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Monday, 19 December 2016

[MUSIC] Kill Your Friends

[MUSIC] Kill Your Friends

“It's easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled.” (Mark Twain?)

Part I #BeggarsBanquet #BeggarsFrance #XLRecordings #RoughTrade #Relentless
PART II #TimeOut #MarkKoselek – 16 Jan 17
Part III #Bjork #XLRecording #FireRec (AliceGros) #BadLife #RocketGirl #Warp #SonicCathedral - 16 Jan 17

Part I
Last night I watched the monstrous dark, funny, witty, amoral and outstandingly esthetical Owen Harris’s film Kill Your Friends... about the betrayal and murder in the music industry. So 90’s! Such a cross between David Frankel’s The Devil Wears Prada & Stephen Norrington’s The Last Minute.

After viewing the band The Lemon Twigs (LM) on French TV prog Quotidien (a Bangumi Prod), I wrote a “piss-take-semi-satirical and absurd” piece on its performance. Questioning about its record labels 4AD / Beggars France way of promoting their very young act as well as the very silly questions been asked on live TV: “Who is the tallest?” The band is influenced by The Beach Boys, The Beatles and so on though!

A few days later, I met with a music student that I’ll call “it” or “BBB” (for Beggars Banquet Baby). Apart from telling me that my English sucks, that my prose is not catchy [1000 views in a week despite my small numbers of followers] and that Punk was a British thing, not a French one, nor a German one (I can’t remember hearing anybody claiming otherwise), it lectures me on how I should have written an essai about the music industry and its incoherence; how I should have targeted the label itself instead of LM (hard to do, they blocked me, tis in my prose innit); how the French presenter Yann Barthes is a jerk... and how non British peeps don’t and can’t get the dry and dark humour from the Brits... and Americans (LM are North Americans).

Summing up my answers back:
-       Yann Barthes presents and produces a satirical programme that also includes very serious political topics. Humour is a specificity of the programme. [We, “the ignorant French peeps”, have been drugged up in France with programmes like Benny Hill in the 80’s. Before that I don’t know, I was either too young or in Africa. Anything British (music, series etc) I (and my fellows) “ODed” on it in my youth and that, eventually got me to live in the Abs Fab capital. I mean Benny Hill, FR3 @ 8pm on Sundays... even my father was religious about it! Today, the French are in love with Ricky Gervais... ] So, if we don’t understand the British wit, wasn’t it the music label duty to prevent its band to ridicule itself? Their forecast... I still don’t see any fun in it... pathetic I’d say! We are talking here indie music signed on a so called struggling independent label, not some kind of cheap popish variété that could do the forecast job! Perhaps, an established band like U2 would have been funny. But is hearing a foreign person wrongly pronouncing some town names the meaning of... hilarious? C’mon guys, that’s crass! Q&A presenter vs LM was bad, end of!
-       I never intended to write an essai. It was a billet d’humeur, an observation!

I sent my observation to a few Brit guys who were involved in the music scene for decades and either left it or got made redundant. “Boring” or “stupid” they thought. As for the French in the media, they feel they have a good grip on Brit humour...

The BBB music student is being lectured by a Beggars Banquet promo guy among others [most of the others are black apparently and so are the students and that seems to be an issue for it]. I am pretty convinced that it doesn’t talk for itself but on behalf on the label as it wants to work for them (to be signed or to be a music scout). In its latest missive, BBB writes “[It] Seems to me a single interview reaching maximum audience is a doddle compared to a hundred rainy nights on the lonely road... If they [LT] are truly hating it, then it’s a matter of breaking free from management and following in footsteps of increasing numbers of artists who choose to ignore labels and signing and instead they get involved in the new wave of 'direct democracy’” – Sorry Beggars Banquet (BB), but artists like LT should be treated with respect on their work. Just because it reaches thousands of people in a few minutes broadcasting doesn’t mean that we, the public have to be fed some crap. Yann Barthes and his team have managed a lot better in the past. If BB music PR can’t do the job, then don’t get the band to make fool of themselves to cover his / her incompetence. As for breaking free... I’m not sure how it’s possible or why LT would do that, simply because on a one off occasion, France chooses to treat them cheaply!

The other thing that worries me [in the zik Indus] is that BBB went to an A&R meeting with a British-Asian guy [whose PR I interviewed in the 90’s when he ran an all things Asian outcast label] and reported that if such artist didn’t wake up, then she would no longer be on his label... and Professor Green should chose between making docs or do music.
I simply can’t believe it! Is this how labels are supporting artists or is BBB too confused because of its drinking problems?

Is the future of a music act to sign for a single record deal? No perspective? No long term commitment? No international waves?
Like Steven Stelfox says in Kill Your Friends: “... You see, there is one thing you have to understand about the music industry. We have no obligation to make art. We have no obligation to make political statements. We have no obligation to make GOOD records. We have an obligation to make money”... scene continues on Stelfox’s shoes that don’t “give a fuck about the Velvet Underground”.
And for the fun of it, we might as well remember Jim Jarmusch’s Only Lovers Left Alive scene, when Tilda Swinton tells her sister who has just “ODed” on human blood “He works in the music industry” (aka his blood is not organic...)

Sybille Castelain

PART II  16 Jan 17
Recently, my post on Jonny Ensall has been sent around by some sick mind I suppose. I wrote my piece in Nov 2013 and prior to publishing it, I checked if his piece on Amy Winehouse had been e-published. I found nothing, therefore I assumed he got my idea somehow and wrote it in Sept. Following my publication, I heard Time Out (and The Guardian) was infamous for looking at blogs and “copying” some ideas... What’s appealing now is the fact that Jonny Ensall piece appears to have been published in July 2013. Could I possibly have missed it? Any possibility that a TO piece got deleted and replaced by Jonny’s instead?
What I understand upon interviewing Anne Pigalle on 28 June 2013 @ Camden Proud is that TO had some issues with Alex Proud, owner of Proud galleries. If I remember her monologue, Alex had e-blackmailed “his” cabaret artists, preventing them to play anywhere else than his place. TO received a copy of that email and published it (I’m just repeating what I am remembering from Anne). So, basically, TO doesn’t quite review Alex Proud’s galleries. Why, all of a sudden, would TO overdo it about that exhibition? Anyway, last year, I published the many “coincidences” I found between TO and my posts:
“Tate Modern/Britain: At first, I didn’t intent to write on major exhibitions, but in Aug/Sept 2013, I realised that Time Out (TO) (who had stopped writing on “obscure” events) were writing on same topics hours or days later on LAF (TO), Cranio (TO paper), James Batley (TO hours later - how many times has JB shown KTTD and how many times did he get coverage pre/post 13 Sept 13?), as well as writing on Amy Winehouse’s Brazil angle which I was supposed to do again but Jonny Ensall (with the help of Proud’s press officer?) did! So, I started to contact major venues and it was a hard won battle to be part of Tate’s press list!”

Mark Kozelek:
In June 2015, I wrote a piece to Mark Kozelek in support to music journalist Laura Snapes. She thanked me for it. It wasn’t a piece for fun or that I created to please her. I was very well aware of her young age, and it takes time to recover if... At a similar age, two decades ago, I went through sexual harassment @ Les Inrockuptibles, but also humiliation and isolation. It took me over 20 years to speak about it, so I wanted to celebrate her courage for writing a piece on how he called her a bitch at a gig. Lucky her, she could express herself in the Guardian and lucky her she had a device to record what he said. I never had that opportunity!
Today, I have no understanding why she is flirting with Les Inrocks and writes for Thomas Burgel, an ex-Inrocks. There is nothing revolutionary about that magazine and if she thinks there is no contestataire issues in UK, then she is stuck into one world! What Les Inrocks seems to be doing here, is using a young woman to cover up their sexism as explained in my piece on Carole Boinet

This is what capitalism does on feminism! They buy you (financially or metaphorically), make you think you have a voice and get two (or more) women against each others! 

Les Inrocks are nothing else but the new gossipy mag (see also in my Carole Boinet’s piece). Laura, if you read this, have you ever wondered why Les Inrocks haven’t sued me for libel over the past two years? I have sent them my prose via email!

Part III 16 Jan 17
MUSIC PRESS officers – Labels - artists Why such discrimination?

Bjork: I used to organise AV events in London and her label asked me if I could do a special Medúlla. I wasn’t a big fan of the artist (although I grew to really respect her), but I did it. I also worked on Bjork’s AV events in Peru (2006-2008). When I heard she was touring all around Latin America except Peru in 2007, I got in touch with her label manager Derek Birkett who gave me her agents contact in New York. Let me explain here about my LinkedIn saying I negotiated! Of course, I didn’t speak with Bjork directly, but explained to the agents the country financial situation and why the tickets should be affordable to all, not to a limited number of wealthy people and that her fees had to be reduced to make it accessible. Bjork had toured in Latin America before but never stopped in Peru. So, after some talks with her agents, she played in Lima, Peru in 2007. Tickets were more affordable than what it was supposed to be. Did she reduce her personal fee; did she reduce the number of people on stage or on tour with her? I have no idea, I didn’t organise her coming to Peru, I was an in-between. Bjork, like U2 or the Rolling Stones are “machines” led by an impressive number of people behind them. As far as I know, she toured again in Latin America but never played again in Peru. For the record, I kept all my correspondence with Derek and Bjork’s agents – just in case some gossipers would say I invent stuff! People in Peru knew I work hard to get Bjork in Lima (no, I was not even paid for it!) and a hype TV station interviewed me without notice (got out of bed): me @ 1'42 & @ 2'30 – On my return in Europe, I got myself onto LinkedIn and wrote “I negotiated fees with Bjork”. I emailed Derek asking him if it was ok? Derek is a very straight forward man and answers if something has to be clarified. Upon his silence, I assumed there was no problem. If Bjork’s admirer JD Beauvallet has asked her if it’s true (lowering fees)... chances are it’s not in her interest to say she did, innit? No disrespect to that, but I needed to address the issue!

XL recording: I write on Willis Earl Beal and can’t go to the gig... Few journalists wrote on his album and the press list is full! I might have been a bit of a pain (old bitches can’t download), but I also know that JD Beauvallet of Les Inrocks is quite close to the Beggars Banquet team... Could it be that he asked for not sharing his space with a younger bitch than he is? (19 Jan 17: am back on their mailing list :) )

Fire Record: I write on Las Kellies, can go to the gig, but am only aware of Fire acts whenever its press officer “remembers” me (usually a week before a gig)! As it happens international press officer Alice Gros was born (?) in the same French town as JD Beauvallet and Emmanuel Tellier, the very one who harassed me @ Les Inrocks... - (20 Jan 17: French press officer would like me to take this bit off, but not willing to add me back on press list)

Bad Life (BL): I write on Fé (and I do mention a Les Inrocks’ quote despite my “nettle rash” against them), go to the gig. Was supposed to meet its press officer, who couldn’t bother... Like Fire Rec, he only remembered to send emails randomly... JD Beauvallet does write on BL!

Rocket Girl (RG): I write on ex Clan of Xymox’s Pieter Nooten. I didn’t get the album, a stream only in April 2013. Vinita swears she doesn’t have any releases and yet I see her from time to time on FB packing CDs or records for music journalists... She is Beauvallet’s friend on FB! In June 2014, I interviewed Kirk Lake, an ex signing on her 90’s label. She published it on her personal FB praising the great Q&A. Within half an hour, the post disappeared but appeared on her RG FB page. When I asked her (at the time), she said FB deleted it! Recently, I saw her at a gallery preview but she covered herself. Since I was not going to force her to talk to me, I emailed “Why the hide, why not send me info on RG, why delete my post on Kirk Lake”? Vinita didn’t hide, Vinita has no releases on RG, Vinita has never posted my post on her personal page... OK! Shame, because like any labels I contact, I like their stuff! Perhaps she should try to stop badmouthing about people!

WARP: Funnily enough, Theo Seffusatti never replied to my emails in order to review Warp’s releases for my blog (started in 2013).
In 2006, I sat in Warp’s kitchen and he was very keen on me doing AVs for his label in Peru. He then sent me links that I could send around in Peru and Latin America... “What and how to buy Warps’ products”... I am too stupid to even realise he was using me to over promote his label. People in Peru who read his email thought he was taking advantage! They decided to dismiss Warp. Just in case, he wonders, the only promo CD he gave me at the time was not given, lent to record or sold to anybody! I brought it back to Europe and still have it.

Sonic Cathedral (SC): I guess I’ve been a pain at times but Nathaniel is the only one who keeps sending news. He is the only one who said “whenever there is a gig, you can come”. He’s never been flirty or anything inadequate. (No, I don’t accuse all men to harass me: it happened twice. Sorted in UK, but Les Inrocks in France are in vast denial)
When Alan Vega (AV) passed away, JD Beauvallet reminded its audience about AV’s collaboration with French singer Christophe « Il vient de s’éteindre à 78 ans, après avoir collaboré avec son fan Christophe sur l’album récent de ce dernier, Les Vestiges du Chaos. » (last paragraph). Since JD and I are not the best friends (although he is probably secretly in love with me) and since he “forgot” to mention the recent AV’s work with The Vacant Lots, I posted it on Les Inrocks FB page when they published an obituary. My comment was deleted three times... So I posted on my FB (visible in July 2016). For whatever reason, “journalist” Beauvallet is on a hate mode for Sonic Cathedral’s gems and yet he is certified as a journalist and... on Twitter! Shame SC doesn’t RT me anymore...

Giovanna F...N for a few labels: on 16/1/17 I contacted press officer Giovanna. Within 5 minutes, she replied to my email. Giovanna I “knew” from Resonance FM last year – a real difficult case in the sense that music bizz is about total control. How many followers, how many clicks... and yet, she was totally unable to send a single record from Hackney to Hackney... Eventually, I had to come to her office to get a record (out of guilt? She gave me a package of 10 CDs). I don’t care about her and how incompetent she is. She is an absolute reflection about how the music bizz is getting at / to! I am pretty convinced she’ll never make more contact with my blog, but I might be wrong... who knows!

Reeko: I reviewed a music piece and ended up in a Gestapo trap!

Sybille Castelain 

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