A couple of weeks ago, the Radar music blog ran an editorial titled Is friendly fire killing our music scene? in which the author (Billy Hamilton) was curiously affronted by “the same old faces we’re seeing on the same old blogs” and went on to claim that some Scottish bands were being written about favourably not because the writer particularly liked their music, but because of personal friendships.
Unsurprisingly, this accusation did not sit well with a few Scottish bloggers, although the matter of who the intended target(s) was remains open to conjecture given that the author has so far been unwilling to give a single example of perceived favouritism. Indeed, I brought this issue up as a comment on the original article, to which Billy replied “What’s the point?”. The point is, until he does, the argument simply doesn’t carry any weight.
The reason I found the article so counter-productive is that new Scottish artists need all the help they can get – no matter how much talent they have. Take this weekend’s T in the Park festival as an example. If you disregard the T Break Stage (which is confined to local musicians) only 10% of all acts who have been invited to play this year are Scottish. That isn’t a slight on the band bookers, it’s simply a reflection on Scotland’s standing when it comes to producing bands popular enough to attract punters to a large-scale music festival.
However, where I could find common ground with the Radar piece is on the level of camaraderie, togetherness and co-operation that this country’s music scene enjoys, something I discovered first-hand when everyone rallied round to support The Pop Cop’s recent salvage operation. It’s heartening to think that Scottish artists, podcasters, bloggers and gig promoters appreciate and respect each other’s worth and contribution…
…or so I thought.
Two episodes have left me gobsmacked this week.
First, Matthew Young of the universally respected and long-standing Scottish music blog Song, By Toad has had to deal with some “pretty serious legal threats made about having the site shut down” courtesy of PCL, a Glasgow-based gig promotion company who are responsible for putting on the likes of Mika and Scissor Sisters.
PCL took exception to being insulted by a couple of Song, By Toad readers (let’s just say a word that rhymes with “runts” was used) on the comments section of this post when the topic of debate turned to Meursault gigs they were promoting. The comments relating to PCL and Matthew’s response (in which he emphasised that he had no problem with the promoters personally, but just wanted to have a couple of things cleared up since Meursault are on his record label) have since been removed due to the threat of legal action, but needless to say the heavy-handed response – and that’s not even going into the issue of censoring comments – has left a lot of people disgusted and angry.
As if that wasn’t shocking enough, along came this frankly astounding email exchange between a Glasgow-based indie group called Un Cadavre and the organisers of the city’s Pin Up Nights club night. To summarise, Un Cadavre were invited to play at the Flying Duck venue in May. They were told in advance that payment was on a “door split” basis but since there were ZERO people there to see them when they played, Un Cadavre were not paid for their efforts (although they did help themselves to free beer).
Now, the band made it clear they were unhappy at not being paid for playing to no punters but instead of accepting the organiser’s offer to meet face-to-face to discuss it, they thought it would be a much better idea to immaturely doctor a photo of the man who booked them to play and post it on the internet (see above).
However, the Pin Up team took it all in their stride (sample quote: “Perhaps an apology would have been appropriate today given your language, behaviour and unfounded defamatory allegations but that would probably never occur to someone with their head so far up their own arse that they must have difficulty breathing”), and proceeded to obliterate the band’s increasingly desperate, pretentious, arrogant arguments to sawdust in a series of emails which they decided to make public here.
Who said this place was too friendly?