To deliberately misquote Orwell, grimace at the motive behind an idea that all critics are equal, but some critics are more equal than others (making a convenient fiction into an exploitable corrupted truth) what actually could be the terrain to critique the critics on transposing a discussion away from the power struggles of Animal Farm to the jumper wearing note taking opinion cultivating jazz critics we all love and hate — or should that be love to hate, but actually quite like a tiny bit?
Writing as one however reluctantly we need to devote time to this. Think of it as an away day held in the spacious upstairs room of the Dog and Duck featuring talks on the hidden meaning of “lyrical,” basic typing workshops, “Horse” whispering, and demonstrations of the latest ball point pens that light up in the dark and write their own reviews.
First of all what is the nature of the publication to establish context that the articles by the latterday Feathers, Dances, Goldbergs, Barakas, Wilmers, appear in?
It is of course very wrong to suggest that one format is better than any other. Personally I have read more convincing kebab menus than the complete oeuvre of one or two overly vain scribes.
By contrast it is however completely right to point out that a book is driven by research, a booklet by graphics and short pithy pieces, in the case of a pamphlet by some desire to proselytise perhaps.
Pamphlets are rare because although jazz writers have their myriad faults they do not as a rule stand on the street corner with big signs claiming that the End of the World is Nigh although of course yours may very well be, Theresa.
May I suggest that we need to work out what the writers are into, apart from the interesting insides of their wine glasses, as an early starting point. If the writers are being unreasonable about a certain micro style (the merits of “death jazz”, say) it may be that they have an outside agenda that we need to be aware of. How is the publication driven? Is it by advertising, if there isn’t any ask yourself why and how. Is the publication politically driven however seamlessly because we need to be aware of these lean-to structures. We need to work out all the tropes and challenge any flakey thinking. Mischievous jazz writers and their musician cousins do not always restrict their reading choices to the Beano or current fave, I believe widespread, anything by the great Slavoj Žižek.
Compile a “snog — marry — avoid”, a SMA, hey it has a weird ring to it, as a working tool dear readers so we do not waste our time on too much gunge which is spilling out all over a tad messily, mid-JazzBubble at the moment. Otherwise we might need to have Happy Drains permanently on our speed dial. They are the professionals after all.