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23 f Ranting & Reeling


am now, typing these words, it’s the 18th of May. Glad we’ve got that sorted. There are enough arguments without having one about the calendar. I’ll leave that to the World Calendar Association (those guys put the mean in Greenwich Mean Time.) Tonight (my tonight, not yours) I’ve been to my 16th gig of the month. And on the two nights I didn’t go to gigs I wrote about music for this mag- azine. The gig was by Bristol-based, imaginary soundtrack composers Three Cane Whale in case you’d like to check the validity of my claim.


I When I mentioned this statistic earli-


er, with a slightly wearied tone, someone replied, “Well at least you get paid for it.” But going to gigs all but two nights in a month is not how I make my living; it’s how I spend the money I make doing the day job I do for a living. Because this isn’t a profession anymore. Or I should say, it isn’t a profession for many people any- more. Not unless they’re also cohabiting with someone whose income is already


t is the 18th of May. Well, it isn’t. Not unless you’ve waited until 2019 to read this and by chance it hap- pens to be that date. But where I


enough to afford pomodorino tomatoes in a tray, and not just cherry tomatoes in a bag. Or they’re a posho with a generous and deceased relative. No one relying on the income from music journalism is earn- ing enough to eat fancy fruits, or live in London as I am and do.


I used to be irked by those who’d tell me I was “lucky” to have such a job, back when I had such a job. Firstly because the concept of luck is stupid. Secondly because you’d not say that about most occupations, would you? If somebody told you they were a sewage worker you’d not reply, “Ooh, lucky you.” Not without doing it in a sarcastic voice. And yet I once knew a boy whose dream job was to be a sewage worker. I hope his dream came true and that right now he’s as happy as a pig in gainful employment.


It took sacrifice for me to obtain a full-time position as a music critic. I sacri- ficed doing any of the study that would’ve earned me viable qualifications. I sacrificed making any attempt to find an alternative vocation once my brief attempt at a pop career failed. And I sac- rificed all my daylight hours lying in bed doing nothing until my girlfriend at the


time, motivat- ed by a passion- ate desire not to have an unemployed musician as a boyfriend,


asked a former colleague at the NME if they’d take me on as a writer. And, remem- bering the kind


of mildly amusing nonsense I used to pen for my band’s press releases, they said they would.


But that’s gone now, as has the NME.


It’s a different time, and the internet’s replacement for weekly music papers has an inexhaustible supply of interns willing to pretend they like the new Arctic Mon- keys album for free. They don’t need to pay me to say it’s dreadful guff. It is though. And thanks to this magazine’s continued survival I literally am being paid to say so, which is of some comfort. Would anyone like a tomato?


Tim Chipping


The Elusive Ethnomusicologist I


n our street there’s been a total absence of trestle tables blocking the traffic and neighbours knocking to find out what I’ve done with the sausage rolls. Having been immersed in interviewing totally inspiring women folk musicians for this issue’s cover feature, except for a chance remark by one of them I might have entirely missed the sprinkling of fairy dust over the latest chapter in our island’s illustrious royal story.


Luckily Scottish fiddler Lauren Mac- Coll wondered about this new princess throwing aside her successful acting career and what that might say about the aspira- tion involved in shacking up with some- one. So I knew what was happening if anyone should clap me on the back and say, “Aren’t they lovely!”


Actually, I think that in abandoning the precarious life of the studio stage for a more secure one on the world stage, Ms. Markle has made a sensible career move. But MacColl is right of course; the princess trope has to change.


Take Cinderella, a woman working all hours unpaid, which is particularly unfair because she’s a stunner. Luckily, due to MAGIC she gets to go to the ball and sit in


a seat at the table. The Prince falls in love with her, helped by the fact she’s suddenly unavailable. Although she’s only left early because the magic doesn’t last long, to ensure she doesn’t have a chance to get pissed and make a spectacle of herself.


The Prince passes the test of his affec- tion by not resting ’til he finds her. A lowly servant girl. (Not really; I seem to remem- ber that her parents were aristocracy of some sort and her ill fortune began with the father's second marriage). Luckily the Prince doesn’t take too long in his search and Cinderella is still beautiful and radiant despite the long hours breathing in deter- gent fumes and coal dust and with no gloves to protect her hands from the rav- ages of bleach.


The Prince carts off Cinderella. They get married and live happily ever after, cos he's got pots of money and she doesn't have to work any more. This is obviously unsuitable on so many levels.


So here’s a new one for the children.


Cinderella earns tons of money build- ing up her own cleaning empire. She meets the Prince at a bar, where she often goes for a quick half. She buys him a drink. He is grateful because he’s royalty and


never has any cash on him. (She never quite got her head round why lower class- es are always happy to say “Please, Your Highness, this one’s on me” without realis- ing the awful truth of it.) But


the barman here is a staunch Republican and is having none of it.


The Prince falls in love with Cinderel- la, who doesn't just pay for the drinks, but can hold her own and knows when to stop. They live happily ever after because they both have their own money, and their sense of self-worth is not tied up in their relationship with each other. They are having an excellent time shagging and know this is because it’s based on mutual respect and their own sense of value as separate and equal human beings in society.


You’re welcome. Elizabeth Kinder


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