Mudcat Café message #2743063 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #123141   Message #2743063
Posted By: seligmanson
10-Oct-09 - 04:48 PM
Thread Name: music critics,do we need them?
Subject: RE: music critics,do we need them?
Let's be clear. Of course you're entitled to your opinions about any performer; and if you don't like them,you're perfectly entitled to say so. But you seem to be under the impression that by passing a judgment on a performer which the performer doesn't recognise, that performer will inevitably react badly. Firstly, we are not the wilting flowers you accuse us of being, and it's that accusation I resent, and misses my point, which I will return to again; and secondly, yes, I'll admit,my language was intemperate: but that's unfortunately how I respond to people who speak to me in intemperate terms, and your own language has not been exactly calm and collected: your good opinion of Good Soldier Schweik has not made itelf evident in someofyour previous contributions. Now, back to my point, which Crow Sister passes comment on. Again, I like the cut-and-thrust of debate, especially when it is carried out in civilised terms, and I do feel I let myself down, not in what I said, but in mimicing what I was responding to. So, to give you an answer. Yes, people can be and are very supportive of each other as a rule, otherwise a vast number of open sessions couldn't take place. In those sessions, a large number of people get the greatest satisfaction from expressing their own talents, be they great or small, with a freedom they find nowhere else. That to me is far more important than whether or not they're any good, and I believe I share that understanding with most. But neither they, nor the people who organise these events, are my target, as I thought I had made plain, but clearly didn't. My targets are the few who are jealous of success if it is not their own: the club organisers who resent other people setting up clubs in their areas, the performers who compete with other performers for the purpose of building up their personal repuations, and the gossips who love to attack any-one who doesn't meet their own high standards, whether or not they meet those standards themselves. Now there aren't many of them, but they're out there, and over the years they have wielded a significant degree of power. I have the greatest respect for the many honest people who go about theur business with integrity and respect: and when they have something to say to me about they way I set about things,I will listen with equal respect - and it has happened, so I'm not just blowing bubbles. The problem is with all those people - and there are a significant number - who think of criticism as being some kind of personal attack. It is one thing to perform for the sheer joy of it, in which case criticism is usually inappropriate (though even you must have heard some you would gladly muzzle); but it is another to set yourself up as a would-be professional and wilfully ignore all advice however appropriate it may be (was this your point, Jim C.?). These people lay themselves open to a particular type of criticism, and it seems to me that is this kind of criticism that Spleen Cringe indulges in. I admit, all I know of his work are his contributions to these pages, so I may be mistaken in that; maybe he has through his choice of language misrepresented himself on these pages; but it is a tone I recognise in any number of conversations at clubs and sessions. This is where it gets difficult for professional performers like Dick Miles who welcome even-handed criticism but often don't get it; and why should he not reply in print to printed cricism which he feels misrepresents him? If you give it out, S.C. you have to know how to take it, and I'm not sure you do. I hope that I have now been able to express my point with the correct degree of assertiveness. I dislike personal abuse, and I very much regret having used it:but my point is what it is. Oh, yes, and Crow Sister: I have met insularity, but I am not guilty of it. My tastes are broad, and when I am out for the night, I tend to suspend my critical faculties with every-one except myself. I like the idea that folk-sessions serve for many as a very much more satisfying form of Karaoke. I love it when I see young people (My saints, that phrase ages me) using the clubs and sessions to try stuff out they can't do anywhere else. They have no part in this particular debate, nor should they have. The exposure to all the different forms of music the folk-scene presents them with gives them the lesson they can best learn from. Sadly, I have had to make much the same point on far too many occasions when I hear said young people being criticised for, well, doing things the way young people do them. They deserve all the support we can give them, and sometimes - but only when they ask - that means giving them whatever advice you think most appropriate. That's how criticism should work for them; and if that in any way resembles your experience Sara Crow, then you have my respect.