Later today, Pete Doherty, the Kooks, Billy Bragg, Imogen Heap, Orbital and many more will gather in a London studio, collaborating in a bid for this year’s Christmas No 1. But the strangest bit is not the team-up: it’s that they are not recording a single note. The ad hoc supergroup is assembling in support of Cage Against the Machine, a charity campaign to take John Cage’s infamous 4’33" – a composition of pure silence – to the top of the Yuletide charts.
The campaign has been gathering momentum over the past couple of months, winning celebrity endorsements, amused press coverage and around 60,000 Facebook fans. Their inspiration is obvious: last year’s successful push to raise Rage Against the Machine’s Killing In the Name, released in 1992, over X Factor winner Joe McElderry’s The Climb. In 2010, instead of loosing a profanity-laden rap-rock tirade on the British public, Cage Against the Machine organisers want to unfurl the serene sound of silence, taking on whoever wins X Factor next week.