Princess Stomper answers your dilemmas (more seriously this time)

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With only five days left until Reinspired closes its little internet doors, I figured it was time to impart some wisdom (whether you like it or not).

1. I feel like everyone’s ignoring me

Are you talking about Facebook here? Because the very tool that promised to connect you is actively keeping you apart from your friends! You’ve heard it many times by now – if you’re not paying for the product, you are the product, and Facebook is cashing us in. After getting practically everyone in the world to sign up, it’s now actively hiding our posts from each other – and I’m not just talking about the 30% or so of your friends that you’ve stuck on ignore.  Continue reading

#musicmonday : Nick Cave and the Stool Pigeon’s guide to music journalism

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Bugger! Is that the time already? Sorry, I have been too busy laughing my assorted menagerie off at this piece from The Stool Pigeon someone’s just passed to me:

Bastard lovechild — Is sex out of wedlock still considered edgy? So why would anyone still be writing that albums ‘sound like the bastard lovechild of X and Y musicians’? I mean, there’s a good chance your parents hadn’t gotten round to tying the knot by the time you were conceived. But so what? It doesn’t make you a latter-day Edmund from King Lear. Hell, it doesn’t even make you Jon Snow off Game Of Thrones. And he’s f***ing boring.

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How Kim Kardashian’s tits prove Obama’s anti-feminist agenda

Kim Kardashian 2011 Glenn Francis @ PacificProDigital.com

Well, that got your attention. That’s the trouble, see, it’s the only thing that does. It’s funny, when I think of the people who were most talked about at school, one was a girl who was extremely popular because she just agreed with what everybody else said, and the other was a boy who was so naughty that he was always in trouble. That’s how you get people’s attention – be bland or be shocking. If you don’t, you’re just invisible.

That’s the other thing – most people don’t set out to get attention all the time, and there’s something rather wrong with you if you do. For most of us, we just do what we do because we love it, and if other people enjoy it too, it’s great. That’s all well and good, but when it feels like nobody’s listening at all, you do wonder why you bother. Why not be the bland one or the shocking one for a little while and bask in the rays of that glorious attention?  Continue reading

The Age of Clank: Why Genres are Important

Written for Collapse Board

A few weeks ago, Chris Razor wrote about clank – a new genre title he’d coined, and I was grateful, because I’d been trying to think of a word for it for ages. I was getting fed up of saying “experimental electronica”, because that makes it sound like it sounds more like this and it doesn’t. Instead, it sounds like this.

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Nathan Barley – or, how magazines really work

Everett True’s been retweeting old links about how magazines work.

Charlie Brooker started out as a writer at PC Zone, a magazine I stopped reading because I just couldn’t trust the reviews any more. They smacked of the editorial bias of a publication that lived in fear of pushy PR agents threatening to pull advertising or restrict access to interviews for anyone who didn’t toe the party line. Chris Morris started out working for BBC Radio Cambridgeshire, and – like Brooker – has been spoofing and satirising from the get-go. So you can imagine how effective it was when Brooker and Morris teamed up to write the truth about what writing for a magazine is really like. Continue reading

Why Everett True is wrong

Written for Collapse Board

“Mostly only art created by women has any validity. The male experience has been created and recreated so often” – Everett True, 1992

That is such bulls***. It’s like saying that only Tuvan throat singing/rock hybrids have any validity because you don’t get much of that, either. (And, f***, it’s good stuff.)  I don’t flip the sleeve over to check the gender before I’ll listen to the record, any more than I’d think too much about whether they were, say, Turkish. And, yes, a Turkish act does bring a certain flavour to the mix that you rarely get with non-Turkish acts. It’s informed and shaped by its Turkishness but not wholly defined by it because it’s more than that and to reduce it to that is to insult it.

Take Aylin Aslim, for example. I don’t know who she is, but I love her. I don’t have the slightest clue what she’s singing about (though Google translate tells me it’s called “ghoul”). There’s definitely a Turkishness to what she does, but I don’t set out to listen to Turkish folk. I just like this one – her – because she has such a don’t-give-a-f*** attitude and playful energy that makes her an absolute joy to listen to.

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Cults – Cults

Over at Collapse Board, 10 reviews of the new album by Cults have been published. There’s a good one, mine, a really bad one (Wallace Wylie’s, which I think is splendid), a poetic one, a pictorial one, etc. It’s an interesting experiment – highlighting how even at the same publication opinions can be wildly different. You can draw your own conclusions about “assholes” at this point.

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Music: reviewed in cats

Something very strange is going on over at Collapse Board. Albums are being reviewed in pictures, and the same album is being reviewed in multiple contexts. If I was a sensible, level-headed lass, I’d just assume that Everett True has turned nuttier than a sack of squirrels and patiently wait for him to go back to writing 10,000 words on why he hates Radiohead. Unluckily for you, I’ve decided instead that this is the way to go, and will now re-review some of my favourite recordings through the medium of cats.

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Breaking Barriers

So let’s assume that Collapse Board is right, and that there are a slew of people out there who want to write about music but just aren’t getting the breaks. Maybe the Australian music press really is incredibly sexist – but in a country famed for its, uh, less progressive views, that’s not so incredible. It still doesn’t excuse people who want to write about music from doing so.

In the Harvard Business Review, Tony Schwartz pretty much defines success as reaching a level of proficiency where you are able to achieve a goal. As Peter Bregman explains, “in his book Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell discusses star violinists, the good performers, and the ones who would become teachers but not performers […] Those who were categorized as stars? Every single one of them had practiced at least 10,000 hours. And here’s the compelling part: There wasn’t a single violinist who had practiced 10,000 hours who wasn’t a star.”

What’s 10,000 hours? It’s the equivalent of doing a full time job for five years, or practising four hours a day for a decade. I never became a “star”, but I got a job in my desired field and a few freelance jobs on the side. Before I got paid a penny by anyone, I’d already spent five years making it happen.

I just deleted a bunch of posts from Facebook because I was oversharing, and worse: perhaps I was misleading. You might have ended up with the impression that I grew up in a progressive city (I did), had supportive parents (I did), good teachers (I did) and walked straight out of sixth form and into a full-time music job while writing freelance on the side (again, broadly true).

I might have missed out a few steps along the way:

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