Thursday, 3 January 2008


So in my time blogging, there have been some odd moments.
There was the right wing racist who found my blog post about the time the BNP tried to friend me on MySpace and insulted me, but never replied to my reply.
There was the record company who found my blog when I said I really liked one of their albums and told me they were happy about me saying so.
There was the woman who left some unbelievable comments on a friend of mines blog - essentially death threats - who it turned out was also looking at my blog because she had Google'd their name, and my blog had come up.
But my personal favourite has to be the Great Eskimo Hoax incident.

For those of you who don't know, I wrote a review of a gig they played a while back on this very blog. I slated them, coz I really didn't like them. Anyway, they found and read this review and decided to find my MySpace page and send me a quite insulting message. (This isn't as bizarre as it seems. There is a photo of me on this blog, and it turns out we had met before, when we sang on the forthcoming Youthmovies album.)

Now, I'd always kind of just written this off as GEH being slightly pathetic. If you can't handle criticism then you shouldn't be making music and putting it out there in the public domain. I told this story to friends and would always paint them in a very bad light. Me, the little man who essentially just writes this shitty little blog that only a few of his friends ever actually read, versus a band who lots of people like and whose egos are so out of control they can't handle one person not liking them.

But then I was talking to someone I from another band (I won't name-drop, there's no point), and this came up, and they made me think differently about it all. They pointed out that in the same way that they put something out into the public domain that is open to interpretation and criticism, that criticism itself is in the same public domain and therefore should be open to the same thing, and he's right. By publishing or posting something, it is essentially a form of literature and should therefore be though of as any other creative work would be, and should be open to the same backlashes and praises as any other form of "Art".

Any doubters to what I'm saying should look no further than Charlie Brooker. Here is a man who is taking the art of criticism and making a career out of turning it into comedy, thru his columns and his "Screen Wipe" tv series. His observations are hilarious and thought provoking, but he is essentially a critic. People talk about him and discuss him as they would any other comedian though, and what this proves is that my mate was right. Criticism is something that is created and put out into the public, therefore should be open to the same treatment as any song, book, album, film, tv show, piece of art, etc etc.

This mate also told me about some of the more personal attacks on him that have been made by critics. This made me understand GEH's reaction. I don't think I was particularly personal, but I was pretty insulting, so I understand it now, hearing it from the other side.

So what's the point of this post? I'm not going to be changing the way I do things necessarily, but I will certainly understand if I face another backlash. If I am critical, why shouldn't I be criticised back?

I saw Great Eskimo Hoax recently, supporting Jonquil at the Cellar. I was probably a little harsh on them before. I still found them derivative and boring, but they are solid polished performers, I will give them that.
They split people down the middle from what I can tell. (Not literally, that would be revolting.) Half the people I spoke to about them didn't like them at all, the other half thought they were fantastic.
There seems to be a trend though. The people who liked them are all in bands. The people who didn't, aren't. What, if anything, you can read into this, I'm not sure, but I find it interesting.

Jonquil though, I think everyone would agree were fantastic.


Blake said...

Yeah, but they insulted you, rather than criticize what you said about them. Sounds like they need to grow some fucking balls! We've had shit reviews, but what's the point in hounding the critic?

Anyway, I thought they sucked, and I do a band. Deal with it boys! Mint Love.

The Purple Gooroo said...

Your mate is probably correct, in some sense. However, I also think that playing music live does open the performers up to far more criticism than one lone blogger talking into the aether.

The only blogs that seem to get more than a few readers are the political ones, because domesticated primates love to take sides and bash each other over 'territory' like politics and religion. Bands, as you point out, can have audiences of a few hundred people at a gig (or at least over three or four)--and all of those people have the faculty of critiquing the performance.

It does seem to be petty, tracking down one person who didn't like your music and slagging them off. Imagine if Elton John did that? He wouldn't have any more time to make crappy albums. On second thought...maybe he should try that...