Following some negative feedback about one of my recent blog posts, I'd like to share a few thoughts about writing about music. I feel passionately about this, since the vast majority of musicians work tirelessly and yet are still barely able to survive financially, such is the low value our economic system places on the arts. For this reason, I try in my own modest way to help to publicise their work via social media so that others may share in the pleasure of my discoveries. This is fraught with potential for misunderstanding, since musicians, and those who love music, are often by their nature highly sensitive souls.
For me, music is a mere hobby, albeit one which provides me with more joy than anything else in my life. I therefore share my musings and photographs for free. I've never accepted complementary tickets or asked for photo passes: I'm always a paying member of the audience and if I'm at the front, it's because I queued for a long time. When I speak positively of an artist, it's purely because I have enjoyed them. I attend gigs alone; whereas others might discuss the evening with their partner, I share my thoughts here instead. Sometimes happily my post starts a conversation in the virtual world.
The flip side of this independence is the amateur nature of this blog. I didn't grow up with popular music: three years ago, The Beatles were more or less the only band whose name I was familiar with. Shortly thereafter, a kind American made me listen to Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros on a train journey from The Arctic, and my horizons exploded. So, I've never claimed to write as an expert and have at times even made a virtue of this, such as the piece I wrote on spending a day listening to Nine Inch Nails for the first time.
The artist who prompted this post has released 14 albums; I discovered her this summer, and have listened to only her most recent two, a fact I should in retrospect have made clear in my review. Despite suffering from a heavy cold when I saw her, she is an exceptionally talented live performer. However, reaction to music is by its nature highly subjective, and I craved a more adventurous, less 'adult contemporary' style. It's clear she has a devoted following, and I regret it if my remarks appeared condescending.
Fortunately, there are subjects on which I am better informed than popular music; I'm not quite as ignorant in real life as I may appear to readers of this blog. Perhaps I should write about something I'm an expert on; but when I set out I hoped there was a small space in the blogosphere for an alternative perspective. Even if there are other middle aged people who have spent their life devoted to classical music on the front rail with the teenagers at Reading Festival, I doubt they're blogging about it!
I can assure you that even when I'm completely misguided, any views I express here about music are deeply and sincerely held, and not influenced by others or by fashion. Which music moves you is in the realm of the emotional and spiritual. I find it challenging to write about, but I hope others who have experienced its extraordinary power will be able to identify with my desire to support the musicians who make life worth living.