Can I ask why [an October 21] Critic’s Choice featured a show that had been sold out for weeks? Why was I told about a concert that I could not possibly attend? I racked my brain and came up with these two hypothetical reasons:
A. Bill Wyman’s piece on Hole was such a classic example of his God-given talent for overstating the obvious (i.e., “The Stones are over the hill,” “The Zep reunion is kinda lame,” “I really want to fuck Liz Phair,” etc.) that it just had to be printed.
B. It was the debut of the Reader’s new editorial policy, which will include reviews of out-of-print books and plays that have just finished their run.
Then again, maybe the editors were just snoozing on the job. Ya know, the Reader does such an outstanding job with features and most of the arts. It’s a shame the music coverage is so lame.
Bill Wyman replies:
Bill Ward actually raises a fairly complex issue. Is there a point to writing about shows that are sold out? I get similar comments about writing negative Critic’s Choices–why bother? The answer, in both cases, is that I try to write about a show when there’s something interesting and mildly original to say about it. This practice pulls journalists away from their time-honored duties as salespeople for the record and touring industries. I hope that readers care more about being engaged in this manner than they do about being treated strictly as consumers.