A Rush of Blair To the Head

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The UK political consensus begins to unravel, as Coldplay's Chris Martin stands up the PM:

Martin respects the British premier, but does not want to be seen publicly socialising with the leader of the Labour party, for fear of offending his fans who may disagree with Blair's political goals and stance over the war in Iraq.

He says, "I'm not going to go. I really like Tony Blair. He's interested in the same things as I am—he plays the guitar and he always gives the impression of doing what he can to help.

"But I don't particularly want to be photographed with him at the moment."

Perhaps Mr. Paltrow is feeling self-conscious after Brendan O'Neill's hilarious separated-at-birth column from a few months back:

Martin is the rock star Blair once dreamt of becoming, and Blair is the kind of middle-aged man Martin is destined to become. They look alike: Both have thinning hair and possess overly toothy grins. They sound alike, speaking in the stuttering, self-effacing, slightly slangish tones adopted by the British upper middle classes, who are increasingly embarrassed by their wealth and privilege. (The singer Dido—full name: Dido Florian Cloud De Bounevialle Armstrong—does this "slumming it" accent wonderfully.) Blair and Martin had similar upbringings: Blair attended the solidly middle-class private school Fettes College in Edinburgh, Scotland (which costs each student a cool 20,200 pounds/$37,000 a year), and Martin went to Sherborne School in Dorset (22,785 pounds/$41,800). Both went on to Ivy League universities—Blair to Oxford in the 1970s, and Martin to University College London in the 1990s—where they founded bands: Blair was the lead singer of Ugly Rumors, a short-lived, maudlin, rock cover band; Martin set up a somewhat more successful group.

Both have quirky wives who have reportedly turned their stiff British husbands on to the spiritual side of life. Cherie Blair—despite being a top barrister and also a devout Catholic—has become infamous for her dalliances with New Age nonsense: She reportedly wears crystals to ward off the evil effects of computers and telephones, and in the summer of 2001, she and Tony took part in a sweaty, muddy Mayan rebirthing ceremony while holidaying on the Mexican Riviera. Martin's wife, the Hollywood glamourpuss Gwyneth Paltrow, has been known to indulge in alternative therapies such as cupping, a form of acupuncture that seeks to ease stress by manipulating the movement of blood, energy and fluids around the body. Both Paltrow and Martin are now celebrated vegans, and apparently held a vegan feast for their daughter Apple's first birthday.

Coldplay are to music what Blair is to politics. Blair gave us the Third Way, a new politics of compromise and caution that was neither full-on capitalism nor socialism, neither right nor left, but something in the middle. Likewise, Coldplay have given us a new kind of music that is neither rock nor experimental, but something closer to the middle of the road.

Coldplay/Blair/cupping/earnest-political-progressive-rocker fans release the fury at O'Neill here.

NEXT: They're Just Trying to Do This Jigsaw Puzzle

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  1. Chris Martin really is the gift that keeps on giving, isn’t he?

    “He’s interested in the same things as I am – he plays the guitar and he always gives the impression of doing what he can to help.”

    Apparently, Mr. Martin is interested in giving the impression of doing what he can to help.

  2. Yes, two steps removed from actual, you know, helping. The very model of a modern major politician.

  3. This is a big to-do for a rock star whose fame stopwatch is at 14:59.

  4. Great catch, joe. Limbaugh would use Martin’s statement to pound the idea once again that liberals care more about impressions than results. In this case, I think it would be an accurate assessment.

  5. Between liberals wanting to creating the impression of helping and neo-cons creating the impression of security, it seems to me that there is a serious future in politics for magicians these days.

    Penn Gillette for pres in 2008!

  6. If Martin doesn’t like Blair, then meet him in person and tell him so. If he is embarassed to be seen with Blair then say so and make it a point of telling the world how lousy Blair is. Notice, Martin is doing none of these things. He admits that he likes Blair but worries about his image if he is photographed with Blair. Translation, “I might loose some of my radical chic street creed if I am seen with him.” What a piece of shit poser. I hope him, his “we wanted to be U2 or Radiohead but we just weren’t cool or talented enough” band, and his skinny pasty faced white chick bimbo wife would just fade into a hole somewhere.

  7. This is a big to-do for a rock star whose fame stopwatch is at 14:59.

    I’m convinced these superstar actresses like Paltrow, Zellweger, Roberts (in her Lyle Lovett period), etc. are following some kind of evolutionary instinct to re-enact the marriage of Vicki Lester and Norman Maine in perpetuity. Given the relative brevity of rock star careers, the wife’s fortunes will almost inevitably be rising while the husband’s are falling. Unfortunately for Paltrow, Martin appears capable of setting up some kind of post-rock career for himself, and I’m sure he drinks nothing but spa water.

  8. Ha ha! Stupid rich music guy! Not wanting to be used in a politician’s propaganda campaign and trying to be polite about it!!! Screw him!! I hate talented rich guys! Lets make fun of people more successful than ourselves so we can feel better about being losers! Ha ha ha ha!!!

  9. Chris Martin really is the gift that keeps on giving, isn’t he?

    So true. Geez, I can’t stand that bland, boring twit. When will celebrities learn to shut their sodding pieholes already and just do what we pay them to do?

  10. If a $37k/year private school is ‘middle class’ then I guess I’m not middle class.

  11. I hate talented rich guys! Lets make fun of people more successful than ourselves so we can feel better about being losers!

    I have no opinion about rich guys. I like talent – too bad Coldplay have none, IMHO. People who live in the spotlight invite scrutiny, and silly people like him invite derision.

    If a $37k/year private school is ‘middle class’ then I guess I’m not middle class.

    Yeah, I was a little puzzled by that too. I guess middle class people in Britain are expected to spend half of more of the income on school.

  12. celebrities are just a cross section of the common folk. if their opinions sound stupid and contradictory, that’s just because a lot of people have stupid and contradictory opinions. only it’s easier to bash celebrities for it because they’re rich.

  13. oy, make that “are expected to spend half OR more of THIER income on school”

  14. >> “Not wanting to be used in a politician’s propaganda campaign and trying to be polite about it!!!”

    But that’s likely not the case here. It’s more like what John said: Not wanting to be seen with someone he’d like to meet for fear of losing ‘credibility’ with a sizeable chunk of his (CD-buying) fan base.

  15. When I read the article, I thought salon was being tongue-in-cheek with the “middle class” remark.

  16. John,

    I don’t think Chris Martin, U2’s, or Thom Yorke have much in the way of “radical chic.”

    Perhaps “Radically under-exposed to the life-giving rays of the sun chic.”

  17. Josh, Rhywun

    If a $37k/year private school is ‘middle class’ then I guess I’m not middle class.

    Slight case of cultural difference here. The Middle Class in Britain is not the same as here.

    It includes the whole of what here is called the Upper Class and only the very top of what we call the Middle.

    We lack an aristocracy, the only part of there society which merits being called the Upper Class there.

    Most of what we call the “Middle Class” here would be “Lower Middle Class” or “Upper Working Class”.

    It’s a matter of definitions.

  18. there society should be their society

  19. “Rock stars. Is there anything they DON’T know?”

    –Homer J. Simpson

    “Shut Up ‘n’ Play Yer Guitar”

    –Frank Zappa

  20. Am I the only Coldplay fan on H&R?

  21. John,

    He wants to give the impression of doing something to stand up to Tony Blair.

    But the guy is a good songwriter.

  22. Paltrow. Cupping.

    I’ll be in my room.

  23. “I’m not going to go. I really like Tony Blair. He’s interested in the same things as I am – he plays the guitar and he always gives the impression of doing what he can to help.

    “But I don’t particularly want to be photographed with him at the moment.”

    Joe,

    He seems to like Tony Blair. He just wants to pose and make sure that he doesn’t offend the wrong people, which makes him a phony in my book. If you hate the guy so much, you don’t want to be photographed with him, then say so.

  24. I know, John, my comment was a riff on “giving the impression of doing what he can,” as opposed to actually doing something.

  25. Jeff,
    I don’t think there is enough there to fill a cup.

  26. “Both Paltrow and Martin are now celebrated vegans, and apparently held a vegan feast for their daughter Apple’s first birthday.”

    Does anyone else find it strange that vegans would name a child after food? …Imagine if the guy that started Morton’s named his kid “Porterhouse”.

  27. Oh, MK, her cup runneth over…

  28. I wouldn’t want my picture taken with somebody who would name his kid “Apple.”

  29. his “we wanted to be U2 or Radiohead but we just weren’t cool or talented enough” band, and his skinny pasty faced white chick bimbo wife would just fade into a hole somewhere.

    Okay, there’s no need to bring RACE into!! (ha ha)

    For the sake of equal time, frankly, I could say the same thing about a certain “rap artist” named Will and his talentless “actress” wife, Jada,

    but I won’t …

    Funny, “Clocks” is the only Coldplay record I own (or will ever own). When I first heard it at a gym, I thought, “Man, where did that old U2 tune come from?” thinking it was some obscure b-side I somehow missed in the 1980s.

    Nowadays, I just dust off “Wide Awake in America” and pretend that Coldplay never existed …

  30. On the bright side, at least he doesn’t have a live recording of Don’t Worry Kyoko with Gwyneth…yet.

  31. That coldplay guy sure sounds like a tool. As for Blair, I just hope the UK finally and totally turns on him. He makes Nixon look cute. Do they still do the cutting-off-the-head execution in London, or are all of ’em done in the new 7 bullets to the head style, on an underground train car?

    I just got this fancy satellite radio in the car and was flipping through the 60-odd music channels. We hear this awful cloying tune & my wife says, “U2? Some kind of really crappy new U2 song?” And I say, “Eh, impossible … it sounds like some pathetic weeping-retard’s impersonation of a slow Radiohead song.” And then it hits me: It must be that fucking Coldplay I always see mentioned in music magazines. Yep, it was them all right. U2 & Radiohead should sue that little Martin creep for character assassination.

  32. Coldplay is annoying. That a guy can make that much and marry a trophy like Gweneth by writing the same song over and over is also annoying. That he thinks he’s the new Bono is also annoying.

    …If he ever does a duet with Bono, that will be annoying.

  33. Ken Layne:

    Haven’t laughed that hard at a post in awhile. There are a whole slew of Radiohead imitators out there.

  34. For the sake of equal time, frankly, I could say the same thing about a certain “rap artist” named Will and his talentless “actress” wife, Jada

    Will Smith is barely a “rap artist” anymore. He’s a charismatic guy who appears in the same two movies every year and records a song or two for the soundtrack as appropriate.

    It would be comedy gold if somebody could find or make up a blog posting from somebody saying “Chris Martin’s bold stand on politics has made me think real hard…”

  35. I always thought Coldplay was like a cross between Radiohead and Travis (“Why Does It Always Rain on Me?”).

  36. Does anyone else find it strange that vegans would name a child after food? …Imagine if the guy that started Morton’s named his kid “Porterhouse”.

    Perhaps it’s a sly nod to Ingrid Newkirk; a rat is a pig is a dog is a boy is an apple.

    Or maybe it’s just to keep Paltrow from feeling guilty when she says something motherly like “Oooooh, you’re so cute, mommy could just eat you up!”

    A third option could be that they are both a couple of overpaid dunces.

  37. Hilarious Coldplay review #1

    Even more hilarious Coldplay review:

    The singer was a laughably lugubrious donkey-faced 15-year-old and the music was a watered-down pastiche of Ride or early Radiohead; even the name of the band could be easily mistaken for a jab at the gloomy fog-rock that had dominated British music in the past years. If it wasn’t some sort of a clever joke, I thought, then Rock and Roll music was doomed. To save my sanity, I chose to believe it was a parody.

    Imagine my surprise and dismay when I heard the very same song on the radio here in the States a few months later. I learned that it was called Yellow, and the singer was not, in fact, 15 years old. He really was just a nerdy, earnest man with a piano who wanted to tell me of his pain through the medium of tedious, leaden, derivative ballads.

  38. I always thought Coldplay sounded like Dave Matthews without the fun.

  39. Who said Radiohead was any good? Yuck.

  40. Even more hilarious Coldplay review

    Funny review – but I poked around the website and ultimately that reviewer doesn’t seem to like much of anything, does he?

  41. I liked Coldplay’s first couple of albums. I mean, if you’re going to steal from someone, you could do worse than stealing from U2. Of course I was never a huge Radiohead fan – so Coldplay just seems to me like some guys who said “yeh, let’s take their stuff, tart it up enough to make it listenable and laugh all the way tot he bank.”

    How sad that their frontman seems to not realize that’s what they’re doing, and instead is trying to be deep and introspective – by talking smack about the people who buy their CD’s, pay their wages, and happen to currently run their gov’t.

    Yep, nothing says deep, introspective and edgy like ignorant public statements! (Where’s Janeane Garofolo these days? I bet she’s pissed that Chris Martin is stealing her schtick!)

  42. Funny review – but I poked around the website and ultimately that reviewer doesn’t seem to like much of anything, does he?

    Well, it’s a column called “Your Band Sucks” on a humor site, so… 🙂

  43. I’m convinced these superstar actresses like Paltrow, Zellweger, Roberts (in her Lyle Lovett period), etc. are following some kind of evolutionary instinct to re-enact the marriage of Vicki Lester and Norman Maine in perpetuity. Given the relative brevity of rock star careers, the wife’s fortunes will almost inevitably be rising while the husband’s are falling.

    The careers of Hollywood babes are often rather short, too. I’d put money on Lyle Lovett’s shelf life being much longer than Julia Robert’s (but, of course, he has 10x the talent of Chris Martin). Going back in time a bit, Eddie Van Halen’s star certainly isn’t as bright as it was, but compared to Valerie Bertinelli?

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