By Slick Nick
Last year, a teenage girl hit the headlines after willingly buying the Scouting For Girls album ‘Everybody Wants To Be On TV’ , one of the worst albums ever made. In a Pop Peelings exclusive, the girl, who we’ll call ‘Stacey’, and her mother, speak for the first time about the ordeal and how the family are coming to terms with those events.
We’re in Ruislip, Middlesex, a quintessentially British suburb on the outskirts of West London.
The home is a 4-bedroom traditional residence, with ample garden space. Family photos adorn ornament cabinets. One shows a young Stacey in a school uniform. She is a pretty girl, alive with the hopes and dreams of any middle class, spoilt 14 year old.
‘That was taken only a few weeks before…’ her mother begins, before stiffling the tears. Stacey’s father was still too distraught to take part in our meeting.
The distress that this record has brought upon an innocent family is painfully obvious.
When we finally meet Stacey, she is almost unrecognisable from that photo. Youth barely penetrates the gaunt, haggered features in front of us. This is a girl that clearly hasn’t slept properly for the best part of a year.
She is clutching a wrinkled piece of paper. A red, blue and white picture adorns it. The colours fall way outside the lines.
‘That’s the front cover of the album she’s drawn,’ explains mum. ‘She’s done one of those every day for the last three months.’
Stacey suffers from what leading psychologists now refer to as SFG (Scouting For Girls) Withdrawal Syndrome. In layman’s terms, it is a severe psychological reaction to the sheer mundanity of the music as written and performed by Scouting For Girls. The few known cases have seen affected individuals withdraw almost totally from reality. The illustrating of the band’s album covers tends to happen in only the most severe cases.
‘I’m a good girl, mister,’ she begins. ‘Wanna hear the angels sing?’
She doesn’t make eye contact.
I politely decline. For research purposes, I am already well aware of how bad ‘Everybody Wants To Be On TV’ is. It is categorised as a pop record, which makes the distinct lack of melody in the ten songs all the more staggering. The production is deeply flawed, with instruments so heavily mixed together that decifering a guitar from a keyboard becomes an almost impossible task. In addition, the singing is worthless. Monotone and generic, the only emotion it evokes in the listener is that of seething, intense boredom.
The album wears its influences on its sleeve, evoking the music of U2, The Jam, Kaiser Chiefs and contemporary Green Day – all terrible bands in their own right, but certainly preferrable to Scouting For Girls. It’s hard to imagine a worse guitar pop group active in modern times [ unless Bon Jovi are still going? - ed. ].
Until science can find a cure for her condition, Stacey must continue to live each day immersed in her own world in which nothing but Scouting For Girls exists. Until then, she will never know the simple joy of taking a dip in Highgrove swimming pool during the summer months, or the pleasure of getting fingered in the park behind the high street after a few refreshing cans of cider with friends. She will never know what it is to be normal.
So how does a mother cope with the actions of a daughter led astray by mainstream radio and a government that doesn’t care?
‘My daughter is not a bad person,’ she says. ‘She just has the worst taste in music you can possibly imagine.’
‘Now the whole family are paying the price.’
‘We take each day as it comes. We’re trying to rebuild our lives but it’s not easy when you have to listen to ‘This Ain’t A Love Song’ twenty times a day.’
I can only offer my sympathies to this once wholesome middle class family. Now the lilac walls of their safe, comfortable abode will be forever spoilt with the echos of Scouting For Girls.