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Last Updated: Thursday, 27 December 2007, 17:26 GMT
Albarn condemns celebrity culture
Damon Albarn
Damon Albarn was speaking as a guest editor of Radio 4's Today
Blur and Gorillaz frontman Damon Albarn has called for celebrity culture to be "dismantled" - starting by getting rid of talent shows like The X Factor.

The current celebrity culture "sends out all the wrong messages", he said.

"It's creating a mindset that suggests you can get something for nothing and that it's easy to acquire status and fame," he told BBC Radio 4.

"It should be one of the hardest things to do," said Albarn, who was speaking as guest editor of the Today programme.

The programme featured the singer reporting from Mali on the African country's attitude towards waste, where everything of value is recycled, reused and remade.

For a start you have to get rid of things like The X Factor immediately
Damon Albarn
"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."

He also said he wanted to "get rid of 99% of the media".

Albarn, 39, was one of the UK's best-known pop stars in the mid-1990s with his band Blur.

Table tennis

More recently, he has been part of virtual pop band Gorillaz, released an album called Mali Music with African musicians and teamed up with The Clash bassist Paul Simonon in The Good, the Bad and the Queen.

On Albarn's edition of Today, he also looked at Great Britain's chances of table tennis success at the Beijing Olympics and featured a London-based Syrian rapper travelling to Damascus to interview Iraqi refugee musicians.

Former MI5 head Dame Stella Rimington has already been guest editor of an edition of Today during a special week of programmes.

Historian Professor Peter Hennessy and Sir Martin Evans - who won the 2007 Nobel Prize in medicine for his work in stem cell research - are due to follow suit.

Albarn meets table tennis champions on Radio 4's Today

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