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  1. As a one time educator, I can say with certainty how fragile the creative flame can be. How much trust, time and real effort one has to expend to convince ordinary people that they, like anyone, really can have a ‘voice’. It saddens me that the diefication of some, and the scorn and ridicule of others on a forum such as this can effectively undo good work people do.

    In a town like Lancaster I am beginning to think a review site is counter productive on many levels. Diefication and agrandissement of people like Jo Gillot and Mikey Kenny for example is skewed and ridiculous, they are good but by no means great… fact I wouldn’t presently put money on any Lancaster outfit finding greatness if truth be told…All this back slapping and pseudo reviewing bullshit achieves is to silence the voice of many in favour of the few.

    Look at the Spotlight review….its about over educated middle class people jousting words and phrases, tedious, middlebrow monotony,give me a break, we need to destroy these temples built to the sneering few. Where is the artististic democracy?, I’ll tell you, its locked up in a thousand bedrooms, in a thousand unspoken words, safe from the easy brutality metred out by The Reviewer. Shame on you.

    • ‘Where is the artististic democracy?, I’ll tell you, its locked up in a thousand bedrooms’ – Clearly you haven’t been on Myspace. Countless deluded individuals not wanting to put in the hard work of touring and instead looking for an easy way out – ala Arctic Monkeys.

      Clearly you’ve had a bad experience of Spotlight and the Lancaster scene and seem to have a bit of a chip on your shoulder about the middle-class. I for one am proud of the local artistic community and can say that I have never experienced any snobbery. Also what has class got to do with talent?

      • The Arttic Monkeys may have used MySpace as a tool on their way, but they also played gigs, worked hard and put themselves out there to be heard. The media’s spin that they, and Sandi Thom, made it just through MySpace is disingenuous and has led to thousands if not millions of wannabes naively expecting to be discovered purely because they have a song or two on MySpace. Artistic democracy is in the fact that guys like Homemade Lemonade don’t need to have hundreds of pounds to book a venue like the Yorkshire House, or LAWM need a big venue or a big team of staff to put on excellent international and local talent. And its in their ability to burn a small number of CDs cheaply to sell at their price at their gigs without interference.

    • It’s deification, not diefication.

      PS Erm, and what’s your point?
      PPS The Spotlight Review people are over-educated? The British are the most undereducated people in Europe!

    • Hi Barry.

      I must confess that, like Kev, Wes & Reza, I’m puzzled how a ‘one-time educator’ can be so offended by people being educated. And please don’t get me started on class, otherwise I’ll come over all ‘Four Yorkshireman’ about my own upbringing and, believe me, you wouldn’t like that.

      The Spotlight review was my doing. As a regular attendee and occasional performer there, I know that stage is a hundred feet high and anyone with the courage to get up there deserves respect. But ‘respect’ does not mean ‘an easy ride’ nor an inevitable chorus of “Darling, you were marvellous.” If the local arts scene is to flourish, we all need to be on our mettle and that means taking onboard constructive criticism, constantly honing our material and our performance styles until they’re the best they can be. Yes?

      I suspect that anyone brave enough to take to that stage probably has the wherewithal to assimilate a bit of feedback. Or do you disagree?

      To me, Kev deserves kudos for setting this site up. As I found out at the weekend, reviewing is a whole heap of work for no money whatsoever, but the net effect on the local scene has to be beneficial. I hope he recruits many more guest reviewers because it’s a truism that one person’s genius is another’s goon and a diversity of voices will help answer some of your concerns. C’mon Barry, why not give it a go?

  2. Something I don’t understand: how is it possible to be OVER educated? Are you advocating dumbing down of the arts? Knowledge is power surely?
    And from me, personally, not speaking for anyone else here: if its locked up in a thousand bedrooms it isn’t art. It only becomes art when it is exposed to an audience (big or small).

  3. It shouldn’t come as a shock that a band reviews an audience.

    Most acts do this.

    If you like, I could send you my unpublished and unabridged volume– ‘reviews of all the audiences (what I’ve played to)’ which dates back to 1986!


    Shame on you.

    Shame on you all!

  4. Whats this gotta do with Sam/Niamh?

  5. If someone’s been reviewed on here, good or bad, they’ve clearly got past the bedroom stage.

    I’m not sure the wrath or ‘deification’ of this site will really be a deciding factor in a potential performer’s decision to do take their ‘voice’ into the wider world.

    This site reviews what is going on around here, who is actually arsed to get out and do their thing. If that makes them ‘the few’, then so be it. If Barry doesn’t think much to it, that’s fair enough.

    The Spotlight Club caters for a certain niche with perhaps limited appeal (including to myself), but what’s wrong with that? It’s like complaining that a Railway Club doesn’t include Tennis enthusiasts. Various people join various clubs because they enjoy being part of that community. No-one is forcing anyone to be part of something they aren’t interested in. And anyone can opt in if they so wish.

    This site reflects various aspects of Lancaster’s cultural life. If anyone feels that something of interest is being excluded, then Kev has stated several times that contributions are welcome. Or make a site of your own. Or do to bedroom artists what Alan Lomax and John Hammond did to the folk artists of post-war America?

    I just don’t see the point in being negative about this, when there is much to be positive about.

  6. There’s a ‘do’ in my comment that shouldn’t be, 2nd paragragh. I really should read it before posting…

  7. I went to the Spotlight Night for the first time recently & I’m from Birmingham ie poor education!! not middle class etc etc and i really fucking enjoyed most of the acts on that night. Tony Walsh & Rebecca Wilmott both sounded excellent even to my uneducated ears.
    Not quite sure what your getting at Barry with all this.
    I’ve said it many a time we would miss this review site if it wasn’t here.
    Jomar your a star mate – totally agree with you as usual.
    And to think Sam of all people started this latest bickering!!!
    Keep up the good work everyone.
    Ta ra a bit!!!!

  8. Oh Forgot to mention.
    Given luck & right connections both Jo Gillot & Mikey Kenney have got what it takes to make it BIG BIG BIG!!!

  9. Umm, I’m very confused by your title ‘band reviews audience shock.’ That statement is an exaggerated lie. I did not review any audience member(s), I merely made a friendly (supposedly private) comment, which will not be made again! Dear me, I don’t expect my personal comments to be published with out permission. And, can one not play a informal gig for fun and not be reviewed?!

    Like Wes says, what’s it got to do with Niamh/Sam, do any of you actually know me personally, or just from what you’ve seen me be on stage??

    • Hey Sam,
      I think Kev should probably apologise and offer to remove this thread ????

  10. Hi,
    Never commented on here before but felt the need to defend Jo. Personally I find her music fantastic. I have sat, late at night with a friend that has her demo and thoroughly enjoyed it, when we could have listened to anything else. That is what we chose. Plus Steve lamacq obviously doesn’t think that her music is destined to stay in the Lancaster realm. I don’t want to cause argument but felt that as a listener of Jo’s music it I think that your comments are unfair Barry. Sorry, Barry i’m sure that you mean well in all of this! Jess

  11. Niamh: I’m sorry if I have offended you. The Title and quote was meant as light relief amidst some of the harsher words on here of late.

    Jess: welcome! Do come again…

  12. Hey Jess and Niamh
    I think you two have talents equalling Jo’s………don’t be reticent about it. Its brilliant. I think what Barry is missing here is the splendid work (if I don’t mind saying) that the open mic does, whatever the venue. Niamh, Jo, Mikey, Jess etc etc, you’ve all played ours (gregson), and that is a ‘non critical’ arena, somewhere that ANYONE can get up and go for it.

    PAUL RHODES……this man is living proof that an over riding self-belief and true enjoyment in the game will overcome ANY critic or reviewer..there simple is nothing to fear from these people…

  13. I see from the response that there is a very robust defense of the status quo. I suspect Reza, Kev, Richard and co have a vested interest in maintaining and perpetuating the ‘Lunecy Review’, as is.

    Not one voice in defence of the ‘artist’, which leads me to the conclusion, do the people you review actually read this ?, and are their voices ‘moderated’ out of the debate. I am very suspicious.

  14. Barry: Yes, I believe in this as a useful forum so I will back it up.
    As for the artists reading this, a look around the MySpace and other pages of Ottersgear, Jo Gillot, Spotlight, Ann Wilson, LAWM, Opposite Of Robot, Moll Baxter, Sarah Hymas, Sparkle Lounge, and loads more will show you that not only have they read it, they have quoted it and linked to it.
    The only comments that have been deleted are the Spam comments about porn etc. Even those I supsect of ‘trolling’ have been allowed their say…

  15. ‘vested interest’ – doing it for free Barry. Wouldn’t accept money even if offered. Not doing it for that reason but for the sheer love of it. I work part-time in the library service and am struggling at least fiancially as much as the artists themselves.

    I’m insulted that you would assume I’m doing it with unpleasent motives.

  16. Insinuating that I am ‘trolling’ is a very obvious way of trying to censure someone with a point of view that you obviously don’t agree with. Thank you, but reprimanding me will only diminish your worth in the long run. No one likes a bully

  17. Bullying? No mate just disagreeing.

  18. ‘Vested interest in the status quo’ ? My only interest is to put on local and non-local acts and help promote them. I actually lose money from OoR because I pay for the publicity material (and hours and hours of time) and don’t take anything from the door personally.

    Since March 08, I’ve put on 43 different acts. (There are many more I’ve promoted before that too). There are also new acts playing in the autumn, including ones that have never played in Lancaster before, and local ones I’ve not put on before. So it’s not just Mikey and Jo. As new acts emerge, as they always do, they’ll be welcome to play. So, the natural evolution of a place and it’s musical inhabitants means that we are always losing some people, gaining others.

    If one of these mysterious unkown artists wants to give me a shout – or organise a gig of their own, I’m all for that.

    I’m also an ‘artist’ myself, playing solo and in several bands, which makes me sympathetic to the needs of other artists.

    Barry, perhaps you have a great idea to help other artists? I’d like to hear it?

    All of us who comment on here would love to see more (positive) involvement from other artists and people of all walks of life in all of this. A good example of this is Wes trying to get the Ledge thing going and bringing all kinds of artists from all disciplines together, plus the Gregson open mic.

    A lot of us are trying, and surely that’s better than giving up, or simply nay-saying.

  19. Eh?, Yeah. I also suspect Barry of trolling……
    I am currently struggling with the Ledge, but its worthwhile, we have a laugh, and get to meet cool people. Its all very simple in essence. If you visit the site btw, persevere, I’m doing stuff that takes time. It’ll start to make sense soon.
    Mmm, I kinda get what Barry is saying in the initial comment, all sounds a bit ‘hands off’ to me though. Come on, pitch in, get yer hands dirty.

  20. p.s really think you should ask Sam if she’s cool with this staying up here. It does eminate from something bearing her name as it were….

  21. I agree with Barry to some extent. There can seem a sense of ‘over doing it, over critiquing’ emerging local performers. What is surprising about a 20-year-old girl appearing a little nervous on stage on her own? At least I don’t have misplaced over-confidence. I personally find such qualities in certain local bands I’ve seen repulsive!

    Some local bands are simply about expressing some thoughts and emotions in music, and agree to playing live when asked if they would like to play a gig. I’m far too lazy to have an interest in being liked by everyone, or promoting myself. I find it almost funny that someone should take any time to write a few words about me. Though I appreciate any review that’s subject is the music.

    • It might not be a surprise that a performer is nervous, but i think it worth mentioning, as I did with Jess Thomas, when she overcomes those initial nerves to produce a great performance. As you did yourself the other night.

      I have stood and watched veterans of 25 years on big stages, worldwide, who have played with the biggest names around, be absolutely terrified before a show.

    • Niamh, I believe that’s my review your referring to. I never said that it was a bad quality, in fact I found your performance quite appealing. I just stated something that you yourself have admitted – that you were nervous. Apart from that you played a good set and I particulary enjoyed the Camera Obscura cover. I decided to check them out as a result and am quite impressed. So thanks for that and keep up the good work.


      • Dude, you are kidding me… you think it’s worth pointing it out when a new performer is nervous, which she “admits”(!?) and you especially liked the song she didn’t write?

        This is like a masterclass in getting people to stay in their bedrooms.

        I suppose we all do want a “better” musical environment, but I’d like to see it happen by encouraging growth in the musicians we have, rather than encouraging the uncertain ones not to perform.

  22. I don’t understand why this nonsense always ends up with people taking sides.

    To me it is completely clear that picking up on someone’s typo is totally lame.

    That said, the post it was in was fairly lame.

    I think this thing of criticising people in public is a bit weird, but I guess whatever floats your boat.

    I’m off to come all over four yorkshiremen.

  23. I have just read the entire thread for the first time.

    To new eyes this looks like:

    1. Kev posted a snippet about Sam, 2 lines, (or am I missing something) which captures Sam’s distinctive, gentle but shrewd attitude to the world. Her words. Made me smile when I read them.

    2. Something hostile/disrespectful was perceived in the headline? Is that what’s happened?

    3. All hell kicks off. Again. And several other issues are dragged in and it feels like a Sunday morning domestic. (Although within that, very salient points are made)

    4. But, meanwhile – how do you think Sam feels? I’m not speaking for Sam, but I’m guessing it’s the reaction, not the posting, that spurred her to comment. (Apologies Sam, if I’m weighing in all wrong)

    Also, we risk putting people off from writing reviews at all. I feel like I should put a tin hat on just to say this. Why is there such bad will simmering under the surface? Couldn’t people who have criticisms lead by example, rather than gunning down others?

    Would it help if people submitted *alternative* reviews rather than ripping into an existing review?

    Could each review be linked to a separate forum where these important issues can still be discussed?

    A bad review discredits itself. That’s all there is to it, in my mind.

    And what’s trolling? The e-equivalent of sitting under a bridge and grabbing at people’s ankles? Seriously – what is it?!

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