And what is this blog about, Cameron? ~ theatre notes

Thursday, September 23, 2010

And what is this blog about, Cameron?

Update: The article is online here. With thanks to Nicholas Pickard. (Now with crunchy comments! [Further update: sadly, it seems that three comments is the most that Fairfax mods can deal with.])
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This morning Age critic Cameron Woodhead takes aim at Ms TN with all guns blazing. But sadly, because the Age has not put this article online, I can't point curious readers in its direction: you will all have to go out and buy the paper. (Too bad if you're in Perth or London - I'll of course link at once if it is uploaded, so you can all read it for yourselves and make up your own minds.) My reportage will inevitably be partial, because I don't want to quote the whole damn thing. Suffice to say that Woodhead claims that he has been misrepresented. He has some justification for his complaint, although, as those who were at the Wheeler Centre's Critical Failure panel will know, not as much as he thinks.

I would not mind his defending himself so much, if he were not so interested in misrepresenting me. Woodhead describes Theatre Notes as if my major activity, in the six years since I began it, is to attack Mr Cameron Woodhead. A quick search reveals that this is by no means the case. This is the 929th post I have written for this blog: out of those, I can find six that mention Woodhead. Which is to say, he has occupied precisely 0.6 per cent of my blogly attention. These posts are all online, and you can go and read them for yourself. On the other hand, by tomorrow, unless it is uploaded to the Fairfax website, Woodhead's article will be available only to those who keep archives or who make a special library visit.

This suggests something about accountability, which is a major prong of Woodhead's attack on Theatre Notes (as singular representative, I presume, of the entire internet - the only other blog he mentions is the Guardian). He claims that as a blogger I am not accountable, and even hints darkly that I am unethical. "Croggon," he says, "seems to have fallen into the trap of thinking that - because a blog, by its nature, offers a right of reply - she can evade the obligations that inhere in her critical authority." He lists the responsibilities a critic has: "checking your evidence has a solid basis; the accountability of putting your name to your opinions; being disciplined about your writing, always conscious of the responsibilities of having a public voice; respecting the law of libel".

This blog in fact observes all those responsibilities (especially the one about defamation). I'm pretty sure that, in my five years as a cadet and later as industrial affairs reporter on the Melbourne Herald, I have a rather stronger grounding in journalistic practice than Woodhead: and I use all those skills here. I moderate comments with a light hand, but I immediately take down comments that are defamatory (as a sidenote, mockery isn't the same as defamation). And as a blogger, I have an extra accountability that Woodhead does not have: towards my readers. If I make a mistake, a reader will point it out. If I enrage a reader, that reader will take issue with me online. If I don't continue to write stuff worth their time, readers will not bother to visit the site.

Everything I write here is under immediate scrutiny, and must endure sometimes very robust debate. (Check out, for example, the discussion about Martin Crimp under my recent review of The City, where I have been forced to vigorously defend my assessment of that play against, among others, Woodhead himself.) Woodhead seems taken aback by this robustness. I guess if you're not used to your lunch answering back, it must be a little disconcerting to be slapped by the salad. In any case, the one debate I am not interested in pursuing is a bitchslap between crrritics. Why? Because there are many more interesting things to discuss. Like theatre, for instance...

47 comments:

sydney arts journo said...

Are we seriously still having this debate?

It is so 2001.

Alison Croggon said...

'Fraid so. It's the Undead of Intellectual Life.

epistemysics said...

"as a sidenote, mockery isn't the same as defamation" - and thank god for that!

I must say, though, this 'not being able to read the article' thing is torture for me...do we have any sort of ETA?

sydney arts journo said...

Found!

http://newsstore.theage.com.au/apps/viewDocument.ac?page=1&sy=age&kw=cameron+woodhead&pb=all_ffx&dt=selectRange&dr=today&so=relevance&sf=text&sf=headline&rc=10&rm=200&sp=nrm&clsPage=1&docID=AGE100923NH6TED0R4IU

Diana Simmonds said...

"...with no editor to rein you in, the responsibility that comes with online criticism is terrifying..." this observation makes it clear that Woodhead has never thought about the reality of online criticism.

Alison Croggon said...

Well hunted, sir! I shall link up immediately.

And yes, Diana. Quite! It strikes me that it also means that he hasn't thought much about the reality of print criticism either.

Anonymous said...

Cameron Woodhead says:
"Imagine Hogarth's gin-soaked slatterns broadcasting their opinions to the empire"
Oh yes please......

Jana said...

Tremendously disappointing. Why cannot this 'debate' about blogging focus more on the art form (theatre) or the creative eco-system (performing arts), and less on the person of the critic? I understand Cameron's argument (it is a reasonably clear expression of a reasonable concern), but it is simultaneously presenting the most cynical view of the internet, and the rosiest view of the newspaper.

And even if they were both true, to what extent do the media condition the respective messages? Should the critic not be concerned with the possibilities of the critical conversation first and foremost? Are the print and the web really at war? Is the conversation not, to some extent, a joint one? Is this antagonism really that necessary? Could we not just say some things in print, and others online (as people like John Bailey, Chris Boyd, and you Alison already do)?

Or is this rivalry between print and the web really all about territory, as it increasingly seems to be the case?

Alison Croggon said...

I did pause over the (deeply problematic) gin-soaked slattern comment... Especially as it seems to reveal that Cameron is not only ignorant that women were prominent in Grub St, as writers, editors and publishers, but that he is somewhat innocent about its grubbier aspects. There was, after all, the gin-soaked Samuel Boyse, who broadcast his dodgy opinions far and wide... They weren't all fine literary gentlemen like Alexander Pope.

This "rivalry" is very local, I think Jana, and maybe can't quite be generalised out to "print" and "digital". Unless I really am a walking contradiction. And if it is about territory, what is the territory in dispute? I think it must be about legitimacy: and as Nicholas said above, surely this was all over a while back? And yes, I'd rather talk about theatre. Which I have not, I admit, managed very successfully today, although that was the fault of a dentist as much as any distractions here.

J-Lo said...

I thought this diversion into the well-trodden dystopian vision of internet discourse and theatre critisim was easily the least interesting part of the Critical Failure discussion on that night.

While Mr Woodhead may feel he suitably qualified his observations, as an audience member it was pretty clear that he had a 'professional print v. amateur online' axe to grind ... which didn't add anything to the discussion.

Yes, there is good and bad content and commentary on the internet.

Ho hum.

J-Lo said...

I'd like to claim my misspelling of criticism was a deeply ironic, intentional act ...

Geoffrey said...

This whole slagging match (its tone, length and velocity) is hilarious and quite frankly, a little pathetic. If every time a director, actor or designer who got a bad review from either critic got all snooty and felt the need to defend their honour, intelligence and integrity, both the blogosphere and the print media would be overflowing with huffy-puffy poison. But most ACTUAL theatre artists choose just to get on with the job and go back to the boards, to the rehearsal room, to create more art. But when either of our esteemed Melbourne critics takes a public flagellation, we don't hear the end of it. It stings doesn't it?? But grow up and get over it. Both of you. Honestly.

cameron woodhead said...

Yes. Theatre is the priority. I've had a doctor's appointment, seen two shows at the Fringe Festival, and written four reviews today.

Readers interested in the debate have access to Alison's piece, my reply, and can judge our arguments and deployment of rhetoric on their merits.

Nothing more to add here, save that my own theatre blog will be up before week's end.

4 Coffins said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
4 Coffins said...

?? WTF is above comment for real???

The traditionalist side of the argument would make more sense if it was coming from an oily old silver-fox journo who'd seen more theatre than you have sunrises, sonny Jim.

Nah Geoffrey I reckon it's important ground - the way media is changing generally and what it means for theatre could and perhaps should change the theatre that is made.


I like Jana's territory comment and I can only see gains made towards the Croggan end of the spectrum - good for you Alison.

To turn a blind eye to changes in media is to ignore opportunities investigate what this shifting landscape means to the theatre and for the artist making it, as Theatrenotes has changed the dialogue, for example.

George Hunka said...

Are we to the point now where we can say, "Stick a fork in it, it's done"?

Some last thoughts here.

Alison Croggon said...

Critisim sounds like a sort of semi-precious stone, J-Lo. Which I kind of like.

Do you think it's simply a "slanging match", Geoffrey? I think Jana is a little more accurate there. Although I do admit that I don't much like being accused of being unethical, when I go to a lot of trouble to be as transparent as possible.

I'm delighted to hear your blog is on the way, Cameron. And to see you particiapting in other conversations elsewhere. Blogging is essentially about networks, rather less about individuals, although it may look like that from the outside.

Good to see you here, 4Coffins. And thanks. Maybe the fact that Cameron is starting a blog shows where the weight has shifted over the past five years.

And quite, George. In a gift economy, the pearl beyond price is good faith. Anyone arguing, as Cameron was in his article, that print is inherently more virtuous than the pixeled page is surely having a laugh. Or doesn't read the papers.

Geoffrey said...

Thanks for the text messages and the emails. It wasn't me. There's another Geoffrey. And if I didn't know better ...

Anyway, FWIW, I don't think it's "just a slanging match"– but it certainly does make me duck.

Alison Croggon said...

Quack to you, Geoffrey...I knew it wasn't you.

Should I underline that the "delight" at Cameron's blog is not ironic? Though I must admit that I feel like playing Paul Kelly's song, Be Careful What You Pray For; at the moment, what with this and the Wheeler Centre's cultivating of blog conversation (another whole area I haven't even mentioned here) and various other things, there's so much cultural dialogue in Melbourne that my ears are bleeding. I'm going to be a full-time Critick from now on, until the end of the Melbourne Festival in fact, and will keep up as much as I can, but, you know, criticism is only part of what I do, and certainly the least part of my income. But sustainability is a whole other and serious question.

Outside perspective said...

The heart of the matter is this: Did you or did you not misrepresent Cameron Woodhead in your article? If so, why?

It's one thing to simply say you prioritize ethics, cite your credentials, then claim you want to avoid a slinging match and be done with it. But it won't suffice. Woodhead's allegations are as serious as they are specific and your rebuttal must necessarily be so as well.

As an outsider who has come to this blog seeking some understanding of what this controversy is all about, I am leaving perplexed. Like it or not, by failing to explain why Woodhead's specific criticism of you is invalid, you lend it legitimacy.

Seeking Peace said...

Outside perspective, if you re-read Alison's piece she states that Cameron *has* been slightly misrepresented. Yet not, in her opinion, as much as he claims.

Alison has also already linked to the actual debate in question... why not look for yourself if you feel her response unclear? (if you care so much I would say look anyway, Cameron and her would both admit to being somewhat subjective in their opinion...)

http://wheelercentre.com/videos/video/critical-failure-theatre/

Alison, hi -I am a fan- but I won't be reduced to team Croggon or Woodhead- I enjoy reading both of you. You wrote a piece, he wrote a piece, you sound hurt by what he has written, he is probably hurt by what you have written. It's a shame as both of, you on a good day, are enlightening and fun. Hopefully you will *both* reflect and put away the knifes, I believe it is beneath you.

Alison Croggon said...

All the source texts are online, so you can make up your own mind, OP. No, I didn't misrepresent Cameron: it was clear during that debate that, despite some welcome openness here and there, he was there to assert the authority of print over digital criticism. He had a few shots at me, which were no less "misrepresenting". I think he did, however, get an unfairly hard time on the Guardian theatre blog.

Cameron is a critic, and it seems to me that critics should take what comes on the chin. I have not always been polite to him, but then, he has not always been polite to me. I don't see how this makes him a victim, and I certainly don't see how these "allegations" are "serious". (Seriously?) I have certainly never defamed Cameron, as he claims, although I have on occasion taken issue with his critical opinion. I am under the impression that this is what happens in a vital culture.

And jeesus. I've been appallingly misrepresented and totally defamed by the real professionals, people like Andrew Bolt or on 60 Minutes. This is small beans indeed. And it goes with the job.

Another thing: at what point does an argument become a fight? An argument - a difference of opinion - is, to my mind, interesting, and if it's a good argument (I think the thread on Crimp is - mainly - a good argument) is stimulating and can be revealing. A fight is not. I often have very spirited arguments with people I think of as dear friends - Jana being an example. Jana is excellent to argue with, because she doesn't take a difference of opinion personally. Cameron seems often to confuse a difference of opinion with a personal attack. They are very different things. At the same time, and especially on the Guardian - where I was moved to defend him, although Cameron naturally doesn't mention that - there is such a thing as being jumped on.

Some of this is about how digital technology has changed criticism. That's interesting. I agree, anything that's just about a personal fight between critics isn't.

Thanks Peacemaker; "hurt" isn't the right word. I am, I'm sure, no better than that llama in the Paris zoo, which had a sign on its cage: "This animal is dangerous. When attacked, it will defend itself". All the same, I am not in the least interested in the Team Croggon/Team Woodhead thing. FFS!

J-Lo said...

Alison - feel free to use "critisim" in a future literary work of fiction!

Alison Croggon said...

Thank you, J-Lo. I will keep it in mind. You never know when you might want a name for an imaginary semi-precious stone...

Anonymous said...

At the end of the day Alison is a superior mind and a reviewer with an intelligence far beyond that of Cameron. This is much like how I would compare Chris Boyd with Kate Herbert. In both cases, both Croggon and Boyd use their intellect, their heart, their souls and their good intentions to engage with the work they see. Always from a perspective as far as I can see of engagement with the artwork under 'review'.
In the case of Woodhead and Herbert their personal enmities surface. With bias and some form of personal "god" status they demean the work they 'review' and too often their reviewing of something really just reads as an opinion piece - as in "I like this" or "I don't like this".

In summary: say critical things but say it with intelligence and by engaging with the work. Rather than being a lightweight petty critic who offers little to the debate. The reviewing of Croggon and Boyd therefore actually contributes to a critical discourse, whereas to often with the others I mention their reviewing merely passes judgement.

Oh, and simply because you know every word in the dictionary does not in and of itself mean you can adequately describe the definition of each - much less engage with a process of joining them together into arguments.

Geoffrey said...

Jesus Anon! Are you waving pom-poms as well?

Alison is a great writer, critic ... yes, indeed – and this blog is inspirational. But it actually does this blog and Alison a dis-service by demeaning Cameron and Kate in the process. Everyone inevitably suffers by comparison, and this entire conversation is really distracting from the fact that critics cannot exist without the Art. Superiority is such a problematic concept in this context.

Heynonnymouse said...

So, let me get this straight. It's perfectly okay for people like Croggon and Boyd and Woodhead to make comparisons between artists, because they are critics and that's what critics do - but it's not at all okay to make comparisons between THEM. Seems a bit one-sided to me.

Geoffrey said...

True comparisons are never quite that one-sided.

Potato, potarto, tomato, tomarto.

Anonymous said...

Geoffrey - hear hear. If I had pom poms i'd wave them for you. Perhaps Anonymous was Boyd all dressed up. Or not. Either way, a little bit of sick had arisen by the time I got to "good intentions."

A question: Why has Woodhead's opinion been criticised/questioned/judged on this blog at all?
Ooh, here's another: Is the he said/she said really for the good of art, or is it more pitched at raising the celebrity of the critics?

I'm all for critics being judged. But maybe that should be left to the artists... you know, just to avoid conflict of interest. And cattiness.

S

Tristan Sinclair said...

Heynonnymouse, not directly in response to your remark, but I wonder about this divide between criticism and art; I do not think art is primary and criticism is secondary, but rather take a two sides, one coin view. I can only back this view up with my personal philosophies and experience as a designer and student of fashion.

I think discussing the criticism of art is as important as discussing the art itself. And more than that, indeed, is actually discussing art itself... if theatre is the priority then the criticism of it is of equal importance, at least to me.

Let's not start hurling unfounded accusations at others though. I don't know much at law, but I do think it's rather unethical and hypocritical to suggest Chris Boyd has been on here taking jabs anonymously when that is precisely what you are doing yourself.

Anonymous said...

I'm not chris boyd. I am not anyone really. I just happen to read lots of reviews and yes, it is hard not to compare articles you read (in print or online).

In the case of a review for the same show, especially when you have seen the show, to see how others have engaged with that work (especially in a public way, or even in a public and in a professional capacity) it is impossible not to draw conclusions.

This is why I find criticism of the arts such a problematic thing. It's a hard thing to do. But as I was trying to say - and perhaps it came out harshly - my feelings are that croggon and boyd seem to add something more often than not to what I have seen. Whereas Woodhead and Herbert never really do that - usually simply making judgement calls about the work.

There is a difference no? We all have an opinion, and if yours is different to mine, then I'd love to hear it, unless you are simply slamming or praising something WITHOUT giving context for that appraisal.

Does that make what I am saying clearer? Yes, to compare is impossibly impossible impossible. You do it all the time. You do it all the time so get over yourself Geoffrey et al.

You do compare and I was giving my Personal Opinion that reading a Croggon/Boyd 'engagement' is much more enlightening and more valuable than a Woodhead/Herbert 'opinion'.

Thus, even a 'negative' review by the first two gives me something to grasp (usually more so with Croggon than Boyd for sure), while with the other two, I am left just feeling a bit sick (less so with the Woodhead than Herbert for sure) that their engagement can be so simple.

Get it? One I can get something out of, the other I don't get anything like that from it.

Oh and good intentions? You question my right to say these two words? Well I did, because to think humans have only good or only bad intentions is a delusion. So is it a delusion to believe that people do not have an intention (even unconsciously) in each and every facet of their life.

Basically what I am saying is a croggon review or a boyd review is like a work of art in an of itself. Much less so than with the other two.

Alison Croggon said...

I'm staying out of this. But I do have to say that I've known Chris Boyd for around two decades now, and I find it quite impossible to imagine him dressing up as a sock puppet, per the accusations here.

Chris Boyd said...

And I'd no more liken myself to La Croggon than leap the moon... a satyr to Hyperion an' all that. At best, I'm John the Baptist to her Christ! :-)

I tend to sit out of these Groundhog Day beat-ups about reviewing. The last forum I went to -- can this memory possibly be true? -- Robin Usher and the Strawberry Girl Maudie Davey both spoke. (Maudie got off on Andrea Dworkin rather than merely speak.)

I made a point of sitting somewhere conspicuous and not opening my mouth. Just glowered. That was a million years ago in the nineties.

On this occasion, I wasn't even trolling on the sidelines. (I get the RSS feed of this blog and was blissfully unaware of the comments until AC gave me a heads-up this morning.)

Chris Boyd said...

I've got a feeling I've spliced two memories... same venue, two different occasions...

Wot's that line from Lost Highway? I like to remember things my own way. How I remember them.

Geoffrey said...

I don't compare Anon, either in life or in my writing ... so don't presume you know what I do, or think or how I process to back up your flimsy argument.

A play of mine was reviewed by Kate Herbert. I disagreed vehemently with almost everything she wrote. But I wouldn't presume to say she is a 'worse' critic or a less-responsible critic for writing it. Herbert is as entirely within her rights to respond in her own unique way as any of us are ... and I defend her right to say it and record it. There is also the issue of word length in the print media (especially the Herald Sun), so you are misrepresenting them by writing that the responses we read from them are the limits of their ability to respond, write, think or critique art.

I have also been reviewed by Chris Boyd who wrote about the context and the play and it was a wonderful review. But ditto to Herbert – it was short, but it existed (in The Age) ... which is one of the reasons reviews are so important: because they are the proof that something existed, especially in the pre-YouTube/blogosphere/internet/Facebook era.

It also helped at the box office which, and sorry about this, is the reason a lot of theatre-makers want a review at all – so more people will find out about their precious little profit-share in the back of beyond. Especially if they can't afford any advertising or a Publicist.

So maybe you should "get over yourself" and tell us what you think about any of the plays reviewed here. Borrowed observations, like comparisons, are really kind of pointless after all.

Anonymous said...

You and me are on the same page!!! Sorry for going you, but yes I know precisely that thing you speak of. That fact that Boyd seems to engage with the shows - and when he offers criticism so often it is as another artist offering constructive criticism. Yet I don't get that from Herbert.

The word count thing is a bitch yes. But Boyd seems to manage it.

Look, sorry if I took you on a bit, but after reading your response I think we are actually of the same mind it is just that I speak more honestly and emotionally than rationally or intelligently...

probably placing me more in the Herbert/Woodhead camp than Boyd/Croggon

lol...wanna fight?

PS: as for proof of our dumb little shows ever existing, I suggest fliers kept in a box in the shed...you can look back years later and go I remember that show we did :)

Anonymous said...

As to the matter of comparison though. You don't compare two pieces of fruit when choosing one? You don't compare 2 colours when painting the house? You don't compare meals when you eat out with someone? You don't compare parties or girlfriends or nothing at all?

BULLSHIT!!!!

In life we necessarily make comparisons constantly, that is how we are able to find a mate...we compare each other as humans capable of perpetuating our genetic code.

You may deny this, but in doing so you are illegitimately claiming to be non human.

Oh, one final eensy teensy weensy thing:

The use of comparisons between works of theatre when assessing a show (or reviewing it) is something rife in Woodheads reviews. read him and cringe at his ridiculous assertions. he did it only recently with something.

One more point: Awards are ALL about comparison. So is the star (*****) system...The arts therefore are based on comparison. The arts funding model is based on comparison.

PPPPPPPPS::: If you want another word for it that word would be competition. Even in your writing (and I don't know your writing) you compare one word with another. Never used a thesaurus? never scrubbed out one line in favour of another? Never changed a title?

And as for casting: well directors compare actors all the time? They compare creatives also.

I think therefore that my argument(s) in comparison to yours is the WINNER!!!

Alison Croggon said...

Just a reminder that civility is desired at all times, even - or especially - when differences are robustly discussed...

Thanks, fellas.

Geoffrey said...

Anonymous said...

As to the matter of comparison though. You don't compare two pieces of fruit when choosing one?

No I don't Anon. I know the difference between an apple and banana.

You don't compare 2 colours when painting the house?

No I don't Anon. I've never painted a house in my life. I'm a renter. Someone else does it and life's too short to care less.

You don't compare meals when you eat out with someone?

No I don't. I always hope they're enjoying theirs as much as I am mine.

You don't compare parties or girlfriends or nothing at all?

No. I'm a fag so I don't have "girlfriends" in the horizontal sense ... and each of my platonic girlfriends are such wonderful assets in my life that to compare them would be futile. To what end?

BULLSHIT!!!!

Precisely. Wise of you to notice.

Geoffrey said...

Anon? Are you a Gemini?

Anonymous said...

Bring on Cameron's blog I say. Can't wait for some serious competition on the web. The fact that this particular blog is so stridently pro Malthouse, and that this in turn guides the choice,tone (and omission) of reviews the writer submits for the national newspaper suggests to me it's time.

Alison Croggon said...

1: You clearly have no idea of the richness of theatrical discussion online in Australia. There are already many other blog sites, and very good ones too, beside this one. For review blogs in Melbourne alone, try John Bailey's Capital Idea, Neandellus, Guerilla Semiotics, Chris Boyd's The Morning After (tho he has been a bit slack on updating). Handily, links are on the blogroll on the links page.

2: The laziness illustrated there is confirmed by the above claim about my "stridently pro-Malthouse" stance which "guides the choice,tone (and omission) of reviews the writer submits for the national newspaper". That IS defamatory, and like much of the defamation slung my way, straight out WRONG.

The choice of shows to be reviewed for the national newspaper is entirely decided by Matthew Westwood, the arts editor of the Australian. He chooses and commissions the reviews, sending out a list of shows to be reviewed to all reviewers every three months, and I review accordingly. Every reviewer for the Oz will confirm this. If you're going to attack me, get your facts straight first anon: ie, like me, do your homework. And maybe have the courage of your convictions, and put your name to your bile.

Anonymous said...

anonymous is a sock puppet?

Chris Boyd said...

Guilty as charged on the recent slackness -- I'm much less inclined to give it away when the paid work is so hard to find -- but Jesus H Christ anonymous [8:53 AM, September 29, 2010]... we're not doin' it for world domination or some other kind of tendentious agenda.

People are a whole lot smarter than you imagine. They consume the media far more shrewdly. We get to know our critics. Their likes and dislikes. (Kenneth Hince hated Brahms... which is why I loved Ken. Neil Jillett hated good movies so consistently that his bad reviews resulted in queues for arthouse cinema. And so on.) So what if you disagree with Alison?

I love reading Jana's reviews for example. Her arguments are compelling. Overwhelming. And I hardly ever agree with her. She still lights up my mind.

And this blog is essential reading. It's a gift. A privilege being able to read for nothing. Alison is one of the two critics in the country that could change my mind, once upon a time. (Paul McGillick, briefly, was another... my predecessor at the Financial Review in the 1980s.)

We'd all love to be reviewing in London, say, in the Halcyon days, when you could find eight, nine, ten brilliant, detailed and divergent responses to the one show. A rainbow of ideas. It's sad that there's only two or three MSM print reviews for most shows.

So, yeah. Bring on Cameron's blog. And many more.

I write as someone who has reviewed for the Age -- I was their first 'fringe' critic in 1994 -- where a fifty word recommendation could cause a La Mama show to be booked out that day. We're not show-stoppers. At best we can speed up (or slow down) the process of word of mouth.

It grieves me that all that remains of some indelible shows over the years are a few scratchy reviews to buttress our fading memories.

Geoffrey said...

"Pro Malthouse"?! You have got to be kidding! Where can you find the evidence to back that slur up?

"... submits to the national newspaper ..." – you really have no idea.

I'm sorry I wasted so much time talking with you. You obviously haven't the faintest clue.

Alison Croggon said...

I think there are a number of Anons, Geoffrey.

Anonymous said...

Hey Geoffrey, me not pro malthouse comment, nor am I a gemini :)

I like croggon, I don't like so much the bulk of work from malthouse as much, but the point, entire point I have tried to make all along is that irrespective of a positive or negative review, I happen to take things away from croggons reviews. Like Boyd - they contribute and even with a bad review, it is almost always kind in a way that contributes to the discourse, rather than simply labelling something pretty broadly as succeeding or failing.

Your comment some way back showed that we agree on this :)