July 31st, 2009


Female Appreciation Month

Just reading One more thing About the Hottest 100 at The Dawn Chorus where she quotes Sophie Best from Mistletoe Records:

There’s obviously so many great female artists. I get really mad when people do articles about women in rock, I find it really patronizing because women have been making music, women have been a huge part of music since the music industry began. Before there was even an industry women have always played music! I find it really strange when people act as thought there’s something unusual about women playing music.

I’ll give you my personal theory if you like. I think it’s because the very idea of music being a competition, you know that there’s a ladder, and that there’s a contest and someone’s going to come out on top, is inherently a male idea. To me that seems to come from the sporting world, you know, the idea that someone’s the best, they’re going to win, they’re going to be on top, it sounds like footballism to me and to me it’s nothing to do with what music and art is about. I said I didn’t blame Triple J but maybe I do blame them for actually making music into a sport like that..

I always hate those lists, they’re always really bad…they always come up with the most god-awful winners. And if you think about it even yourself if you had to do a list, it’s really hard to do, to say what are the best songs. It’s a ridiculous question…My assessment of that is that the whole concept of having a hottest 100 is male, in that clichéd way of the male way of being competitive. I don’t think music is about that, I don’t think music is about whose best. I don’t think it’s a competition.

I really love this quote for several reasons. A lot of people have said to me, in response to my reaction about the Hottest 100, "Well do you think that there's more/better male music made?" or "I prefer to listen to male voices". To the first, I now just respond with "No." It's a stupid comment because *even if* there is more male music made, statistically that should have still put some women in the Hottest 100 if the maths was the only thing at play here. It's the same question, really, as female writers - that they don't write as well or as much. It's a cop out I think to halt what could be an interesting discussion if we were allowed to get past the attribution of blame.

The second comment, "I just prefer to hear male voices" or as someone told me yesterday, "people find women's pitch too high and men's voices more soothing" has me just not getting involved in discussion. It's a bit too close to "all women are shrill" for me, and I'm not gonna go there with discussion.

Cause anyway, really, it's a case by case thing when you talk about music that you like and don't like.

What I also loved about the above quote is the discussion on "lists". This is essentially why I didn't vote in the Hottest 100 poll in the first place. Usually, for the regular year poll, you used to be able to vote for as many songs as you liked and I could quite happily vote for 30 songs I liked in a year. Since they moved to the limit of 10, is about when I stopped voting. I find it quite hard to choose just 10 songs in a year, and especially across all the years. And I agree that the idea of choosing the best across things you love, and love for different reasons, is very hard. It's counter intuitive for me, anyway. One of the questions on my Blind Date Interview is - what is your favourite book? And it's a double barrelled trick question. I judge you twice, once on the book you say (Moby Dick is the answer that will not get you the second date) and the fact that you picked one. I'm of the opinion that if you have a favourite book, you haven't read enough books.

What I like about this quote is the likening of the list to making music into a sport. It's the same thinking as the idea that publishing is a zero sum game. Art has room for everyone. Everyone appreciates art differently and from different perspectives. And what I personally have loved about Female Appreciation Month is the point at which it became non-judgemental to put forward a song, any song, that you liked, people did. And many people have confessed to me that they listen to ... all kinds of stuff ... to which my reaction is AWESOME! I love that kind of music, because I love all kinds of music. I love pop, jazz, instrumental, classical, world, hop hop, reggae, folk, country, heavy metal, rnb, grunge, rock, classic rock, swing band... I love it all. Because I love music. And at the point at which you open the door and say all are welcome, people come forward and say, well, I like *this* and *this* and this and this and this. And to me, that's what has made it fun - a welcoming space, for all who want to join and share. And I've taken away a lot of new music to go and enjoy. And music wins, I guess?


in brief

My headache refuses to go away. I tried to work from home today but ended up having to email in sick. Ugh. I can't read, write, sew, watch TV! Too long on any of things makes me nauseous. And I can't think through the splitting pain in my head - I realised well after the event just now that I washed my hair with body wash.

Anyway, tonight we had dinner at my aunt and uncle's to farewell the last of their kids who is about to make aliyah to Israel (means emigrate there, basically). My cousin is going to do a year in Yeshiva and finish his degree here by correspondence, then do two years of army and then think about things. I think the best thing I can do is send him porn. *shrugs*

I got to announce to the room my sister's news. Someone wished her Mazal Tov but not everyone knew. So I said proudly, "She's making a person!" Which I think is a nice way to describe it. Course my brother in law swung into our schtick - we've been around each other for about 15 years now, we have this down pat and it very rapidly went to Inappropriate Town.

As I mentioned, there's no way to hide my hands in real life. I got outed. Though after I explained that I really don't believe I am washing my hands excessively, the mothers at the table though that since my hands are hot and look very very irritated, I might be allergic to something I am washing my hands with. I was already thinking of looking into nonsoap alternatives, as suggested here, but I think I will tomorrow. I also took an antihistamine as someone suggested it might calm them down. I think a lot of the redness has gone away since and they feel less hot. Maybe I am allergic to something and I've been trying to hide it so people won't think it's OCD.

This was what Benji was doing whilst I was gone: