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PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2007 6:04 pm
by howard male
Appreciated, Rob. Thanks.

PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2007 6:09 pm
by Des
I don't understand what the first quote had to do with the quoted quote from the quote in the original heavily-quoted message.

PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2007 6:24 pm
by Gordon Moore
howard male wrote:When I was comparing writing on the forum with onanistic diversions ...

Actually Onan didn't do what people accuse him of. What he did has something to do with ... see Ge 38:9 - oh dear where is all this going?

Howard, I wasn't offended, if it helps any. It was actually the only bit of your post I did understand (hahahhahahahhahhah) - joke, honest. :)

Shall I shut up now?

btw what did Rob's private message say? (hehehe)

C'mon everybody, Howard's a good bloke.

If you were watching the Buzzcocks, or Jonathon Ross etc, would you bat (er) an eyelid?

PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2007 6:26 pm
by judith
Howard, please, just stop a minute and BREATHE. Think of it this way, the jumping in with both guns blazing technique just isn't your style. Seriously.

When I read the deleted, I was confused and checked several times to make certain it was you who had made the post. This does not mean I think less of you. I just think you've had a hard lesson on writing and the oblique use of metaphors and their ilk. I guess I'm answering your question re: critiquing and objectivity. Write from a place of caring. That's your style Howard. It has alway been obvious to me that you care about the music you listen to. Concern about what other's might like in a critic will only make you crazy.


PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2007 7:51 pm
by howard male
Gordon - thanks for keeping a sense of humour while all around you... etc etc.

Judith - the voice of reason. I must confess I did think twice before putting up that paragraph, but I honestly had no idea it would get the response it did. And the side of me that was saying 'yes, use it, you're making a valid point!' was also saying, 'don't be such a chicken!' to the side of me that thought I shouldn't include it. What can you do?

But, yes, Judith, it is ironic that through this cock-up (can I say that?) we are still discussing what the critic should or shouldn't be. This week I was in the luxurious position of having several days to write a review of the Tinariwen gig at the Barbican, and, in a way, I hated it. I just kept going back to the thing, and having doubts about the fact I'd said so little about the history of the band and just concentrated on the music - I figured that anyone interested in reading the review in the first place, must have read at least one of the countless spreads on the band that have been in almost every magazine except Hello and Woman's Own over the past couple of months. I expected to have it sent back any minute for a complete rewrite. But if you're going with your instincts the last thing you need is more time to question them. So, yes, it's not healthy to think too much before writing - which, again, ironically, is what got me into trouble here in the first place! God it's all so confusing.

PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2007 8:03 pm
by Dayna
I wasn't upset by what you wrote. It's not something I haven't heard or seen before, many times. I appreciate that you guys all fixed it, though.

Since I'm such a novice here, I kind of appreciate hearing a point of veiw from someone with your knowledge. It can be hard if you end up not liking some type of music that I might like, but I really do appreciate the way I've learned to hear what makes music good, from reading what you write & since I don't have a way of hearing some of these new CDs( at least for now) coming out before I buy them it's nice to get some idea from someone that knows about it.

PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2007 8:38 pm
by judith
howard male wrote:! God it's all so confusing.

You're engaged in different kinds of writing. I would imagine this in itself would be confusing. Would it help if you went back to the origin of the written word as the symbolic conveyor of an image? For example, when the "you're a chicken" chimed in, if you would have considered the picture you were painting of a writer, then inserted the picture your metaphor uh, inspired...would you have used that image?

With the Tinarawen, did anything of the music, as you were listening to it, evoke images of their history?

As for the history of Tinariwen being much printed, someone involved with journalism and the public once told me: It's been proven, any information the public receives through the media, will be forgotten in nine days, unless it's re-inforced. I always thought that was interesting. Nine days is such an unusual number. Maybe Gordon has some theories about the number nine.

And Howard. Thank you for the compliment.

PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2007 8:39 pm
by Chris P
Storm in a teacup..... let people be robust and challenging as long as their is no evil or cynicism in their intent. Howard, what I'd like most of all would be for you to carry on reviewing as your reason and impulses tell you to. Don't over-analyse your motives or second-guess the reader too much. Shoot from the hip with judgment and wisdom...

flippin heck, just read what I'd written and it sounds like some mumbo-jumbo self-help tome !

Back to the music.........more opinions and reviews from everybody please. 'Dancing about architecture' is fun and stimulating...

PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2007 9:50 am
by howard male
Judith wrote -

You're engaged in different kinds of writing. I would imagine this in itself would be confusing.

I hadn't thought of it like that, Judith. Buy, yes, there is a lot (well, a little) fruity language in the novel, and one or two crude and sexist characters now I think of it. So perhaps my writing styles did get mixed up there for a moment.

Chris Potts wrote -

Don't over-analyse your motives or second-guess the reader too much.

It's more a question of second-guessing the editor, Chris. The only reader I have in mind when I'm writing is myself - I try to produce something I think I'd like to read. But the editor's the person who'll send it back to you if you break too many rules.

But anyway, enough of what I think, and what I should or shouldn't do. I really wanted this topic to look at the broader picture, so I'm glad Paul's put things back on track.

Paul Webster wrote -

Now - "good" and "bad" is subjective.

But only sometimes, would be my answer to that. It's funny that we can usually, fairly unanimously decide when a film is a turkey, but music is a far trickier animal - hardly ever a 100% turkey.

Another thing I personally can't stand, is the star ratings system some publications have. What this effectively means, is that if you're choosing to review an album, you're doing so because you like it. So you end up awarding four stars week after week and looking like you love everything - apart from the albums you give five stars to, and those you'd clearly marry if you could.

The star system is also a gift to those with a short attention span (as if 100-word reviews wasn't gift enough) as they can just scan a page of reviews in seconds. I'm sometimes in two minds about an album (probably subjective and objective!) And only words can convey that - stars are too black-and-white as they refuse to acknowledge ambiguity.

Do any writers, or readers for that matter, like the star ratings system?

Star me up

PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2007 12:21 pm
by Gordon Neill
I think what I value most in a reviewer is clarity and consistency. It only takes a few reviews to get a feel for the reviewer's preferred type of music and I can adjust their comments accordingly (usually downwards). So consistency isn't too much of a problem.

But I suspect I'm going to be a bit of a lone voice in .... gulp..... supporting the use of star rating systems. Sure, I'm well aware of the downsides to them, they're overly-simplistic, based on the assuption that we can compare like with like, and can be wrong anyway (just look at the plethora of five-star reviews in Amazon). And a well-written review is perfectly capable of providing clear conclusions or at least clear signals on what the innocent listener can expect.

But the trouble is that a lot of reviews seem to be exercises in showing off the reviewer's knowledge, rather than providing a useful guide on the best way to get rid of my money. Quite often, after wading through a mini history lesson or some socio-economic analysis, I'm none the wiser. Does the thing have bouncy tunes or what? Crude they may be, but a star rating system does at least force the reviewer into a clear bottom line, a clear conclusion.

PostPosted: Fri Mar 30, 2007 10:09 am
by howard male
I understand where you're coming from, Gordon N, and I would half agree if perpaps it was a ten star system. Time Out have made the weird decision to go up to six stars to allow for more flexibility, but that's just silly (it doesn't look right on the page.) You try and star-rate an album on an album you bought earlier, it's bloody tricky: 5 seems over the top, 3 just looks mean if you liked the record, and 2 and 1 never get used because I never review anything I think that little of. So you end up giving everything 4.

We are living in a culture which is increasingly about nother more than selling stuff to us (well, not us exactly, but 25 - 35 year old women to be precise) and that's the carrot that even the broadsheets are chasing now.
The star system is part of that patronising agenda, that back-to-school awards system. It wouldn't surprise me if those pretty little stars were all we ended up with another decade down the line, with perhaps just a sentence or even just a word from the so-called critic; great, super, smashing!

PostPosted: Fri Mar 30, 2007 10:39 am
by Gordon Neill
Howard offered:

I would half agree if perpaps it was a ten star system.

Well let's just make it a twenty star system and then we could fully agree!

More seriously, I do share your reservations about the pressures to condense views into a few short snappy sentences. I've sensed your frustrations over the months at your reviews being edited to make space for pants adverts or whatever. I'm all for the reviewer being given space to do an album justice, without too much woffling. But I do like a clear bottom line.