Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Does Norman Lebrecht exist?

Daniel Wolf links to a prime cut of Norman Lebrecht, full of the factual accuracy that afficionados of Stormin' Norman have come to expect. Daniel expresses surprise that Norm, a professional newspaper columnist, could display such a level of ignorance about a major figure in a field about which he professes to be expert, and, the general disregard hacks have in this country for the truth aside, he's got a point. After all, if that were the case, then given Lebrecht's dismissals of bloggers as a bunch of amateurs who don't get their facts right, that would make him a big fat hypocite, and surely he can't be that? So it goes that as I read the hairy blusterer's attack on Stockhausen with the bluntest of hatchets, the thought occurs to me: Maybe Norman Lebrecht dosn't really exist.

Think about it: there have been cases before of spoof columnists who paraded a ludicrous series of columns before the public, who nevertheless took it seriously; Chris Morris's suicide journalist in the Observer springs to mind. If you were to create a satirical character, a music journalist filled with utter pomposity and egomania, entirely convinced of his own correctness despite his inability to do basic research properly, who assumes a stance of integrity and moral probity even as he trawls through the gutter looking for his next scurrilous bit of gossip, what would you come up with?

So, let others deride his ignorance and self-importance. I say, praise him! Praise the nameless shadow who has created one of the greatest caricatures of our age! Laudibus regina Jocasta in pestilentibus Thebis!

(It is of course possible, though highly unlikely I think, that I'm wrong, and Norm is a real person. If anyone can show me satisfactory evidence that Lebrecht does exist, and is not a fictional entity, I shall buy them a pint, or equivalent drink of their choice. Bet you can't.)

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