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 Everett True

award ceremonies, pt 2

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[Ed’s note: this was originally written as a response to a very long comment from a fellow calling himself Cracker Jack on the “It’s just another shitty music award. Who gives a crap?” thread. It was a well-argued, reasoned and mostly sober response. I suggest you read it first. And then read on…]

… and what about the folk who don’t play music that fits within QMusic’s and the QSong Awards’ aesthetic, Cracker Jack? Should they try and tailor their sound to fit in and thus win awards and grants and such, or just give up and move to Melbourne or London?

I always figured that there were only two types of bands when it came down to it: those who do it cos they love making music and those that do it cos they want to make a career out of it (the two categories aren’t mutually exclusive by any means). But living in Brisbane has proved me wrong. There’s a third category. The ones that are very adept at filling in the grant and funding and award applications and then tailoring their sound to fit. It’s just plain weird – and surely missing a fundamental point somewhere down the line?

On the whole, I don’t care about alleged conflicts of interest. I think that stuff is mostly unavoidable in a small town. But I do think that if Arts or Trade or Tourism QLD are thinking they’re getting a chance to push Brisbane as a viable (national and international) City of Culture in return for all the money they’re pumping into the music industry up here then, in the main, they’re deluding themselves. Folk promote the bands they know shepherded by other folk they know. That’s only natural. And I agree with you that QMusic has done a great job in centralising and promoting music for a certain sector of the music community. (Jeez Louise! They’re indirectly responsible for me living here!) But you sure as fuck ain’t going to get cultural change that way, when everyone’s too scared to speak out for fear of offending someone else, and when the money continues to be circulated around the same bunch of people.

The most telling quote from the recent Big Sound convention was its curator Graham Ashton talking on Mess And Noise about how inspired he’d been by the Azerrad book Our Band Could Be Your Life. So inspired that he decided to dedicate his life to music. I believe him. And that’s great. But then you look at the bands that Big Sound had play at their showcases and BARELY ANY OF THEM HAS THE SLIGHTEST RELATION TO ANY OF THE BANDS FEATURED IN AZERRAD’S BOOK. Barely any of them would have been worthy of even a second glance by Azerrad or myself or our colleagues, back then or today. Doesn’t anyone see the irony in this?

Of course, this is only my opinion. But I would humbly suggest I do have a certain form, and experience, in this.

P.S. The mention of folk who buy records in their hundreds of thousands was a direct reference to Silverchair. Indeed, as it was in the same paragraph that I was talking about Silverchair I’m not quite sure how it could have been construed as anything else. I am happy, of course, to be relieved of the notion that Silverchair actually shift that many units.

3 Responses to award ceremonies, pt 2

  1. Sophie October 6, 2010 at 3:32 pm

    YES. THIS. AGREED.

  2. Cracker Jack October 6, 2010 at 4:16 pm

    Everett – thanks for the kind words. Its a good thing i’m sober and therefore so too the response. Cracker Jack on the wine and typing under the influence is not quite so diplomatic.

    Re your comment and about the folk who don’t play music that fits within QMusic’s and the QSong Awards’ aesthetic, Cracker Jack? Should they try and tailor their sound to fit in and thus win awards and grants and such, or just give up and move to Melbourne or London?

    No of course not – you’re missing the point. No-one is claiming that the Q Song awards are the be all and end all of a Queensland musician’s career aspirations and certainly isn’t a catch all for all genres. Not will it be. The awards themselves are definitely not complete yet nor are they static. They will change but they form a good focus for the sector locally and by that I mean regionally as well. Something I dare say you probably know little about. You are British after all and wouldn’t know what its like to live nearly 2000kms from a capital city.

    Further, you’re assuming that Q Music has a defined aesthetic. Point me to it? I’d be delighted to be enlightened. Who is this ‘certain sector’ you refer to? Are they indie rock? are they jazz? are they electronic? are they punk, post rock industrial goth math? who are they? Do musicians of the “offending” genres get turned away at the door if they don’t tick the correct boxes. I think not.

    I wish I had more time right now to complete my tirade but I simply have other things to do like listen to tunes that are aesthetically pleasing to my ears.

    Cracker Jack

  3. Everett True October 6, 2010 at 10:12 pm

    “You are British after all and wouldn’t know what its like to live nearly 2000kms from a capital city.”

    This is a very fair comment, and one I hadn’t particularly considered before. Clearly, this affects things. And I have to admit, anyone who tries to help anyone else – public money or no public money – is always going to be on a hiding to nothing.

    Your error here is in assuming that there’s only one way to conduct business and that furthermore everyone wants to be a part of that way. No. They don’t.

    Listen. I’m a critic. I pride myself on being a critic – and, as such, I appear to differ in one crucial respect from most everyone around me. I am NOT supportive of ‘new’ or ‘local’ music. I AM supportive of ‘good’ music (my definitions), however. And I fucking HATE awards and award ceremonies, across the board, best of intentions or no.

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