The Getintothis Alternative Christmas Message


Can collaborator, electronica guru, Liverpool expat and all-round dude, Jono Podmore delivers this year’s alternative Christmas message – huzzah!

I know it’s contrary to the unwritten code of the music industry that says we have to be positive, smiling bunnies at all times but I’M FEELING IT!
The back end of 2008 for me was scheduled to be a veritable caravan of gigs, shows, installations and international love-ins. But what did I get? Cancellations.
I stopped answering the phone, reading my mail, even answering the door but panicking promoters seemed to seek me out wherever I could hide.
As revenue from recorded music (at least for musicians) has plummeted steadily since the great CD swindle came to an end at the turn of the century, I was not alone in believing that live music would save our sorry arses from the dole queue.
Gigs and merchandising would fill the yawning monetary gap left by a population who have wised up to how massively they had been ripped off .
Shelling out for over-priced re-issues on a format that was cheaper to produce but sold at a massive mark-up (due to it amazing digital sound) was one of the great cons of the 20th century.
Gigs and vinyl would save us I believed – and a handful of music lovers at independent record companies agreed but sadly the majors who manipulate our entire business so viciously didn’t. They didn’t invest in anything other than what they could snort up their noses.
But is it just me? Is it my own bitterness? Have I missed something?
That’s what I asked myself when I couldn’t see how the stability of the world’s economies should be left in the hands of anonymous gamblers and crooks in search of short-term profit…. and I hate to say I told you so.
Let’s just say enough of other people’s shows are being cancelled that London’s major listings magazine is laying people off.
So here we are – the product has become valueless, no-one can afford to go to the gigs, and the only gigs that get financial support are tried and trusted old fools wringing the filthy dishrag of their back catalogues. Magazine? Blur? Prodigy? Weren’t the 80s WONDERFUL!
They certainly were if you were in A&R at one of the majors – not a barrel of laughs in the mining industry I seem to remember.
I reckon unless we boycott this crap completely we’ll be left wondering how we found ourselves in the final nightmare of corporate capitalism, with only fear of eviction, the X Factor and nostalgia as the driving forces of our culture.
Again we see proof positive of the dishonest promotion of “choice” in contemporary capitalism – the bigger companies crush their smaller competition using brutal and underhand tactics and so we’re left with the choice of buying the same product from the same company that we are all essentially working for.
Paranoid? Pinnacle, one of Britain’s biggest independent music distributors has just gone bankrupt – leaving smaller labels in debt, their stock in the hands of the receiver and unable to get their product into the shops.
The majors are now negotiating a way to avoid collecting royalties via the MCPS – the only reasonably fair financial mechanism in this tawdry business. They ARE out to get us.
Here’s some positive advice: If you’re an musician – when you get to your instrument and it makes a sound vaguely reminiscent of the nostalgic shit that’s saving the man’s expense account YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG.
If you manage to produce a sound that you’ve never heard before, that defies definition, that makes you wonder if it’s even music at all YOU’RE DOING IT RIGHT!
…and don’t bother with satire – time and again I’ve seen komedy kitsch become the mainstream and simply lining the pockets of the tasteless bankers and brokers who run our business.
If you’re a music lover, it’s very simple – go to loads of cheap gigs by bands you’re never heard of. If their brilliant, you’ve made a discovery – if they’re rubbish, heckle them mercilessly.
The money you save and the entertainment you’ll derive from that will make you wonder why you ever spent £25 to sit in a stadium to watch some rehashed old hacks rattle away on their manager’s cash registers.
And whoever you are it’s time to destroy all those clothes that symbolise a yearning for bygone age of coke fuelled record industry excess.
Burn those Converse, those drainpipe jeans, those off-the-shoulder tops.
Nothing else to wear – the wardrobe is bear? Cover yourself in leaves! Paint your legs with creosote! Wrap your head in felt! Grease your arse!
Anything is preferable than maintaining a morally AND financially bankrupt culture of regurgitated anachronistic nonsense.
Don’t let the panic in the music and fashion industry replace your culture with a diluted and sanitised version of your parents’.