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This year's comedy Xmas No. 1 contender: Silent song 4'33"

Bookies bet on another pop-culture bitchslap for Cowell

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A motley crew of musicians backed by a Facebook campaign are plotting to hijack the poor beleaguered Christmas number one with a four-minute recording of silence.

Following last year's triumphant, internet-bolstered, telly-talent-compo-orthodoxy-upending ascendance of the gleefully inappropriate and profanity-sprinkled Killing in the Name by Rage Against The Machine to the once-sacred top spot, a campaign is under way to get a charity recording of avant garde composer John Cage's 4'33" to the lofty position for 25 December. The track famously consists of four minutes and 33 seconds of unfettered silence.

As in 2009, when the disaffected sought to thwart the now drearily predictable hogging of the Christmas number one by the latest X Factor winner, Facebook has been the home of the effort. More than 55,000 have merrily clicked 'like' on the Cage Against The Machine page (do you see?).

An outstandingly eclectic shower of artists - including veteran protest singer Billy Bragg, techno heroes Orbital, [insert narcotics reference] Pete Doherty, [insert never-heard-of-them huff of Reg reader bewilderment] Enter Shikari and Does It Offend You, Yeah?* - will gather at Dean Street Studios in Soho, London, on 6 December to make the historic nothing-recording**.

The single will be released in digital format on 13 December on the Wall of Sound label. Ladbrokes is currently offering odds of 8-1 that it will romp home, irritating some, bemusing others and entertaining all given to such subversive ironic japery.

Proceeds from the sale of the track will go to five charities: The British Tinnitus Association, the Campaign Against Living Miserably (the only charity to focus on young male suicide), Nordoff Robbins Music Therapy, Youth Music and Sound And Music. ®

Bootnote

*The band took their unusual name from the splutterings of David Brent in The Office, which factoid may make some of you feel slightly less adrift in a confusing and noisy culture which seems mysteriously geared to people much younger than you. You're welcome.

**The meditative masterpiece isn't actually 100% silent, as this performance (complete with unusually witty YouTube comments) shows if you listen very carefully.

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