Saturday, 8 February 2014

scraping the bottom of the reunion barrel?

getting older.

feeling nostalgic.

music obsessive.

self-confessed fan of 'pop'.

despite a cringe-inducing line-up, I could not deny the lure of The Big Reunion when it first hit our screens last year. part of it was pure curiosity, curating a bunch of bands that had been prevalent in my adolescent years and throwing the willing ex-members back together for a 'Big Reunion' certainly caught my attention.

but admittedly, it was the way in which it was done that provoked genuine interest.

sure, on some level it was probably a money-driven attempt to sell the very idea to arenas and maximising merchandising potential whilst back on the road, but it presented itself with more dignity than that on screen. early episodes focussing on the bands involved were rather full-on, warts and all popumentaries that really delved deep into the psyches of those performers that were only ever seen beaming at us from CD:UK and from the pages of Smash Hits.

sex, drugs and promo-pushing meltdowns were all part and parcel of the chart-seeking dream turned sour, forget Motley Crüe or Led Zep's well documented antics, this was the untold story of excess for the SMTV generation.

and as with any cash-cow winning formula, it would be ridiculous to think that the idea could be left alone, but as the format returns to our tellies and the recently reformed line-up was announced, I must admit to feeling disheartened by the news.

they didn't have quite the same 'big league' experience all round as 2013’s show had, the formation of a 'supergroup' featuring a reality tv winner and a faded soap star and the dubious inclusion of the forgotten 'Girl Thing' suggested that the bottom of the barrel was truly being scraped on only the second go around...

but to pay them their dues, one episode in and I'm responding well to it, especially since it's split-focus was on Girl Thing so early on, clearly addressing the obvious issue of reuniting a a band that barely anyone remembers, let alone cares about... indeed, what we got was a blow-by-blow account of the group destined to be 'the next Spice Girls', how millions of pounds was invested in their forthcoming chart dominance and how cruelly they were shrugged aside when the self-fulfilling prophecy remained unfulfilled after just two single releases, no rewritten pop history was needed, theirs is the cautionary tale of exploitation and how even debuting at number 8 in the singles charts is not good enough to seal your fate in the future of scrupulous record companies.

and tongue firmly in cheek, Andi Peter's ludicrous narration proved another winning move in the opening salvo of a series that perhaps knew that, just like Girl Thing, it could not take it's success for granted with its current crop of returned pop refugees.

i'm still unsure of where Girl Thing hope to move on from here once their story has been told and old wounds touched upon and possibly healed, but coming in from a sceptical standpoint that ITV2 may not have been able to deliver upon their promises a second time around, I currently remain suitably hooked on their career-rejuvenating arena filler.