Against community; for control – a fucked up community strategy that works?
Most [music] bands seek to nurture a community and see it as part of a core fan base that provide them with food and a roof over their head. Not ME Smith. The Fall forums, the ‘official’ Fall forums which have been a lively and spirited place to lurk, have been stopped and stripped of their ‘officialness’ [it now says the ‘unofficial Fall site’] because ME Smith objected to something someone said. You’ll have to dig around to find what, and I’m not 100% clear I know exactly why myself. But the thrust of his action seems to be about control, or the lack of it. Smith doesn’t want to divest himself of any form of control over what is communicated; he’s a bit of a fruitpot about this sort of stuff and giving a voice to the ‘people’, the fans to say what they want, just ain’t right and proper. [And it’s consistent with Smith’s previous radical thoughts about the future of distributed media and the internet.] The new ‘official’ site doesn’t allow forums. It’s a bit of brochurewear and info and consequently will not usurp the newly unofficial site as the main space for discussionand ‘real’ news.
But it got me thinking about the nature of a community. Smith’s antagonism has only served to restruture the group dynamic, give it a bit of fizz, stir up the ‘constitution’ slightly and generally make the whole thing more interesting… in my opinion. Perhaps there’s a strategy there… it’s a screwy one that clearly works particularly well with people who like to be subjugated and generally abused, and for whom this is perhaps a form of therapy. Rock. On.