Songwriters and karaoke stars

Glenn Tilbrook
Glenn Tilbrook

Allan Crow on two weekend music shows that are simply poles apart

(Saturday, stv, 8.20 p.m.)

Squeeze Night

(Friday, BBC4, 9.00 p.m.)

OKAY, let’s talk X Factor.

I hadn’t seen a single second of it until I switched over on Saturday night just at the point wee Louis was doing his best impression of a wobbly jelly over who to vote off and all hell broke lose.

Gary Barlow, a man so square-jawed he makes James Bond look like Mr Bean, walked off, the sight of a producer scurrying up to the judges and whispering in Louis’ ear sparked a tidal wave of conspiracy theories, and the better singer apparently got the welly.

Monday morning and the show was all over the tabloids and daytime telly, so, good work there wee Louis.

Saturday’s spat simply underlined that X Factor is about everything except music - it’s a soap opera, it’s a ratings machine, it’s a drama and it is utterly, utterly devoid of any genuine passion for music.

When the contestants murdered Jeff Buckley’s ‘‘Hallelujah’’ last year none of them got the irony of singing the lyric ‘‘you don’t care for music, do ya?’’

The judges squabbling is just pathetic, the contestants’ back stories are now parodies even Peter Kay couldn’t top, and the show is bloated by its own laughable hype.

The solution? It’s simple - if you thought last Saturday was the farce everyone said it was then don’t vote.

Don’t give your money to the Cowell machine - give it to charity, stick it in the cup of a beggar down the High Street,or put it in your wean’s piggy bank.

It’s amusing to wonder how the judges would have handled Messrs Difford and Tilbrook had they ambled on stage and launched into ‘Labelled With Love’ - a song that is as sharp as it is sad.

A social documentary wrapped inside a perfect three-minute pop song.

Chris Difford and Glen Tilbrook (pictured) were hailed as a modern version of Lennon and McCartney when they started Squeeze, a band that also accommodated Jools Holland and Paul Carrack at differing times, and whose catalogue of great songs still stands the test of time.

This BBC4 special looks back at their glory days and the sometime stormy relationship of the two songwriters before switching to the Carrack era for a vintage live show from 1982.

What would Louis think?

He’d probably, opt for Chris, then pick Glen, shed some puppy tears and go to deadlock before sticking his head under the desk until Wagner came and resuced the day with his unique interpretation of a Radiohead track.

And a nation would, once again, be caught up in a shallow, trite, utterly pointless row instead of savouring the wit and originality of two sublime songwriters.

Fool Britannia

(Saturday, stv, 6.35 p.m.)

Oh dear, it’s 1975 all over again with hidden camera prank shows for Saturday night telly.

Candid Camera came first, Game For A Laugh did it superbly, and here’s Dom Jolly doing it all again in 2012.

I live in hope of the day he invades the X Factor stage ... c’mon Dom, you can do it!