Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Yeah well, you know, that’s just, like, your opinion, man

Matt Michael seems chuffed with the History of Christmas in the shiny new DWM. He’s impressed that there are “no stinkers” - which I’m very pleased about – and singles out some for high praise. So hooray!

Off to the pictures tonight and tomorrow, to declare them hit, miss or maybe. Reviews to follow on Film Focus sometime.

Chatted with a colleague only last week about being both a judge and defendant. It changes your perspective slating some trashy film when you can be / have been similarly bashed. Or, at least, it ought to.

No one has to like what you do, and reviewers aren’t required to engage with what you’ve done or explain their marks out of ten. Responding to critics, and explaining what you meant, is really quite rubbish.

You’re not owed anything, let alone love.

Many friends simply avoid reading reviews of their efforts, and are probably much happier that way.

But what do you do when you don’t like something a friend’s written? Do you back out of reviewing it, or use a pseudonym, or try a kindly critique of why it fails to excite?

The latter is a bit like splitting up with someone. Saying, “It’s not you, it’s me…” doesn’t actually lessen the blow. It’s more about assuaging your own guilt. Nor does it help forewarning your target, nor offering to buy them pints.

No, if you’re giving someone a bad review (or chucking them), you have to accept you’re the villain. If you really have to be the villain, just get on with it. Be honest, be clear, be concise. Be as nice about it as you can be.

But it’s not your call whether you’re still best mates afterwards.


Scottie said...

Eeek... Perhaps I shouldn't have sent you that dissy to look over then! :oP

Anonymous said...

Nice article in DWM about the audio companions.

I missed the section on Benny though on my quick look through, the use of Adrian's illustrations as a border caught my eye more.

0tralala said...

Scottie: I shall attempt magnanimity. If that is even a word.

Drewshi: Sorry mate, your story gets a mention but it's not one of the ones Matt singles out. It's the bloody Clements who gets the best praise.

Cameron: Cheers, I think.

Anonymous said...

No one has to like what you do, and reviewers aren’t required to engage with what you’ve done or explain their marks out of ten. Responding to critics, and explaining what you meant, is really quite rubbish.

I don't know. I suspect there's an element of wannabe lofty detachment about not responding to negative reviews - which is to say, smugness. I think reviewers *should* be made to account for their marks out of ten. Having been one, I know whereof I speak. There's no accountability, no requirement to be remotely objective, reasoned or even intelligent.

If someone doesn't like something, that's one thing. If they don't *get* it, which is different, then there's a possibility they're being an idiot. There's a lot of it about. I have real difficulty with not calling people up on their idiocy, although I concede it *looks* better, in our image-obsessed culture, if someone other than the author does that. But I'm not persuaded it should matter.

As for reviewing stuff your mates have written - don't. Matt's in a difficult position there, simply by dint of the milieu in which he operates. But if you can help it, run a mile. It's just not on - not as bad as reviewing something you've not seen or read, but close, IMO.

Happens all the time, of course.

0tralala said...

Psychonomy: I try not to respond to the good reviews either. And the lofty comes naturally...

Don't think it's about looking better, either. Just feel awkward about the author necessarily knowing best.

Drewshi: I'll check the quote tomorrow when I have the issue with me, and email you off-blog.

Anonymous said...


That's what I get I for posting a comment when I'm tired.

When I receive my copy of DWM, I usually have a flick through, see what articles are in there, eye catching illustrations/photos, before sitting down to read the issue properly.

When I came to your article, I spotted the sections on the other companions, but the use of Adrian's wonderful cover illustrations caught my eye so I missed the section focussing on Benny until I sat down and read the issue.