Film Review: A Star is Born

**Please Note This Discussion Contains Spoilers**

Looking at the most popular movies of recent times you would have to conclude that most of us don’t want to see a tragedy set in the modern world. Maybe we feel safer, more reassured if the potential horrors are set in a post apocalyptic landscape or a world populated by superheroes. Telling the truth about the nasty struggles of everyday people is a tougher sell. Thankfully that fact did not deter Bradley Cooper from remaking A Star is Born, refusing to shy away from addressing some of the all too real complexities of life as a famous musician and an addict. Anyone who enters the theatre expecting a lightweight tale of the rise of a pop star will be surely shocked at the depths of despair this film is prepared to reach.

Tragedy on such an epic scale could only be set in the world of show business, where it seems even the biggest stars lurch from one inexplicable personal horror to another, with many dying young or in desperate circumstances. Another tragic element of the industry, and of life I guess, is that eventually your time runs out and another younger, fresher talent is waiting to step into your spotlight. To balance the downfall A Star is Born, as the title suggests, will also brings us the rise of a superstar, with music so good it will crush your heart in two. Continue reading “Film Review: A Star is Born”

Thoughts on Rolling Stone’s ‘The 100 Greatest Songs of the Century’ List

A couple of weeks back Rolling Stone magazine published their list of the ‘100 Greatest Songs of the 21st Century’ and while these lists may seem arbitrary to some, I always find them a useful gauge of the state of the music industry as a whole. This blog aims to promote better representation for women in music so I thought I would analyse the list and see what conclusions could be drawn. Continue reading “Thoughts on Rolling Stone’s ‘The 100 Greatest Songs of the Century’ List”

Why the TRNSMT ‘Golden Circle’ and All Exploitative ‘VIP’ Standing Areas Must Go

At TRNSMT festival on Sunday in Glasgow I witnessed one of the most depressing sights in my twenty-plus years of concert going. As the headline act, The Killers, took to the stage there was a huge expanse of empty space in a ‘golden circle’ section at the front of the stage, while tens of thousands of people who had paid good money to see the show were fenced off and squashed behind a barrier. From our stand point it looked like there was essentially two festivals: one for the rich and one for everyone else. Continue reading “Why the TRNSMT ‘Golden Circle’ and All Exploitative ‘VIP’ Standing Areas Must Go”

On Chvrches & The Problem With Negative Reviews

This week Lauren Mayberry from Chvrches responded to a negative review the band’s new album received from Stereogum by posting a long reply on social media. In the post she discussed her own experiences as a critic and expressed her frustration at the writer’s condescending take on the album, before asking ‘If you shit on something and the people who make it, then ‘pin’ it to your profile what does that say about you?’ As a blogger that question, and also a recently published anonymous article about the mental health of artists, got me thinking about the role of the critic and the problem with negative reviews. Continue reading “On Chvrches & The Problem With Negative Reviews”

Sweet Ride: My Life As A Belly Fan

I still remember the exact moment when I fell in love with Belly. It was summer 1995, a time that feels like yesterday and a lifetime ago in the same breath. I was 13 and already an obsessive music fan, listening to britpop and guitar bands in my every waking moment. Yet something was missing. Oasis, Blur, Pulp etc were all great but they were bands I liked because I knew they were cool and because other people told me I should. Finding your own favourite band is another thing altogether.

So when I sat down to watch the TV coverage of Glastonbury festival that year I didn’t know what I was looking for exactly but as soon as Belly came on screen I knew I’d found it. Sure, I was naturally drawn to any girls playing guitar, but there were others that year too who could have won my heart – Veruca Salt, Sleeper, Elastica – instead Belly were the one. They spewed venom in a way that was sweet and brutal at the same time. Whatever the combination of musical energy and mysterious force they had, I was instantly hooked. Continue reading “Sweet Ride: My Life As A Belly Fan”

How To End the Ticket Resale Madness For Good

The problems with ticket touts/scalpers have been well documented – fans are getting ripped off and shady people are profiting big time. The government may be ‘investigating’ these companies and some acts may look like they’re trying to fight back but in reality things are getting worse, not better. The ‘Sold Out’ sign by a tour date is now utterly meaningless and everyone knows it.

What frustrates me most is that there is already a proven way to stop ticket touts/scalpers but NO ONE is willing to use it because the current system is the easiest and most profitable for both the ticket companies and the artist. As long as the tickets sell the artist benefits, sure there might be some empty seats but the money generated is the same. And now that companies like Ticketmaster own secondary sites they can almost instantly sell the same product back to the consumer at a higher price and get away with it.

The solution to this madness is staring us in the face and has been for over ten years. Glastonbury festival have eliminated ticket touts and secondary reselling, by overhauling their selling system to ensure that fans do not get ripped off. Emily Eavis herself has called for others to follow their lead. In my opinion this system should be adopted by all major artists and festivals to ensure fair and safe ticket buying for the consumer.

Here are the basics of Glastonbury’s system, with some thoughts on how it could work for other events. Continue reading “How To End the Ticket Resale Madness For Good”

Most Anticipated Music of 2018

At this moment it’s hard to believe that 2018 could be as good a year for music as 2017, such was the breadth and depth of brilliant albums released by female artists. Still this time last year I hadn’t even heard of many of the acts who ended up on my favourite albums list so I’m hoping for more hidden gems to surprise me over the next few months. Read on to find out who you might be listening to this year. Continue reading “Most Anticipated Music of 2018”

2018 Blog Resolutions

I loved reading the old Woody Guthrie and Johnny Cash new year resolutions that have been making the rounds on Twitter so much that I have decided to write a few of my own. I would definitely steal most of Woody’s including ‘read lots of good books’, ‘love everybody’ and ‘dream good’ but this post will focus on my personal blogging resolutions for 2018. Continue reading “2018 Blog Resolutions”

What the ‘Album of the Year’ Polls Tell Us About Female Representation in Music

The ubiquitous end of year album lists might seem arbitrary but they are an important way for people to find new music and I believe they have a significant impact on an artist’s overall career. So this year I decided to do a very unscientific analysis of various polls to see how well female voices were represented overall. Continue reading “What the ‘Album of the Year’ Polls Tell Us About Female Representation in Music”

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