I’ve found a new way of lulling myself to sleep: drafting blog posts. This one – responding to 24 hours of outrage (some of which was mine) about Patrick Sawer’s shonky write-up of the OAE’s latest publicity drive – resulted in the best night’s sleep I’ve had in a long time. Way to go, etc.

The topline for those who are unaware of the ‘furore’: musicians will introduce the music they’re about to play to the audience from the stage in a move that Patrick Sawer describes as innovative; Twitter erupts with a mixture of outrage and disdain – its hardly an innovative move as its been done for years; one arts manager defends the OAE by pointing out that more of this newfangled presenting from the stage needs to be done; a former Radio 3 presenter points to the work he’s done for the past 20 years; the world still turns.

I care about stupid journalism as much as I care about dumb unimaginative PR. There’s a lot of both about. Both works against imaginative marketers, and innovative programmers. What results is noise. It’s distracting. It’s dumb. It’s boring.

Contextualising a concert from the stage is useful. Personally, I think its best achieved when the musician does it because that creates a closer connection between audience member and the music (presenters are a step removed).

Loads of people do it already. It isn’t innovative.

Audience tastes have changed meaning that concert convention probably needs to shift accordingly in most cases. At the same time, we should celebrate and protect those concert experiences where meditative and contemplative atmospheres contribute to the performance. One size doesn’t fit all – it doesn’t need to be ‘standard‘. Everybody, let’s just calm the fuck down.

We should be wary of something else too. The consensus should be around the art – the core content. Shouty disagreements about how best to present it only distance existing or potential audiences from the very thing we’re trying to get more and more people to enjoy. The noise makes some of us look a bit weird.

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