Friday, March 11, 2016

The Milk Diaries: Validity

I live in the hope that I will see the value in all music. I like to believe that even if song is not to my taste, it deserves to exist because it is a form of personal expression. It is for this reason that I would prefer to stay well away from musical criticism. Personally, I see it as a potentially damaging form of journalism which can unnecessarily discourage a musician who may be fledgling or insecure. The moral is simple: just because I don't understand it doesn't mean they should stop.

This lofty ideal sits alongside an ambition that I will like everything in time. When I refer to either idea in conversation, friends simply say to me: Throbbing Gristle. It's a tongue-in-check reference to the violent reaction I had when I saw footage of them live at the Oundle Film School. It was projected on a big screen, during a punk film festival at ACMI in 2007. It followed a night of raucuous performances from Blondie and The Ramones and I remember feeling how I wanted to be Richard Hell, singing Blank Generation.

Throbbing Gristle was a total affront to my pop sensibilities. There was no melody, just bleeding white noise. There was no vision, just blurred flashing light. I couldn't decipher what was going on and later, when friend would take me to some noise shows, I would leave feeling not only so confused but so totally angry by the whole performance. Even nine years on, I am convinced I'll never be able to understand or appreciate noise. It's a difficult thing to admit, since it comfortably sits synthpop and post punk as this hugely influential genre.

The easiest way to conform to such ideals is to keep quiet. I am motivated by the love and respect shown by peers and professionals, the awe displayed among musical intelligentsia. I have to remind myself: It's expression! It deserves to exist! All the while, I am far more inclined to say: What the fuck was that? I just, I can't... no. 

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