[The original post that was here was deleted on 18th April 2017 and has been replaced with something more constructive. The title of the post has been changed. The three comments were all made before the post was edited / changed entirely. These words are a more rational assessment than the earlier one.]
In list for for relative brevity –
(1) It is my opinion that you should not get up on stage, or display your art in galleries, or put your writing in the public domain unless you are happy for people to comment on it.
(2) Not everyone is going to like it. This is tue even if you are a genius, as evidenced by the fact that The Telescopes are not one of the biggest bands of all time. (Go see ’em).
(3) I sent an email to Jasleen Dhindsa a few weeks ago telling her that I was going to write a little more about her blog and asking her if she wanted to have a chance to respond to my points before I posted them. She chose not to reply to me.
(4) May I ask that you go to the thnksfrthrvw “about” page here –
and give it a good old read. You might even wish to read a few reviews on there. But you might not.
(5) My first question for Jasleen Dhindsa is “Why is it called ‘thnksfrthrvw’?” In the absence of an answer I can only speculate that Jasleen thinks that people will be thanking her for the reviews. It could be that she is expecting thanks from the reader, but I suspect that it is more in the sense of of the way that small / DIY bands tend to thank reviewers who give good reviews. Small bands appreciate the attention and support. Sometimes I get thanks for a review. There is nothing wrong with getting thanks for a review. There is nothing wrong with trying to support small / DIY bands. There is nothing wrong with seeking to write supportive articles and not seeking to slag off bands. But “thnksfrthrvw” just sounds too much like “we’re not sure whether we are PRs or reviewers”.
Maybe I am over-reacting, but “thnksfrthrvw” is incredibly off-putting and worrying as a name for a music blog. In fact its what got my back up and got me looking at it closer.
(6) Jasleen describes it as “a[n]… independent blog“. She goes on to say (a few paragaphs down) that the “blog is completely independent from our writers’ work on and associations with other sites unless stated otherwise!” I am not sure whether this is sloppy writing and she meant to say “we are independent – independent of our writing on other websites that is – but not independent of our other work”. Or maybe it was quite deliberate – a claim to be independent followed by small print which makes it clear that it is only independent of their other writing, not the writers’ other interests. Why say “unless stated otherwise?” Can’t you just be independent and not write where there is a conflict of interest? Or maybe you could state when you are not independent like you say you will?
Why say you’re independent when you’re not?
(7) I find it VERY distasteful that a website should make bold proclaimations about indepedence whilst not being at all independent.
(8) Example one. 5/5 review of Idles at the Boileroom on 15th March – written when Jasleen was (maybe she still is) a PR intern at the Boileroom. Jasleen – how can you be independent whilst reviewing gigs at the venue that you do PR? Why did you not mention the conflict of interest despite claiming that you will state when you are not independent?
(9) The Idles review featured a photo where the Jack Daniels logo was super-imposed image. I presume that thnksfrthrvw don’t get paid by Jack Daniels, but I presume someone related to the photographer or the venue does, otherwise why was the logo there? Can you confirm Jasleen?
(10) Example two. On February 20th The Machiavellians got a 5/5 review. One might think the review is independent until you look at her linkedin profile and one of her jobs is “Manager / Booker / Publicist” for The Machiavellians. You couldn’t make it up.
(11) Can I just make something clear here? It isn’t compulsory to be independent when you write – had the claims for independence not been made it would be hard to criticise the blog for (effectively) doing what many (most?) magazines do.
(12) I would like to know Jasleen’s opinion on this, hence why I emailed her before writing this blog post. She chose not to reply.
(13) Example Three – the Always The Sun brief review. Now to be fair it was made clear previously on thnksfrthrvw that they [Jasleen, the whole thnksfrthrvw team?] were ‘involved’ in Always The Sun. But if you wish to go around claiming independence then surely mentioning your total lack of independence in the article you write is the right thing to do, not simply relying on people having read the news weeks / months earlier where you said you were “involved”? Especially if you insist on saying things like “was a brilliant success”, “the best festival Guildford has ever seen” [Jasleen – are you MUCH older than you look, or do you use time-travel to check before making such claims?] and “killer bands slaying the UK indie alt scene”?
(14) “thnksfrthrvw is super laid back, cool and…” is another thing in their about section. I am afraid to say that NOTHING AND NO-ONE EVER THAT HAS DESCRIBED THEMSELVES AS SUPER LAID BACK AND COOL IS EITHER OF THSOE THINGS. Apart from Wild Eye. Wild Eye is super laid back and cool. But mainly cool.
(15) “It’s a nice and tidy song, everything stands out, and it’s easy to listen too which is what makes for a great song.” That is one of my favourite sentences I read on the blog. Wowzers – “nice and tidy” – that’s a compliment for music. “Everything stands out” – how the hell is that even possible – the band in question must be truly incredible!?!!?
ABOUT WILD EYE MUSIC BLOG
This blog as of today is completely independent of any formal or financial relationship with any band, manager, venue, PR agency, record label, promoter etc. This may change in future and I make no promises as to this blog’s future independence. This is part of the reason that I make no claims as to this blog’s independence in the “About” section. The other part is that music writing is meant to be subjective, biased, hyperbolic… independent implies objective, which I am not. Objectivity is boring. Also, independence gets harder to claim when one is writing about people / bands I know.
If you have any specific questions or queries please get in touch.
WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT?
Maybe it isn’t. In fact, certainly – what thnksfrthrvw say is not important. But it is important. We live in deeply cynical and deeply troubling times. Politicians lie all the time. They – I’m particularly thinking of the Tories – pretend to care about ordinary people despite enacting policies for the 1% or even the 0.1%. Boris Johnson campaigned for a Brexit he probably didn’t even believe in. News is called false, whilst nonsense is acclaimed as fact. Critical thinking is non-existent. Music magazines seemingly ALWAYS have adverts for every single album that is given a good review.
In this environment I genuinely believe that everyone who is part of the solution and not part of the problem needs to stand up for what is right. What is right when it comes to music journalism / criticism is honest opinions. What is next most right is bullshit like the NME – a gossip rag / advertising portal that does shit reviews as well as repeating the press releases they get sent, parrot fashion. What is least right are blogs / publications / writers who claim to be independent whilst not being independent.
It makes me sad.