Does TMF stand for "there's more frikandel"?

22nd July 2003, Comments 0 comments

Our writer casts a jaded eye on the music channel TMF. What can it tell us about Dutch pop culture?

The Music Factory is our default channel.

We face a video wall all day, watching graphics that represent our telecom network. TMF breaks up an otherwise static view with its disposable images and catchy tunes. If the network's doing OK, nobody's calling us with problems and we're tired of surfing, we can actually watch the videos.

As music channels go, TMF beats MTV or MTV Germany. TMF has (barely) more variety and it censors the least, according to what I call the Robbie Williams Index of Censorship.

TMF runs Rock DJ in its entirety, fuzzing out only frontal nudity (as in the Wu-Tang Clan's Gravel Pit). German MTV won't show Robbie stripping off his skin or tossing chunks of his flesh to the circling roller disco babes, but you get to see his bloody dancing skeleton at the end. And in Prague, the video ends when Robbie drops his shorts. After Communism, the general prudishness of Eastern Europe remains.

But the Netherlands isn't entirely liberated. The female video presenters are girlish, coming off as your best friend at a slumber party. Their news-bites are the usual "insider" fluff. Their look must reflect the general prevalence of girly-girl fashion here; Anglo-American audiences would find it insulting.

How much longer for the Bob Welch-style, Quaalude-pastel, tinted sunglasses-wearing 70s look (Rock DJ again, and also ATC's All Around the World just to name a few)? It's just cheesy. Or artificially feminine. Or something. Or maybe it's just ATC: their faces are too obviously sculpted and they've got way too many teeth.

On the bright side, Kosheen are interesting and that Frisian Eminem parody was clever.

Anyway, spring is coming soon, and the Venga Boys can't be far behind.

Meanwhile on CNN, Cold War II is starting and nobody with any sense is eating beef. We change the channel back. The last 12 videos sucked, but maybe the next one will be good.

Jack Black

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