Today three items are worth considering, and different as they may appear, they all fall under the category of popular music and the government.
When John Lydon articulated his support in Blackpool on Sunday for three women on trial in Russia he probably didn’t suspect that his sentiments would be echoed by Madonna. He probably didn’t care either. What shocked me was not Madonna’s statement but the bile and the sexist, hateful comments posted about her. I read about her words of support for the three women who make up Pussy Riot on yahoo news. In the feedback section under the article comment after comment derided her in the crudest terms.
Madonna’s statements were widely reported, coming as they did at a Moscow concert. While she has never shied away from controversy, her career has been significantly advanced by that tactic, it would be interesting to know how many other artists would voice opinions about Pussy Riot particularly in Moscow.
The Daily Telegraph reported some of her onstage comments and that they were met with loud cheers from the audience. The paper described the event:
To huge cheers, Madonna said: “I know there are many sides of this story and I mean no disrespect to the church or the government but I think that these three girls – Masha, Katya and Nadya – I think they have done something courageous, I think they have paid the price for this act and I pray for their freedom.” (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/russia/9460580/Madonna-Pussy-Riot-have-done-something-courageous-and-deserve-freedom.html )
Some questions to consider:
Should Pussy Riot be jailed for their actions?
Should Western artists speak out on their behalf?
Where is the line between what is acceptable and what is worthy of lengthy jail sentences?
Another situation where music and the law locked horns was highlighted by Jim Carroll from the Irish Times. His blog has been one of the best sources of information and questions about the recent events at the Swedish House Mafia Phoenix Park gig put on by MCD concerts.
Today he wrote about the deteriorating relationship between MCD and the Gardai. (http://www.irishtimes.com/blogs/ontherecord/2012/07/11/going-back-to-the-phoenix-park-to-ask-some-questions/ ). This could have significant implications for the live music industry in Ireland. The Garda have been critical of MCD following the concert. Now MCD have publicly announced are threatening legal action against the Garda (http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2012/0806/1224321570192.html ). While some of this may be legal sabre rattling it is difficult to predict who will win this PR battle. Keep reading Jim Carroll’s blog for updates and analysis.
In his July 7th Blog entry (http://www.irishtimes.com/blogs/ontherecord/2012/07/11/going-back-to-the-phoenix-park-to-ask-some-questions/ ) he argued that the problems at the concert had to examined in the context of Macro as well as Micro factors. The Macro factor is that Ireland has a huge tolerance for public intoxication. The Micro factors relate to the specifics of this particular gig.
A few questions arising from this debate:
Should obviously intoxicated people be refused admission to concerts?
Would this make concerts more attractive to people?
Should obviously intoxicated people be arrested before they go into concerts?
Depending on how you answer those questions you have to consider who is responsible when trouble (fatal trouble as seen in Phoenix Park) occurs?
Assuming the promoter is responsible: would you be willing to pay more for a concert ticket if the drunks are excluded?
Assuming the police are responsible: would you be willing to pay higher taxes to have these people removed before or during the concert?
And finally…does anyone think it odd that before events in the Olympic Games the crowd are treated to a healthy section of the Clash song London Calling? A song about a ‘nuclear error’ and post-apocalyptic London sounds like an odd choice for the authorities to select. Does this mean pop music can change things? Or does it indicate that pop music lacks power to change things? Either way I love hearing the song under just about any circumstance!
The Wild Hearted Outsider