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 Everett True

(Two!) classic quotes from the Australian mainstream press – 2: PJ Harvey

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You’d have thought PJ Harvey, of all people, might be beyond all this. You’d be wrong.

The first review is taken from the ABC website. Isn’t there something in the ABC charter that forbids using sexist shit like this?

I, like many of other males have been introduced to PJ Harvey by my partner. And after just two minutes of being at the concert hall, a guy and his wife pick up on our West Country English dulcet tones.

We talk about her music, and how although we as men are not massive fans, we both have great respect for her and her song writing.

After seeing PJ Harvey perform at festivals, I know this lass can hold her own with the boys. For research you only have to look at songs from the Desert sessions where she performs with the likes Mark Lanegan, and Josh Homme.

She manages to cleverly command the listener, demanding respect effortlessly against an ever-growing search of the Devine in pop stardom. Each of PJ Harvey’s albums develops its own unique style, never repeating a successful formula.

At the concert we were told by another fellow English lady usher that there would be no support band, and PJ Harvey would be starting at 8:30 sharp.

That said PJ walks in stage left dressed like an elfin goddess, with feathers in her hair like futuristic pigtails holding an auto harp. Kicking off with the opening track from her mercury awarding winning album ‘Let England Shake’.

And so it goes on. Past sentences that don’t have clauses, and paragraphs that aren’t. Wow. She can “hold her own with the boys”. Incredible.

I have no idea what the phrase, “She manages to cleverly command the listener, demanding respect effortlessly against an ever-growing search of the Devine in pop stardom” means, unless it’s some oblique reference to a former Alison Statton collaborator. I suspect not, though.

My main complaint isn’t with the writer but with the lazy hack editor who allowed this idiotic, sexist piece of crap to go through, unchecked. If it’s simply a listener contribution then perhaps that fact should be made clear because the way it’s presented right now makes it look like it’s been officially commissioned and sanctioned by ABC.

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UPDATE ONE
See comments section below. This review was written by Ian Church, “an audio engineer [who] produces the promos that you hear on ABC Radio in Western Australia”. I really don’t fancy your chances of having your promo played on ABC Radio in Western Australia if you’re a female musician … what do you think?

UPDATE TWO
See also Mess+Noise’s news story: Fans Respond To ‘Sexist’ PJ Harvey Review

UPDATE THREE
ABC Perth have now amended the live review. In a curious piece of editing Ian Church’s name has had the byline Audience Review added to it even though he’s a ABC Perth staffer, and a disclaimer has been added to the end of the review. Sadly, the sexism remains.

UPDATE FOUR (from Mess+Noise)
“An ABC spokesperson has advised M+N that while Ian Church is a member of staff, he attended the gig not as a representative of the organisation, but as a paying audience member. His opinion should be read as such.”

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MORAL: Too many cocks spoil the broth

(continues overleaf)

The second review is taken from The Age website. The Age is, of course, one of Australia’s three leading newspapers. That would be arguably one of Australia’s three leading newspapers, then.

This is what happens when you let interns take over the writing of the music section. I don’t know what’s more depressing here, the standard of the writing or the fact The Age‘s editors clearly have so little regard for arts and culture. Maybe one of them may like to write in and explain why they ran this? Let’s hope their news coverage is of a little higher standard, eh?

PJ HARVEY
Regent Theatre, city, January 15, 16
★★★★★

THE first of two shows for six-time Grammy Award nominee PJ Harvey unfolded in front of a ruffled black curtain, lit with minimal lighting and with the star of the night stunning in a black, dazzling feather headdress and her band – featuring Australian Mick Harvey and long-time collaborator John Parish – to the side.

Clutching her autoharp, the English multi-instrumentalist smiled to the crowd and from then on uttered not a word between songs taken from a catalogue of eight studio albums stretching back to 1992. Her silence between songs, except for rousing applause, only added to the sense of theatre Harvey brings to the stage. Switching to guitar, Polly Jean Harvey displayed enormous ease with an instrument that first brought her to public attention, while the dark, sometimes disturbing lyrical content was almost hidden as she wove a spell with her voice.

From a folk-influenced background and traversing a broad range of genres, the 42-year-old blended with the trio seamlessly, while her use of falsetto heightened the sense of drama.

”You’re very cool,” cried out one voice from the audience. Indeed, PJ Harvey is very cool and this performance was testimony to her enormous creativity and artistic expression.

That’s the entire ‘review’. That final paragraph’s a bit of a corker, isn’t it? Once again, my main problem isn’t with the intern who wrote this ‘review’. It’s with the lazy hack editors who allowed it to run unchecked. Sigh. Here’s what music writing can be like. Fucktards.

Fuck’s sake. How low can Australian music criticism go?

MORAL: Don’t cook a gift horse in its eye

16 Responses to (Two!) classic quotes from the Australian mainstream press – 2: PJ Harvey

  1. bignothings January 18, 2012 at 10:23 am

    “If it’s simply a listener contribution then perhaps that fact should be made clear because the way it’s presented right now makes it look like it’s been officially commissioned and sanctioned by ABC.” –

    “Ian Church is an audio engineer and produces the promos that you hear on ABC Radio in Western Australia.”

    http://www.abc.net.au/perth/picturethis/default.htm?section=about

  2. Cam January 18, 2012 at 10:28 am

    The reviews of Mondo Cane (in The Oz and SMH) are just as bad.

  3. Lucy Cage January 18, 2012 at 10:31 am

    “We talk about her music, and how although we as men are not massive fans, we both have great respect for her and her song writing.
    After seeing PJ Harvey perform at festivals, I know this lass can hold her own with the boys. For research you only have to look at songs from the Desert sessions where she performs with the likes Mark Lanegan, and Josh Homme.”

    Oh. My. God.
    *weeps*
    I really really REALLY wanted this to be a spoof.

  4. Everett True January 18, 2012 at 11:00 am

    Another great Ian Church review.

  5. Ian Rogers January 18, 2012 at 11:03 am

    The ABC piece is mind boggling. I’ll be surprised if it’s still online at the end of the day. I figure you’d have to be 70+ to drop ‘lass’ on a reader and think it’s even remotely within the boundaries of appropriate. But then he drops all the QOTSA knowledge on us as well? And he’s a a radio guy too, you say. The only explanation is that we’re dealing with an elderly stoner. I think anyone who’s worked in community radio outside of a major Australian city has met this guy a dozen times.

    The Age piece is by the by. I can’t remember the last time I read a decent live review in a broadsheet.

  6. Ian Rogers January 18, 2012 at 11:06 am

    From the other Ian Church review: “I know me and my 30-something mates all had a whale of a time. Gary Numan has been keeping it real, and for that I thank him.”

    *HEAD EXPLODES*

  7. some chick January 18, 2012 at 11:07 am

    “The Stranger” “Seattle’s only newspaper” would snap them both up, esp if young & sexy/geeky.

  8. Everett True January 18, 2012 at 11:10 am

    (from Facebook)

    Shan Welham
    On the subject of ABC coverage of female muso’s. Did you see the post-interview commentary re: Megan Washington headlining the first night of the Sydney Festival on ABC24 recently? The male presenter said something along the lines of, “I never really got into, well, I’ve never listened to Megan Washington’s music and I don’t know who she is.” The female presenter agreed, dismissed Megan and then went on to talk a little about Gurrumul as clearly none of them (or apparently their producer) had bothered to read/listen up on the musician they had an interview segment scheduled with. It was appalling.

  9. sherpa January 18, 2012 at 11:25 am

    If you’d bothered to actually check who wrote the Age review, instead of loftily assuming it’s an intern, you would have found that it’s even worse than initially imagiend, because the writer – Martin Boulton – is Deputy Editor of the weekly music and film liftout, EG.

  10. Everett True January 18, 2012 at 11:27 am

    I wasn’t trying to loftily assume anything, Sherpa. I was trying to give them the benefit of the doubt.

  11. Andrew Stafford January 18, 2012 at 12:52 pm

    The PJ Harvey review is appalling for all the above stated reasons, but the Gary Numan review actually had me in stitches laughing. It actually almost could be a spoof, veering into “so bad it’s good” territory with the demented certainty of a bung shopping trolley.

    But like Everett, my real complaint is with the editor, who’s obviously allowed this to happen more than once. Maybe he thought Ian Church was funny too. In that case, the joke’s really on the artists and readers, whom s/he is treating with contempt.

  12. Erika January 18, 2012 at 1:31 pm

    “After seeing PJ Harvey perform at festivals, I know this lass can hold her own with the boys. For research you only have to look at songs from the Desert sessions where she performs with the likes Mark Lanegan, and Josh Homme.”

    Wow.

  13. Paul Elliott January 19, 2012 at 10:15 am

    Much mainstream media doesn’t really take rock music seriously, maybe the Guardian is an exception.

  14. Iain Mullen January 20, 2012 at 2:36 am

    That Gary Numan review was almost beyond parody, but the Polly Harvey was fucked up, thanks Everett for policing the mean streets of lazy hackism. “After all he was on the Mighty Boosh”, priceless!

  15. C. June 11, 2012 at 5:29 pm

    I’ll give Ian credit for his howlers, “Atomic Bass and Beats” is a great band name.

  16. C. June 11, 2012 at 5:30 pm

    I also love “the guitarists engage the distortion pedal”.

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