Fair or Unfair?

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Brian Bowen, Feb 17, 2006.

  1. Brian Bowen

    Brian Bowen Active Member

    "The Brits routinely mistake mediocrity for greatness."

    I read this in Time magazine this week. The context was certain rock bands that have been "hits". I admit I know very little about rock bands, but could the statement be applied to brass bands -- in particular some of the music they play?

    I've no doubt mediocrity is alive and kicking in many walks of life.
  2. Steve

    Steve Active Member

    It could be applied to everything, but wasn't everything that is great mediocre before it had become successful and accepted?
  3. brasscrest

    brasscrest Active Member

    I can't see how that would apply only to the "Brits". This is a universal concept - the most popular or famous is not necessarily the best in the field.
  4. TheMusicMan

    TheMusicMan tMP Founder Staff Member

    I tend to agree with brasscrest on this one. My take on it also, and please excuse this, is that it very much depends the colour of the glasses used when reading anything.
  5. Dave Payn

    Dave Payn Active Member

    Too darn right! Mediocrity is around us all and often accepted as greatness. We have plenty of it here (including, as Brian alludes to, some of the brass band repertoire) but let's remember some of that mediocrity originated elsewhere. We just copied it!
  6. brasscrest

    brasscrest Active Member

    And often did a fine job of keeping it as mediocre as it started!
  7. FlugelD

    FlugelD Member

    Is that the Brit Awards, or the British people?
  8. Dave Payn

    Dave Payn Active Member

    Oh, so our true feelings are coming out eh?
  9. alks

    alks Member

  10. Brian Bowen

    Brian Bowen Active Member

    Yes, but I'm not concerned with the specifics of the article (i.e. which rock bands) but the general premise.

    The British people.
  11. Dave Payn

    Dave Payn Active Member

    That being the case, I wonder why (a) this thread is in The Rehearsal Room and (b) actually, why this thread is here at all as I feel it may encourage people to start rubbishing people from one particular country or perhaps more. (I feel that's already started here). Mediocrity and greatness, whether people think one could be mistaken for the other, is everywhere.

    EDIT. I am NOT accusing Mr Bowen of encouraging potential Brit bashing. Merely implying that it may lead to something of that ilk, given the recent propensity in turning what are seemingly harmless threads into 'baiting'.
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2006
  12. Brian Bowen

    Brian Bowen Active Member

    I certainly have no wish to start any more international wars! What I thought I originally asked was if mediocrity is seen as great particularly with brass band music. I must confess that a regular diet of Listen to the Band (remember folks, where I live there is little opportunity to hear bands except on CDs) has left me feeling there's an awful lot of tat being played. Maybe that's what Radio 2 asks for. I know LTTB is not the place for test pieces, but why do bands often choose to broadcast arrangements that are already available on Radio 2 in more appropriate versions (e.g. original combinations)?
  13. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    I think the time constraints on Listen to the Band greatly affect the choice of music played, coupled with the fact they are definitely looking for the lighter end of the repertoire. The old Radio 3 "Bandstand" programme was only half an hour, but you knew that they were expecting more substantial repertoire, and that one or two pieces could well be sufficient. I do wish that someone at LttB took a more pro-active role in avoiding duplication, though.
  14. Thirteen Ball

    Thirteen Ball Active Member

    On the other hand, how often have we heard new test pieces that are full of dischords, impossible semiquavers, unusual time signatures, little solo parts that pick on unsuspecting players (2nd baritone, 2nd BB flat bass, back row) described as 'great' when really nothing new has been done. Not mentioning any pieces or composers in particular but "The next big thing" is often no different than what's gone before.

    It seems to me that (within the brass world at least) there is a movement of "it's new and contemporary and dead hard and has lots of clashes and counter-rhythms so it must be great," when in reality it's all been done already, and usually better. Surely that is mediocraty, and is not restricted to any particular nationality.

    Just my humble opinion.
  15. geordiecolin

    geordiecolin Active Member

    Well it could be argued that currently grading/sections system rewards mediocrity. Often a band that comes 4th three years on the trot will get promoted.....

    As for the 'other' Brits and mediocrity, did I see Lamar win again??!! What has he ever done to deserve an award, let alone this year when he's done nowt. Now that is the ultimate mediocrity reward!
  16. FlugelD

    FlugelD Member

    Not in Scotland - you have to be first or second to gain promotion. (OK, maybe this rewards 'one off' performances... But you've then got a new standard to maintain :confused: )

    The 'other' Brits seem to be based on either history or expectation. The 'history' winners get an award 'cos they were famous for a fortnight, the 'expectation' winners 'cos they're the best thing since the Beatles, based on the opinion of know-nothing journos or recording executives who, honestly, don't stand to gain a penny..:wink:

    The word 'Brits' itself... Aaah....

    I'm a Scot first, a Briton (or British) second. I'm not a Brit.

    Chinese aren't Chinks. Italians aren't Eyeties. Pakistanis aren't Pakis. (Continue ad infinitum with the pejorative phrase of your choice - wogs, gypos, etc.)

    Referring to the population of the British Isles as Brits is insulting, and definitly not PC (IMHO) Please, people, get it right.

    Or we'll come and burn the White House again... ;)
  17. Mister 4x4

    Mister 4x4 Member

    Of course Britains settle for the mediocre... you're surrounded by water and Scots after all. :D :D :D


    Actually, I don't get what makes 'critics' who have no vested interest in something particular an authority on it. How can someone in the US make a comment like that with no founded quality whatsoever? It's ****.

    Take the comments made about how bland the food in the UK was by the French Prime Minister a few years back - whatta crock that was. As if the French have any room to talk - snails?! Please. I'll challenge any Frenchman to come sample some Tex-Mex, and if they survive, tell me how bland their French cuisine is in comparison afterwards. Usually, in cases like this I just consider the source... he is French, after all - just because they have to overseason their food to combat the wafting aromas coming from their persons... but I digress.

    I wouldn't worry about it. I like you guys fine. ;)
  18. FlugelD

    FlugelD Member

    Just as well - I wasn't kidding about the White House... :D
  19. Mister 4x4

    Mister 4x4 Member

    I think you'll be standing in a long line quite awhile to get the chance. I think the guys on Top Gear will have finally figured out a way to actually kill the Toyota Hi-Lux before then. :)
  20. trumpetmike

    trumpetmike Active Member

    I find myself in almost total agreement with this.
    I would also like to add that just because a piece has come from the computer of a well-known brass band composer does not mean that it is a great piece of music. Even the very best composers (I am talking Mozart, Beethoven, Bach - the true greats) wrote some pieces that are not very well regarded - just because it is by someone who has once written a good piece, does not mean the next piece will be an awesome musical experience.

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