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The Rebel Cheerleader

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Your Typical Student!

John Walsh was born in a wilderness where many fear to thread after dark; ‘Ballyfermot’. Muttered uneasily by some but known affectionately to locals as ‘Ballyer’.

After two decades in this wilderness, John decided it was time to fly the roost and experience life out on his own. Drinks were had, plans were made, houses were viewed and John soon found himself living in Rathmines with his girlfriend.

What with the start of a new college year swiftly approaching, it became an inconvenience living such a distance away from college.

So John and his beloved mutually parted ways and he flew home, ready for another year of days spent skipping classes and drinking overpriced cups of teas.

John, a self confessed cynic of the pop world, when not dodging classes, studies journalism in his local college, BCFE, with hopes of aspiring to become a music journalist.

BCFE, a college renowned for having its alumni go far, alumni such as Lorraine Keane [TV3 Presenter] and Niall Turner [Editor, Connected Magazine]. Maybe John could possible be their next success story.

His fresh young face belies his age, easily mistaken for a twenty-year-old, John is in actual fact 28, and after all those years, he had come to the conclusion that music and its journalists are all nothing more than a bunch of ‘cheerleaders’ without a single opinion amongst themselves.

His dislike of your typical modern music journalists interested me so I decided to investigate further. Quietly, he informed me, while taking a slow drag of a cigarette that ‘modern journalists are nothing more than a bunch of cheerleaders, not a single opinion among themselves’.

Quizzing him further, he ran off the list of magazines he believed ‘sold out’ for highter sales. His dislike for NME stood out strongly, asking me have I ever truly see any originality in it since the early 90s. I had to take his word for it considering I’ve only read it about once.

While many people would disagree, after researching the topic a little further I noted that music magazines, the likes of KERRANG! And the aforementioned NME, which John believes was one of the first to employ those so-called ‘cheerleaders’ are slightly veering towards the more mainstream bands such as Muse and the Artic Monkeys, bands who’s interviews would sell more copies, bands who don’t need the over exposure NME offers them, leaving the lesser known bands out in the cold.

But I had to think, is it really the whole ‘selling out’ issue that bugs John, who, at one point mentioned that he was once a member of the ‘elite’ Tower Records staff.

The ‘uber-cool’ record shop whose employees hate anything that could possible be considered mainstream. The kind of staff who can quote off a list of bands you’ve never heard of but will definitely ‘change your life’.

When I asked him for a list of his favourite artists, I noted nothing much stemmed pass the psychedelic genre that was founded in the 1960s. Was it ignorance or fear that made him reluctant to listen to modern music?

Ignorance that nothing possible could be better than this, or fear that he actually might like some of what he’d hear, and making himself an outcast amongst his Tower Records peers.

Keeping in line with cynical views when I joking asked him where does he see himself in ten years, god forbid, maybe one of these ‘cheerleaders’ slaving for the like of NME?

He slowly looked into my eye, crushing the remnants of his cigarette onto the ground with his foot replying: ‘more than likely dead’. Nice to see optimism is still truly alive.

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