have been no Northern Division. And if just for that factor, just for bringing me into contact with a group of people I love unconditionally and who I owe more to than they will ever realise, I will never forget the summer of the tortuous-reality-television show.

But the anniversary doesn't just pull me to look back, but to look forward. As much as I've pulled out some of the videos and the CDs of the programme, I can't help thinking about what happens next. Not so much for me, that's a question that resolutely has nothing to do with the tortuous-reality-television show, but for Griffin. And that's a hard and uncertain question. Certainly what I wanted for him in the weeks after the final is different from what I wanted for him immediately after the spilt from UMTV which in turn is different to what I'd had said earlier this year. But I can say that at this moment, almost a week after sitting in a pub and believing in him more than I have in a long, long time, there are a few things I'd like.

I'd like him to get the audience he deserves. For more people to hear just how talented he is. I'd like him to continue - and being given the opportunity - to grow as both a performer and a writer. I'd like to have the second album in my record collection. Damn it, I'd like to have the fifth album in my record collection. I'd like 'Alistair Griffin Unplugged' in there too. I'd also like a skinny fit t-shirt that isn't far too big for me (discreet Griffin logo, naturally, I'm leaving the days of his face emblazoned across my breasts to posterity). Most of all I want more for him than he currently has. And I don't mind waiting. I'm here for the long haul.

Which may sound odd, but what can I say other than that I believe in him. I believed in him throughout that summer, throughout the final. Circumstances may change, he may change, God, I may change, but nothing will ever remove that fact.

And though the tortuous-reality-television show was, to me at least, always about Griffin (and then to a lesser degree, Fox) I can't bypass its other alumni. Jesus, I'm an Alex, Simone and Lorna away from having met them all. I don't really know what they're doing or where they are now but maybe that doesn't matter.

*Raises Glass* To the Fame Academy Class of 2003. Yes, even you Paris.

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