It’s rare to find the words “Nick”, “Knowles” and “music” in the same sentence, especially if you were unlucky enough to listen to his seminal album Every Kind of People.
Currently ranked in the top 17,800 music bestsellers on Amazon, it has received rave reviews including “so good it makes your ears bleed” and “purchased for a friend who has since moved to New Zealand”. I don’t know if the two are related.
Anyway, I digress: during a TV lull last night, I turned on one of Mr. Knowles’ programs.
I didn’t catch the name, but I think it might have been the one with the dramatic Channel 5-style title: DIY: SOS! Which is the television equivalent of describing anyone who carried on normally and went to work during the pandemic as a member of the “front line” (a term I find rather offensive in relation to the military who are the real front lines).
When I turned on, the sound was muted and a mundane activity involving a dumpster, high-vis jackets and hard hats greeted me, along with the sight of Knowles standing there with his tanned skin and ripped torso as he was sweating profusely, though he was doing little more than standing in his requisite teapot position with his hands on his hips as he pointed a soffit.
Bored, seconds later I turned up the volume and that’s when the real star of the show hit me right between the eyes: the background music.
Amidst the rubble and chaos of work in progress that inexplicably always seems to hit its target in seconds, Nick told us the sad story.
Behind the story of misfortune was orchestral music, mixed with violins and melancholy as the whole program set us up to get emotional. Now, as a DIY enthusiast, I’ve cried many times: but usually from hitting my thumb with a hammer or paying off neighbors’ fences, but never from death, destruction or serious illness. .
The causes of the stories are worthy, no doubt, but the unsung heroes of the series are not Knowles with his multi-million pound paycheck which he wastes on studio recording time, but the composers who not only pull on the heart cords but pull them away from the trunk lung.
The same method can be applied to all the heavy hitters on earth, including X Factor and Britain’s Got Talent.
With the latter, you’re guaranteed to get four yeses if you’re under 16 no matter how talented you are, but the cast is guaranteed to be covered in golden confetti if you have the story heavily vaulted.
Again, the post hits only with a few sad tunes that put the celebrity cryometer barometer into effect: if it’s a trip down the stairs and a broken ankle, Amanda will sob, down to Simon who needs be convinced by a gunman taking your immediate family and three other generations, plus the dog who died after being fatally hit by a Volvo V40 at the weekend.
The power of music has the ability to unite and ignite, to bring flashbacks and memories but also, as they proved to the end, to evoke emotion and sympathy for a cause, for programs whose main objective is to increase audience figures and therefore advertising revenues. .
Conversely, it was refreshing to see Rose Ayling Ellis deservedly winning the Bafta for ‘must see’ for her Strictly Silent Dance.
Evoking the emotion they did (and Mr. Grumpy here too gushed) by simply turning off the volume gave more of a glimpse, for a moment, of the tribulations facing the profoundly deaf.
Not only that, but it proved that the visual can be more powerful than the audio on rare occasions, although watching the Nick Knowles clips tells me it’s a very close thing….