I just watched a realling interesting video called Save the Southbank. I don’t agree with all of it, but I think it’s really important to recognise skateboarding (and BMX) as an important part of the performing arts.
I don’t like it when people affect accents when they sing. They should sing with their voice not someone elses. I guess there are exceptions to this, if you are doing a character, but aside from that I think putting on an accent, especially an american one is bad. This is one reason why Kate Nash annoys me – when you hear her speak she is very public school but as soon as she sings she’s a cockney. What’s going on there. Mike Skinner (from The Streets) is another interesting one. He is from the West Midlands but he raps with a London accent, apart from the odd word (like “dance” in “Let’s Push Things Forward”).
Some people argue that singing with an accent is natural and makes it easier to sing. I don’t agree, it’s just habit. This is what Joni Mitchell has to say on the subject:
I find a lot of black affectations irritating. White singers sounding like they come from deep Georgia, you know? It always seems ridiculous to me. It always seemed to me that great singer – now we’re talking about excellence, not popularity – but a great singer would sing closer to his or her own speaking voice. (from here)
I can’t exactly work out why but I feel quite uncomfortable when I find out that songs by people I like are written directly about very personal events in their life. Today I was reading the lyrics for I Never Asked To Be Your Mountain by Tim Buckley which was written about his son Jeff and his mother. On the one hand they are really great words, but I feel really uncomfortable that he puts this song on an album and uses it to sell records.
Another example is Brick by Ben Folds Five, which is about when his girlfriend had an abortion. Again, I love the song, but I just feel that it isn’t appropriate to sell this song to make money and get recognition.
It’s not that I don’t think you should write songs about this stuff – quite the opposite in fact, I think you should write about things that are personal to you. Also I don’t have a problem with people selling their songs normally.
Regina Spektor is a really interesting example of someone who writes songs with really good stories but they aren’t based directly on her life. I am sure she uses her experiences to write, but it’s (at least) one step removed. She says:
“I think that it’s more exciting to use my imagination or explore other people’s lives rather than sit there and write about my own rather limited life,” she said. “It’s much more gratifying to me.”
She admits, however, that songwriting is a very personal art, and that over the course of time it would be impossible to write music from a completely objective point of view”
I don’t know, maybe I am just being hypersensitive or something. I guess it’s similar to people who sell their diaries and autobiographies. Feels like selling your soul.
It’s really cold at the moment. I put up some more photos of the last few weeks in case you missed them on flickr:
Went mountain biking for the first time in a long time last week:
I love family trees for some reason
Rudi is busking tonight!
Also Digital BMX have a new site which is updated a lot at the moment. I remember the days when I was called CrankOnline….