Grand Central Publishing
As ghastly as her music, and therefore likely to be lapped up as being so soul-pleasing and profound as her music apparently is by her psychofan-sycophants. It’s full of the worst kind of false modesty, “’No, Amanda, my friend said, ‘you’re brilliant, you’re the queen of the internet, you’re so wise and talented’…”– that sort of shit. You didn’t hear it from her, but you sure as fuck heard all about it from her friends through her. Fucking atrocious really. But that’s the attention-seeking world of Amanda Palmer, a world she’s built around her, been allowed to build up around her due to the enablers.
Palmer’s music is awful – but her story is very nearly interesting. If you read the CliffsNotes you could applaud her for being a social networking guru who has been a pioneer of breaking away from the Big Industry record labels, creating an intoxicating world for fans, one that relies on her being on hand and available. But what Palmer is actually available for is their love; that’s what she craves. And what she needs. And what, in her manufactured, carefully studied, trace-around version of nonchalance, she damn well demands.
And so – in that churlish and shallow way, her “memoir of asking”, based around her TED Talk where she told a version of her story as living statue, is her giving to that audience, it’s also her showing the very worst sides of her personality. Needy and aiming to seem centred but atrociously contradictory and so myopic.
All anyone needs to do is ask, apparently. All that’s holding us back is our own self. It’s especially hard to take when a white woman making art-as-whim tells you this. Though the Living Statue story makes sense. She makes the sort of music you will now imagine all those Living Statue buskers return to their bedsits to try to write.
No addressing of sex or race or standing in the world as being any sorts of deterrents or determinants in this much-needed asking, this art of vulnerability – apart from on her terms only. And always.
Oh, but Palmer has some real First World problems that haven’t exactly helped her on her way up and up. You see she married a millionaire author and felt so uncomfortable sharing in his fortune, or even asking. It’s tough at the top. Even harder in the middle, right?
The book is full of fatuous, borderline fraudulent statements. And all this Stuff White People Like cod-philosophy. We’re told the best way to deal with the anger of being critiqued is to imagine any hate mail or negative reviews being addressed to the Dalai Lama. Then to imagine him reading them. Imagine, please, how calm and centred he is as he’s told to eat a dick or stop releasing revolting music or, you know, something like that. Quite beyond the absurdity of this – as far as Non sequiturs go it’s almost profound (…ly ridiculous) – it’s also patently not what Ms Palmer does, or has ever done. She’s the ultimate in troop-marshalling. Why, she could convince her followers to go battle ISIS right now, just the thin promise of sharing a cookie with them after popping up from inside a terracotta planter to deliver an out-of-tune Radiohead cover on her trusty uke with her musty clothes and her fusty attempts at being young, hip and enabling would see the Palmer Army saddling up and heading out, bad music ringing through their ears (hey, it’s their preferred soundtrack), hands wringing because someone musta done their girl wrong.
The Art of Asking has almost been styled as a You Can Do It Too-tome. But why anyone would want to cheapen their approach, stoop this low is baffling. Worse than that though, she’s taken what is ultimately fluke-success, hard fought or not it really is a one-off, and suggested that it can be replicated.
We should all be eternally thankful that Amanda Palmer’s version of success and vision of “art” and her apparently inspiring tales around both cannot be so easily replicated. We should be concerned she’s leading the charge in the hope that one day they might be.