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 Tom Randall

Manifest This – Collapse Board exists to prove nihilistic fucktards like Morrissey wrong

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flipping the bird

by Tom Randall

I’m outing myself as a closet Pitchfork-reader with this (you gotta know your enemy), but it was only on reading this recently posted interview with Morrissey that I felt I could weigh-in on this “manifesto” business.

In the interview, Morrissey says:

“The Internet has obviously wiped music off the human map – killed the record shop, and killed the patience of labels who consider debut sales of 300,000 to not be good enough. People no longer know the top 75 charts, and what they do know of them they don’t trust because chart-placings are so fixed – everyone on the planet mysteriously flies in at number one now. The music press has died because of Internet People Power – everyone is now their own expert critic. As a consequence there are no risks taken with music anymore – no social commentary songs, no individualism. This is because everyone is deemed instantly replaceable.”

So, if Morrissey were posed the question “whatever happened to the music press”, he would reply with an Anti-Communist Manifesto: the art of music criticism has withered because masses have assumed the means of the dissemination of opinion.

I’ve read the paragraph reproduced above over and over. Essays would have been written about this. McLuhan and Baudrillard might be footnoted. I’m still not sure what he means exactly, but put at its absolute highest I think he is saying that if everyone is a critic then the unique power of criticism is sapped, and therefore there is no concentration of critical clout to lend intellectual support to artistic growth or, conversely, against which the artist may rail violently in the pursuit of new forms.

He may have a point. The interaction, sometimes face-to-face, between critic and artist has been a historical fact that has shaped the music made for much of the modern era.

But if the obliteration of the distinction between (typically self-appointed) ‘experts’ and punters means that music withers from human society, then screw it, you know? It wasn’t worth having in the first place.

Just as almost every first- or second-generation punk has said that their revolution was that anyone could make that vibrant music provided their heart was in it, your participation in the conversation about music occurring on this and other websites is your birthright. And yeah, not every kid who refuses to take guitar lessons or practice makes music worth listening to; so does it go that not everyone who thinks their opinion is valid, however deliberately ill-informed, is worth listening to. There is a frightening lot of noise. But against the maelstrom, we do what is in our nature: we hold fast to what we cherish, because it is the only thing that imposes form onto madness, lends texture to the cold and seamless veneer – that allows us to breathe. And we defend it.

Besides, internet cultures preserve the appreciation of the underground, the marginalised, the niche. Communities of followers and fans are now able to locate one another with almost laughable convenience. What do you think made ‘indie rock’ such a big bastard of an industry in the new millennium, anyway?

You might think that Collapse Board is a vehicle for self-appointed experts. Don’t. We don’t know shit, other than how to be true to our most passion-laden of inclinations. That’s all that this website provides: an example of a life lived in music; an examined life, where values and tastes are tested and debated, but one where such abstractions inevitably submit to lust.

So, Morrisey. Collapse Board exists to prove nihilistic fucktards like you wrong. Because what happened to the music press is that it forgot to give a shit. The democratisation of music criticism gives a voice to fandom, which, if you give it passion, will give all the support your art needs.

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