One Week on From The Demise of Channel [V]
This was me at 00:01hrs, Saturday the 27th February, 2016, upon conclusion of “Foo Fighters Wasting Light On The Harbour” and of a channel I had come to love. One part of my brain was contemplating, “What now?” between streams of tears; while another was feeling commiseration for the youth of today. These dominating thoughts were often overrun by a myriad of other strange emotions spewing forth from wherever the fuck they hang out when I’m not wearing mascara. So basically a whole lot of this:
“What has made you feel this way Kate?” you are no doubt shouting at your screens RN, unless you happen to follow me on Facebook/Twitter/the street because in that case you’d be well aware that my beloved Channel [V] is no more. The fact that I had more friends checking up on me after this announcement than they did following a recent surgery (Kim K butt implants if you MUST know) should give you some insight into the kind of person I am.
Now before any of you judgemental arseholes start criticising me for mourning the loss of a TV channel, let me begin by illustrating some of the reasons it meant more than just entertainment.
- Their support for Aussie music. Countless Aussie artists have credited Channel [V] with giving them the exposure they needed to make it nek level. Their Disco[V]er Artist program will be a real loss for undiscovered musicians whom now also need to contend with lock out laws. Their platform for delivering live Aussie music as well as interviews that weren’t generic or boring as batshit was a gift that will be sorely missed.
- Their diversity. Although this was a contentious point toward the end, back in its heyday and even recently via their late night programming, Channel [V] was known for its diverse and mostly uncensored catalogue of clips and genre specific shows. Soul Kitchen, a dedicated hip hop/R‘n’B/soul program hosted by Maya Jupiter back in the day was a personal favourite and many people still talk about [V] Loud which was all about metal, punk and hardcore – genres that rarely get a platform at all. To give it a very basic summary, Channel [V] was pretty much Triple J spliced with Nova, which I don’t need to tell you was/would still be tops.
- The zero fucks given attitude of the presenters. They said and did whatever they wanted, whenever they wanted. They were unlike any other music television hosts because they weren’t afraid to offer an honest opinion and would do things such as argue over reviews, hang shit on each other, hang shit on musicians, smoke weed with bands (Jabba), not allow anyone with ego to get the better of them (Jabba again) and basically just speak their minds. While this made for entertaining TV, it also brought with it authenticity and relatability. I can recall an interview Danny Clayton did with Redfoo of ‘LMFAO’ where Redfoo tried to explain that their song ‘Party Rock Anthem’ had some deep meaning and Danny was having none of it. It cut back to Danny saying something to the effect of, “FFS, just say it’s a fun to dance to, party song. Don’t try and make it something it’s clearly not!”
- They brought the music to the people. [V] Guerilla Gigs, Channel [V] Music Bus, [V] Island Parties, various random events like The Aus Open of Surfing shows and arguably their best format was the live shows/interviews at Fox Studios for By Demand and WhatUWant. Sydney fans would turn up in their hundreds to see and sometimes meet with their favourite artists and the rest of us chumps around the country still had the chance to call and interact. It was this shit that 100% meant the world to me. My champs of parents used to write notes to let me get out of school early in order to catch some of these specials and shows because of stupid daylight savings making shows start early while QLD kids are still in school. So many great memories from these shows – so many fights with my sisters over the TV. Events like these are what eventually culminated into a dream of becoming a [V]J with the intention of continuing the legacy for the next generation of music fans and this is why I now commiserate with them as I am acutely aware of all that they won’t get the chance to experience. I also needed to become a [V]J largely because of Yumi’s first day in work experience:
Here’s a typical example of the interactions I’m talking about:
I’m pretty sure Channel [V] also played a major part in relation to me making friends at high school. There was an ‘N.E.R.D/Pharrell’ special on one Friday night so it was “Everyone back to my place to watch!” and when Eminem’s video ‘Without Me’ was premiered on [V] I may or may not have taped it onto VHS and taken it into school to show some unfortunate, cable-less mates. Even [V]’s internet chat rooms made for some hilarity. I managed to get my hands on the shittiest quality bootleg (pretty much Kramer quality) of 8 Mile before it was released in Australia and during a sleep-over some friends and I were in the [V] chat room having a rap battle with someone at 2am. We were just stealing lines from the movie and most people thought we had real talent until someone caught on and we had to scram! I still to this day have many of those same friends with whom I shared a common reverence for a particular artist or genre of music.
Another major drawcard of the channel was obviously that the presenters were consistent in bringing the Lols! There aren’t many things that can turn my attention away from Channel 108 on a Saturday morning but Jabba’s Morning Glory and The Riff were must-see TV for me. I loved The Riff since its premiere on a Thursday arvo (I think it was) before it changed to Sat mornings and made me wake up early. It was jam packed with everything I crave: music news, reviews, interviews, Simpsons references (Billy), precious VJ prattle and skits that made me rofl. Like this:
They delivered the music news in an entertaining way, as opposed to MTV’s shitty, off the shelf “News Wrap Up” that makes even the biggest pop-culture fiend lose interest super quick. Here’s a typical example:
I loved that most of the hosts had a genuine love and thorough knowledge of music and given the numerous hours I spent ‘hanging with’ them, I feel like I know some of them!
I feel like Danny is an old mate. I’ve been watching him for almost 14 years and through countless Twitter interactions as well as meeting him on a couple of occasions I can say that he has a very welcoming personality and is willing to stand up for what he believes in. He’ll protest bigoted fuckwits whom wish to protest freedom and he’ll stand up against the lock out laws currently affecting Sydney’s nightlife and music scene. He is also a tops DJ should you ever get the chance to dance under his musical guidance, due in no small part to the fact that he really knows his music. It’s obvious that music is his life and that he gets gratification through his contribution to others’ consumption and enjoyment of music. Although you said on The Riff once Danny that you have no marketable skills outside of presenting, perhaps you can take some consolation in the fact that something you created was making so many people happy.
Billy was definitely the most genuine host I witnessed. He couldn’t hide his excitement or nerves when something big was going down (most notably when the Weasley twins appeared on The Riff). Apart from his shit taste in footy teams and beer, I feel like this dude is me in male form, all the way down to the Zayn crush and the ‘Milpool’ tattoo I wish I had. He is another host that absolutely knew his shit and was also a genuinely nice guy. I’ve met him a couple of times and he was quite the supportive chump when I expressed my [V] presenter aspirations; not to mention his work with Reachout.com. I was devvoed when you left [V] but thanks so much for everything ‘Dollar Dollar Billy’.
Carissa was and still is my style icon! Funnily enough my style idols throughout my life have been Clarissa, Marissa and now Carissa. I’m looking forward to watching you follow in fellow [V] alumna Renee Bargh’s footsteps overseas!
Jabba was in a league of his own and there is no doubt that the channel could never have been what it was without him. In a lot of our minds you’ll never escape The Band in a Bubble and definitely delivered some of the best TV hands down.
Osher Günsberg (Andrew G), Jimmy Mathison and Yumi Stynes hosted the best interviews I’ve ever seen to this day and produced so many memorable moments that people still talk about some ten-fifteen years later. While some bands were clearly not easy interview subjects these guys still managed to put them at ease with their natural conversation techniques and indulge in some quality bants. When the guest was easy – oh you’d better believe it was on. The shit that would come out of their mouths was fucking great viewing and I’d bet it was refreshing for the artist as well to not have to sit through the same piece of shit questions. I can’t thank you enough for that.
I could go on and on about each of the hosts whom have all contributed in their own way to making an atypical music channel that became part of a daily routine for myself and others like me. My gratitude also goes to all of the chumps behind the scenes, some that were responsible for allowing most of Jabba’s antics and a lot of other ‘shenanigans’ to go to air. Basically it’s a shame it had to end and let me conclude by saying it’s bullshit and I agree wholeheartedly with the following statement from Stephen Green, Managing Director of SGS Media Group, which was printed in an article by TheMusic.com.au shortly after the initial announcement:
“I find it strange that on one hand, the justification from Foxtel is that their music channels have been under attack from YouTube for people’s eyeballs, while at the same time replacing the one channel they had that created its own unique content with a 24-hour channel just playing clips which are all readily available on YouTube.”