Sometimes I get asked why I like Amanda Palmer so much, what is it that draws me to her as an artist. Aside for her lyricism it’s the mind behind it all. Honestly, the more she talks the more I believe that she is one of the people who gets it: it being a myriad of things. Gets that every artist, every person is out there trying to do things that matter. Every person is just that, a person. That the things that are relevant to life, to us, are what we say, not what someone else tells us is.
That’s a very terrifying, liberating thought in today’s mediated age.
A couple weeks ago when I was at her show in Portland she took a minute to tell us a story about the night before and how she had ended up at a Garbage concert. Now if you aren’t familiar, Garbage hadn’t put out an album in 7 years. They got back together and created an album that’s received a lot of positive reviews, but as a band they also received a lot of criticism for not being “relevant” anymore. Apparently the singer told this story mid stage and pretty much ended the debate by screaming out (in her Scottish accent) Who’s to say what’s relevant?.
As Amanda told us this story she went on to say that this is everything we’ve (the fans & her) have been talking about for the last year or more. We are the media. We decide what gets told and how far, how fast it travels. For anyone that works in the creative industry, in any form, it’s inspiring. Big businesses don’t get to decide what matters anymore. The internet has given that power back to the people as long as they’re willing to take it.
Amanda Palmer also has a videographer documenting her tour. I’m so glad that she captured this moment pre-show of her going off about relevancy. (transcript below)
Everything is relevant!
it’s relevant if you make it relevant and this is everything that is going on right now. it doesn’t matter what all these opinions are, it doesn’t matter who’s pointing the finger, it doesn’t matter who dictates when a record is good, or bad. all that matters is what’s really happening on stage. all that matters is what’s really happening when you put your headphones on and listen to the music. and people are learning that they won’t be dictated to anymore what’s hip, what’s cool, what’s relevant, what’s irrelevant. your power is now stripped. there’s a room full of people there to make it relevant because they love it and they want it.
I want to just say “this” and leave it. But what kills me (in a good way) is that this is what I’ve been saying for a couple years now. “[People] won’t be dictated to anymore.” The gatekeepers have lost control. Many of us are relying, more than ever, on our own decisions, on the opinions of people they trust. They don’t want a corporation telling them what is cool or right or best. Sure, we still have a lot of people who eat the spoon fed pop and drink the kool-aid. And yes, sometimes I enjoy it too, but not because it’s popular and what I’m told to listen to/read/enjoy/do. The landscape of media production/consumption is rapidly changing and it’s pretty freaking awesome.
If you want to hear Amanda speak for herself, she starts in on this after a couple of minutes.