Almost as soon as I was done writing the last entry, I realised I’d forgotten something. Well, not as soon. More like “a few hours later whilst I was in the shower and it felt too late to update and it was already a long post anyway.” What I forgot was so important that I immediately sat down (well, first I finished my shower, cos I’m sensible that way) and wrote this next post. (Though I’ve edited it a wee bit since.)
The question last time was: How can you support the artists you know?
And the one really basic thing I forgot to say, because I assumed it went without saying, is to check out their work. Listen to their music, take a look at their paintings, read their stories, and all that good stuff. Whether or not you can do this legally without spending money will vary (though I tend to think that wise artists have at least some kind of samples online for just this reason). I can’t tell you how often someone says, “I’ve known you for years and somehow never gotten around to listening to your stuff.”
I get that not all artists are good and/or to your tastes. I do. But, as the friend who does check out friends’ stuff, who has had to find ways to gracefully respond to some…well, it wasn’t stuff that I enjoyed at all…This is a case where I am definitely asking you to do as I do. How to gracefully deal with not liking it could be a whole other post, and even then there are some artists with whom there is just no answer other than adoration that will be safe. So I’m afraid I’m going to leave you hanging on this one for now…
Okay, let’s get beyond basics. Because there’s more to this. Or, rather, one more step to this.
Try again later. Didn’t love what they did in their last project? Didn’t like the previous album but there’s a new one? Maybe just haven’t taken a listen in a while? I’m here to ask you to try again. Because people can get better the longer they play. Because the sound of a band can evolve over time. Because a different project can mean a whole new flavour.
There’s no guarantee you’ll like them any more at this new milestone than you did the last time you checked them out. Maybe you’ll never like what they do. But I can tell you from experience that sometimes things change just enough. Here are three examples from real life even:
1. I was just talking to a friend about the difference in what Siouxsie Sioux did if you compare that first gig of punkrock shouting in 1977 (here’s some audio from that era) to what she did later (in 1991, for instance). She evolved as a singer and the sort of songs the band was making had expanded.
2. My mother always figured David Bowie couldn’t sing. I’m sure she heard him, cos the rest of us played his stuff, but I think she sometimes had a sort of prejudice when it came to rock singers. Then I showed her the Christmas duet he did with Bing Crosby and she changed her opinion.
3. And sticking with my mum…The story of her initial reaction to the music Varnish makes is best not told (or at least not in print…hehe). But we put in some time and we evolved and, without me asking, she took another listen. One day, out of the blue (and with timing that lets me know it wasn’t just her trying to be nice as her life was ending), she told me she’d started listening to the songs we’d posted online recently. She liked two of them. Bless, Mum. Bless. (If she were still around, I am pretty sure she’d like even more of what we’re plotting in one of my side projects.)
So, listen or look or whatever it is your friends’ art takes. If you like it, follow the suggestions in the previous post. If you don’t like it, give it a while, wait for some kind of change or milestone, and then give it another chance. Cos that’s a beautiful thing to do for us creative kids.