“Hi, I’m Roberta from Spotify, you wankers”

If you’re American, this post won’t make much sense, because like with the UK and Hulu, and China with pictures of boobs and communist oppression, you’re not allowed to sample the delights of Spotify.

Ah Roberta, lovely Roberta. In the early days of Spotify, before they had a bunch of irritating ads about suits and shit Mika songs to stick between songs, that chirpy, lilting, slightly posh voice was the only thing to break up the rock. And my God, how hard we all fell.

Even though she was essentially selling something, and while we knew in our broken heart of hearts that they’d cynically chosen her over the gruff sounding men of the Spotify office specifically to appeal to damaged wretches like ourselves, she just seemed to happy to see us, as though she waited impatiently during the songs, eager for the opportunity to pop up to say hello to that guy with the really sexy playlist and great taste.

It didn’t take long for nerds everywhere to become obsessed. Here on the internet, everything burns so fast – too fast. For one thing, the internet has killed satire, barring that brief 24 hour window where every possible take, joke, cut-up or animated gif gets gunked across messageboards and social networking sites, EVERYTHING notable that happens gets parodied to the point of utter tedium almost immediately. Witness this week’s billion memes of Kanye West interrupting everything from Presidential speeches to my mid-morning wank. “IMMA LET YOU FINISH, BUT LAST WEEK I SAT ON MY HAND…”

Anyway, we all felt like David Niven in A Matter of Life and Death, listening to streams of Radiohead and Devin Townsend while picturing ourselves minutes from death in a burning WW2 bomber, with only lovely Roberta’s lovely voice floating across the airwaves to gently accompany us screaming into the afterlife. It suddenly became clear why socially inept, pre-cum drenched men become fixated with weathergirls and female newsreaders. When they’re looking down the lens, they’re addressing you, and you alone, their loving hellos and goodbyes aren’t for the nation, they’re for meeeeee. “Please join me tomorrow.” I will, my darling, I’ll cancel all my appointments just to be here! They might as well be reaching through the screen and giving you your first ever peck on the cheek. Someday, Millard, someday.

But even though Roberta was just a voice, this wasn’t a Cadbury’s Bunny/Miriyam Margolyes situation either. A quick Google proves that she’s just as pretty as you think she’d be. Sigh.

But one day, like Kyzer Soze, or my parents “popping out for booze, brb” she was gone, seemingly never to return, and replaced by the likes of Zeer, Zane “fucking” Lowe, and phonecalls from comedy Irishmen who “just want to get me dancin’ shoes on!” As one, we wept, and tried to forget, lest the pain become too great, and we try to hang ourselves with the earphones from an iPod, or throw ourselves off the top of Rhianna’s forehead.

Then, last night, completely out of the blue, she returned. Sing Hosanna! Sadly, the excitement was short lived. While this was Roberta, it’s clear that something had changed. She sounded so…jaded, so unchirpy. She’d probably spent the last few months in exile, tired of all the creepy attention, and of having her name bandied about by the sort of men who’ve got every episode of Buffy on DVD and VHS. That happy innocence had gone, replaced (quite rightly) by a world weary disgust for the listeners who objectified someone who was just trying to promote a streaming music service. Like that bit in the risible Butterfly Effect where Ashton Kutcher goes back in time to see Amy Smart living in a crack-dive, covered in scars and selling her a feel of her ‘ole for pennies, or a broken-minded Susan Boyle sitting in a rusty old shopping trolley on the side of the motorway in only her bra, making “brum brum” noises and turning an imaginary steering wheel, the price of fame was never clearer. Heavy is the head that wears the crown of Nerd Queen. This is why we – by which I mean lonely nerds – can never have nice things.

Sometimes you meet a guy who tells you all about his female best friend, and how close they are. Then when you meet her, he goes in for a hug, and while she does reciprocate, her feet are so far away she’s almost at a right angle, desperate to avoid any crotchal-touching, and she’s got the smile of a hostage in an Al Qaeda video. Roberta’s hugs went cold, and we’re all to blame.

So, Roberta from Spotify, on behalf of all pitiful geeks everywhere, I’d like to say two things.

Firstly, I’m sorry. We put you on a pedestal, it was very wrong. I can’t say we’ll never do it again, but I for one will try not to be such an implusive, desperately obsessive and creepy tosser.


~ by Stuart on September 16, 2009.

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