I read John Hammond’s autobiography when I was young and after thought A&R people were suppose to discover talent like he did (Aretha Franklin, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Billie Holiday, Pete Seeger, Leonard Cohen) but actually John Hammond was more or less an anomaly. Most of the stories I’ve seen or read are about A&R people trying to be associated with financial success rather than discover talent. A&R in the music business often has that doublespeak vibe. One of the great gifts of George Orwell was understanding the future and giving us terms like doublespeak, nailed it. For my 20 page Marx paper I’m writing about gender and capitalism hence Bell Hooks figures into my research. When I checked her presence in the land of Youtube I found a critical video by a middle aged woman called the factual feminist. She was refuting Hook’s observations about imperialism, sexism and white supremacy but her points didn’t make sense. When I looked closer I found the Newt Gingrich loving producers of the series and it became more clear that the factual feminist is neither, just doublespeak.

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  1. If I were doing a thesis on Marxism and popular music in Canada circa 1985-present, I would be interested in understanding the correlation, if any, between the rise of the current “grant system” and the decline of the “major label,” specifically as it pertains to the decline in the quality of popular music here in this country. Seems to me that the last ‘great’ bands to come out of Canada were all still driven by a desire to land a recording contract with a major label. Fast forward to 2018 where we have a multitude of bands/artists who seem to be sustained entirely by government grants and CBC radio play, who continue to make sub-standard music that literally sounds as if it were written by 7 year olds. Reminds me of the time my relatives from Soviet Ukraine came over in the early 80s during a brief thaw and were blown away when we took them to the Eaton centre, or when they realized that over here you could openly criticize the government and not get put in a gulag.


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