You Can’t Say That
The importance of an opnion, by Tom Artrocker
I do like an opinion. And I like them strongly argued. I'm not a fan of consensus, believing as I do that the engine of life runs best when some of the gears grind rather than mesh.
Opinion that becomes bigotry I can live without, but opinions that have been considered, developed and are then well expressed give me a lift like the first flower of spring, whether or not I agree. Generally I don't. But that's fine, it's what makes us human. These days there's a tendency, most obviously in the public sector, to take the 'Oooh, you can't say that' line. Express the 'wrong' opinion of the NHS anywhere near a GP and you'll be looking for a new doctor before you can say phlebotomist. In the public sector opinions are equated with abuse, one of the most devalued words in the lexicon.
So the last week has been a bean feast for me, I've interviewed Maximo Park's Paul Smith, Gary Numan and, later today I'll be going ten rounds with Jon McClure, as in The Reverend of Makers fame. Three people with strong opinions. Smith is a bit of an intellectual who quietly states his case, covering all points, with appendices, like a neatly typed thesis. Numan is equally reserved, but he has a core of steel that glints out from his sharp blue eyes which flash a message: "I've been doing this for most of my life, I know what I know". Jon McClure simply comes out and says it, got a problem with that? Tough.
Too much niceness is a killer for rock'n'roll, too many simpering ninnies who don't want to upset anybody is part of the problem we have right now. Just this morning I read a Neil Young interview in which he said: "I hate interviews". Journalists, meanwhile, are "jerks" and "dickheads" (http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2012/oct/04/neil-young-autobiography-relief-music)
He may be right, ok, he is right, but it still hurts a bit. His opinion is that I'm worthless, and do you know what my reaction is? Stick on Harvest and bang the bifter that Neil has so recently eschewed. Respect.
For God's sake say what you think. To do otherwise is not diplomatic or sensitive, it's lying.
And there's definitely too much of that about.