Monday, March 18, 2013

I tend to think of Adam Ant as being more dashing than articulate, but I believe he said it best in an interview with Smash Hits in June 1981: And I maintain that the audience is the most important consideration... tonight, tomorrow, next year, next century. And once you think you're "above" your audience, then I think that's the time to seriously reconsider your career. It was an idealistic proposition and one that made me overlook Mr Ant's tendency to kick in chairs and knock down tables in a restaurant in a West End town. It touched upon this nebulous idea of artist-fan requitedness: although they're singing to millions, they are humbled by the fact that you actually care.

I can see now that it would easier for the establishing artist to convey that sense of gratitude. That shock, seeing fans with placards wait at Narita Airport. That thrill, being invited to play Glastonbury for the first time. Interviews are unrehearsed, running more like therapy sessions than press conferences. Even if the establishing artist is completely convinced of their talent, there's still this unforced humility which makes you feel as if anyone can do it, if they really tried. There is always that paradox in supporting those establishing bands from the start. You so wish for their ground-breaking popularity, but your sense of ownership becomes damaged by all these other people who never seemed to care before.

We know that when an artist becomes established, a great divide is created. Although few would openly admit it, I believe we yearn for the established artist to share that nubile sense of gratitude. We know it more than anyone else, we know that commercial success is ultimately guaranteed, yet for some reason, it's vital that the artist appears to appreciate the full extent of their power and privilege. The artist can do it in an interview, like Mr Ant or even in a Grammy acceptance speech, but I find the search for artist-fan requitedness almost always comes down to the live show. It's a crafted demonstration of effort and so often, it comes down to a simple token gesture, a guitarist handing out a misshapen Dunlop Tortex plectrum to a hysterical girl in the front row. It's like they get this is a big deal...

The irony is that the sense of artist-fan requitedness would never extend to fans sympathising with the exhaustion associated with touring. We could hardly care less if the artist is playing a show every night or every other night, we could hardly care less if the artist is sick to death of playing that song. We demand that fantasy, that the performance of that song in this city is special to them, because it is special to us. In that regard, this nebulous idea of artist-fan requitedness seems to be a bit like a mutually insincere agreement to act sincere. It's important to keep up that façade, it's important to act as if everyone really cares.

Fighting over a piece of Morrissey's heart/shirt

Cassettes & Chocolate Milk: Danish Pop Podcast #55
The Raveonettes - Sleepwalking
Bodebrixen - My Name is Carl (Live)
Fallulah - Use It For Good
Northern Portrait - That's When My Headache Begins
Our Broken Garden - Garden Grow
Trentemøller - ... Even Though You're With Another Girl
The Asteroids Galaxy Tour - Around the Bend
Laban - Caught by Surprise

Download (55.4 MB)

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