And Finally Artist News Beef Of The Week

CMU Beef Of The Week #174: Tom Fletcher v Spence

By | Published on Friday 13 September 2013


Last year, as I’m sure you’re all aware, McFly published their autobiography as part of their tenth anniversary celebrations. Foregoing any of our suggestions, they went with the pretty terrible title, ‘Things Unsaid… Our Story’.

I’ve not read it, but the blurb insists that it’s written “with candour and their trademark humour” and it has a five star rating on Amazon. That’s based on 144 five star reviews, eleven four star reviews and one lone single star review. Which are we going to concentrate on for the rest of this column? See if you can guess.

The one star review (award yourself 20 points if you guessed correctly) is written by someone called Spence from Uganda. While Spence has apparently read the whole book, it’s one particular passage that Spence takes issue with, in which the band’s Tom Fletcher describes travelling to Uganda with Comic Relief.

“On page 138”, writes Spence, “Tom stated that he visited a clinic and ‘It was the only place in Uganda where you could receive treatment for malaria and HIV’. This is totally wrong and misleading to the people who intend to buy the book. Having lived in Uganda for a greater part of my life, there are lots of clinics that treat malaria and offer medication for HIV. It appears Tom did not do his research before he published this verbal diarrhoea. I am sorry, but this shows Tom’s dim level of intelligence”.

Adding that the general impression given of Uganda and its people was not to his taste, Spence continues: “I was kind of enjoying the book, but the lies [written] about Uganda make one wonder if there is any truth in what is written in the entire [book]”.

Now, there is an interesting debate to be had here about how Comic Relief, and other charities, represent the countries they raise money for. But, as we’ve learned recently, the core fanbase of a pop group are probably not the people to have any sort of debate with. Especially if they’re going to start by saying things like “dim level of intelligence” and “lies”. But it’s not the 112 people who voted Spence’s review ‘unhelpful’ we’re going to look at next, because Fletcher himself wrote a reply to the review with candour and his trademark humour.

He wrote: “Dear Spence, I am sorry you feel this way about what I said. I meant no disrespect and was only giving my truthful and honest account and opinion on my experience of when I visited Uganda with the charity Comic Relief. This was back in 2005 and at the time people would travel from miles around to visit this clinic as it was where they could be treated for various illnesses and diseases with the funding from Comic Relief”.

Going on to refute at length the claims made against him, particularly that he had lied about the situation in Uganda – he points out that he realises that not everyone in the country lives in devastating poverty, but plenty still do – he concluded: “Anyway, thanks for your ridiculously offensive comment. I can’t imagine that in your lifetime you will raise half the amount of money or awareness for people less fortunate than you as my band has been able to. So if you get the time, go and visit the people of that small village on the outskirts of Kampala and send them our love”.

Which comes across a little unnecessarily boastful, don’t you think? Just a little bit. I mean, boasting about charity work isn’t very becoming. Still, perhaps next time Spence slags off a popstar’s book, he could get sponsored first.