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25.2.10

the sound of the public on sound





yesterday was the amazing SLAM (Save LIve Australian Music) rally in Melbourne.

there has been quite a bit of press and lots of pics about it already, but of course i need to put my 2c worth in. [which, with rounding is fuck-all really]. it has thrown up a wealth of things for me to think/write about, so bear with me.


background whinge


photography: sarah barber

if you're new to the scene, or slow on the uptake, there's a bit of a background whinge here. basically, the state govt have been trying to curb violence in the CBD clubs through the liquor licensing system after a death outside a club one night by a guy who had drunk a whole bottle of wild turkey. which he had bought as a takeaway from the club. a shit event, but hardly the right brush to tar everyone with.

most venues that serve liquor, that have amplified music (ie clubs, pubs. and maybe shopping centres and airport lounges) are deemed 'high risk' and now require a higher licence fee, two security guards for any 'event' and the stigma of 'high risk'.

and, as mentioned yesterday, this is all fine and dandy for a decent number of venues in melbourne, it is crippling for those in the country towns, which only have one venue. and, as also mentioned yesterday, these are the places that employ a music industry: musicians, sound engineers, music technicians, events managers. these laws are crippling the distribution networks for these businesses.

now, when the supply chain for the banking industry went pear-shaped last year, the bankers used the media outlets to have their whinge. yesterday, musicians and music-lovers took to the streets and made it a very public affair, reflecting the very public nature of the issue.


the rally

SLAM Rally

thousands of us made our way from the state library, the site of knowledge, cultural heritage and civic research, to the steps of parliament: the site of democracy, public governance and civic responsibility. it was a fitting track and the way was packed with people and some shit-hot placards.

dell has some great pics, including my favourite one: psychedelic freaks vote too.

i wanted to make a placard saying 'how am i supposed to procreate if all the music venues close?' but i never got around to it.
and of course the best one was 'it's a long way from the top if you bury rock'n'roll'. naturally it's not just about rock'n'roll - one of the speakers told a great yarn about the fabulous reclamation night out with her greek friends, where they went to a greek taverna, then went on to dance to gypsy, australian folk and latin music - all on the one night. ace.

i also got thinking about the actual sounds of the protest. as we walked, you would hear the faint rumble of a cheer and you would cheer - it was the sonic version of a mexican wave at the cricket. a beautiful thing.

and then the crowd clapped. in time, to a harps player. what group of people can clap in time without live music? ever been to the football? heh.

and of course the way the air in melbourne changed with the different music styles. the crowd became equally gooey and restless when wilbur wilde and his jazz crew soothed us into the late afternoon.

it was amazing to hear sound in the city on such a grand scale with an experience usually reserved for a small scale. and to have music quieten a crowd that is usually loud and boisterous and chaotic. it was a special moment and i do wish that i had documented it in a more profound way.

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6 Comments:

At 26 February, 2010 21:24, Blogger well fed well read said...

ahem, photo credit please! x

 
At 27 February, 2010 03:41, Blogger Stan Lee said...

Lot of helicopters circling overhead too, which is always a sign of something big.

 
At 28 February, 2010 03:19, Blogger dell said...

Hi Lauren.

It made me very happy to be in Melbourne, being in a crowd taking over the streets waving instruments, making a musical racket and showing off some placards. Let's hope the government actually make the changes needed and aren't just placating the crowd.

 
At 01 March, 2010 08:12, Anonymous lauren said...

ah yes, stan. i remember thinking at the time that it was a great way to disempower the crowd - we couldn't hear a bloody thing whilst they were hovering. but yes, the sound of choppers overhead certainly gave the protest some weight.

sar - sorry! fixed now. was rushin'...

and dell - yes, let's hope the changes are real and not just sugar-coating. protesting and making a noise it are just the first steps towards change. we need to continue making sure that the govt hears what's happening.

re: liquor licensing. i think all the artists and the ARIs need to galvanise too - considering the prices hikes on small licences is squeezing out their income too. perhaps that's another post.

 
At 02 March, 2010 01:20, Blogger Rob @ Cynic said...

Wonder how many of the local politicians play an instrument or were in a band?

 
At 03 March, 2010 06:26, Anonymous lauren said...

only the federal minister for the arts at the time: peter garrett from midnight oil....

 

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