Amanda Palmer and The Issue of Paying Musicians
Here at The Blogging Goth we’re always welcoming to guest bloggers - first in the casket is Mr Monahan - Old School Goth, Irish, ex-student radio DJ and photographer.
Brechtian Punk Rock Cabaret Diva Amanda Palmer found herself once again the centre of attention during the months of August and September due an announcement relating to the ongoing tour for her new project, Amanda Palmer and The Grand Theft Orchestra, in support of their new album Theatre is Evil. This would not be unusual in itself, as Amanda is very good at marketing and getting noticed, except that the announcement is an open call for session musicians to play at her gigs on a volunteer basis. Instead of being paid cash for their services, they will receive beer, hugs, merchandise and thanks for a job well done.
This has caused quite an uproar from people who were unhappy with these arrangements, ranging from musicians, fans of Amanda Palmer and the internet and general. Some musicians such as Caustic and Unwoman have tried explaining her actions and answering her critics about Amanda’s decision not to pay her bit players. While Amanda has defended her actions,she has ultimately decided to pay all her session musicians that she will employ on her tour, including retro-active payment of all previous musicians who had volunteered on her tour.
While Amanda has a reputation for publicly asking for favours from fans in the form of loans of instruments and accommodation while on tour, the open call for volunteer musicians has been seen as condescending and insulting. Mrs Palmer has built a reputation on being an Indie artist who has struggled against the unfairness of the music industry (or at least, the unfairness of the executives at Roadrunner Records) and as an artist who built her name from the ground up. Such artist may be within their rights to ask for people to volunteer their skills for live shows, but such requests are kept to trusted friends rather then made to the general public. Facts such as said musician having made $1.2 million in pre-sales thanks to Kickstarter (more then a number of musicians will see in their entire careers), being married to bestselling author Neil Gaiman who has been promoting said Kickstarter, an established history and reputation or an extensive back catalogue does not help her case either.
Her success and fanbase, while doubtlessly well earned due to her hard work and talent, means that she can no longer regard herself as an Indie artist in the sense of a struggling self-funded singer-songwriter trying to share their vision with the world at the expense of financial security. If she sincerely wants to portray herself as an artist who worked to where she is now from scratch, then she must acknowledge that many of the musicians she works and will work with are in the place she once was in. And of the most sincere ways to acknowledge an artist’s talent and effort is to pay them a fair amount for their work.
Not only this, but Amanda can avail hers of a better quality of backing musician by offering them cash for their time rather then beer, thanks and merchandise. Professional musicians will, nine times out of ten, outperform amateurs and others working for free. Professionals can work out and charge a certain value based on their services and have the training, experience and work ethic to deliver what they are paid for. An amateur could be anyone who is willing to give it a go regardless of ability.
<Review> Leon Steelgrave - More Stories about Drugs, Sex and Violence
Usually, author’s pictures aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on. Who cares what the writer looks like? It’s the look of his words you’re more interested in, right? Revise that opinion then, because Leon Steelgrave’s battle-scarred back is the lining to this slim and sinful series of short stories.
Within, you will travel from Scotland’s roughest council estates to the highest echelons of American power, via the imaginary world that lies just a hop, skip and cup of Dr Leary’s patent medication away from our own. You’ll run into a broad array of characters all inflicting unforgivable pain and immeasurable pleasure on one another as they nestle in the heart of the ‘normal’ world.
Lady Sarah could give Christian Grey a run for his money - and probably should. Will you sympathise with the jaded tabloid reporter who stumbles into her world of ultimate control? The master chemist of ‘Salvation’ has all of the skill - and none of the remorse - to make an entire world pay, but can he escape one man? Anne’s brother believes nobody can touch him when he takes down those who did for his sister, but is he so certain of his fate?
Steelgrave clearly broke out of the Irvine Welsh Asylum for Bleak Scots, and he autopsies the worst of our collective subconscious for your mingled horror and fascination. This is a perfect coffee-table book - if there’s room amidst the needles, whips and firearms.
Sentencing for Bury attackers
With thanks to the Sophie Lancaster Foundation who have begun circulating the news that sentencing has been handed down to the two men found guilty of assaulting two Goths in Bury, Manchester.
The case has been extensively covered by the Daily Mail, but we strive to offer alternatives to visiting the Daily Mail’s website. The Telegraph also has the disturbing video of the assault actually in progress which may affect sensitive viewers. Further coverage can be found by googling the victim in question.
This attack has been mentioned a few times on this blog, and we can now pass on the details of the case, and the sentence. One section that was repeated by the Mail was…
Kelsall of Cheetham Hill, Manchester, had committed 77 previous offences between 1980 and 2010 including assaulting a police officer and public order matters
His counsel stated… “He bears no prejudice on people who are Goths or who dress in that way. He accepts his actions were beyond acceptable.”
It is implied from the Mail’s coverage as well that there may have been some verbal altercation between McDermott and her companion, the victims, and Kelsall and Farrar. Regardless of the provocation, said Farrar’s lawyer…
‘There is no doubt the two parties did not like the look of each other. But whatever was said that is not an excuse.’
It is difficult at best to paint this as an alternatively-motivated attack - but it also cannot be discounted, and as a result we should be grateful that justice for such a vicious assault has been handed down.