In the comfortable bubble of liberal, left-leaning indie arts land it’s hard to state a genuine opinion that will cause much more than a chinny collective nod and hemp-gloved circle backslap. Nigel Farage? Call him dangerous, call him toxic but don’t call him an imbecile because we all agree that perpetuating ableist language is simply playing the UKIP game. Amazon versus Hachette? Come on, Amazon AND Hachette are monsters of equal maw!
But there is one thing guaranteed to split any collegial campfire circle into a bicameral mob. Declare your love of Amanda Palmer. Which is something I do. On a regular basis. Usually accompanied by a plea to my creative friends to watch her amazing TED talk The Art of Asking, and now the even more amazing book of the same name. Half the people who comment will share “Amanda Palmer saved my life” stories while the other half will steam in with their “Amanda Palmer makes me want to barf then block you” ire.
There were so many times while I was reading The Art of Asking when I had to put down the book and think through what I had read and when I concluded that the problem of Amanda Palmer is more than just that. It is the problem of the independent arts scene as a whole – or, at least, of the independent writing world that I know so well and those parts of the independent art, music, and theatre world I have come to be on reasonably tea drinking terms with.