time once again to rail against the fatbacks. i am thinking about music journalism. not writing it, hell no. writing on the internet is not journalism and here is for why. it’s the money, stoopid.
my target audience is me, and anyone who wants to click over here. when this intent is not oppressed by my desire for fame, adulation, and world domination, it shows in the way i write. i am trying to clearly express my thoughts as some kind of record for some kind of future. i think if i was writing to earn the rent, this intent would show too.
it certainly shows when i pick up nme, and collapse in fits of laughter. the publication whose opinion i once sought to guide the spending of my pocket-money is probably no more leeringly desperate and patronisingly simple than it ever was, but suddenly it’s all so clear. their page 2 article dedicated to bigging up some stones-roses-revivalist-bollocks band was entirely based on the fact that some hair-brained member of said shaggy-haired band had come up with the hilarious new catchphrase “empire”. this so impressed the journalist that he devoted a double page to shamelessly popularising it. by shameless, i mean he used it in every other goddam sentence. i’m sure the journalist knew how pathetic this was, but he probably only found it more hilarious that he was making his living writing nonsense for idiots. of course it doesn’t matter if the fool knows better, he is still a fool. i believe chris morris recently (in geological terms) made a television series devoted to pointing this out. fucking empire.*
the priorities of the author were abundantly clear when i read miranda sawyer’s “sounding off” column in today’s observer music monthly. writing a typical ‘artistic integrity vs. pimpin’ yo ass to adverts’ piece, she surprised me by drawing the same distinction that i do: there’s music to shake your butt to, and there’s music to listen to. not that the two never overlap, just that there is a clear and important distinction to be drawn. now there’s not many things less interesting to me than which advert the blonde strumpet whose name is on the cd cover is currently posing in. she can suck karl rove’s cock on live tv for all i care, she is not the point, the beat is the point. sure, she is in the public eye, and in an ideal world those in the public eye would act as responsible role models for the young minds that are taught to slavishly copy them, but come on. if you can’t work out that it’s probably not in your best interest to act like cheryl tweedy, then you may well be past helping.
it’s the ones you’re meant to listen to who have the capacity to ’sell out’, or ‘compromise their artistic integrity’, or other such pretentious phrases. the principle, however, is extraordinarily simple. if someone is paid to say something, why should you believe anything they say? see bill hicks for an extensive, lucid, and frequently profane** elaboration.
i was getting to the point. the problem is that while miranda clearly saw this distinction, she did not deign to point her doubtlessly razor-sharp powers of analysis at Jack White, the subject of her article whose decision to write a Coke jingle because of the “opportunity to write a song in ways which interest me as a songwriter” was the reason for here “sounding off” in the first place. perhaps she intended to reach a satisfying conclusion, but pressures of space or even time put it out of her reach. or perhaps the omm didn’t get to be the hip and cutting-edge publication that it is by dissing the world’s favourite bass-free garage-blues band. i don’t really want her reasons, i just want to read writing that starts what it finishes. but then again, this month’s wire has been on the shelf since i read the sonic youth cover article.
*the lack of exclamation mark like, totally changes the meaning, dude.
**needless to say, this is not a derogatory term. i fully support profanities when discussing shit.