Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Dave Allen on Rock Music and the Internet

RECENTLY I've been corresponding with Dave Allen, bassist for the British post-punk group Gang of Four. His ideas on digital culture -- mostly strongly opposed to those of David Lowery and David Byrne -- are as forceful as his bass playing on Entertainment!

I'll point out that I disagree with Mr. Allen on much of what he says; I'm less optimistic that the new system will work out for musicians (and I have seen from quite a close perspective how it works out for most journalists.) 

For example, he argues that there has been no golden age for musicians, that making a living has always been hard, and so on. Well, of course, that's all literally true, but just because a system was not perfect does not mean it has not gotten substantially worse.

I could argue to anyone who tells me, say, that Congress has run aground that we've always had conflicts in Washington, going back to the 18th century, and that Ted Cruz is just a latter-day version of whoever... Same with arguments about income inequality, or anything that matters. This argument does not help clarify where we are at present: You do not have to acknowledge the existence of a golden age to want things to be better or to resist and criticize the way they have gone. 

But Allen's an extremely sharp guy, a lively writer, and he deserves to be heard. Here's our Salon conversation. 

2 comments:

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Irene Jennings said...

I could argue to anyone who tells me, say, that Congress has run aground that we’ve always had conflicts in Washington, going back to the 18th century, and that Ted Cruz is just a latter-day version of whoever… Same with arguments about income inequality, or anything that matters. This argument does not help clarify where we are at present: You do not have to acknowledge the existence of a golden age to want things to be better or to resist and criticize the way they have gone.

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