A fairly idle weekend at home, mainly spent overseeing publication of my new novel, has meant plenty of time to read Twitter. And that, in turn, has meant a reminder of just how combative my personal ‘Twittersphere’ becomes when a big music event is happening.
Yesterday, seemingly every act that appeared on the BBC’s coverage of Glastonbury provoked a tidal wave of OTT polemic. More than once, otherwise reasonable voices descended into provocative diatribes about different artists and their supporters. For example:
The funny thing is, if you follow this kind of snobbery for long enough, you’ll almost always see the negativity flip, so revealing itself as a positioning statement for the individual’s own enthusiasms. So here’s Danny Baker again, an hour after his meltdown over Example:
Such is music. Like religion, football and Shakespeare, there’s something about music’s power that has the potential to make aggressors of us all – as if the only way to express our love of music that transcends and uplifts, is by sticking it to those acts who, for whatever entirely subjective reason you care to state, fail to satisfy us in the same way.
It’s a common urge – I used to be guilty of it myself – but it should be resisted at all costs. Music absolutely warrants the word ‘love’, but ‘hate’ doesn’t follow as a valid flipside. For a start, you should never trust first impressions (you might change your mind later), but there’s also the self-evident truth that there’s no point in arguing over it.
Above all, there’s the nonsense of undermining your own passion for something by challenging someone else’s. If I say I love (a) but you’re wrong to love (b) it follows that I may be wrong to love (a). By invoking a non-existent rulebook about good and bad taste, you simply open yourself to the accusation that you’ve short-circuited by enjoying the sounds coming through your ears.
Far better – and infinitely more wonderful – simply to say this me, this is the music I love, and there is absolutely nothing that anyone, anywhere on the planet, can do about it.
Or, to put it another way: