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Guilt-edged - shadows of echoes of memories of songs
j4
j4
Guilt-edged
I really must learn to think "how would I feel if the artist(e) was reading this?" before posting bitchy reviews.

I just hope some of the people I unintentionally offend get a decent I'm-so-misunderstood song out of my poor pseudo-journalistic potshots.

That James Joyce, mind you. So overrated. And dead! Hahaha!
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ewtikins From: ewtikins Date: August 14th, 2006 07:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
People who make fun of me while I'm busking, or tell me I'm crap, or try to take money from my case, get me down sometimes. But not for long - because for every one of them there are dozens more who are willing to give me a pound coin at 08.30 for playing a song they like in a way that they like. So I don't cry, and I don't bother stopping playing when people are fairly obviously just going to give me a hard time. I don't even stop playing when people take money from my case (although I do remove the pound coins to reduce temptation) - Bach is more important than trying to keep every person happy.

You can't please everyone. If people are going to be that sensitive about their performance, they really, really shouldn't be reading reviews. If they can't take a piece of criticism and either a) learn something from it and decide whether to act on the new knowledge, or b) ignore it as irrelevant, that isn't your fault. The performers can't please everyone, there are always going to be reviews with negative things to say. Reviews wouldn't be worth anything if they were all uniformly saccharine and sweet. And you as a reviewer - you can't please everyone, either.

That said, if you think you are genuinely being too harsh/bitchy/fussy... why?

Is there a way that you could make your criticism more constructive, more suited to a fledgling artist learning the ropes than to an old hand who's heard all the criticism before, without turning it into indulgent pap?
j4 From: j4 Date: August 15th, 2006 09:14 am (UTC) (Link)
That said, if you think you are genuinely being too harsh/bitchy/fussy... why?

DYM what makes me think I'm being too harsh, or why am I being so harsh?

I think I'm being harsh because it's easier to get a laugh that way. I could pontificate about why I've grown (if you can call it growing) that way, but it's too early in the morning for that kind of navel-gazing. :-}

(I note that bitchy music critics are, stereotypically, failed musicians; I should point out that I barely even got as far as being a failed musician... at least, I've never performed solo anywhere more public than school concerts.)

Is there a way that you could make your criticism more constructive, more suited to a fledgling artist learning the ropes [...]?

Possibly. But (and I'm only slightly trolling here) why should I? I'm not a professional reviewer; I'm not even a dedicated amateur reviewer; I'm just Joe Blogger holding forth in the corner of the virtual equivalent of my local pub. If somebody asked me for constructive criticism I'd do my best to offer it; but I don't feel a moral obligation to offer constructive criticism to musicians on the offchance that they might be listening when I'm (effectively) talking to my friends.

I don't think I'm that important, to be honest: I can empathise with people being upset by overhearing something unkind said about them, because they're only human*, but I can't for the life of me imagine why they would -- or should -- take my advice!

* The logical conclusion, of course, is that one should never say anything unkind about anybody in case they are listening.
annajaneclare From: annajaneclare Date: August 15th, 2006 12:25 am (UTC) (Link)
I wouldn't worry about it. If they haven't got hides like rhinos then they very probably shouldn't be writing/painting/singing etc. I just shrug off shitty reviews with the smug self-knowledge that most critics are vainglorious hacks anyway. :D (Myself included. I've written criticism so nasty that I daren't post it for fear of looking like the heinous, mean-spirited bitch I really am.)
barnacle From: barnacle Date: August 15th, 2006 11:52 am (UTC) (Link)
Michael Rosen, or a Hotmail facsimile, emailed me once to complain about me complaining about the vacuity and received-wisdom that he spent a whole Word of Muh wasting my aural capacity on. In response, I told him he was a sell-out and that he should stop insulting his listenership and expecting them not to insult him back, or words to that effect. I often confuse what actually happened with my esprit d'escalier, which means you're in for a treat when my memoires come out.

I didn't get any reply, but the whole episode probably explains why if you open a particular children's illustrated dictionary you find my face by "incorrigible" rather than "contrition", and an explanatory footnote by "offensive". Still, as Jack Higgins always writes into the mouths of psychopathic Oirish terrorists after they've just "iced" someone, he shouldn't have joined.

There's a moral in there somewhere, but it probably has something to do with changing unintentional offence into intentional offence, so I don't recommend you learn from this charming little vignette.
cartesiandaemon From: cartesiandaemon Date: August 15th, 2006 05:41 pm (UTC) (Link)
LOL. Oops. (Where was this?)

It is easy to do, to concentrate on the negative (though don't know if you did. It's probably useful to consider how several different people would see what you write regardless. But as you say, you're not obliged to, it's inevitable to get offended sometimes, though it's nicer if people don't try to.

I remember mentioning something about author Diane Duane on my blog. And boy, next day, there was Diane Duane commenting, saying thank you :O I was glad I hadn't said everything I might, because I did love her books, but had problems with the recent wizards books I could easily have been dissmissive about.

I sometimes think this about authors I really slate. Despite liking a lot of their writing, I (and 10% of the english world) have said some really, really harsh (if mostly justified) things about eg. Laurrel K. Hamilton and Robert Jordan. Expressing the opinion is fine, but I often feel guilty imagining what it's like if 10% of posts seem to hate you, and try to be more balanced.
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