Wednesday, 16 February 2005

Hold Your Own

This month I can report that I’ve been upsetting people left, right and centre. While I'm not going to give names or go into details I gotta say something. I wouldn’t say I’m necessarily happy about this but it does provide food for thought, of which you shall now (should you choose to) read.

B&S Underground Dance is a monthly column dedicated primarily to commentary on the culture that we’ll hereby refer to as grime (although offshoots get the odd look in). Although it’s only two pages a month, it’s two pages thankfully not dictated by PR’s, record labels or anyone else. That’s not to say UD is adverse to their involvement, not by any means. It would be foolish to say otherwise given how many artists are now being picked up by record labels and such. But UD will not fall prey to that machine. (Make of that what you will).

The big question seems to be ‘if you don’t like something’ or ‘if it’s negative’ why write about it? Well, are you mad? This is where we must re-define our roles. I am in no way suggesting my opinion or commentary is more valid than that of the next man, but it is just that, mine, and it’s my job to give that. For the last three years, in various publications, I have showcased some of my favourite musical moments, more time about grime, because that’s where music journalists differ. You have those that are in it for the money (if you find it call me) or those that simply love it and can’t think of a better way to spend their working days and nights. We all know this column doesn’t even buy me half an ounce of bless, so no one’s tripping.

While trying to push the exciting times that we’re in, In the past and more recently I’ve also found the need to draw attention to issues that have rattled my cage; the rise of homophobic lyrics in grime, the treatment and portrayal of women both behind the scene and within the music, then there’s the grim reality of clashing… we could go on. Why? With the hope that by drawing such issues to attention people will stop and think, even if they don’t agree. I recently read the following anonymous quote ‘the grime scene has so much love it over-writes the hate.’ Whether or not this is true only time will tell.

But surely it’s time the scene took some responsibility for its actions.If you think you’re being shut out, are you shutting yourself out? No one has gone clear yet, there’s a lot of work to do and while clashing may make you big on road, If you’re going to clash respect the game and the rules, something seemingly forgotten. As for violence that doesn’t help anybody and if we’re being real, people are lucky half of what goes on isn’t reported. Then there’s the music - don’t leave yourself open for accusations or ridicule because as the scene grows so does the interest in it – we do and will report the talk. Once you put your music and yourself out, you’re open to negotiation. Prepare yourself for criticism and for the love – both can and will effect you in equally effective ways.

Again, without going into too much detail I don’t think I’ll need to bullet proof my office XXL/Source style just yet, but maybe we should all take a minute to sit back and reflect. And if you're thinking of phoning my phone to complain about something you've read, maybe think again next time. I hold my own.

And there’s a big world of grime out there.


*Taken from current issue of B&S, on newstand now*


Alex Bok Bok said...

i've always been irritated by the "if you dont like it, don't write about it" argument.

Not reporting on the negative is tiptoing around your own personal truth and it traps you into thinking about music in terms of immature b&w definitions of 'good' and 'bad'.

Of course its so important that we make negative comments when theyre called for. We're not PRs for christsakes. I'm glad you brought it up.

Chantelle Fiddy said...

Half the problem is the number of 'journalists' who do simply conply to the b&w landscape. The day of super PR's seems to have really gone too (I think I missed this movement in the 80's/early 90's where you were treated like royalty and had coke and cigarettes on the PR, press trips aplenty). But there has been an increase in bullying and psycholohical warfare.

*there are a lot of PR's I love though*

∞ infinite ∞ said...

Hi Chantelle.. I've been reading your blog for a while- and always enjoy both your style of writing and your opinions. I find Grime, like many underground scenes extremely interesting- musically and culturally so it's good to read the words of people very much impassioned and informed such as yourself and Martin Clark. Music should always be a two way thing, if not, it would become a strange form of dictatorship! Listeners have the right to react to what they're listening to, particularly when it's something as consequential as homophobic lyrics and the treatment of women in the scene. As far as expressing your publicly- It's the poncy and uninformed journo's that ONLY see and comment on the negative aspects of music scenes without knowing enough about the history and culture that do the damage. Basically, what I'm sayin is stick to your guns girl, you're doing a grand job.