A Martian landing in London this week would wonder what he had come to. The most intelligent life in the known universe and we offer a royal engagement and X Factor. Blimey.

I was horrified to see that the announcement of Prince William’s engagement to Kate Middleton set the press free not only to have a bit of a joy-fest (something to fill the pages and the screens for a while – it will now run relentlessly for ever…), but also to do its sneery, bitchy stuff, too. Kate’s appearance and dress sense comes under scrutiny; photos of her in a university fashion show get spread all over the tabloids; Kate’s family get the ‘commoner’ treatment – sneery comments and cartoons about their financial prowess, family business and occasional verbal faux-pas. I hate it.

What gives these people the right to take other people’s lives apart in this way? The uniquely English class system? The desire to see the happy couple go the same way as his parents? Anything goes as long as there are photos, stories, talking points and dramas? I want to rejoice for this happy young couple – but, I feel dread for what they and her family will now be subjected to… all because the nosey public has an insatiable capacity for seeing other people’s lives spread across the kitchen table or the train seat. It is a form of dehumanising voyeurism. I hope William and Kate survive it.

Media people, this isn’t a ‘go’ at you – you’ve got a job to do and this offers rich pickings. But, try to remember their humanity during the feeding frenzy. As for me, I’m not going to watch the television for months…

X Factor is bizarre. It has a terrible attractiveness – as does watching Ann Widdecombe dance. Part of me feels sorry for whoever will win the top prize because the campaign is already running to make sure the Christmas Number One is something else. Last year it was Rage Against the Machine. This year the options are being considered and the Twitterati are active in spreading the word.

I’ve got another suggestion.

I’ve posted on blues musician Tim Hain before. He wondered to me in the pub recently how it was possible for a professional musician playing a Bob Marley classic (at an X Factor audition)to be declined after less than half a minute when some acting dogs got through. Good question, I thought. Anyway, Tim has done a song with some excellent musos – you can download ‘Sorry it’s a no’ here. I have no idea how to get this going virally as a potential alternative for the Christmas charts, but it’s worth a go.

Pass it on and say ‘No’ to Cowell’s clones.