Blur and Gorillaz frontman Damon Albarn has slammed the UK's celebrity culture, saying it "sends out all the wrong messages".

Albarn told BBC Radio Four that television programmes like Big Brother and The X Factor have created a warped view of fame among the British public and called for an overhaul of national values.

"It's creating a mindset that suggests you can get something for nothing and that it's easy to acquire status and fame," he said while serving as guest editor of the Today programme.

"It should be one of the hardest things to do."

The 39-year-old, acclaimed for his work this year with former Clash bassist Paul Simonon in the Good, the Bad and the Queen, has also worked with African musicians on an album entitled Mali Music.

And he believes the self-sufficiency of African communities has much to teach the UK about waste and want.

"At some point in the very near future we are going to have to change our value system so dramatically, and what we deem as important and what we throw away," he said.

"We need to dismantle very significant parts of our culture and really re-examine them. I suppose you start with the celebrity thing."

He added: "There's just so many things I would alter. I think for a start you have to get rid of things like the X Factor immediately."

Albarn also he wanted to "get rid of 99 per cent of the media".

He was serving as guest editor of the current affairs show during a special week of programmes which has also seen stints from former MI5 head Dame Stella Rimington; Nobel Prize winner Sir Martin Evans; and historian Professor Peter Hennessey.


28/12/2007 10:47:59