Wednesday, February 19, 2003

BBC News has redesigned its front page. They have increased the width of the page from 600 pixels to 800. This makes perfect sense and is about time - who still uses a resolution of 640x480? But - perhaps I'm just not used to it yet - I find the new four-column layout too busy. My eye seems to bounce around the screen - there's no main focus.

One headline which did catch my eye: Popstars tour cancelled due to poor ticket sales. A combined tour starring Girls Aloud and One True Voice, which was due to start next month and take in huge venues like Wembley Arena, has been called off because, says manager Louis Walsh, "it wasn't selling, nobody was buying the tickets". Of course, Louis blames the poor sales on boyband One True Voice - "the girls are doing brilliantly and don't need to be supported by anyone else".

No, Louis, nobody is interested in either band anymore, because they're not bands. They're products of a highly successful TV show. A TV show which reached a feverish peak at Christmas and is now as forgotten as Beyblades. The country is now slightly mystified and embarrassed about its Popstars hysteria. We fell for it with Hear'Say, almost willing them to be a "proper" band, allowing them to get to their second album before giving in and admitting they were fakes. We ain't gonna make the same mistake again.

Oh, I'm sure another series of Popstars or Pop Idol will be a ratings grabber again. And David Sneddon, Sinead and Ainslie - all off reality TV show Fame Academy - have all had huge hits. And no doubt the winner of Simon Cowell's latest wheeze, Reborn In The USA, will see Sonia or Tony Hadley or - please God - Dollar return briefly to the top of the charts. But do they have long careers ahead of them? I think not. That's the reality.

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