In the shitter with Gary Glitter.
The dream then for the tabloid press is when fame meets underage sex. In the 90s we had OJ Simpson, who despite being acquitted of murdering his wife and her friend has not worked since and is now in the slammer on a separate offence. Michael Jackson then upped the ante, but was also acquitted, with his career also stalling as a result. Gary Glitter, or Paul Gadd, as he was born, has instead broken the mould: not just was he convicted of possessing child pornography, he then took the classic, almost cliched child abuser pilgrimage to Thailand, via Cambodia, where he was swiftly convicted of sharing his bed with two children. Forced to return to the United Kingdom, he will now almost certainly be held in reserve, much like Omar Bakri Muhammad is, for when the Sun doesn't have much news and needs something to fire up its base.
It turns out then that those jokers over at the Assessment and Qualifications Alliance had set as part of GCSE music coursework the task of "composing a song that relies on tempo and/or style for its effect." The paper recommended some songs that the student could listen to for inspiration: alongside Freddie and the Dreamers, Queen, Gloria Gaynor, Dexy's Midnight Runners and Meatloaf, there's Mr Gadd himself, with "I'm the leader of the gang (I am)". Perhaps not the most astute choice in the circumstances, but not one surely that warrants such frothing outrage. It's not as if the paper had offered Glitter's song as the only example of what was required, after all; and as far as tempo and/or style goes, it's hard not to admit that Glitter knew how to use both, even if the music was far from original or that anyone would now listen to it outside of a wave of nostalgia.
You could also accept that recommending one of Glitter's songs as an example increases the possibility of him receiving extra royalties, and no one likes the idea of a unrepentant paedophile receiving funds from the general public. That though really ought to be as far as it goes. We don't ostracize the likes of Roman Polanski, despite his conviction for the sexual assault of a 13-year-old, although the fact that he was both a survivor of the Holocaust and had his first wife murdered by the Manson family does mean he's a far more sympathetic character, or boycott his films. We don't regard Nabakov as unacceptable or his novel Lolita as obscene because of its content, and we don't campaign against the use of Wagner's music, despite his anti-semitism and subsequent appropriation by the Nazis. Phil Spector, if eventually convicted of murder, seems unlikely to have his work blacklisted either. Why then does the "recommending" of Glitter's music to anyone inspire such revulsion and irrationality?
He said: “He’s a convicted paedophile jailed for sexually abusing kids. It’s completely inappropriate to recommend him as listening material.
“Boys and girls of 15 or 16 who select this song will go straight to the internet to find Glitter’s music. I dread to think what they may find searching online for him.”
Err, his music, plenty of jokes about him and information involving his convictions, perhaps? Searching for Glitter isn't suddenly going to lead to a treasure trove of category five child pornography, and besides, we're talking about 15 or 16-year-olds here. If they don't already know about Gadd and his record then they must have lived on another planet.
The Deputy Head, who asked not to be named in case his daughter is penalised in the exam, added: “A national exam board should have the basic common sense not to recommend past works of a paedophile to teenagers.”
There goes Polanski then. Like with homosexuality, we don't know for obvious reasons how many past authors or artists we now treasure may have been sexually attracted to children: allegations have been made for example against J.M. Barrie, although nothing has ever been proved in that case, as well as Lewis Carroll. Why though should what someone did ever affect what they also produced, or rule it out as suitable material to be studied? Why for instance should Chris Langham be ostracised or ridiculed from ever acting again because of his conviction for possession of child pornography? It's as if we've decided abitrarily what offences are unforgivable, or rather, some in the media have, and those that have made mistakes have no possibility of making amends.
But Dr Michele Elliot – director of children’s charity Kidscape – insisted the papers be reissued.
She said: “AQA need to get Glitter off there. It sends totally the wrong message to paedophiles’ victims. Thousands of children take this exam. If they buy his song it could be a nice earner for him.
“One way to show we dislike his abuse of children is to cut off the money he lives on. It’s in the hands of AQA to do that.”
The idea that kids are going to go out there and instantly buy his stuff because a GCSE paper recommends they do is nonsense. Our history teacher recommended we read Mein Kampf, which we respectively declined to do. What they might do is go and search and see if they can get the song for free from somewhere, or even more likely, go and search YouTube for it. Failing that, they might ask their parents if they have compilation CDs with some of his stuff on it. How also is presenting one of Glitter's songs as an example for how to construct their own sending "totally the wrong message to paedophiles' victims"?
Anti-child abuse campaigners Shy Keenan and Sara Payne called use of Glitter’s song “disgusting”.
They said in a statement: “This stonking great child molester should crawl back under the rock he came from, not be celebrated for his music. We’ll campaign to have any reference to him taken out.”
No one's celebrating his music; it's being used as an example for one piece of coursework. Do you people have problems with comprehension?
You'd be forgiven then for thinking that listening to one of Glitter's songs would be enough for the average child to be overcome by the paedo-waves, turning them more susceptible in just 3 minutes. The reaction and the Sun's part in it any event swiftly resulted, predictably, in AQA removing the song from the paper, something that will doubtless cost them a ridiculous amount of money to erase a non-mistake because a few jumped-up self-righteous morons imagine that we'd be better off if we could throw some people and some of their work straight down the memory hole. Remember, this isn't the British Isles, it's the paedoph-isles. Or something.