Friday, February 14, 2014

I've always struggled with the concept of artistic fulfilment, I could never figure out what it was or how to get it. You could imagine that I was surprised when I came across a recipe for how to attain creative satisfaction from one of the panellists of Melvyn Bragg's In Our Time. The ingredients are really quite simple: all you need is creative control, remuneration and recognition. It's a nice thought but there are so many questions that follow this premise, all the questions involving quantity, ego and expectation. It reminds me of those local musicians who never managed to "cross over" and "make it" in other cities or countries.

To be honest with you, I have a real fascination with those musicians who were never promoted here. I am in love with those songs that I was never meant to hear. My friend Dimitri offers me this insight into what it was like to be a French child of the 1980s. He shares rare music videos, songs that many French people cannot even recall. He accompanies each song with this extraordinary understanding of its social context and critical reception. At the same time, he manages to describe the personal legacy of these songs: every song has an association.

 Muriel Moreno of Niagara

In exchange, I offer up my Australian childhood songs, awkwardly conscious of the fact that my exposure to local musical culture peaked when I was a child. I developed a liking for Ratcat, The Screaming Jets, Southern Sons and Diesel from watching Video Smash Hits. However, my exposure to local music ultimately ended when I quickly fell in love with English pop music. Throughout my twenties, there has been enormous pressure to support local music and as the pressure has intensified, my curiosity has dwindled and died out. I now live with this thought that I have purposefully ignored so much of what has been happening around me, just to indulge in this dream of living in another place, in another time.

I recall one of our last conversations, it was a cold night on Lygon Street and we were sipping these extravagant iced mochas. You were telling me of the intimate going's-on of Melbourne's 2002 Garage Rock movement. It was akin to my appreciation of London in 1977, Bristol in 1981, Milan in 1983 or Leningrad in 1984. There's this core group of tirelessly cool musicians who manage to create a community, unified by this distinctive sound and attitude. With the right sources, you can daydream about what it must have been like to be in that club, what it meant to be among the few people who understood the significance of actually being present.

"That's a good quality to have." I said, in between sips. "To be able to deconstruct an emerging scene, to recognise and define the consequence of the present. I think that's pretty special..."

Perhaps, it's not about the breadth of the acclaim, it's not about whether you're huge in Melbourne, Milan or even Mexico. When it comes to the recognition component of that artistic fulfilment recipe, I think it's about creating some kind of legacy. Whether that's in the form of a personal or cultural legacy, I think every artist has that desire to have their work placed within some sort of a context. Maybe it's up to us to create those histories, not only for our own understanding of how it all went down, but for the artist, too. We should let them know that we care, we should let them know that we've committed them to memory...

Cassettes & Chocolate Milk: French Pop Podcast #57
April March - Brainwash Part II
BB Brunes - Houna
Mai Lan - Schumacher
Exsonvaldes - L'aérotrain
Aline - Elle m'oubliera
Les Calamités - Vélomoteur
Yelle - A Cause Des Garçons
Corynne Charby - Boule de Flipper
Images - Love Emotion
Soko - I'll Kill Her

Download (56.5 MB)

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