The other day I was standing by the printer at work, waiting for my own stuff to appear, when I spotted an invoice lying on top. It was for £360 and it was money to be paid to one Chris Brown. My first thought: what the hell are we doing paying money to that violent tosser? Doesn’t he have enough? And, furthermore, is he even any good at copy-editing? My second: Oh, it’s that nice Chris Brown from downstairs. The one who recently went freelance. That’s okay then. I’m sure his skills are second to none. That’s the trouble with Chris Browns: there’s a lot of them about. But not all of them are SfEP approved.
Before his attack on Rihanna there were two things that struck me about Chris Brown (the singer, not the copy-editor). The first was that you cannot seriously pretend to be hard or radical when you are singing sub-boy-band bollocks like With You (and as for “when I’m with you I don’t need money” — well, hands off mine, matey. I’m sure you got enough for that Disney Channel appearance). The second is that, of all the mundane, utterly-unfit-for-superstardom names to have, Chris Brown has to be the very worst. It’s appalling. It’s not that I don’t like either name individually (I might – although I will not confirm it – have even given a child of mine one such name). But the fact remains that Chris Brown should not be the name of a famous person. It’s way too common. Yet in becoming famous, Chris Brown has somehow made the name about him and not all the other far more worthy Chris Browns out there.
According to the Guardian, Chris Brown’s fifth album, Fortune, is set to hit number 1 in the UK charts this Sunday. His single, Don’t Wake Me Up, is likely to do the same. Of course, people can buy whatever rubbish music they like. However, is it possible that some may be purchasing the music not in spite, but because of Brown’s attack? This is a question Kira Cochrane poses in the Guardian piece. It seems perfectly plausible to me (I imagine if Ched Evans were to release a single of himself singing Agadoo, there are die-hard misogynists who would be willing to buy it).
Without the frisson that comes with being a mindless beater of women, how long would Chris Brown have remained in the public eye? Soon another young popster would have come to replace him; it may even have been another Chris Brown. We could probably fill the charts with Chris Browns if we wanted to. All that’s stopping us is the will to try. And actually, do you know what I think would be radical? A Chris Brown topping the charts with a song that isn’t about love or money or parties or whatever it is the young ‘uns sing about these days. But a song about being a proper, ordinary, decent human being:
My name’s Chris Brown and I work in IT
I drive a Citroen, that’s the car for me
On Saturdays I like to go swimmin’
I don’t hit men and I don’t hit women
That sort of thing. Only not totally shit, like that version is.
So Chris Browns of the world who aren’t that other Chris Brown, there is my suggestion. Come forth, reclaim your name! And do so with a decent song! And as for your invoice – I’ll make sure it gets to finance next week.
PS I have just found out that Chris Brown did a song called What’s My Name. It includes a bit that goes “C to the H to the R. I. S.”. If – and I say if – I had a child with that name, I could use it to help him learn to spell. But I obviously wouldn’t teach him the lines that follow, which are just insecure bollocks about being dead good at shagging and being able to go “on and on and on and on”. Even if it were true, don’t you just hate it when men think that alone constitutes being a good fuck?