Editors Blog: Spreading the Love?

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Following the posting of the first Editors Blog in well over a year this week, which you can check out here, I’ve decided that it’s something I want to come back to a bit more as it gives a chance to give my own personal view on things, talk about the site and the Nottingham scene in general. With a growing team, including a fantastic Editorial Board I find myself concentrating on the overall projects for the site and, thus, not writing as much so this gives me a chance to get some “words down” every so often.

In the last blog I concentrated on my experiences of the Hockley Hustle and running the NottinghamLIVE stage at The Lacehouse, with that out the way, and I’m sure you all saw the incredible total the festival raised (£23,850), I can now move on to talking about something else that caught my attention last week which was this blog by Mark Del regarding Spreading the Love – which you can read here

Spreading the Love for those who don’t know is, of course, the ethos of Nusic which Mark heads up and there is no denying that they do a great job of spreading the love, however this has lead to criticism aimed at them and occasionally others for an almost Lego like approach to Nottingham music – as in “everything is awesome”.

Everything is awesome. Or is it?

In the blog Mark talks about how important it is to “Be Nice”, and he has a point, certainly for what Nusic do it’s the perfect ethos. Nusic, after all, are a group created with the sole intention of promoting Nottingham music, not of reviewing it, and thus Spreading the Love is exactly what they should, and do, do.

How about us? Well it’s a tough call, we’re a small fry in the local scene, sitting in the (friendly) shadow of a huge powerhouse of a local media company, this puts us in a difficult position, you see to succeed we need visitors, and for visitors we need content and to produce content we need people to want to work with us. We’re we to become known for scathingly negative reviews this might become difficult, in fact I have been on the end of emails from representatives of bands when we’ve given out reviews that weren’t even bad!

On the other hand we will not carry dishonest reviews, if a performance isn’t great we aren’t going to say it is just because we’re mates with the band or just because they come from Nottingham, however what I do ask of my reviewers is to at least offer constructive criticism, not to simply call something “crap”.

There are a couple of reasons for this.

Firstly it’s not necessary and does nobody any favours, if something isn’t great say why and say how it can be improved, don’t just write a band or performer off, and also remember just because something isn’t your cup of tea doesn’t mean it’s not good.

Secondly, and this is probably the main reason, most of the people we review on the local scene are NOT professional musicians, they’re doing this for love and fun and to entertain, in my opinion it’s unfair to review these as you would somebody who is doing this as a career.

It’s a difficult balancing act but I feel we pull it off, we’ve not yet, at least to my knowledge, been accused of “kissing ass”, nor however have been accused of being offensive simply for the sake of it.

Do we look for the positives in a performance? Unashamedly yes, have we ever been dishonest in a review? In my opinion, no.

Now I’m not only person to respond to this blog, in fact the first response I saw came from our very own Cassia Helme who wrote a blog which you can read here. Cassia was of much the same view as that of what I have said above, which is probably unsurprising as she is at the forefront of NottinghamLIVE’s music coverage. Coverage I think most would agree has improved significantly since she came on board.

Unsurprisingly my old radio co-host Steve Oliver has also responded to the article in his blog in which he is of the belief he is the main target of the piece, I have no idea if this is the case or not, however Steve is somebody who has received criticism for his reviews (and indeed praise). Does he sometimes cross the line? Personally I’d say yes, as he did when he took aim at Amber Run (though he did later apologise for the tweet). Saying that having worked with Steve I know that, just like myself, Cassia, Mark and everyone else in the Nottingham “media”, he does what he does out of love for the Nottingham music scene. I may not always agree with Steve’s style (and we did occasionally clash with regards to the show) but I don’t, for a second, doubt his passion for the work he does and for Nottingham music.

The Nottingham “media” is made up of a number of people all with different styles and approaches and this is always going to lead to some people getting upset with them, however my experience of working with all of these people is that they all share one thing in common, they all love the Nottingham music scene. Unashamedly so. Just like we here at NottinghamLIVE do, and, let’s be honest, it’d be boring if we were all the same.

So let’s keep spreading the love for Nottingham but as we do we should remember that there is nothing wrong with saying if you don’t like something, just so long as you can say why.

Ultimately it’s all about the music.

So hopefully you’ve read to the end and found that interesting, whether you agree or not. I’d love to hear your views on the whole subject, and anything else you’ve got to say on Nottingham’s music and creative scene. If you fancy a go at being a guest blogger for us please get in touch as we’re always looking to host the views of the Nottingham people.

Darren Patterson

Edit: Previous version of this blog referred to something I read elsewhere that I am now informed was not accurate, this has been removed and I’d like to apologise to the person involved.

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