Sometimes I really feel like I’m out of touch with this Western world we live in. Having left the Simon “anti-christ in a v-neck” Cowell devoted nation of England in my wake and come to Canada I thought at least I could get some respite from that kind of mass, celebrity-devil worship on this side of the Atlantic. Not so it seems. For the devil resides here too, in the form of Sara “I sing wet, motivational pop but still think I’m hip enough to throw loads of hand gestures I saw Eminem do once on MTV into my human-will sapping set” Westbrook. And nope, I’d never heard of her either.
Let me backtrack a second here. I don’t want any would-be reader to be deceived into thinking I saw her travesty of a set out of my own free will. Hell no! Last Saturday, that’s Saturday the 14th November (remember that date, it becomes pertinent soon), me and my grilfriend were stuck for something to do. Flipping through a list of Toronto events we stumbled upon a FREE hour of entertainment in Yonge and Dundas square. Illuminite it was called, and it advertised an hour of awe-inspiring performances by Circus Orange and some singer called Sara Westbrook. Oh, and something about turning on the Xmas tree lights. How nice. And it was FREE. We were sold.
What we beheld that lowly Saturday evening in downtown Toronto made me want to invade the stage and demand, in the crassest terms known to man, my tube fare back off the organisers. Ok, the Circus Orange dudes were game enough, but two guys bouncing up and down on a trampoline isn’t consistently captivating when you realise they’ve exhausted their catalogue of tricks after the first thirty seconds of being up there. I think my toes were beginning to numb even at that stage. But what happened next made my brain freeze and blood turn to ice. Yes, Westbrook’s time was at hand.
After a lengthy introduction, by a Toronto news reporter who shovelled so much praise on her we could detect the waves of bullshit even from the back, out she popped, to spew forth clichés of motivational tripe in as close to discernible melodies as her paltry talent could muster. Aagh, it was painful. But also vaguely hilarious. So for some reason we stuck around. “When I was 3 years old” Sara bawled at the evaporating crowd, “I told my mother I was going to be a singer”. At this point I was practically choking on my own bile. It was pure X-Factor garbage, full of self-important dreams about never giving up on your goals whilst expecting everyone else to give a shit. Yet with the X-Factor, to my enduring irritation, the majority of Britain actually does give a shit and even get all pissy when Simon Cowell doesn’t give their favourite would-be Rick Waller the thumbs up. However, at least Sara’s appalling disregard for decent grammar made us virtually piss through our jeans with laughter. “Let’s come together”, she screeched, “because though we may act differently, think differently, look differently”… I’m sorry, what Sara? Look differently? We all look with our eyes don’t we? Last time I checked anyway. I guess some people look through glasses. Oh, and I squint in glaring sunlight sometimes.
Anyhow, my ranting digresses. In actual fact, not many people gave a baboons ballbag about Westbrook’s sickly and samey back catalogue, with the crowd diminishing faster than Thierry Henry’s respectability, but they were suddenly stirred into showing off their sing-along voices when she veered into Christmas song territory.
Which leads me on to the closing part of my rant. IT’S NOT CHRISTMAS!! It’s not even close goddamit! I swear, at the rate we’re going, we’ll be turning the Christmas lights on at the summer solstice. “What would today be without a song about our favourite reindeer Rudolph?” mused Sara from the stage. Oh I don’t know Sara… better? More seasonally appropriate? Not so violent on the eardrums? And yet the crowd were loving it! I really wanted to yell out ‘buy a fucking calendar you cretins!’ at the top of my lungs. But it would have done no good. Sara Westbrook’s mistimed Christmas gaiety was just too strong, even in mid-November. I’ll store up all this pent-up aggression for the day Simon Cowell is within earshot… or spitting distance… or rifle range. Come on though, he is a dick isn’t he?