Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Marketing

"By the way, if anyone here is in marketing or advertising...kill yourself. Thank you. Just planting seeds, planting seeds is all I'm doing. No joke here, really. Seriously, kill yourself, you have no rationalisation for what you do, you are Satan's little helpers. Kill yourself, kill yourself, kill yourself now. Now, back to the show. " Bill Hicks

I am, it must be said, a trifle troubled at the moment and can't get the thoughts of the legendary, no late great, no... (damn, why are there so few ways to say that?)... anyway, Bill Hicks everbody. (He was generally funnier than that I swear)

I recently began an internship (see previous post for an explanation) in the marketing department of 9:30 Club here in DC. I am, as it were, "in" marketing at the moment. The 9:30 Club produces a wee little brochure/pamphlet detailing coming attractions at the venue - at least those which aren't immediate sellers - and this month's issue included a couple of pieces written by yours truly.

Exhibit A: The Subways
'Since they first emerged in the summer of 2004, The Subways' no-holds-barred blend of riotous punk rocka nd boisterous Brit-pop (not to mention a performance of their debut single "Rock 'n' Roll Queen on The OC) has helped them attract a devoted following on both sides of the Atlantic.
The Subways' musical direction is not an obvious one as they travel from The Pixies to The Sex Pistols via Oasis. Their much anticipated debut album Young For Eternity delivers the energetic exuberance and simple-but-stylish songwriting that those who know them have come to expect and those who don't are gonna want to grab with both hands. Spin described them as "adorably vicious" and that sounds about right. Blonde bombshell bassist Charlotte Cooper certainly seems to have as much bite as bark. Now is the time to catch them as the young threesome look to impress ontheir first major American tour.
Support comes from LA's super-hip indie pistols The Shys. Don't forget this is an early one - the ideal warm-up for a night on the town.'

LIES LIES LIES. Comparisons with the Sex Pistols and The Pixies? LIES. I really have very little time for The Subways. Remember seeing them at Pilton Party a few years ago but we were, I believe, concentrating on getting sloshed (yeah yeah, awful word, very AbFab) since Mark and Fay were behind the bar and seemed to get the change "wrong" every time making for a very cheap night. Bless 'em.

(BTW wasn't that the year Chris got latched onto by a 13 year - yeah, yeah, she was older than that but the story is funnier my way - and he proceded to romance her by looking up at the stars and pointing out Orion's belt. Nice one dude. Can't remember who the main band were that year. Anyone wanna help me out?)

Anywayz I barely believe a word of what I've written there - apart from the stuff about them being in the OC and about the bassist being - and while I think it's a decent enough piece it does sorta make me feel like I've sold my soul to the devil. Except NOT EVEN SOLD! I've given it away. In return for free tickets to gigs (including Supergrass, The Deftones, Belle+Sebastian/New Pornographer, Beth Orton - not bad huh?) and an additional entry on my CV. Right I'm going to confession. So convenient being at a Catholic university.

Exhibit B: Metric
'Metric frontwoman Emily Haines compels you to pay attention. Does she? I really have no idea. While she may have boys in her band, it's the feistier-than-Feist (Feist being a similar Canadian singer/songwriter type who also came from Broken Social Scene, hence the apt nature of such a comment) keyboardist at the front you're going to be staring Probably not a lie, she is certainly more attractive than they are at when the Canadian electro-alt quartet hit the 9:30 Club. Far more than just another artschool dropout indie band Actually that's exactly what they are, Metric combine the vibrant power of neo-new wave What in God's name does 'neo-new wave' actually mean?! acts like The Killers and Interpol with subtly sophisticated feminine charms that those silly boys could only dream of - not so much screaming sex as aggressively hinting at it. Their latest album Live It Out is filled with more guitars and less glam-rock than their previous efforts, or so I read on Amazon, I haven't actually heard anything they have previously done incorporating a multi-faceted melange of dejecting despair and electric elation Ooh! Catchy! that is as unpredictable as it is fierce. Spin calls Emily Haines, 'intimidatingly cool,' but don't let that stop you: for one night only, she's all yours.'

See what I mean?

Now don't get me wrong, I actually love my job and look forward to going into work on Tuesdays and Thursdays. And writing stuff like this is fun because it's so short that you're forced to really consider every single sentence, clause and word you're writing. There can be no readily discarded irrelevant lines because in 150 words or so everything has to mean something and it has to be assumed that everything is going to be read. As pieces of prose I am fairly proud of those two and the fact that they have been published and distributed to a circulation of literally many many thousands (admittedly only a fraction will actually read it but still).

But I just can't escape the fact that it's dishonest. That I barely believe a word of it. Not like me, I know many of you will agree (those of you who see me as something of a morality-free zone anyway), to find myself in the midst of a self-contained ethical entanglement.

So, the question is begged, does it really matter? Compare it to the Spencer Bates piece below and there really isn't much difference. Except with one it's marketing that you at least know is marketing while the other is marketing passing itself off as journalism.

I don't honestly believe everything in that extended diatribe about the boy Bates (don't call him Master) so it's a fairly deceitful article too I guess. He's not that great but he's a nice guy and was I never gonna write an vicious attack on his piano playing was I cos what's the point?

Anyway, I think Karma dealt me a blow last night (the details of which are not for general consumption) and on top of that I have to work at the Black Eyed bloody Peas gig next month in return for the week off work to see muvver and Lil (Happy Birthday Lily!). I ask you: Where IS the love?

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So I went to The Subways gig last night despite my reservations about them. They certainly were eager to impress, I got that right, but almost to the point of being a little too try-hard. Their songs are pretty much awful and they seem fo the most part to amount to little more than a 90s tribute act, borrowing bits from everyone from Morrissey to Blur. But bless 'em they certainly gave it a go. Jumping around all over the place and the bassist's outfit (although short shorts rather than skirt, the end result was effectively the same) was nothing less (or should that read "more" than expected". Got chatting to her after the show; she was quite sweet - although not actually as attractive as people seem to think - and a bit surprised by the number of people that showed up (about a 1000, not bad for a band like that although t'was only $10), "Fanks for comin' daaaan, so laaaarvely to see you all". Good luck to 'em anyway. Pictures to come, Belle+Sebastian/New Pornographers tonight.

1 comment:

GaV said...

Well more of a white lie that one isn't it. Just because what you have written, you don't believe in doesn't mean that everyone who reads it and then goes will think that you have mislead them. Marketing is just that, biging up the product to sell the brand, and I think most people expect that. For example, you see a fast food ad, you don't expect that burger to look like the burger in the ad, but you do expect to get the raw ingredients in that burger, in your's that you buy.

Does it matter, well I think that’s a two way street, personally I don’t think it does, as long as you don’t feel mislead.

That was a public broadcast announcement, brought to you by, Words of Wisdom from GaV.