Editor’s Box from fRoots 293 (November 2007)
I look at other people full of the stuff, and I’m prone to seeing pushiness that makes me wince, over-confidence, self-aggrandisement, all of which I find to be a huge turn off. With a total lack of consistency, I’m very adept at writing high praise for the works of others, but sometimes react with suspicion when it’s presented to me in what seems an excessive way (suspecting hype rather than genuine enthusiasm, I suppose), and feel real uneasiness at having to claim any importance for what I do myself. How do you take pride in what you may have achieved without coming over like an egomaniac?
For a long time I was of the opinion that I was too much of a jack of all trades, master of none, and that fRoots reflected it. Oh, I was quite good at loads of skills, but not particularly great at any of them. In forty years of it I’d had a good go and made a sort-of living out of so many different things — playing guitar, singing, songwriting, performing, running clubs, festivals and concerts, booking tours, organising, tour managing, writing, photography, graphic design, radio presenting, record production and promotion, artist management, editing a magazine, as well as being a buyer, receiver, listener, reader. Name a fence, I’ve seen both sides of it and sat on it too!
But my crack team of mindbenders finally got me around to realising that having all this experience is a unique combination: I, and therefore fRoots by default, have an overview that nobody else has. And if I don’t, then after all this time I know how to find somebody who does!
So excuse me for blowing a trumpet here. At fRoots I think we can see things from more angles and make more connections than just about any other roots music media outlet there is — print or broadcast. We also have some great contributors and I am, in spite of myself, immensely proud of what we manage to do, on our frayed shoestring, for the scene in general.
And just lately I’ve started really appreciating it when credit is given where I feel it’s due, and to resent ingratitude. Whilst some record labels and artists regularly take our help for granted, it was really lovely to finally get to see our July cover artist Devon Sproule performing live this summer and hear her take special care to name check Elizabeth Kinder who wrote her feature, Judith Burrows who took the photographs, and the magazine in general. It’s so relatively unusual that I was quite moved, and of course it did wonders for my self esteem.
Compare and contrast with other artists we’ve given a lot of help to but fail to credit us at all: it’s not why we do it, but it certainly helps! And, quite genuinely, I can also say that Devon’s gig was brilliant. Talented and a truly nice person: deserves to go far!
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