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Thursday, 18 September 2014

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Don’t take on us northern monkeys, Mr ‘Wiley’ Cowie

It’s true what they say. You do remember what you were up to during momentously important events in your life. When John F Kennedy was killed, I was sitting cross-legged on the carpet with my little brother, watching an assassination unfold on our grainy black and white TV.

When those astronauts landed on the moon, I was on a family holiday in Spain, eyeing up a handsome young Swiss guy in Ray-Ban shades. He was too old for me.

A small step for man; a giant leap for me – I lied about my age and got a date anyway.

When John Lennon was shot, I wailed like a banshee to the early morning news on my bedside radio alarm. And when little Prince George was born, I broke into a sweat and shouted a lot.

“Who’s he calling inbred northern monkeys and reptillions? Just who does this upstart think he is? And by the way – what’s a reptillion?”

The nerve of the guy. So rude!

If ever I find out what reptillions are, I shall write to my MP in protest. Unless, of course, it turns out they’re cute, cuddly creatures with friendly natures, smiley faces and superior vocabularies. But that’s somehow doubtful.

Reptillions (probably misspelt for maximum insult) are Cumbrians with an overly keen interest in value for money, according to a lippy London rapper who’s been hurling abuse at us all week.

He goes by the name of Wiley. Odd since his name is actually Richard Kylea Cowie – which seems tantalisingly more suitable for a modern baby prince than for a singer with a voice like a broken food processor.

Specifics of his hissy-fit rantings against Cumbria are too foul-mouthed and juvenile to detail here. And anyway, they’re pretty well known now.

Suffice to say in summary, he turned up to perform at Cockermouth’s music festival, managed 15 minutes on stage and then stomped off with his fat fee, hurling derogatory obscenities at his hosts as he left.

Thrifty Cumbrians – pagans, northern inbred monkeys, reptillions and otherwise – felt short-changed and affronted. They still do. The row rumbles on like a stubbornly persistent electric storm.

More than the conflict, I’m intrigued by the indignant, self-congratulatory virtue this young chap and his friends find in practised, boastful toddlers’ petulance and foot-stamping tantrums tossed in the heavy dressing of expletives.

Is that what it takes to secure celebrity now? Does talent, charisma, the ability to string together a coherent sentence no longer figure in the average performing artist’s bag of must-have accoutrements?

Frankly, I’m tempted to surmise it would be simpler to learn to sing – and speak a few words of more than four letters – than it would to perfect all those accessories to ill-mannered, engineered anger.

Goodness only knows how or when hostility grew to appear so cool to so many proudly purporting to love music – which is probably the most unifying art-form we have.

If and when Mr Cowie grows up – sorry pet, don’t know you well enough to call you Wiley – he’ll realise it really isn’t a good look for an old man. Rehearsed, forced anger is ugly, gives you wrinkles and it keeps you lonely.

Cumbria’s festivals – all of them – have a shared characteristic of friendly inclusion which gives them their particular warmth. They’re a celebration of music as a wonderfully uniting thing.

Folk, pop, rock, blues, jazz, set them cheek to jowl and smile.

Let the crooner harmonise with the rapper and watch feet itch to dance. It’s the way we northern monkeys are – and it’s the way we like it.

But we’re not so simple as to invite rip-off and accept abuse as part of a summer celebration of somebody else’s professionally honed hostility.

Not to put too fine a point on it, we’re better than that. Say what you like about Cumbrians, we have skins thick enough and slick enough to allow it all to wash over.

But do credit us with the intelligence to know the difference between angry noise and genuine talent. And be sure we northern monkeys can spot from a mile away when value for money is denied.

We could even set a tune to it.

Have your say

I couldn't agree with you more ! Very well said. Why is he allowed to get can with such vile behaviour and blatant discrimination that's what I would like to know ?

Posted by Cumbrian and proud on 8 August 2013 at 05:40

Let's hope that even West Cumbrians are now learning the true value of manufactured 'stars', 'celebs' and the like. You paid your money for a non entity, lost your money to a non entity. Grow up and learn from this. Possibility?

Posted by Observer on 7 August 2013 at 23:09

View all 7 comments on this article

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