Monday, November 12, 2007

on lines in the sand

A while back I scribed for another blog an ultimately unsucessful attempt to convince people that I was right to have a passionate hatred for the mimsy and twee pop group Belle and Sebastian. Arguing against a fan, with our respective arguments put to the public vote, I was roundly (and probably deservedly) defeated.

Still, reading this on Carrie Brownstein's blog, Monitor Mix, I'd like to think that she'd have voted for my argument - I'd certainly vote for hers...

"For myself, the line in the sand is neither of the aforementioned. My deal-breaker is preciousness: when the music is a tiny, baby bird that needs us to be nurturing and respectful, otherwise it can't spread its wings. I like quiet music, folk music, solo artists--it's not a matter of volume or numbers, but it is a matter of art being able to stand on its own two feet. I don't think music needs to be coddled, no matter how delicate or soft it sounds. When a band or singer makes me go "awwww," as I would at the sight of a newborn child, then that is a band that needs a pacifier not an amplifier. Other indicators of preciousness include, but are not limited to: matching old-timey outfits; mumbling, soft-spoken stage banter that trails off and is quickly followed by a cutesy smile, which for some reason garners huge cheers from the audience; being so nervous on stage that someone in the crowd has to yell "you can do it!" or "we love you" (exception made here for child performers); asking people to lie down on the floor for the next song; and any audience sing-along or participation so complicated that it needs to be explained BEFORE the song starts. When I am at an overly precious show, I am often filled with contrarian, immature urges: suddenly banging a gong, stepping on a whoopee cushion, or knocking some vegans together to start a mosh pit. I think what bothers me the most about preciousness is that it takes good form and reduces it to good manners, and turns performance into charade. I have no trouble taking music seriously or considering it special, but I don't need to be instructed about why it is"

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