And you could have no money, but every person you know owns an mp3 of your music. And you could be the latest episode of Skins or the next James Bond, but creatively, I’m far more interested in the idea that the people who are your peers respect your work and you’re there. I remember selling a piece of work to someone whose opinion was up there with… he was just such a knowledge and he bought this piece of work and I found out that it had got hung next to an Ed Ruscha painting in his house, and that was like “Fuck yes I’ve made it” not because of the exhibition I’d had in London, but because his amazing art curator girlfriend had hung the print next to this Ed Ruscha … and it’s the same with music – there’s the financial ‘making it’ and the creative ‘making it’ – that spur that makes you want to go on. You could make millions writing for adverts, but it might not inspire you creatively. It goes back to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs! Getting all socio-political on your ass.”
Ha! Ok. So. Last Question. What’s on the top of your wishlist right now?
“What, musical wishlist?”
“Oh well that’s a hard one! I could give you a massive list of musical geekery, but in the end… Time! That’s all I want, is just Time! You work and work and work and in the end you just want more time, because Life just keeps getting in the way!”
Well. That’s a beautiful note to end on. Let’s go and take a photograph of the studio.
The following day, Jay texts me and says : “Ah retrospect : My dad’s copy of Blondie’s Parallel Lines on tape; probably most of my money goes on debt so that could be music based. And somehow quote Dave Hickey’s Romancing the Looky Loos.”
He’s talking about from the book Air Guitar by Dave Hickey. Essential reading. Here is me obliging, with a note on participants v spectators:
‘spectators invariably align themselves with authority. They have neither the time nor the inclination to make decisions. They just love the winning side— the side with the chic building, the gaudy doctorates, and the star-studded cast. They seek out spectacles whose value is confirmed by the normative blessing of institutions and corporations. In these venues, they derive sanctioned pleasure or virtue from an accredited source, and this makes them feel secure, more a part of things. Participants, on the other hand, do not like this feeling. They lose interest at the moment of accreditation, always assuming there is something better out there, something brighter and more desirable, something more in tune with their own agendas. And they may be wrong, of course. The truth may indeed reside in the vision of full professors and corporate moguls, but true participants persist in not believing this. They continue looking.
Thus, while spectators must be lured, participants just appear, looking for that new thing—the thing they always wanted to see—or the old thing that might be seen anew—and having seen it, they seek to invest that thing with new value. They do this simply by showing up; they do it with their body language and casual conversation, with their written commentary, if they are so inclined, and their disposable income, if it falls to hand. Because participants, unlike spectators, do not covertly hate the things they desire. Participants want their views to prevail, so they lobby for the embodiment of what they lack.
The impact of these participatory investments is tangible across the whole range of cultural production. It is more demonstrable, however, in “live arts” like music, theatre, and art than in industrial arts like publishing, film, and recording. Because in the “live arts,” participatory investment, as it accumulates, increases the monetary value of the product. You increase the value of an artwork just by buying it, if you are a participant. Thus, you will probably pay more for the next work by that artist you buy. You do the same if you recruit all your friends to go listen to a band in a bar. If all your friends show up and have a good time, you will almost certainly pay more at the door the next time the band plays. But that’s the idea: to increase the social value of the things you love…’
To Be Continued …