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Digital Spy, there

Posted 23rd October 2016

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Yeah, yeah, putting the boot into Digital Spy is a fairly pointless thing to do, really. But it’s 3am, I’m bored, and they’ve mildly annoyed me, so what are you going to do?

Over on Ganymede & Titan – the Red Dwarf fan site I contribute to when I’m not sulking because I hate Red Dwarfa quite extraordinary thread has popped up. Short version: there are lyrics to the opening theme, nobody fucking knew about it until now, you can hear them most clearly 14 seconds into this video, we’re all gibbering wrecks because of this, and Darrell is our new lord and saviour.

Long version: read the thread. It’s worth it. Seriously.

I suspected all this might get some interest beyond our little fan community, and sure enough, Digital Spy picked it up. Let’s take a look at what they have to say, shall we?

“You know the theme song to Red Dwarf? Apparently it has lyrics. Yes, we know it actually has lyrics, but it’s just been revealed there’s another, underlying vocal layer that’s only now been unearthed.”

Already, it’s clear the writer hasn’t a bloody clue what they’re on about. What Darrell discovered is lyrics in the opening theme for Series III onwards; it’s the closing theme for all series which “actually has lyrics”.

“According to a forum on ganymede TV, one eagle-eared Red Dwarf fan noticed that in the second half of the song, composer Howard Goodall was using a vocoder to record extra lyrics this whole time.”

“ganymede TV”. Right. I mean, the site name “Ganymede & Titan” is in huge letters in the masthead. I find it incomprehensible that someone wouldn’t get this correct. I entirely fail to understand the thought process that went behind it.

I would also point out that the link to the forum thread actually links to a comment further down the page rather than the initial post, which means you have to scroll up to get the proper details anyway. I have no idea why you would do this, beyond sloppy work… ah.

“Yep, that’s right. Underneath the lyrics, there’s also the theme’s composer Howard Goodall singing the line “Red Dwarf” four times in the second half of the song and no-one’s noticed it until now.”

I mean, y’know, it’s not underneath the lyrics. The main lyrics are part of the end theme. We’re talking about the opening theme here. It can be described to be buried under the rest of the instrumentation, but it sure as hell isn’t buried under any other lyrics. The fact that we didn’t know there were any lyrics in the opening theme until now is kinda the point.

“If you want to listen ­­out for it yourself, it’s in the second half of the song during what Darrell describes as the “triangular key changes”, and he even shared a stripped down, bassline version of the theme which makes it all the more clearer (the distorted “Red Dwarf” lines come in around the 20 second mark):”

Actually, it comes in at the 14 second mark. Which makes me suspect the writer can’t really hear the lines properly at all.

Never mind, Digital Spy. For an example of how this article could have been written, check this out over on Mental Floss, which gets every single thing I mention above correct. (Disclaimer: I know the writer of the piece.) Oh, and is far better written too, into the bargain.

OK, so we’re not at Johann Hari levels here. But the thing is: all the information required was in that G&T thread. It’s the easiest job in the world to write that article and get the basic facts correct. Pick out the information, string it all together, job done. No real research needed at all. You didn’t need to go beyond the thread. And yet somehow they managed to get the name of the source wrong, the version of the theme wrong, and even the timing of the lyrics wrong. And whilst it’s not the most important topic in the world, it is in an area the site is supposed to be good at: entertainment news. (And if you think this doesn’t count as news, just check out the rest of the stuff they report on.)

In conclusion: I continue to dislike Digital Spy.

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