Entertainers above the law

SIMON SWEETMAN
Last updated 11:43 03/07/2014

So they got to Rolf Harris - uncovered it - before he popped his clogs. Unlike with Jimmy Saville. We're disgusted, appalled, and suddenly that lovely song Two Little Boys doesn't mean anything at all - or it only means something utterly sinister, right? We can't look at his paintings anymore - when really were they ever really anything? Of course he can paint better than me, my two year old can. But would I have ever wanted Harris' garish made-for-TV brushwork hanging in my house? No chance. The guy could paint though - that's entirely separate from being an artist. He was an entertainer - and one that rose up in an era that made him a god. Above the law - free to do pretty much as he pleased, to explore all he craved. Untouchable they were - those TV and film and radio gods from that era. 

They were never scrutinised - not really. Only loved. Made to seem untouchable.

But who is next? And what will happen next? Will ol' dragon pants himself, Jimmy Page ever be called - completely - into line? Was there a reason beyond the touring malaise that Bill Wyman left The Rolling Stones? Was there in fact a secret handshake deal there? Wyman, the most devastatingly perverse woodsman of the group, has now not been a Stone longer than he was ever a Rolling Stone. Some might consider that growing old gracefully. Others might see it as a business agreement - hide out away from any limelight and allow a successful touring franchise to continue. He's had his fun - and let's not get the band caught up in any scandal right?

Awful to speculate - but the reality is the rock stars and TV Gods of the 1950s/60s/70s walked on water and coasted over and above the law - they sometimes had a team to help cover things up. More often they would never ever be called to question because we made them that way - we believed in them, adored them, poured so much fanaticism on them and at them they became 20 feet tall and bulletproof.

That's not to say that everyone you adored is guilty - but it's obvious that some of your heroes have been very bad men. Some - possibly - still are. And do you worry about that when you press play? And should you?

I'm always of the opinion that the art should be allowed to speak still - even when the artist has been found to be one of life's most despicable characters.

There'll probably not be a rush of hands if you ask for any Lostprophets fans - last year the band's singer was jailed for 35 years following horrific details of his monster-like ways, using his celebrity to have sex with children; with babies. Convincing fans to give up their children.

I'm of the opinion that there wasn't ever a decent Lostprophets song, the band did nothing for me. That news was obviously disturbing - for many that would be the first and only time hearing the band's name. But listening to their music - if you do, or did - is still not condoning the actions of the monster that made it.

I'll not look back fondly on Rolf Harris' work - even though he's one of the entertainers I remember from my childhood. I'm very pleased he was caught - and will tomorrow be sentenced. I wish the very worst for him and take no part in condoning any of his actions outside of his roles as an entertainer, a song and dance and paint man. But I did think he was talented - sure. Absolutely. And that doesn't change.

Just as I'll always like a good Led Zep tune. Even the many they stole from others. 

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