Of all the great debates that regularly take place at T100WPOT towers, there’s one in particular that never fails to get the dialectic juices flowing, and the cleaner going home early. It’s the one that’s more partisan than Pele versus Maradona, more bitterly-fought than “Is there really such a thing as an ethnic Kosovan?”, and taken more personally than “You can’t have a proper Ragu without chicken livers.” It is of course “Which subject produces the biggest pricks in British journalism - music or football?” and every round so far has been a dead heat. That is, until we noticed Andy Dawson.
Having worked in both fields, Dawson is the Henry Tudor to our York and Lancaster, uniting the crowns by displaying the remarkable and terrible similarities between the two houses. His work has appeared in the great (Viz), the pretty good (When Saturday Comes), and the fuck-awful (NME.) He seems to have fallen on harder times now, having to publish his own ebooks based on the funny-for-five-minutes Diana In Heaven. I’ve read none of it, but fortunately you can now find him at the worst of all publications, James Brown’s very own holiday-funding, payment-optional Sabotage Times.
As well as the outrageously wrong opinions and one-paced gags, it’s mostly offhand jokes about whatever’s going on with TV at the moment, something which he pretty much claims to have invented (along with the ‘X KLAXON’ tweet. To think it’s Alan Turing we put on stamps.) So if you’re lamenting the fact that formerly harmless and enjoyable televised events like Question Time, Eurovision, and so on have become unwatchable, and make Twitter unusable for the duration, then blame this man.
The other reason he’s interesting is that his working-class credentials appear to check out, which makes him a strange case in British journalism. A man from a sect of society solely defined by being common, in an environment where it’s still seen as exotic. We can, therefore, gain valuable insight into how the working-classes are viewed by the tasks set for the token pleb - printable offensiveness and easy zings about popular culture.
While the chattering classes opt for hit-trolling in the form of outrage-provoking controversy, the sort of thing Brendan O’Neill has developed to utter perfection, Dawson provides the alternative - beneath the I’m-so-un-PC schtick are the safest opinions known to man, complete with warm nostalgia, mass delusions, and the inability to see the irony in livetweeting Sounds of the 70s. That’s ultimately the reason he’s so popular: despite only having just turned 40 today - Happy Birthday, Andy - he manages to create a sort of nostalgic bubble in which his similarly-aged chums can comfortably exist. It’s incredible to think, but there are still people out there who believe that the Labour Party, the NME, and rock music ever used to be worthwhile, rather than just stopped pretending. And they all follow Andy Dawson.
More than anything though, it’s that chummy, hand-on-the-back, “telling-it-like-it-is” vibe which really makes it abominable. There’s one in every pub. Immigrants resident in England will know him as the sort of figure that first made you realise that you don’t just hate middle-class people, or southerners, but actually the English as a whole. At least it’s a breakthrough worth making.
“*switches on The Wright Stuff, sees Lembit Opik, switches off again*”
“You know who’d be able to get John Terry acquitted don’t you? Prince. Prince is the greatest.”
“I can’t believe we’ve finally got a Team GB football team. I’m so excited. *deadpan face*”