What’s with the trolling of ‘our’ Ed Sheeran?
Paddy Logue: His music isn’t everybody’s cup of tea but the ire he inspires is over the top
Ed Sheeran ’has done wonders for the reputation of boys with red hair and he’s Irish (sort of). What’s not to like?’ Photograph: Aidan Crawley
What has everybody got against Ed Sheeran, the pint sized, partly Irish, properly red-headed, super-successful singer-songwriter and pop star extraordinaire? Okay, so his music is not everybody’s cup of tea. It’s not particularly my cup of tea. (Aside: I have to admit to having downloaded some of his tunes on Spotify and have been seen humming along. One time, I danced a little. Drink was taken, but it happened.)
Seriously, though, I do get it that despite his obvious musical prowess and infectious personality, his songs are unlikely to get you angry or riled up. Instead, his is the type of music that might cheer you up and your kids may well like it. It is the kind of music that “music people” are not really into, partly, quite frankly, because too many of them are so far up their own rear ends they cannot see that Sheeran is a genuine talent and a nice guy, even if listening to his music won’t earn you high praise from your peers.
If Sheeran was a car he’d be a Skoda Octavia with alloy wheels and a boot spoiler – super good at what it does, with a bit of an edge, but in essence a fairly straightforward family saloon. Now I’d rather a 1970s Mercedes wagon, a BMW M5 or perhaps a Landrover Defender 110 in my garage, but I’m not going to slash the Skoda’s wheels on my way home from the pub. Why would I? Since when is that cool? And since when is it all right to hate the likes of poor little Ed Sheeran, he (almost) of this parish?
Many people took to Twitter and other social networks to express their rage about Sheeran recently. Before we go on, let’s be clear, these are the type of people you would be trying to get away from if you met them in the pub and if you saw them coming down a train carriage, you’d probably pretend to be asleep or reading The Irish Times. However, they are real people and the anti-Ed gang seem to be growing, and growing louder in certain circles, with every new success he sees.
They were out in force over Glastonbury weekend. Sheeran headlined the Pyramid stage on the Sunday night at the festival. But even before he took to the stage, the haters were cranking it up.
One, from Belfast, Tweeted: “Ed Sheeran thinks he’s gonna follow Radiohead, Liam Gallagher, Barry Gibb and Foo Fighters?! Good luck ginger b******s”. Another said watching Ed Sheeran after Biffy Clyro “will be like opening a packet of plain rich tea biscuits when you’ve finished the chocolate hobnobs”.
Another said it was a “toss up between watching Ed Sheeran and buffing my own sphincter with an angle grinder. Not even close. Where’s the plug point?”, while still another said Ed Sheeran closing Glastonbury was the “musical equivalent of coming home from a decent night out to see the dog’s shit everywhere”. A comedian called Ryan Cullen (never heard of him) Tweeted: “I could watch Ed Sheeran perform all day. . . if I were deaf, blind & a massive f*****g twat”. Not that funny Ryan, and definitely not cool, just sort of childish and offensive, to be honest.
Twitter was falling over itself, with one person attempting to outdo the other to come up with the “funniest” one-liner about Ed Sheeran and how totally awful he was.
But, you know what, he’s not totally awful at all. His “rider”, leaked before the Glastonbury gig, gives us some insight into the man. A rider is the list of items a music star can ask to be provided backstage at a gig. Sheeran requested a bottle of Robinsons Squash, some Coke, Sprite and Fanta, and a jar of Manuka Honey. Justin Bieber on the other hand asked for a jacuzzi, a PlayStation, sofas, a washing machine and a massage table. Katy Perry’s rider reportedly asked for freeze-dried strawberries, pitta bread and salsa, with a bottle of Pinot Grigio and one bottle of Sprite. In 2011, her 45-page rider reportedly saw her demand two cream-coloured egg chairs, a fridge with a glass door, ornate French lamps, and someone to wash and cut her fruit and vegetables.
So, ladies and gentlemen of the Ed Sheeran jury, I put it to you that Mr Sheeran is a nice guy of simple tastes who writes his own music and can entertain 80,000 people at one of the most august music festivals on planet Earth. He can do so with the use of only one small acoustic guitar (and a loop pedal). Furthermore, he has done wonders for the reputation of boys with red hair and he’s Irish (sort of). What’s not to like?
This, my friends, is from a life-long lover of The Smiths and other 1990s dirgemasters from whom we derive pleasure listening to songs about, for example, dying with your beloved in a crash with a truck. Whatever you’re into, as they say, and if you’re into Ed Sheeran, I say fair play, enjoy him and I hope you get to see him when he comes to Ireland. Let’s turn off Twitter that night and let the haters hate at each other instead.