“You ask my opinion about taking the young Salzburg musician into your service. I do not know where you can place him, since I feel that you do not require a composer or other useless people …It gives one’s service a bad name when such types run around like beggars; besides, he has a large family.”
-Letter from Archduke Ferdinand’s mother,
upon learning of his interest in Mozart,
Where do I start in describing this book? On the one hand it is a page turner, on the other hand a terrifying and negative read as Tindall becomes increasingly disillusioned with the music industry before wrapping up her dreams and changing her profession entirely.
The highlight of the work is when Tindall recounts the gradual evolution of classical music in the USA, displaying her broad understanding of music history and research ability. I was of course both pleased and charmed by her beautiful praise of her one year in Vienna during her childhood and her overall positive view of what our continent has to offer culturally. Tindall uncovers valuable information when she dives into the financial situation of orchestras, breaking down their salaries and whatnot. This information is what makes the book interesting, besides her gift for writing, which will keep you reading through the early morning hours, despite the depressing and discouraging topic.
And why on earth would I say that, being an artist myself?
Well … this book belongs and matches countless unflattering musician biopics.
Behaviour patterns rather than talent, seem to be the thread that glues a lot of the show biz mosaic together, regardless of genre. I also received a book called “The Lives and Times Of The Great Composers” for Christmas and hope that maybe I’ll find some inspiring stories contained within its pages describing artistry in its purest form, rather than the personal mess we’ve grown so accustomed to when it comes to modern musicians, whether widely celebrated or not.
The book is off to a typical post-modern-start that I have by now gotten used to; let’s hit the reader hard with vulgarity in the introduction before reverting to a more subtle and civilised tone as the main text progresses. (Makes me think of this.)
Tindall decides to become an orchestra musician, because she wants to be a pretty princess, in a beautiful dress ; she wants to be a star. There is nothing wrong with that, but for some strange reason she does not pick up a solo-instrument but goes for the oboe, and never pauses to consider whether she should change her instrument. At the end of her story she complains about the treatment and payment of orchestra musicians and how the audience don’t even notice them.
It is an interesting perspective to see after having complained on my blog previously of the ordeal of being a solo-artist having to deal with greedy, ungrateful, session musicians. My perspective would differ; “here I am and I write all the music and I am the one people pay to hear, yet I have to deal with backing musicians who don’t care about what I’m trying to accomplish (in a lot of cases) and just want to suck me dry of whatever money they imagine that I’m in the possession of (in most cases), double charging me/my manager, stealing from me and whatnot without ever offering a simple thank you, despite getting paid and being treated well.” I have experienced going on stage as the only person not getting paid, having to deal with diva attitudes and entitlement issues from the other musicians, which is very interesting if you are a solo artist…
Quotes taken from “Mozart In The Jungle”
“Though my conservatory professors venerated that 1930 work for its twelve-tone serialism, I secretly filed it under H for honk-beep-squeak. Perhaps it was no accident that an American soldier shot and killed the composer during World War II.”
“Perhaps Mr. Mehta should have realised he was inflicting on the audience not one but several compositions by Anton von Webern. Since many concertgoers regard performances of Webern as the musical equivalence of a visit to the dentist, audience unrest should not have been a surprise. It is no accident that selections by Webern are generally programmed before, not after, intermission. Otherwise, few would return for the second half.”
I’m willing to bet whatever I have that a lot would probably think that I’m the one with the Diva tendencies due to my skills, press quotes, and whatnot, in fact, people normally seem surprised that it is possible to be around me for long periods of time without succumbing to homicidal fantasies… This was mentioned several times during 2016 in particular, when I was involved with a huge secret project dealing with establishment people used to dealing with big stars. How could I be so easy-going they asked? I think that speaks volumes of how musicians and artists normally behave….regardless of their skill level.
Tindall however, on the other hand, complains about being the wallpaper and not making as much as the conductors and orchestra CEO’s in the classical world. Or she complains about the astronomical differences in payment. She gets to be close to the well-earning soloist super-stars on some occasions, but that’s about it. The book is filled to the brim with resentment, at least that’s how it comes across…
I can relate to her moments of happiness whenever they are described, but her joy is constantly overshadowed by worries and negative thoughts, a common pattern for all artists I guess.
I’ve worked with veteran musicians in the past who were void of any excitement as they had just grown way too cynical. They had lost faith and that’s what can be sensed in Tindall as her story progresses. It is crucial to note however that she doesn’t write her own music, nor is she a soloist. She flirts with the idea of going her own way by staging her own recitals, but these moments receive little space in the book as the author become ever more resigned and negative.
When she ends up dating someone who is influential in the music industry, she does not feel at home with his entourage of friends. She feels out of her element when exposed to the rich and the famous, and describes how she gets a glimpse into a world that isn’t meant for her and where she doesn’t belong. It is easy to sense the opposite class-arrogance, where people who feel an inferiority complex hate on those who they perceive as having more than themselves.
It is also described that her impressive classical CV doesn’t necessarily matter much when it comes to impressing and catching the attention of traditionally eligible men (as described during one of her man-hunts) who seem more focused on appearances/class rather than music degrees, and/or are thrown off by her awkward schedule, etc. It is interesting to note however that Korean female piano students are described as coming to the USA to learn music, so as to increase their chances of landing a good spouse back home.
“He who binds to himself a joy
Doth the winged life destroy;
But he who kisses the joy as it flies
Lives in eternity’s sunrise.”
– from “Eternity,” as featured in “Mozart In The Jungle.”
She also portrays government funding for the arts as potentially problematic, using an episode as an example, where government money was being used in the USA to set up communist propaganda entertainment. The shutting down of this was bad apparently… I think you’ll always lose some of your artistic freedom the second that someone writes you a check, it’s like companies looking for investors, who’ll always take a big cut and demand a say.
She describes the now common unserious stock-music-industry-characters, who drink, do drugs, complain and never really have anything of interest to talk about and discuss. She reveals how she gets her jobs by sleeping with male musicians who can get her work. She describes a partially unserious music education, featuring teachers sleeping with their students, and unserious students more focused on delinquent behaviour than academic results. She burns bridges when it comes to her own career due to her numerous relationships with industry men who grow tired of her and do what they can to get her out-of-the-way professionally. When the affair is over then the jobs cease as well. She fails numerous auditions and is never taken up as a permanent fixture in an orchestra; and loathes it when she finally lands a well paid job working the Broadway musical scene. Note that this job makes it possible for her to buy her own place.
Quotes taken from “Mozart In The Jungle”
“The sooner we can implement a program of selling our culture to the uncommitted people of the world as a weapon, the better off we are,” said New Jersey congressman Frank Thompson in 1952.
” the arts are not for a privileged few but for the many, that their place is not on the periphery of society but at its centre, that they are not just a form of recreation but are of central importance to our well-being and happiness. In the panel’s view, this status will not be widely achieved unless artistic excellence is the constant goal of every artist and every arts organization, and mediocrity is recognised as the ever-present enemy of true progress.”
For someone like myself who ditched formal education in music (as you cannot learn how to create and the cost and debt isn’t worth it) and opted for an apprenticeship the old-fashioned way when it comes to one of my instruments, I have to admit that there is a great deal that I cannot relate to. The same can be said of my relationship to my 1st instrument: the guitar. As someone who is deeply creative and in love with music, I cannot relate to the author’s envy of other performers. I love being treated as a rock star, I love having a deep relationship with my music, I love the beautiful things I’ve experienced so far, and feel sorry for the author who seem set on convincing young people not to pursue a life of artistic passion. It would be the same as telling a priest with divine connection, not to pursue a life serving God. Or a soldier, devoted to his country or a cause, not to fight.
Of course you have the financial worries, so common for everyone involved with anything creative, I’ve seen myself how older musicians a lot of times, in fact most of the time, still live a lifestyle normally reserved for college students, who pass through a phase in their lives, while musicians are stuck in that pattern seemingly forever. There are plenty of men in the industry who literally marry sugar-mamas, which is an interesting phenomena as the norm, or tradition at least, is to see older men marrying younger women.
In the music biz however I’ve seen countless men with an unstable income marry older women who have everything under control financially. This was also echoed in Slash’s unflattering autobiography where he described a horrible, degenerate, lifestyle in squalor, where him and his band mates would live off their groupies in order to get food and an escape route out of the gutter.
Musicians are also described in Tindall’s book as walking on eggshells from they are studying and all through their careers as influential individuals in the industry can ruin your prospects if you say no to sexual advances; which echoes the recent scandals with the whole #MeToo movement. That is actually an interesting scenario, since Tindall describes her work drying up due to her using intimacy as currency. She is cheating and realises this at a certain point towards the end of the book, where she officially delights in finally feeling a genuine sense of accomplishment due to her own merits rather than men helping her with favours. Even though she loses a lot, her entire music career or portfolio seems to be based on men that she is intimately connected with doing her favours. In fact also her writing career to a certain degree is, as a former platonic lover helps her with contacts when she sends in her first article hoping to get published.
“O sublime art,
In how many gray hours
When wild tumult of life ensnared me
Have you kindled my heart to warm love?”
– from “An die Musik” as featured in “Mozart In The Jungle.”
You also have reflective moments where Tindall scolds herself for focusing so much on her dream rather than spending more time with her family. The grizzly tale of celebrated musicians being forgotten by their benefactors and contacts the second that they are heading for the scrap-heap is equally dark.
A very interesting aspect of the story is the parallel-reality that Tindall witnesses by peeking out of her window looking at her neighbours, who make love, become pregnant and have a proper family. She is childless and has never been married. In the book she does not describe a single serious relationship. She cheats on her multiple partners, describe her own fear during the AIDS scare, have relationships with married men, and never (at least in the book) marries herself. She describes other older female musicians living in the same building that she does, who are unmarried, childless, and alone, stuck in a derelict building, with lousy income due to their music careers being stagnant.
In other words nothing uplifting or encouraging can be found anywhere, as the professional lives of performers is depicted as stressful and lonely with lousy pay and a dumb work environment. There is nothing positive to hold on to anywhere. It is a downright depressing read.
Tindall tries to break out of her cage and loop, by creating a new one, and taking into account that her book has been turned into an Amazon Original Series, I’m assuming that she finally found the fame and success that she was looking for.
I can relate to some of the worries described obviously, as all musicians would, but there is a great deal that I cannot relate to, such as the plethora of partners, drug and alcohol abuse, and a life basically void of values; before Tindall realises in her 40s that maybe values are of importance. She offers an alarming picture of smashed dreams and depression that will probably scare away women for several reasons and musicians in general. None of the women described in this book seem happy at all. Again – this is a very grim read.
Quotes taken from “Mozart In The Jungle”
“European opera stars crisscrossed the country during the mid-1800s on lucrative tours, injecting popular tunes like “An Old Man Would Be a-Wooing” into a Rossini opera, which might then be followed by a comic play. Once English-language performances made their stories more accessible, the New York Home Journal could declare that “opera music has become a popular taste.” Concert music, without the entertainment value of a story line, was still something of a Eurocentric rarity, and few instrumental concert performances were presented in the United States during the mid-nineteenth century.”
“During their summer seasons in a Central Park beer garden, conductor Theodore Thomas had to juxtapose waltzes and Wagner, complaining that “circumstances force me to prostitute my art and my talents.”
(I’ll be so lame as to include a trigger warning, of all things, as I contemplate certain ideas that would be seen as horrid in today’s sensitive public forum. I think that there always is a level of sensitivity or certain things “that ought not be discussed” but as I’ve said in previous entries; the topic changes through the times. Today it would be seen as controversial to discuss differences between the genders and/or differences between races/ethnicities, and/or to question, not to forget oppose, socialist and untraditional ideas. I do find it very intriguing to think about all sorts of things, in case the people who read this blog haven’t noticed, so here we go).
An interesting thing to note is how orchestras only used to employ men; women were not allowed in the past. This really surprised me when I first read it, as I’ve always seen classical music as being very feminine. Considering how downright miserable all of the women featured in this book seem though, maybe it wasn’t such a bad idea? I cannot believe that I actually just wrote that, but read this book yourself and you might actually start asking yourself the same thing … I guess having, or building a just world, means leaving the door open or simply put: “letting women know that the option is there.”
If you know that you can, you’ll probably just ignore things, if someone says explicitly no, you’ll become obsessed and angry, probably hell-bent on changing old-fashioned perceptions, etc; So by letting people know that it is possible for them to do such and such, much social upheaval and trouble is avoided, or that is until people find a new battle ground, as I sadly came to realise in this entry of mine: The Battle That Can’t Be Won.
I can only assume that star performers and soloists may feel different when it comes to their happiness levels, as I’ve always been happy whenever sitting in a make-up chair heading for live-TV or whatever, it rocks to record albums, to see your music chart, to receive features, etc; Then again there are of course artists who commit suicide en masse and/or complain about their internal misery. So I guess it all boils down to individuals and how you personally feel about things….
That being said I don’t like the idea of being old and alone, as is described in this book, but then again last time I checked: who does? There are plenty who claim that they like being lonely, but this is in most cases a lie, as complaints about depression or contact seeking behaviour usually always follows such bold remarks. (Pay attention next time you talk with someone who claim that they like being lonely, and you’ll see what I mean).
I do find it interesting though how misery is constantly described when it comes to working women, as egalitarianism, or the pursuit of this, is considered a standard goal in our age. Only traditionalists and people on the alt-right spectrum seem obsessed with the negative implications of female liberation, they highlight and address issues that had never really crossed my mind at all, until I was exposed to their arguments. I remember what I thought when I first saw young women posing with posters saying: “I hate feminism because…,” and that wasn’t nice! I felt that the whole online meme was crazy, because women wouldn’t really have much of a say in today’s environment if it wasn’t for those activists coming before us. Yet it is very easy to forget this if you are my age or younger, because we are spoilt. So when confronted with tales of old-fashioned sexism, it sounds completely alien and incomprehensible. Likewise it becomes easy to point out the negative implications of feminism, when looking at what women complain about in today’s western world and also when looking at the behaviour of radical 3rd wave feminists.
It is important however to point out, that there are elements on the genuine far-right, who genuinely espouse anti-female views as I’ve described before. Me thinking and writing about the things that I share on here, doesn’t necessarily mean that I endorse this or that, meaning that even though I’ve given good reviews and praise to communist writers; I’ve condemned communist ideas as I am horrified by the ideology, as I’ve come to understand it. You can disagree with an idea or movement while still respecting some of its writers and promoters. There can be inspiration found within texts and works that you mostly dislike.
Likewise me contemplating critique towards the new-role of women or basically issues addressed in the current public forum, doesn’t mean that I hate women or feel that it should be illegal with education and/or the employment of women. Contemplating different ideas, changing ones perspective, coming back to previous held beliefs, or moving on as new information is presented to you is normal and healthy if asking questions and/or looking for answers. It is in a way sad, that I feel that something like that has to actually be addressed. It should be self-explanatory.
A common critique or concern voiced by many is that; women who spend a lot of time studying or pursuing ambitious career goals, for example, miss out when they are physically most adapted to give birth. Addressing something like this in the current year, sounds almost absurd, when one has been exposed to post-modern values outside the home. Yet all of a sudden one hears of bizarre trends, such as women in their late 20’s freezing their eggs, as they cannot find a partner, or don’t feel ready for motherhood yet. This fantasy of controlling reproduction though, does strike me as odd, because what if you are in a relationship and you ward off unwanted pregnancies, only to find yourself in an infertile situation later? There is also the issue of educated women complaining that they cannot find a man of interest, as they alienate men or find them intellectually uninteresting.
It is also of interest how “other tribes” see the female womb as a potential weapon, while our own tribes would regard a belief like that as outdated and barbaric. Even just writing it (in the current year) feels hilarious, as we surely must be above such things in our enlightened western societies.
The negative side-effects of the infamous “pill,” glorified as it is vital for women to be as sexually active as men in this brave new world of enforced equality, also crashes trough political-correct propaganda. The same can be said of all of the leaflets sent from the NHS, or displayed at the doctor’s office, not only highlighting different frequencies of illnesses between races, but also emphasising how multiple partners is risky for female reproductive health….
Considering how Christian people are generally mocked due to their so-called “lame values” I find the negative consequences of the alternative quite interesting…….
I myself, despite not being a globalist, was shocked when I picked up “Scientific American: It’s Not a Women’s Issue” as the one influential woman after the other was promoting abortion and the destruction of the nuclear family world-wide, all in the name of female empowerment, of course. And these were women of political influence, working for international institutions. Despite being a proper pro-Westerner I read these articles with great horror and was amazed that these ideas were being promoted and articulated by females.
Considering how poorly assaults are treated as well over here in Europe, as it is “politically incorrect” to point out an imported threat – or more correctly: how sex can be used as a weapon against women who are “outside whatever in-group,” an overall conclusion can be drawn that women are not necessarily treated any better under the “protective wings of feminist politics.” It can certainly seem that quite the opposite is true. The absurd idea of telling young women that words or bracelets make them safe and empowered enough to walk around tipsy, scantily dressed and vulnerable, is also alarming. As much as female liberation is preached and glorified, it does seem as if though it only makes women more vulnerable.
Health wise and safety wise there is nothing positive with promoting STDs as ok, “slutty behaviour” as acceptable,” or excessive drinking to “keep up with the guys” as alright, when you look at the potential consequences, especially the potential complaints surfacing later. The siren song of liberalism is easy to fall for, because everyone (besides those who questions its principles) will be accepted with open arms. Reading of how brutal people were in their descriptions of women in the past and how limited the opportunities were for the so-called fairer sex, it would be ludicrous to not feel a great sense of gratitude towards those fighting for women to be heard and have a place in society.
That being said however, I do wonder, if more women feel inclined to get engaged in politics and enforcement professions if they start seeing the male population as weak or incompetent? That is a question that just fell into my mind right now. Would I bother to share my political opinions if I felt safe in Europe today and if I felt that our interests, heritage and institutions, were being properly guarded? I don’t think I would have written a thing. In fact I doubt that I would even have cared to cast my vote. I do see our situation as dire though, because certain basic concerns seems to be neglected, such as a general sense of safety or a culture of national/continental pride/appreciation. Maybe women become more outspoken when they sense a lack of leadership? Or maybe it has nothing to do with gender? I certainly think that a general sense of respect vanishes throughout the population as individuals feel inclined to step into certain roles that they wouldn’t step into otherwise. How do men without political influence react to the same scenario? Do they sit and plot a coup d’état? My questions are endless.
This year, or maybe it was last year, I started to have my doubts, or have my thoughts regarding women in prototypical masculine professions such as the military. It is of interest to note who I featured in my “20 Badass Women!” entry published in 2015. I personally think of it as cool and inspiring when I see the sort of women featured on my list, but as of late, after reading and hearing of how female military involvement is problematic for physical reasons, it has certainly made me think. It can also be assumed that women attracted to typical testosterone professions will represent a minority. So any attempts at normalizing such interests, is probably futile, as the appeal will not necessarily become broader, while quotas can become a destructive force internally if it crushes trust and morale. Yet again I arrive at the conclusion that what matters at the end of the day is “knowing that the option is there” somehow, yet this shouldn’t force certain institutions to lower their requirements; I guess it is these changes, the enforcement of “political correctness” that makes the situation so very problematic. (The War Has No Female Face. & “Lieutenant Colonel: Women in the Military Diminishes Norway’s Fighting Ability.”)
All of these things also makes me think of an interview I saw many years ago with a Russian sports legend. She was from the Soviet times, just like the war heroines on my list; this lady had been kicking ass left right and centre, but the price that she had paid was enormous. Filled with hormones to make her unbeatable, she had basically become a man. A story that always reappears in the back of my mind whenever I hear of transgender athletes and whatnot.
Last time I was in Norway for example I couldn’t help but wonder about the absurdity of typical female careers; “you nurse other people’s relatives and raise and/or educate other people’s children, while not having time to raise and look after your own.” This independence is normally only a mirage as well as the payment is usually lousy. When women are climbing whatever career ladder it isn’t uncommon for them to slow down at a certain point as a desire for a family and/or spending more time with husband and/or kids overshadow the drive to climb whatever hierarchy. Of course, as always, not all; but it is interesting to ponder the female misery described in so many different places by so very many.
It certainly makes me wonder, and I don’t think I’m the only one.
In fact I know that I’m not the only one, as there are many who constantly criticise the well-fare state and how inefficient and incompetent it is, while defending it in the next sentence due to ideology. There are women on the left who are openly complaining about the negative effects of women waiting too late to have kids – yet even though they do – they would never change their political alignment, write something like this or be willing to take the argument to its final conclusion (even in a private, sheltered setting!), as that would be too spooky, since it could potentially lead to something sounding sexist, or “scary.”
Of course it can be argued that none of the female-issues I addressed above are of relevance unless there is a concern for “the national interest.” In a truly liberated society, where cohesion is undesired and unobtainable, and from a globalist perspective as well I assume, it doesn’t really matter how your nation is doing; because after all: the national interest can be seen as synonymous with oppression and discrimination. Why? Because there are a great deal of things that are not in the interest of a nation if that nation in particular is to be healthy and prosperous as a unit. So at the end of the day does it really matter?
“The arts are essential to any complete national life. The State owes it to itself to sustain and encourage them….Ill fares the race which fails to salute the arts with the reverence and delight which are their due.” – Winston Churchill, 1938.
*A little note, as a comment to one of the JFK quotes featured in the article linked to above: Blair Tindall debunks the myth that classical music can make you more accomplished academically or that there are countless cerebral benefits as claimed by politicians from the past championing federal funding to improve the awesomeness of their population. She features plenty of quotes from recent research in her book. If I remember correctly it can increase spatial awareness, but the numerous claims that classical music can function as some sort of ubermensch measure seems to be a myth according to what she presents … of course there will be those who disagree.*