Sunday morning and the Great North Run has begun. I've just done an interview on radio with Tony Horne to discuss The X Factor. There used to be a time that I would sit and hang on every word so I could expose any hypocrisy within the show. Ten years on I find myself content to catch bits as I put the kids to bed and later speed through the auditions saved on my hard drive avoiding the judges' nonsense and the seemingly endless adverts.
Usually there is some X Factor related gossip to prop up the show but sadly this week came the news that singer Simone Battle who had appeared on X Factor USA in 2011 was found hanged at her home in LA. Assuming it was suicide, it comes shortly after the news that X Factor winner Leona Lewis had suffered some depression after falling out with Cowell on creative issues.
I've long believed that the show encourages a culture of greed, need and an obsession with fame that is damaging to our society. This is the point where people now think I'm blaming X Factor for suicide and the decline of western civilisation. I'm not.
Tragic incidents like this and the more high profile death of Robin Williams gives us a chance to re-evaluate the world in which we live. Unfortunately, it's not long before the narrative is changed to the individual's own problems and not that of society. The person can't cope, has drug or money issues, an addictive personality, mental health issues, anything but the environment. We are in danger of passing off all depression as a "medical imbalance in the brain" that needs professional medical attention. Medical attention that costs money.
When huge companies make loads of money from drugs that treat depression it's pretty handy that people are suffering. Couldn't we find alternative ways of freeing our minds for free? Maybe marijuana is banned not for our benefit but for the benefit of these legal drug lords.
With so many in Britain suffering depression when was the last time you saw public information advice on the benefits of regular exercise, socialising and sunlight to keep your mind in shape?
The truth is, nobody makes money from that and anyway, who wants an active healthy public capable of critical thinking?
In a capitalist society where greed, need and fame are essential components that keep the machine working, shows like The X Factor are just one cog in the wheel that perpetuates the problems that we have.
So on week two it was business as usual. The deluded were there to laugh at making the viewer feel better about commuting in a packed train for 3 hours a day, and then there were the ones to make you think you can escape that madness. Cheryl was giving vocal coaching to a contestant so you can imagine how bad he was. Simon went to war with Louis and I think we've seen the birth of a new manufactured boy band. Considering that Strictly Come Dancing hasn't started yet and Simon Cowell and Cheryl are back, the drop in ratings by 600,000 is bad news for the show. I have no doubt they will need to push more war, greed, need and desire for fame to compete with the BBC show.
Simon did tweet "I am so sad to hear about the news Simone Battle has passed away. She was such a fun nice person. It's such a loss. Rest in peace Simone." it was greeted with responses like "Follow me please" and "suck my ass".
They whole thing is very depressing.