There on the radio was the drop-in star of last night’s Insatiable Banalities podcast, who was shrieking over the actors doing a play reading. Something to look forward to in future when the podcast goes up.
Anyway Margaret was not so kind as to promote the Canberra Musician’s Club by name. But she did a great job of dropping a bucket on them and in particular the Backyard Backanalias.
At the moment the Backanalias are so pared back that sexual favours are being traded to gain a coveted “+1″ with someone who’s on the guest list, and haven’t been held in 6 months. But it seems that not enough for Margaret.
Jon Stanhope did a commendable job of seeking conciliation.
Response from the CMC to follow shortly.
UPDATED: Here’s President McCrae’s response (the photograph is of his meeting with Chief Minister Stanhope at the CMC launch earlier this year):
First I would like to say that many activities occur at our residence, only a few of which (Backanalias and Club picnics/meetings) are associated with the Canberra Musicians Club. It was never intended for the CMC to have any involvement in the Backanalias. Unfortunately, as the various authorities, alerted by our neighbour, became interested, we had to change tack in an effort to continue what we think is becoming and should continue to be a great social and cultural institution for Canberra.
The changes we have made are in line with all the advice we have received from ACT police, health and liquor licensing officers. In fact, there is now nothing to distinguish the Backanalia in its proposed form from any ordinary house party, other than that the music is live (which frequently happens at house parties anyway). Given we will be running at most 6-7 of these events per annum, we don’t consider it to be too great an imposition on the neighbourhood. We purposely pick acts that are at the quieter end of the spectrum and amplify to a minimum. We put (even) quieter acts on later in the evening and stop all amplified play at 11pm. We are limiting attendance to 150 people. There will be no money exchanged except for a donation, 100% of which will go to the musicians. We are giving away sausage sandwiches. It is entirely byo.
Having said all that, we (that is I, not the Club) have made some mistakes, especially in not properly consulting our neighbours, although I reject Margaret’s assertion that we have ‘never’ consulted her. In fact she is the only neighbour that we consulted about it before the first show in the current location. Last night’s incident was unfortunate. The recording of Podcasts (which is what was happening, and which have no connection to the CMC besides my involvement in both) normally takes place inside the shed, but the warmth of the evening and the unusually large group of participants decided us on moving outside. I had no idea that the content would be so full of ‘explicatives’ and I will be making a personal apology about that and a couple of other incidents later today.
On the other hand, the feedback from other neighbours has been almost universally positive (one neighbour complained once, and then his wife came to the next one and advised my mother that they both approved). Many near neighbours have begun attending, some have joined the Club, and we feel like we are responsible for bringing the local community together to a degree. Margaret has complained once to us directly, not about a Backanalia, but about a small spontaneous party we held where unfortunately we allowed our high spirits to get the better of us and played too loud and too late. It’s not something we intend to repeat.
The Club is very gratified to apparently have John Stanhope’s support. We feel that our objectives are in line with government policy on promoting the arts in Canberra and, while our mode of operation may be a little on the edge at present, it is our fervent desire to be able to operate entirely legitimately in a permanent location as soon as possible. We have every sympathy for our neighbour and will do all in our power to assuage her in this matter, but her complaint highlights an issue that spreads wider than our neighbourhood, frequently embroiling managers of urban venues where city living has created a conflict of interests. While the government may support contemporary music, it has done little to address these growing impingements on the ability of musicians to ply there trade in Canberra.
The Canberra Musicians Club is determined to overcome these issues and find a home that will allow the best of local music to be presented in the manner it deserves. We are happy to work with the government and any other organisations to achieve these goals. We invite all interested parties to join in us this endeavour. In the mean time we will continue to operate as we have done, prioritising the music and solving such problems as arise with creativity, a spirit of co-operativeness and unrestrained passion. We mean no harm to anyone and we do not intend to continue running the Backanalia at its present location hereafter.
Canberra Musicians Club
FURTHER UPDATE: Score one for complaining to the Chief Minister, the event has now been cancelled.
Also for the benefit of the intellectually disabled gentleman who complained allow me to disclose for those who missed it (after publishing it previously) that I’m a member of the CMC, was in fact in the group which riled Margaret last night (disclosed above), and the CMC are sponsors of RiotACT (as, so it happens, RiotACT is of the CMC).