Possibly the only Blog to compare US Presidents to Rock Stars

This week something big happened for quite a few people. Something huge. Something that would alter their entire world.

Nick Mason and Slash tutored at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Fantasy Camp at Abbey Road. 42 people paid £6000 each to attend the week-long course. A testing schedule of 10 hours of rehearsals a day allows them to be coached on all aspects of their music-making by rock idols and seasoned professionals, culminating in a concert in which Mason and Slash (there’s a good name for a Solicitor’s) take a starring role.

Yes, they are momentous figures in the world of rock, but they’re not really the main men. Surely Syd Barrett or Dave Gilmore were the frontmen of Floyd, and I seem to remember Slash just standing around in the background looking grumpily at his feet whilst Axl did all the interviews and riot-starting.

But then, if you look closely you begin to realise that all you can see these days are pale imitations and tribute acts. The Who are touring with a new bassist and Ringo’s son completes the sticky-plaster rhythm section of the group whilst Daltrey and Townshend wave their hands about. Even then, they’re not smashing up their instruments as these days you’d need a second tour bus just for the Health & Safety and risk-assessment teams let alone the goggles and safety boots. Led Zepplin are considering a tour, but Robert Plant’s too busy singing to a bunch of real ale drinkers about coal miners in folk clubs to wail-out Immigrant Song these days.

The truth is the real icons, the ones who truly rocked this world, are all dead. Sid Vicious, Jim Morrisson, Cobain and Hendrix: All gone. Barry White and Otis Redding aren’t making any new songs and James Brown won’t be taking us to the bridge any time soon. Even Jonny Rotten’s advertising middle-class butter in burberry rather than spitting on royalty.

Of course, I hear you say, there’s a whole new generation of hell-raisers. Yes, but Britney Spears showing her lady-topiary and Chris Martin singing about poverty whilst his mansion is decked out in Gold records aren’t exactly novel or innovative. Dave Grohl could be growling so hard his lungs explode on stage in a kaleidoscope of intestines and bilious humour but I guarantee I would be able to find you someone who’d done it louder and in paisley.

The world woke up this morning to news of Obama’s success in the US polls. Kenya are having a national holiday tomorrow in his honour. Regardless of your political views, you’d have to admit it would be difficult for things to get worse. With everything becoming more expensive and most currencies being worth less than the average postage stamp, it’d be hard to imagine anyone invoking less confidence than a chimpanzee wearing incontinece pants and wellingtons giving a ‘State of the Nation’ address. Or good old Dubya.

But I can’t help thinking unless Obama has some serious tricks up his sleeve people are going to be slightly disappointed. I hope I’m wrong, but unless he can wiggle his ears and bring about peace in everyone who sees it and has a spare world economy hidden away in his attic that we can borrow it’s going to be hard for him to live up to expectations.

But then he is the presidential equivalent of the Kaiser Chiefs. Yes he’s got a few catchy tunes to grab our attention, but does he really have anything new to offer? Does he have the staying power of the Rolling Stones, or can he revolutionise the world like Chuck Berry plugging his guitar into an amplifier?

Maybe it’s just because we’ve got a few hundred years of experience over the US, but in the UK we know that just like we’ll never see The Who or Led Zep in their original glory, no elected leader is going to have the same impact as those who are long gone.

George Washington brought about the American Constitution, and what’s more he refused to accept any salary for his two term’s in office. Today’s president can expect a $400k salary each year, a $50k expense account, $20k for entertaining and $100k travel fund. Daltrey admits that in the early days of The Who, they made a loss at every gig just from replacing the instruments they smashed at the end of their sets in the name of spectacle and innovation, whereas today you’d need to sell all of your pets and children to get a ticket to see half of the original line-up sing Pinball Wizard.

Washington wrote all the best tunes. He had a revolutionary sound. He had a real presence on the world stage. 120 years down the line and I suspect there’s no one on the planet who could walk into the White House and not look like the Kaiser Chief’s next to Washington’s Hendrix.

I hope I’m wrong. I tip my hat to the new constitution. I’ll take a vow to the new revolution. I’ll smile and breathe the change all around. But I’m going to watch cautiously. Whilst he certainly won’t dribble, mince his words or leave a press conference by walking into a cupboard, I suspect the new boss won’t be all that much different to the old boss.

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