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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

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