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Our Crack Snapper
I walked into a record shop recently and was pleased to find that a genre called Transgressive Bands & Artists had been introduced to accommodate the new realities in the music industry. Within this there were sub genres so that music buyers knew exactly what he or she was getting. No more would there be ambiguity about personal or political behaviour. At last no more ignorance or hypocrisy; at last I could browse through genres like ‘Men in bands who slept with child groupies’ or ‘Solo male artists who slept with children because that was what happened in those times’ or ‘Men in bands who slept with children because they knew they would get away with it’ or ‘Solo male artists who beat their wives and girlfriends’ or ‘Male bands who are always handsy with female journalists’. Of course, what this has also meant is that everything from an artist’s accepted music industry image to his lyrics could be reassessed. Sensitive men could be reassigned to being dirty old bastards. Lyrics could be recontextualised to reveal the monster that had always been well hidden so as not to frighten the preferred demographic. A change well overdue. A change in my dreams only, because based on current evidence the music industry seems to be a long way from its #MeToo moment. As various women who work in the music industry have stated this year men are still being allowed to get away with it for all kinds of reasons. As one female journalist recently noted, “male indie stars ask for guarantees so that allegations and evidence of an artist’s bad behaviour aren’t referred to in interviews… and music magazine editors sideline female employees who raise red flags when plans are made to cover well-known creeps.” The industry has always been adept at protecting their male money makers and music industry gatekeepers have always been keen to hype toxic male behaviour because it makes what are otherwise boring men look more exciting and dangerous (in that, Zzz, hub cap stealing, groupie sleeping way) than they actually are. And rather than challenging or even starting a conversation about any of this the industry seems to be hoping all this stuff is just forgotten, just another trend that will go the way of trends before it. Like the people on the bridge of the Titanic they think that they can slip past the Michael Jackson, R. Kelly, Ryan Adams allegations and hope they miss the rest of the ugly iceberg below. And maybe they’re right. Maybe men will continue to be given a free pass by other men in the industry or just quietly forgotten when no one seems to be listening anymore. Under the patina of good liberal lyrics and leftie politics what male monsters have you got lurking in your record collection? It would be helpful to know as the Transgressive Bands & Artists genre seems to be in serious need of expansion.