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Yet another modest proposal.

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Tartan terror!My modest proposals tend to be either works of breathtaking genius or arrant nonsense.

Mix in the ongoing Edinburgh Exorcism series of blog posts and, well … we’re either gonna have a dead whale or a stove boat 650 words from now.

Proposal: A new reality show in which young musicians compete to become members of the Bay City Rollers, Mark 2.0.

The five winners are promptly set up with a recording contract, a tour itinerary and a stable of professionally written pop songs … not to mention lots of pairs of tartan-trimmed calf-length pants.

And here’s why that’s not the stupidest, tackiest idea in the world:

1. Cash. Maybe this can be set up in a way that makes some coin for the Seventies Rollers — who apparently saw little or none of the money they generated back in the day. It might boost demand for gigs by original Rollers, for instance.

2. Continuity. Given all the ex-members of the Rollers still floating around, at least one of them could be roped in to serve as counsel, adviser,wise-uncle figure and, perhaps, judge.

The presence of a genuine ex-Roller would also help draw the attention of original fans, who have a lot of money to spend on mom jeans, cell phones and Crystal Light. (Are you listening, advertisers?)

3. It’s historically accurate. The membership of the Seventies Rollers was as much stage-managed as it was organic.

Tam Paton, the band’s (now deceased) original manager, admitted to bringing in some members based as much on their personal qualities as their musicianship. He also talked about scouting other Edinburgh bands for prospective new Rollers, again based on both personalities and musicianship. (The oft-referenced Stuart “Woody” Wood was plucked from a band called Kip, for instance.)

In other words, the judges who decide which prospective New Rollers to keep and which to send home aren’t demeaning the original band. They’re continuing an established tradition.

4. It’s being done. Disney sells arseloads of product by manufactured and promoted performers. There are millions of people out there willing to buy a CD (or an MP3 download) by five cute faces, just as long as the hooks are right.

5. Scots accents are still charming and somewhat exotic to American audiences.

6. So is tartan.

7. Plenty of available talent. The city of Edinburgh reports that unemployment is rising, and the number of people seeking work outstrips the number of new jobs being created. That means there should be plenty of young men with Scots burrs and tously hair with time on their hands, willing to make a go of pop stardom.


8. Say yes! to Michigan. Bay City, Michigan, from which the original Rollers took their name, could stand a shot in the arm too. Nearly one in five residents under age 18 live below the poverty line. Perhaps the show’s final rounds could be filmed there.

9. Loved, but not too loved. Remember the New Monkees, back in the ’80s? They failed because, as it turned out, millions of Americans still wanted to see and hear the old Monkees.

The New Rollers don’t face that kind of competition. Outside of a few loyal fans, 21st-century Americans don’t seem to be clamoring to pack amphitheaters for a tour by the old Rollers. That opens up enough of a market niche for the new ones to get a foothold.

(The situation might be different if the old Rollers saw eye-to-eye enough to get four or five of them together for a single tour, which might generate a critical mass of attention. That doesn’t seem to be the case, though.)

10. Better this than something else. I can guarantee that, within the next year, you will read at least 10 ideas for actual TV shows that are dumber, less entertaining and more offensive to your intellect than this one.

I could probably come up with more reasons if I really wanted to, but I think I’ve made my point.

So when does filming start?


One response »

  1. This idea has been done by several bands including Australia’s INXS. It is a great idea so long as all are in agreement with the terms of agreement. Don’t think for one minute though that there are no BCR’s fans to oppose a new group, be warned that Australia did this with only one missing member of INXS (Michael Hutchence). It may or may not work without any original members in the band.


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