Does Amanda Palmer have all the answers?
Amanda Palmer, fresh from her run-in with the Daily Mail, plays Dublin's Academy tonight. The feminist musician has become an oracle for a frantic music business treasure-hunting for answers. The street performer turned-Dresden Doll-turned-solo act-turned-Kickstarter million dollar fundraiser-turned TED talk sensation talks about her DIY philosophy with Una Mullally
“ And nowadays it’s worse ’cause kids have automatic handguns. It takes about an hour to learn how to play the ukulele . . .” the song went on, as a sanitised conference room was forced to contemplate creativity and society, not spreadsheets of social media metrics, “. . . about the same to teach someone to build a standard pipe bomb – you do the math.”
It’s that joyful darkness, also exhibited in the work of her husband, author and artist Neil Gaiman, that has endeared Palmer to one of the most eclectic fan bases around; musos, misfits, gays, straights, feminists, boys, girls, Bono, artists, writers, techies, jazzers, folkies, goths, theatre heads, drags, lesbians and everything in between. Yeah, Bono. They hung out recently. “I thought back to my 13-year-old self,” she laughs, “and if you told that 13-year-old girl she would be sitting in an Irish pub in California with Bono drinking Guinness discussing aspects of the music industry, and also going to him for counsel?” Her incredulousness hangs in the air.
“We actually have a lot in common. Everyone is constantly giving him shit – his music gets lost in the mix as well. I asked him, ‘How do you deal with this?’ Because who the fuck can I ask? ‘What do you do? You’re Bono!’
Dear Daily Mail
“Being the kind guy that he is he actually told me some really useful things about the perspective he’s gained, how he deals with being hated, and with the slings and arrows of being a person in the public eye and all that.”
Counsel is something Palmer herself also gives: “The road giveth and the road taketh away, and one of thing things the road gives you is access to the people who can arm you with the tools you need to survive the army of self. And I try to do the same for the younger artists I meet who are falling on the path behind me.”
It’s that process that is sharpening her picture of what it’s all about: “To feel I’m part of the lineage no matter what people say. That feels like the point of life itself. To feel part of a cycle.”
A futurism that is conscious of the past? Now that’s an idea worth kickstarting.
yyy Amanda Palmer plays the Academy, Dublin on July 18th