Edit - This post wasn't intended to be critical of anyone other than justice. Apologies if i trod on any toes.
We need a shake up of attitudes in the UK.
There's an interesting report by the Guardian's Caroline Sullivan today, regarding the future of live music in the UK. Its obvious that no-one buys ceedees anymore and we've seen the ramifications of that shift already, from the rise of downloading to the mass sacking of PR people and the close / reinvention of EMI and others.
As someone who makes their living working loosely in the "live entertainment" industry and is well aware that he'll probably never make a penny from records, (unless its cd-rs or something similarly homemade) I've noticed some worry and dismay from lots of people involved over the last few months as to the future of live shows as well. Promoters, who would normally easily fill a venue seem nervous and shakey, ambitious first timers are cagey and suspicious and the booking faces of *respectable UK independent music magazines* think that their cache is enough that they can not pay the bands they book and hassle the booking agents into accepting shitty deals.
As with my reaction to the current economic crisis, (pretty similar to that of Imomus recently), I feel that musicians and other creatives with no visible credit history will probably continue to exist below this problem, not quite feeling the same pinch as Kings of Leon, Coldplay or the Pet Shop Boys. But fuck 'em, I don't really give a shit if these people make £15 from each punter at the Brixton Academy, rather than £25 at Wembley Arena and I suspect they don't either. The mechanisms that feed of them certainly will though and perhaps, as with the withering of the fat cat labels, this is no bad thing.
I think one of the problems with a situation like this, is due to the nature of touring, bands will travel from town to town, promoters will float between venues in their particular city and the various networks that make shows happen behind the scenes will trade information and details as usual - In short, bad news spreads! Bad attitudes are replicated and its easy for people to become jaded and bitter.
I watched the recent documentary, by So-Me and Justice, entitled 'A Cross the Universe' and was saddened by the stupid, mercenary and ignorant attitudes displayed by the band, their entourage and their fans. I know that there is always a fair bit of myth - making in these vehicles and so some elements will have been 'pantomimed' somewhat but it left me with absolutely no sympathy towards the characters. They came across as rude, violent idiots, who have no respect for anyone and hugely inflated rock- star egos. I just don't get this attitude, I don't appreciate it and certainly don't believe in it. I think its anti- progress and anti - people and its easy to see how it can extend to the dour attitude currently present in the music industry.
There's a good example of the the antithesis of these attitudes, in a recent NME interview with Glasgow favourites, Dananananaykroyd. When posed the 'standard london interviewer' question of "isn't it always miserable in scotland, isn't everyone a miserable bastard?", Paul Carlin says:
"I don't think standing on a stage telling stories about how shit your life gets is exciting anymore."
Paul is right and his band back him up with walls of cuddles and definately posi-rock, which is fun, inclusive and exciting - all good things!
The UK diy music scene doesn't need a Barack Obama figure, to rally behind. We need a little bit of positivity. We need to encourage those who work behind the scenes to pass it around and we need to pass it to every person who comes to our shows. We need to be polite to those we work with, to show we appreciate their efforts and try to understand when they come up short, 'cos good news spreads too!