Friday, 09 October 2015


The “Cage Against The Machine” Facebook campaign to prevent the “X Factor” winner being the Christmas number one ultimately failed in its objective, but did it achieve anything else?


I’ll admit that when I first came across a link to the “Cage Against The Machine” Facebook group I had no knowledge of John Cage’s 4’33”. My sole reason for joining the campaign was to stop the eventual winner of a TV talent show having the Christmas number one single. When I read that the song being promoted to do this was 4 minutes and 33 seconds of nothing I thought it was a mildly amusing joke. When I discovered via Wikipedia the concept for this piece of work I thought it was nothing but pretentious drivel. Initially I considered its artistic merit to be equal that of the pile of bricks once displayed in the Tate gallery in London. However, the more I thought about it the more I could see some relevance in today’s world.

We seem intent on filling our world with sounds with people welded to their mobile phones and iPods. It’s a world in which people are constantly engaged in often inane communication for fear of solitude and silence. That’s where I found the relevance of 4’33”. My ideal escape would be to sit on a Lake District fell top admiring the scenery and listening to nature’s own composition, but as a compromise a daily dose of 4’33” will do.

I realise that there was no need to buy the recording to do this, but the original purpose behind joining the campaign remained and was added to when it was decided that all the profits would go to charity. In the end number 21 in the Official UK Top Forty Singles chart for 4minutes and 33 seconds of silence is quite a remarkable achievement.

By Aidan Silcocks
Published: December 20, 2010


Have your say

Jonathan, It was six eyars ago! please stop sending me things.

Posted by Ruth on 22 December 2010 at 11:46

thanks for the inspiration.. i am downloading this 'song' for my girlfriend ruth for christmas. i hope alot of other people do to.

Posted by herman on 22 December 2010 at 10:45

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