Sunday, 31 December 2017

Shame and scandal - a game of reputations


2017: the year of risk-averse defenestration


A while back, I was at a local station, in the meeting room. There were Gold and Silver discs, snaps of celebs with DJs, major station events, directors
           Who, me? I deny everything
and dignitaries; the usual. And 
a large framed photo of Rolf Harris, with local schoolkids and a couple of jocks, all grinning for the camera, behind a panel with the station logo. This was well after Harris' public fall from grace: awkward. I gently pointed this out; they didn't thank me.

This year, mainstream media have been lightning-fast in dropping disgraced notables with less than perfect personal lives. Radio has long had a ripe history of bad behaviour and downright nasty control freakery. There's a well-established routine to make it all go away: 

1: Drop the accused, instantly.
2: Never mention him (it's always a him) again; he never existed.
3: Watch the waters close over his head. 
And breathe.

It's not just radio, of course. 

Sunday, 17 December 2017

Royalties! What's mine is mine, what's yours is yours - most of the time

The joys of music publishing


                                  Pennies and pounds?
If you can, and you're West Midlands based, catch a John Mostyn music biz session. Last week's, in south Brum, was a belter. There's another in January, this time in north(ish) Birmingham; details are below. John told amazing music publishing tales. Some were jaw-dropping; some hilarious. And some were very sad.

I'm not retelling the stories. If you want to hear them, go to the next session; check his Facebook page. I'll be there for more info, anecdotes, and tales of scurrilousness and nobility.

I left thinking about one little corner of the royalty distribution world: how local musos can get local airplay, but miss out on payments. It's absolutely not right. But no matter how fair distributors PRS (the Performing Rights Society) sets out to be, the system fails these musicians. It's not perfect, not by a long chalk. 

Sunday, 3 December 2017

It's only taken me 50 years to work this one out


Onstage chemistry. Powerful stuff.


This time last week, I made very heavy weather of the day. Physically, I was completely shattered; my head, on the other hand, was spinning furiously. I really wasn't up to much.


And what was this about? Simple. I'd sung in a bloody brilliant choral concert at Birmingham Town Hall, the previous day. Now, singing in a choir is really no big deal; people do this all the time. I've been singing for maybe five years with the same group of very nice people; it's thoroughly enjoyable. 

But because I participated in last week's shindig – a proper, pomp and circumstance, full-on, full scale Classical affair, with loads of voices and an orchestra - I now have a much better idea of the things that make live musicians, or for that matter any live performer, tick. It's taken me this long to work it out; odd, considering I've been going to gigs for over fifty years.