Monday, June 08, 2009

Am I really an "arsehole"?

(To those of you that immediately thought "wow - she's stating the obvious" ... hi friends! because you obviously know me well ;- )

So, this wonderful cyberworld is raising questions in my brain again.

Last night, I went to see the completely delightful Jens Lekman at Richards (which still has completely undelightful washrooms, despite the newly installed "washroom attendant"). The place was full, and the audience was keen to love the lovable Jens. The performance was bright and bouncy and wonderful (apparently he has the flu, but you'd never know). The audience was bright and bouncy and wonderful (pretty much). I wasn't feeling bright or bouncy when I went, but my world was re-bounced within the first 30 seconds of Jens taking the stage.

So what's the issue at hand?

Well, Jens, at the beginning of the gig, told the audience it was OK to film, but requested that the videos don't get posted on YouTube - "it should be a special evening just between you and me" being the basic idea. And I have to admit, it put a seed of doubt in my mind. I mused aloud to my brother after the gig and his response was "What about the shut-ins? What about people that will never have a chance to see him live?". He had a good point. I regularly forget about the shut-ins. But I admit, my hand hesitated as I hit "upload" onto YouTube this morning for a couple of the videos.

Low and behold, by the time I got to work, I had these two comments (from the same person):

You arsehole! He politely requested that people not upload the show onto YouTube.

I guess it was more important for you to look cool on YouTube than to for you to follow a simple request from Jens to not post the show. Nice.


When I told my brother, defender of the shut-ins til the day he dies, he responded with "tell him to fuck off". Once again, I think he kind of has a point...not that I would ever engage in an argument with the poster in question - but it has all made me think.

I do feel a bit crap about disregarding "the request of the artist" - but I spent a lot of time thinking of possible reasons why he'd make the request. Concern over poor performance? Shouldn't be that, as he was great. Concern that a good performance would come across as crap due to poor filming? I can see that I guess. Concern that the performance wouldn't be as "fresh" to the audience if they had heard his stories on YouTube before? I could see that too I suppose.

But here's the thing - in this cyber-age, artists have lost the ability to control what images get out there; it's a bit futile to try. The better thing to do, in my arseholeish opinion, is to embrace the changing landscape and see how you can use it to your advantage. I've had bands contact me thrilled to see the videos, wanting me to send the original file, or linking to the YouTube post on their own sites. And truthfully, in my mind fan videos on YouTube are a key part of spreading the love. If I like a band, I will always try to see footage of them live, and if that footage is good, it gets me that much more hungry to buy tickets to a show when they come to town ( I have actually gone to see bands pretty much based on my reaction to seeing footage of their live show - hello, Les Savy Fav!!). If the footage is crap, I think "oh, crap camera quality" but I never let it reflect on the quality of the performance. If the footage is great but the performance is crap - well, I guess you have a problem, band, but it goes far beyond your fan videos onYouTube.

So - maybe I am an arsehole. But I don't really think that, in this case, my being an arsehole is doing the lovely Jens any harm. Anyone watching the footage would be just as charmed as I was.

And as an aside, I love the idea that I'm posting videos to look cool on YouTube - I haven't looked cool anywhere else in a long time, so bully for me if that's the case. For those that care, the reasons I post are primarily 1) to help build an archive of what I've seen for my rapidly aging brain, and 2) to share the love with other fans. Though from now on, I'm going to post just to be cool, because I need all the help I can get.

And here, for those that care to watch and participate in my bad behaviour, are two from Jens:



10 comments:

DJ Wongski said...

When you post videos, you always do it from a place of total respect for the artists. I don't think an "arsehole" would take as much care as you do to shoot such high-quality video that really does spread the word about sublime musicians. So don't feel bad. While I loved Jens' show, his no-posting-videos request was a tad naive.

Tracy said...

as a shut-in myself i live vicariously through your uploads. and dream of the day i may once again go out ;)
seriously - did the said commenter search for the concert in the hope of catching an "arsehole"?? seems all a bit contrived to me. xo

Jennie said...

I'd agree with Tracy about the shut-in comment! Not too many groups tend to make it all the way to NZ so I love watching your videos- and she read my mind about the poster specifically searching out Jens vids (a bit like the school principal on the hunt or something).

BunkleLife said...

Who knew I had shut-ins in my own social circle?!

thanks all :)

Tracy said...

alas, the fact that it is a virtual social circle for my part only solidifies the shut-in title. sigh.
we are headed north in august. i must see you in person ;) so bummed we won't be there for the folk festival...
xo

TM said...

Power to the shut-ins and isolateds alike! Wonderful uploads, friend.

Tamara said...

Jan, does the obvious need to be stated? You've always been cool, my dear. And frankly, being over 40, I am frequently a shut-in myself. As well as a non-concert goer, I live vicariously through your video postings. In fact, case in point, not being a concert goer, I view YOUR videos to see what is COOLl out there right now. So, arsehole away!

BunkleLife said...

Gosh - such support! Thanks mes amis!
signed
Wearing the Arsehole badge with pride...

Tamara said...

Oh. But I'd skip the arsehole badge. That can't be pretty... :-)

urbanita said...

I say sew a big red "A" on all your garments and wear it with pride. We'll know what it stands for. :-)