Warning: count(): Parameter must be an array or an object that implements Countable in /homepages/7/d309872558/htdocs/wp-content/plugins/meta-ographr/index.php on line 572
Quantcast
 Tom Randall

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

Decrease Font Size Increase Font Size Text Size Print This Page

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.

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

  1. Princess Stomper July 4, 2011 at 5:16 pm

    I don’t think Morrissey is a fucktard for saying those things – he’s actually *right* as far as I’m concerned, but you’re also right in that it *shouldn’t* make a difference to the things/people really worth hearing.

    To me, it doesn’t really seem new at all (other than the speed and convenience). Back in the 70s/80s/90s you could press your own records and publish your own fanzine, and only a handful of those were any good. The difference now is that even though there *are* quality music publications (and – of course – labels and artists), the sheer noise out there makes it almost impossible to find it. It’s like how when you get cable TV with 300 channels you end up missing all the good shows because you were too busy channel-surfing to see what was on. (And have you ever tried to read a TV guide for 300 channels? You need a lot of free time to read that much information.)

    I think Jeremy Paxman summed it up in his awesome lecture on television journalism when he said, “The blogosphere is a place where everyone can scream and no-one needs to listen.” Though he was talking about television, a lot of the points have a wider application: “The truth is this: the more television there is, the less any of it matters … Ubiquity is the mother of indifference.”

  2. hannah golightly July 5, 2011 at 10:41 pm

    I think that Morrissey is saying that without music press as the gate keepers to new music, people listen to stuff themselves and then if they don’t like it straight away, they dismiss it. This breeds a whole load of uniformed shit that people like because it’s familiar and tried and tested. This is all well and good, but it does mean that bands have to impress instantly or not at all. In the past you’d read about something, the writer would peak your interest about it and most likely if it was any good, it would be near-impossible to track down on record, creating a real desire to hear it and then once you did, it may form a part of your being if it met with expectations. Music today by comparison is like an easy lay. It’s also tamed by conformity. Commodity rules. The internet creates a huge divide- either things are underground or they are overexposed… the middle ground between the two seems to have been lost to some extent. Record labels can no longer create intrigue the way they used to. This is good in some ways and a loss in others. Add to that the trend for back-catalogue listening en mass and it’s hard to see how any original band can have the success of a band like Nirvana in this landscape.

  3. Everett True July 6, 2011 at 7:59 am

    think that Morrissey is saying that without music press as the gate keepers to new music, people listen to stuff themselves and then if they don’t like it straight away, they dismiss it. This breeds a whole load of uniformed shit that people like because it’s familiar and tried and tested. This is all well and good, but it does mean that bands have to impress instantly or not at all.

    This. Although Morrissey is presumably referring to the music press he grew up reading (and writing letters to) … the UK inkies of the late 70s

  4. hannah golightly July 6, 2011 at 11:19 am

    …and there I was thinking he was referring to the Melody Maker 😉

  5. Julian July 6, 2011 at 8:12 pm

    If Morrissey was still writing songs as good as those he wrote for The Smiths, record labels would be breaking his door down to sign him. These days he tends to write mediocre piffle with nothing like his earlier wit or verve. Rock stars do grow old and useless. The internet has nothing to do with it.

  6. hannah golightly July 7, 2011 at 12:25 am

    @Julian, I haven’t heard much of his recent music to comment, but I did hear that despite having legions of devoted fans waiting to rush out and buy anything he records, he’s that much of a dick to be around and work with that ‘no one in the music industry will work with him’. That’s the story I heard.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.