Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Suffolk County Tourist Board, "Icon Survey," 2011

Awesomer than a swimming pool.
My new book, Sweet Heaven When I Die, to be published in August, features a very short passage on death metal rockers Cradle of Filth. So I was excited to see them break out of the death metal ghetto this morning and break into international "news" via, which reports that lead singer Dani Filth was the surprise winner -- ahead of Brian Eno! -- of a poll by the tourist board of Suffolk County, England, to determine the county's greatest icon. Second place went not to Eno but to a swimming pool. The tourist board was not amused; they've apparently called for a recount.

But as pleasant as it always is to hear news of everyday people rejecting the drive to sanitize and homogenize culture, Dani Filth may not be the best representation of rebellion. I wrote about Cradle of Filth in the context of a story about Clear Channel, the giant media monopoly. I'd gone to Denver to meet Jesse Morreale an independent concert promoter being driven out of business by Clear Channel, but since he was entangled with a lawsuit over the matter, he couldn't give me any particulars. 
Nor would the minor rock stars who came through town while I was there. Morreale took me to shows by arena rockers, alt-country crooners, and bands so bland that they could not be classified. The best was that of Cradle of Filth, a death-metal band from England with a cult following. The show featured a trapeze, lots of sparks, and a stilt walker dressed as a giant lobster; the band, dressed in leather bondage gear, sounded awesomely like a car running out of oil crashing into a lawnmower grinding up gravel. But afterward, on the tour bus, the lead singer assured me that he would "never" say anything against Clear Channel; he hoped his loyalty would be rewarded with a radio hit.

Oh, well. Maybe that swimming pool deserves another look.