Having had more interviews and reviews for Schoolyard Ghosts than for any No-Man album since Flowermouth, it’s been interesting to see how the resulting articles reflect the changes that have taken place in the publishing industry over the last decade and a half.
Although the process was well underway by the end of the 1980s, there’s no doubt in my mind that the quality of writing and debate (in the UK at least) has been simplified. When I was younger, mainstream music journalism was aspirational, now it appears purely functional.
My feeling is that as the internet allows absolute freedom of speech and immediate access to information, magazines should do what the web can’t. For me, that’s develop higher standards of editing and journalistic excellence and play more with the possibilities of image, texture and design. Too many journalists I know (who write for major publications) feel frustrated by the demands of creating fairly meaningless, bite-size reviews and interviews that exhibit few ideas, little of the journalist’s own writing style or passions and even less of the subject’s qualities.
It’s usually no-one in particular’s fault, but regardless of the subject’s words or the journalist’s knowledge and intentions, the demands of space, market and publisher’s commercial visions often get in the way of meaning, accuracy and stylistic invention. In their attempts to directly appeal to a perceived audience, published articles can sometimes unintentionally short change the subject, the writer and the readership.
I’ve been pleased that we’ve had coverage and I’m genuinely grateful to magazines for featuring us, but it strikes me as something of a pity that the most perceptive and inventive reviews and interviews I’m seeing at the moment are mainly on the web or in fanzines (places and pieces that aren’t at the whim of sub-editors or market forces).
The No-Man rehearsals have continued to go well. The third major get together proved something of a breakthrough, and if I wasn’t in the band already, I’d have asked to join!
Next time around, the man Wilson gets involved, so everything could change significantly, but the basis for an intriguing set has already been created and at this stage, that’s as much as I could have asked for.
Exactly 21 years after first writing with Steven, a new No-Man song emerged last week. More traditionally written than the Schoolyard Ghosts album (Steven provided me with a backing track to work from), the piece, tentatively titled Death Was California, has a languid, country, feel and a great sense of space.
Talking of Schoolyard Ghosts, my song of the same name (which served as the basis for Mixtaped) is now up on the www.myspace.com/timbowness page. Listen, digest and ponder whether it was rightfully condemned to the No-Man walk of shame. 🙂
The Edge Of Love (2008)
The Fountain (again!) (2006)
Haruki Murakami – After Dark (2007)
Sigur Ros – Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust (2008)