Thursday, March 27, 2014

The Forest And The Trees

Continuing a local/grassroots theme, a post about something and nothing really:

So I’ve just had the rather unusual experience of turning down a “free” door pass to a gig. Given my Scottish heritage, this is not something I do very often, and it’s certainly not something that comes naturally. But I had to. I’ll be at the gig in question – a couple of local cover bands: Splintered In Her Head (Cure covers) and Permanence (Joy Division covers) – at Wellington venue Bodega, without question, but I had to turn down “free” entry as a matter of principle. Let me explain ...

I “won” the pass on Facebook by correctly answering a question relating to Robert Smith (of The Cure), but I hadn’t read the fine print for competition entry. One of the conditions stated that I had to sign a petition (run by Alastair Ross, but also being pushed by Splintered In Her Head’s Michel Rowland, click here) to bring The Cure to New Zealand in 2014. Rowland is a huge fan of the band, his passion is undoubted, and it’s a fairly simple request right? ... well, no, not really. You see, I’d already been quite outspoken on social media about this particular petition, I’d discussed it with friends, and I’d concluded that actually, I don’t want to see The Cure in NZ in 2014.
Not your average covers band
So to then sign the petition just as soon as it suited me would have been rather hypocritical in the extreme. I couldn’t do it, and figured the pass really ought to go to someone who was prepared to sign the petition honestly, enthusiastically, and unconditionally. I contacted Rowland and declined the pass to his band’s gig once I realised one of the conditions behind it. I explained my reasoning – basically, it’s because I’m anal, and it’s something I touched on in a previous blogpost about the Buzzcocks – and assured him that I’d be at Splintered In Her Head’s gig regardless. And I will be.

My reasoning is roughly this: I’m always wary of seeing a band in its dotage, or past its prime, for fear it will somehow spoil how I feel about the band. When a band has been one of my long-time favourites, that fear is somewhat more acute. For me – though there has been the odd exception to my “rule” – it is akin to watching a punch drunk heavyweight boxer stumble around the ring trying revive the glory of former years. I’ve always said I thought Robert Smith and the band should have called it quits after Bloodflowers in 2000, and nothing The Cure has done since has given me cause to change that opinion.
I did warn you that it was anal. And I guess I’ve just been stung before (another long-winded story, for another time and blogpost).

Robert Smith: no makeup selfie
But I do get what petitioner Ross and Rowland are trying to achieve. For them it is a passion, and from all accounts The Cure’s 2014 “world” tour will be all about embracing a great trilogy of albums from 1984 to 1987: The Top (1984), The Head On The Door (1985), and Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me (1987), so it’s not as though a raft of new (potentially awful) material would be unleashed on any unsuspecting fan.
And I have absolutely no objection to Cure cover bands! I practically grew up with one. And with the chance to see Permanence as well – with a collection of Joy Division covers? ... who would object to paying just $10 for that kind of double bill?
I thought Rowland might be a little offended by my attitude to his favourite band – I mean, why couldn’t I just sign the petition when it was going to benefit so many other Cure fans, right? ... no, he replied and it turns out he shares some of the same fears, he’s just a little bit more relaxed about that sort of thing. We’ve since hooked up on Facebook and I’d now like to consider myself one of Splintered In Her Head’s biggest fans! (lol) ... after all, even though I’ve yet to see them live, they’re still in their PRIME years and from all accounts they’ve got a set-list full of pretty decent tunes! ...

And just because Rowland was so damn personable in his dealings with the weirdo who turned down the free pass, and because he is so passionate ... click here for a link to the petition.

And it also occurs to me that I’ve got half a dozen or so Cure album reviews published elsewhere, sitting dormant, probably unloved and unread, all the while everythingsgonegreen is screaming out for content ... so over the next week or so leading up to the Bodega gig, I’ll post a few of those on the blog ...

Splintered In Her Head and Permanence play Bodega, Wellington, on April 5 2014

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