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 Princess Stomper

Another manifesto

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Citizen Smith

by Princess Stomper

None of you give a shit about what I am thinking. Your sole purpose, when reading anything I write, is to judge in terms of how it affects you. Do you think you’ll like this record? Will you learn some interesting trivia from this article? Will this rant articulate something you were thinking but never found the words to say?

Music writers engage in an endless battle with the readers. Yes, the music is embedded in the article, but it’s just too much effort to CLICK on the link, now, isn’t it? You might waste precious seconds of your life, only for the inevitable disappointment when it turns out to be twee and dull.

Yet there’s always that fear, isn’t there? The worry that you might be missing something really special. Something that will ignite in you an inspiration to do something – form a band, write a blog, just buy the album or go to the show – and it’s my job to persuade you to take that chance. Go on, waste a few seconds! You were only going to be spending them looking at cat videos, anyway.

I got into a very silly argument with an editor once because I used the word “gorgeous” to describe an artist. It was unprofessional. I am not ‘professional’; I am an evangelist. I have the zeal of a missionary when I describe the music that I love because it is Too Damn Important to be ignored. Click on the link or lose your soul, sucker!

Silence might be sexy, but music is gorgeous. It’s vital and sensual and distracting and something to fall in love with. When someone is on a stage, baring their soul and occasionally thrusting their hips, are you going to respond to that with dry and flaccid prose?

Music is not boring, so framing that embedded link in tedious academic discourse is a fucking insult to that music. You know how you felt watching Almost Famous, and how contagious Patrick’s enthusiasm was? How his sheer unfettered joy when hearing those songs made you want to punch the air and dance around the living room? That’s what it’s about. I want to infect you all with an epidemic of passion. I want you to feel what I feel, hear what I hear, see what I see. I want you – even if you are a straight man – to tremble with unbridled lust towards that snake-hipped leather-clad rock god for just one second; just as for a fleeting moment I too fell for Ari Up when Everett True wrote about her.

Music deserves nothing less than your ardent passion. If we critics indulge in florid prose it’s because the music we hear makes us want to write fucking poetry about it. It’s too important to relegate to micro-points-out-of-10. It’s too important to coast along on regurgitated press releases. It’s too important to take a back seat to the writer’s ego. It’s too important to get caught up in editorial politics or pressure from advertising staff.

This is music. It deserves nothing less than our sincerest efforts to get you to click on that bloody link – because that link is just too important for you to miss.

8 Responses to Another manifesto

  1. Princess Stomper June 21, 2011 at 11:25 pm

    I should clarify, in case said put-upon editor ever reads this, that I wasn’t really ranting against him – nor do I think he lacks passion. By contrast, all digs against Pitchfork were entirely intentional.

  2. Joseph Kyle June 22, 2011 at 11:05 am

    I’m a pantheist. And I love your non-manifesto!

  3. hannah golightly June 22, 2011 at 11:50 am

    You had me up until this sentence: “Yet there’s always that fear, isn’t there? The worry that you might be missing something really special.” Not in my case, nope. There is no such fear. One of the things that makes music special to me is the way I discover it. The happen-chance of it all. I believe in the law of attraction (google the book called The Secret for more details. p.s. It’s nothing to do with sex.) I believe that we encounter the things we do for a variety of reasons and all at the right time for us as individuals. I am never afraid of missing out on something special, because if it’s for me then I’ll find it soon enough, through this site, on the radio, on tv, in a magazine, at a friend’s house, in a record shop, on a compilation ;-), at a gig or festival, on the soundtrack of a film… and all at the right moment for me to hear it. Not a minute late or a minute too soon.
    That isolated sentence is the sign-post to hipster-ville isn’t it? Holy fuck! I may not have found this music before it was popular/validated or whatever the criteria. I sometimes think the freshest review is an innocently blind one taken out of context… where the critic doesn’t know all the background knowledge and is free to hear what is actually there.

  4. hannah golightly June 22, 2011 at 11:52 am

    The fear for me is that there isn’t anything truly special out there… and the joy is in discovering that there still is and that it can still change my life for the better.

  5. Princess Stomper June 22, 2011 at 5:18 pm

    I suppose I could be more philosophical about it, but I do get annoyed every time I’m “late to the party” on really good music. It’s not at all about being a hipster – more like the disappointment I felt that I only heard The Slits for the first time the day Ari Up died: “You mean I could have been listening to this all these years?” I could have kicked myself!

    That’s why I click on the Song of the Day links every single day, even though they’re usually shite (sorry, ed!) – because even if I just leave it a few days before checking them out, if they are really good (as they frequently are) then I think, “That’s three days I didn’t get to spend listening to that music,” and then I get cross.

  6. hannah golightly June 23, 2011 at 8:29 am

    I once sang with Ari Up on stage in Liverpool. I have her autograph on my myspace photos “keep singing Hannah, Ari Up”. I guess I’m proud of that. I see what you mean then, I felt like that when I found out Warpaint had been playing for six years. I didn’t like the way people were talking about Cults as if they were over BEFORE they had released their first record. That is pure hipster idiotic madness- they’ve been together since last year in feb! I just mean, who cares when you heard it, it’s great THAT you heard it. Some people act as if chronology gives them special rights over music. I think it’s a buzz to discover something new and introduce others to it, but that’s not what’s important- that’s a cheap buzz. I think your approach to ‘missing out’ is unhelpful to you. Three days??? Three days??? That sort of thinking will get you depressed… go with the flow (the Tao baby) Either that or you’re an unwritten character from a film like High Fidelity… in which case, carry on.

  7. Princess Stomper June 23, 2011 at 5:40 pm

    Wait, you’re saying High Fidelity wasn’t a documentary? 🙂

  8. Lucy Cage June 23, 2011 at 7:49 pm

    I totally get the missing out thing. I have ‘end of year list’ anxiety. All that amazing music. So much to listen to, so much to love. And so much less time to devote to it than when I was just first getting immersed in music…
    Not to mention all the incredible stuff I have to catch up on! I only just found out about Magazine, fr’instance! Jesus. Where was I? ‘The Light Pours Out of Me’. ‘Shot By Both Sides’. Fuck fuck fuck. It makes me want to shout. And I’m THIRTY YEARS late to the party.

    (Yes, I do know it’s daft.)

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