Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Why. buy . local ?

They say success depends on where you put the emphasis. I reckon the same goes for communication and creativity, and we'd be wise to think about where we put our bucks, let alone our norty bits.

so... should it read

"Why buy LOCAL?"

or ...

" Why BUY local? "


Well, I hate to labour the point, but BOTH COUNT.

Here's why:

No, wait. Devil's advocate first. Here's why not to buy local
(and up come the hackles... but hear me out)

Not because they’re your friends.
Not because it's indigenous.
Not because local is lekker.
Not because you’re proudly South African
Not because it’s cheaper
even though all those things are true. Vanity and loneliness might've made millions for the Facebook guy, but capricious slices of sentimentality just don't sell over time. When it comes to sustainable economics, you need genuine, loyal exchanges in supply and demand for more than one purchase. Those odd, impulsive decisions to buy Larry's album because you feel sorry for him are not going to get the message across to him or to the music industry. Money talks. If you love it, buy it. If you don't love it, las it. Think of it as Quality Control, as they say in corporateville where the grass is always greener (but the green is not cleaner). It's a drop in the ocean if it's an afterthought, and you know we have a lot of lovely ocean on all sides to absorb those drips. I mean drops.

Now here’s why you should buy LOCAL MUSIC:

( I said buy, not borrow, beg or steal)

APART from the fact that locally produced music is increasingly original, well-produced and globally competitive AND still relevent to SA's potjie of people, music is the blood, sweat and tears of our blood, sweat and tears. That means you, too. I’ll bet there are pieces of you in homegrown music that you didn't even know about. Go give something local a listen and tell me you don't feel a piece of yourself there. Even if its the pieces you don't like. Tried and you don't agree?Let me suggest some mp3s for you to bend your ear to. I'm so full of ammo I'm singing in the friggin streets. (and yes, I know the words; much to an 8 year old's consternation when i trala laa about naked bodies and backbones). Music connects us all, regardless of which demographics we designate it to...

Further to my argument, howeva. Music is a journey, we've heard. Music makers swear by this, and sometimes stick deathneedles in their arms and blame it, or claim to have quit the shit. For the listener, on the other hand, music is a destination. (GoogleMaps here we come). Butt sirriussly, it's a place where fully dressed people expose themselves. It’s a place where people feel themselves (and each other) without touching. In PUBLIC. It's a place you go.

Music is also emotion, bliss and catharsis cleverly couched in entertainment. You can clean up, cleanse, clear out and cut the crap while having a good time. Or you can just have a good time, and talk kak.

Music is truth. And there are many truths in its lyrics and lilts. You won’t get this kind of honesty from the press, the politicians, or your parents. It’s a head-on collision between expression and insight, and while it doesn't take any prisoners, it won't kill you, either. It'll just make you stronger.

Music is magic. Live sound moves through your skin, into your bones, and on the way it can highjack your heart, suspend your senses, and jiggle your jiggly bits. It gives us swirling nights filled with fun and friends and dance and drink. And you know what that leads to, don’t you? Lost weekends and inspiration. And more swirling nights filled with fun and friends and dance and….

Cape Town is dripping with tonal talent and audio-visual originality. And if you don’t buy local music, we lose some of the stuff that gives us Hope. Yes, whatsisname was right; Hope is a dangerous thing. So is its antigone, Apathy. And if music suffers from the former in the practise room, but the latter in the audience, all that could dwindle into mediocrity. Why?

Because bands that struggle financially often put down their instruments in favour of work that can sustain them, or are reduced to punting shallow, commercial stuff that sells. It’s a tragic irony that bands disappear less because they are crap and the public ignored them, than because they are brilliant …and the public ignored them.

On the flipside, there are those who are driven and brilliant and who do make it, and here's even more reason to buy local. When they’re famous for their contribution to culture, you’ll kick yourself for not being able to boast, ‘Remember their first EP? The one they only made two hundred copies of and goes for a thousand yanks a shot? They've gone platinum globally, and I’ve got a signed copy of it. oh yeah.” See? Emphasis counts. Especially when something's worth ten times what it originally sold for. Aint nobody gonna smile when I say 'I told you so.'

And speaking of economics, remember this sobering fact. Before anyone’s famous, they have to have the goods, and these goods don’t come free. Voice-training is an arduous, long term and expensive investment. It’s not cheap to keep a guitar stringed and singing, and if you’ve ever cracked a snare, you know it can take a quarter of a month’s salary to keep the beat banging. Musicians might do it for the Love, but musicians must eat. And drink. Make sense?

NOW go and buy local music for all the other reasons… they can't be wrong if it keeps the right music in business.

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