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December 15, 2013 by Robb Powell

jb 301:08 am and what have I to do.

My mind buzzes with the thought of words to be said.

Let’s take a trip down memory lane to the days that this (my) generation may not remember.

The days where music was hard work!

I don’t know about you but I am sick to my hind teeth of the TV talent shows and some of what the inter-web has done to music. Now before I get accused of making unfair, hypocritical and un-researched comments allow me to state that these things have done a lot of good. But the knock on event of these items affects more than we care to consider.

jb 1

I focus on what I call the “mechanicals.” The number crunching factors that go by under the noses of most though hold great impact on others. The ever encompassing factor of money and fine tuning of performance.

Now, unless vocally impaired everyone can sing – in tune is another matter but a sound to an attempted melody can be made none the less.  And there are those out there who will record or sign in to these shows and get more views in a day than the hard working craftsmen and women who empty their very souls into their works. The fool over powers the talented who then becomes a martyr for the bastardised sake of “entertainment.”

jb 2I mean no jest in stating I have heard more melodic sounds from cat fights on a Saturday night (assume what you will of that statement). The talent shows run on a glorified open mic concept. The open mic being a method for owners to plan their upcoming showcases and the musician to learn to adapt to environment and circumstance. More importantly to carry over mistakes without running out of the building in shame.

jb 4But take a second and one may realise that this is where the very infrastructure of the business of music began. You have the venue: the landlord makes profit on the night’s takings and builds reputation for valued acts/events thus bringing in more custom.

The sound engineer/organiser: paid by the landlord and recommend further to others for quality of event and for other uses of his/her equipment

The Artist: money from venue/organiser and builds their reputation as well as confidence. A greater perspective would include the continued works of the artist to provide for their audience’s satisfaction.

jb 5It isn’t about making millions guys! Any decent hearted musician will tell you the same thing. It’s about reaching as little as one person and (maybe) breaking even. Life doesn’t come with a retake or an edit. You can’t just retap the shutter button at the slip of a non-auto tuned voice. If ya’ could you’d never fail an exam, you’d never need a holiday and you may have never seen the beauty of serendipity. You wouldn’t be human because you wouldn’t need the live and learn principles or the fight or flight instinct. And like us, music is a living and breathing organism. Or at least it was in its entirety.

The pub and bar trade has made huge losses since the invention of these medias. People stay in and watch “X’s got talent” or “Britain’s pop factor” when all along they had the whole thing slowly dying down the local bevy!  Christ people, get off your asses and go see some talent that ain’t sent to you through your network provider! Be social, meet others with similar interests. Crack open a bottle and maybe even enjoy yourselves at a dare.

jb 7For all the good these shows have done entire businesses have died. Managers, producers, distributors, event organisers, promoters,  writers, manufacturers, photographers, venues, bands and even the most simple business of conversation of “y’alright mate? Tell ya what but I had a really good night at…”

The irony lies in the fact this will be posted online. I chuckle to myself. But my issue isn’t against the uses of the internet as a tool of communication for voices that otherwise go unheard in our world of noise. My true argument lies in those who are heavily burdened by our needs of bedroom entertainment (and I’m not on about the calorie burning, extra curricular ones, to which music can also act in aid of). Every organisation that fell to these “advancements” left thousands of dinner tables without bread and water. So please support local music! Not just the artists but the entire network. The reason it is there is purely for your enjoyment so…..Go and enjoy it!

And in honour of those pubs and places who continually support their local music scene I’d like to give a special shout out to:

Ye Olde Fighting Cocks – St Albans – @fightingcockssa

The George in Hitchin

The Inn on the Green in Harpenden

The Jungle Bar in Hertford

The Pheasant in Tring

…to name just a few.

And I’d also like to add a shout out to:

The Legendary Northampton Labour Club

The Lamplighter in Northampton

O Neill’s in Northampton

The King Billy in Northampton

The Pomfret Arms in Northampton

The Craufurd Arms in Wolverton

The Musician in Leicester

The Merchants Inn in Rugby

Again to name just a few. (-ed)

Words by James Kirby –


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