High Fives 2022 06) Isitjustme?


Just when you thought it was safe to look at Music Riot again, we’ve allowed the right honourable scribe for the eighteenth century to sharpen his quill, fill his inkpot and unroll a fresh scroll of vellum to share his words of wisdom on the modern world that he takes such great pains not to interact with. Try not to judge; old age and intolerance will come to all of us eventually. Here are the thoughts of Isitjustme:


Yes, apps; it’s not even a word. It’s an abbreviation of applications. You can’t even park your car without an app these days. The glove box of my Morris Minor is full of change for parking meters that I can’t even use any more. And to use an app, you need a smartphone. Does no-one yearn for the days when you could ring the box office and pay card, or even use a website to buy tickets. You could even be ripped off by the scuzzy scouts and scalpers outside the venue on the night of the gig. Now you need to install an app for every ticket you buy and all of those are harvesting your data to target adverts to you more effectively. I won’t name names, they’re all the same and there are hundreds of them. That’s one clock, I want to turn back. And from ticketing apps to ticket prices.

Gig Tickets

Have you seen the prices you can pay (if you were mad enough to want to sit in an aircraft hangar and watch bands on a video screen) for big gigs these days? Everyone involved in promotion has an easy scapegoat – Brexit, COVID and all its after-effects (cancellations, hesitancy to mix in public places and increased production costs because of technicians lost to the industry after retraining during lockdown) but it’s all a bit too glib when face value tickets can sell for four figures even before the online resale jackals get their hands on them. How did this happen? Two very dirty phrases – “corporate hospitality” and “dynamic pricing”. If you’re at a gig, avoid corporate types at all costs; they don’t care about the music and that’s all you need to know. “Dynamic pricing” is extreme supply and demand and it’s a model the airlines have used for years – convince someone that a product is better or more rare and you can charge more for it. Don’t let them get away with it; don’t support these obscene events – go and watch someone at a small, independent venue instead. Now, venues…

Multi-purpose venues

Kakkmaddafakka 2016

OK, no-one gets away with blaming COVID for this one; this has being going on for years across the major leisure chains and we know the motivation for it; it’s purely financial and it means that most of the old established gig venues now have early curfews, quick clear-ups and ten o’clock reopening as dance clubs. Another dirty word coming up – compromise; gigs and clubs have very different stage, sound and lighting requirements. For some reason every venue opts for club rather than gig settings. How many gigs have you seen recently in 500-2,000 capacity venues where the band was lit entirely from behind with club lights? You deserve better than that. The only places where you find decent stage lighting now are theatre gigs, for obvious reasons. Anywhere else, the spectacle of the band has been sacrificed because venues can get away with it. You know what I’m saying here; there are loads of great live bands out there so go and watch them in venues that care about live music. And it’s not just big venues that are cutting corners:

Building Regulations and other boring stuff

OK, we all accept that the live music industry needs to recover from the hammer-blow dealt by COVID but is it old-fashioned to expect basic standards to be upheld when venues are opening or re-opening. I’m not naming any venues here, but there are standards of hygiene and health & safety that would never have been accepted by local authorities ten years ago. Unfortunately, years of deregulation seem to have eroded basis standards – venues are now full of trip hazards, toilet doors that don’t lock, no hot water (or sometimes any water) and no way of drying even if you can wash. After years of festivals, there’s always hand sanitiser in my bag at gigs. I hope you’re carrying it too and you keep your eyes open for steps that you can’t see and any other ways of causing you harm. If you’re gonna do it, do it right. Anyone for Radio 2?

Take a few Chances, Radio 2

You reach a certain age and suddenly Radio 1 seems a bit inane – not all the time but you don’t want to listen to it all day. There’s a theme that runs alongside this, that nobody’s making any good music anymore. Sorry about the language, but that’s bollocks; there’s always good music about if you know where to look for it. 6 Music covers some of it but misses huge chunks. There’s a gap there that Radio 2 could fill if it wasn’t to intent on promoting the banality of Sara Cox and her ilk. There are features; ‘Song of the Week’ and ‘Album of the Week’ that could be used to feature work by bands that don’t fit well with the other stations but would appeal to a Radio 2 audience. No, that won’t do; let’s feature work by bands and artists that have had their time in the spotlight and now they’re trying to step out of the twilight – Robbie Williams, Simple Minds, Blondie, One Republic and so on, ad nauseam. It wouldn’t be so bad if it wasn’t so obviously part of a marketing strategy across the media for the artists involved. Go on, show some originality for once.

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