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2 items from 2009

Can Simon Cowell save democracy?

15 December 2009 4:05 PM, PST | The Guardian - TV News | See recent The Guardian - TV News news »

The X Factor guru wants to take his show into the political arena. But what do politicians think about the idea?

Voting is unpopular. That's what they tell you at Westminster, and MPs from all parties have been agonising about how to get the public more interested ever since the general election turnout hit a record low of 59% in 2001. Simon Cowell, on the other hand, knows how to run a popular election. More than 10 million voted in the X Factor final at the weekend - which may explain why the reception at Westminster has been surprisingly warm to Cowell's idea, floated on Newsnight earlier this week, for a political version of the show.

David Cameron has already said Cowell is "incredibly talented. There's probably something we could learn in politics from him." The Tory leader watched Cowell explain his idea on Newsnight, for "some kind of referendum-type TV show where »

- Andrew Sparrow

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Music: Review:The Dynamites Featuring Charles Walker: Burn It Down

14 September 2009 10:00 PM, PDT | | See recent The AV Club news »

Nashville retro-soul outfit The Dynamites and their 65-year-old frontman Charles Walker may not quite measure up to the high standard set by genre exemplars Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings, but then again, who does? When The Dynamites follow The Dap-Kings’ lead and combine social commentary with horn-pumped funk on songs like “Somebody’s Got It Better,” and “Do The Right Thing,” the results are more than a little overbearing. But Walker has a likeably earthy, expressive voice, and The Dynamites are a tight, punchy combo capable of J.B.’s-level vamps like “Treadneck” and “The Third Degree,” marked by complex rhythms »

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