Sunday, May 22, 2011

Friday Morning

Friday's symposium was an interesting kettle of fish; I had asked to talk early because of the Chesterfield gig; I had to put a powerpoint presentation together rapidly beforehand due to the computer at home crashing and learned how to embed mp3s literally 15 minutes before it started, then cleverly crashed the projector... but I digress.
Barry Shank spoke first; I am a huge admirer of his book about the music scene in Austin, Texas, Dissonant Identities. His paper was heavily theoretical, and dealt with a lot of interesting issues. Both he and David Hesmondhalgh (who followed mine) discussed popular music from the perspective of its being embedded into culture for many years.
I had chosen to go back to two of my original interviewees, Gina Birch and Tessa Pollitt, and talk to them about the inspiration behind their bass playing, as well as briefly discussing cultural inspiration for one or two other punk women instrumentalists and singers. I feel that I am turning a clock back to zero; even now, very few women write scholarly books about the female experience in the music industry (and as far as I know, none about those working actually in the record labels themselves). I don't think I can analyse anything until I have defined exactly what it is I am analysing.
I will probably publish a more academic version what I talked about, eventually. I hope I did not downgrade what I had to say by being so direct, but I had to discuss the role of rape as a way of silencing women in the music industry and the way that this is covered up, mostly by the women themselves who do not want to be stigmatised. This is because since I wrote the book, I have heard that no less than five of the women that I either talked to or wrote about were raped by various different people. Five more, I mean.
Caroline Coon came to the symposium as she will be speaking at a similar event in September with David Hesmondhalgh; she was rather rudely silenced as she tried to ask a question.
The problem was that none of the people asking questions after the papers wanted to talk about that huge she-elephant that I had just introduced into the room....
I did have some interesting and positive discussions with people afterwards: some of them male, I am happy to report.
I managed to hear two more papers before I left to battle the forests of businessmen to catch the Chesterfield train.
Please excuse my guarded prose; if I knew exactly who reads my blog, I might be more forthcoming. Or then again,  I might not.

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