View Full Version : Honour in Music.

10-03-2005, 07:53 AM
Woke up this morning thinking that "Integrity" is the wrong grounds upon which to attack Maya. The real criteria is "Honour".

Lots of music has integrity. After all, all integrity is is maintaining internal coherence. The Clash have integrity for instance. Maya doesn't actually have integrity, the veneer of what she's trying to present wouldnt crack as it does if she did. But she nearly does.

More tricky is being honourable. Its not a case of morality, and only ethics in the most abstract sense. Its about aspiring to some kind of cosmic honesty. Me, in case you think I'm saying I'm honourable, i'm a slack fuck. I try to be honourable, but it gets a bit fuzzy round the edges. I'll plainly admit that when it comes to some things self-interest/political manoevring/habit takes over. See for instance I'm not prepared to give away all my worldy possesions and leave the first world (aka Babylon), cos I'm selfish.

But maybe, just maybe, admitting that I won't counts for something. Maybe Republicanism counts for something in this schema, admitting you're an oppressor, that the fabric of your existence IS dependent upon screwing other people over (people whose faces you never get to see)

What music is "honourable"? Well Grime is honourable, Dancehall is honourable etc. Of the kind of broad swathe of Rock/Electronica some is honourable. It tends to be only the most twisted (Woody Allen-style lol) intensely self-scrutineering bunch who manage to make "Honourable" music.

10-03-2005, 07:57 AM
I love "honour" as a general concept - basically most of these unfashionable words are good: "judgement", "courage", "discipline". But are you using honour to mean "internally consistent value system" or something here? Because you could argue that MIA is honourable because she's harnessing the most potent musical signfiers she can in order to highlight the things she thinks are important...

(I guess that would make her "honourable" but not "musically honourable")

10-03-2005, 08:51 AM
no he's taking integrity to mean internally consistant but honourablr to mean honest in the fullest sense possible. i thnk that's why he like dogzilla so much.

10-03-2005, 11:53 AM
so, matt, you mean honorable in the sense of owning up to your own bullshit and attempting to do something about it? or is just owning up to it enough? or is there some deeper cosmic signifigance i'm missing? is it just aspiring to transparency? is PiL honorable and !!! isn't?

i can't say i could ever peg an entire genre as "honorable". or anything, really. there's too many competing needs/visions going on, even admist the unity. plus a lot of these cats seem pretty happy in their wrongness. (thinking more of dancehall here.)

10-03-2005, 12:08 PM
no, i think dancehall is just honest... honourable sometimes, but not always. for me honour is about honesty, truth but also an essential core of goodness.

10-03-2005, 03:53 PM
I'm sorry guys this entire thread seems sort of off its rocker to me, mostly because the terms seem to have been so vaguely defined. By "honest" i really don't have much of an idea what you mean. I like lots of music that is dishonest because it comes across as honest, and lots of music that is honest but comes across as dishonest because its just bad music...etc.

10-03-2005, 04:12 PM
maybe he means self-knowledge or something

10-03-2005, 09:08 PM
honour, to yourself anyway can be a weird concept cos it can sometimes mean shitting where you eat.
for instance i have righteous anger, i'll get very angry, never insult anyone directly but make the target aware of their insipid half asleep lack of care for the affect they are having on my life and the life of others they come across with this attitude.
of course anger and aggression is not something you are supposed to show,not nice and unproffesional even tho you are being fucked over and others will follow.
honour in music is totally fine, admit when you have been sleeping, let people know when something is unequivocally amazing.

11-03-2005, 07:14 AM
I'm sorry guys this entire thread seems sort of off its rocker to me, mostly because the terms seem to have been so vaguely defined.


14-03-2005, 02:33 PM

...but on second thoughts i may have shortchanged myself a bit here. in the whole MIA mass-debate the criteria which people seemed to settle on was "authenticity" the schema went thus:

(one one hand)

non "native" perpetrator of a music = fake (best example perhaps UB40, no one allowed to mention "their early work")

(on the other)

non "native" perpretrator of a music = innovator/artist (best example perhaps Talking Heads c. Remain in Light or The Slits)


with each camp throwing mud at eachother. trotting out the usual examples.


my point would be that Talking Heads and The Slits are greater than MIA because they exhibited "honour". it would be wrong for hardliners to dismiss them as "anti-authentic" because they're working on a new trope. i actually have a philosophical theory in which to frame this too. badiou says that the only time "truth" (substitute this for honour) comes into play in real world relations is when a person reacts to a fundamental change in circumstances (like a death of someone close or the collapse of a political regime) with "integrity". its the cocktail of the two things which produces "truth"

i'd argue that something like Remain In Light was a honest reaction to the explosion of african music, to shrinking of the world, (on the face of it) to postmodern theory. to use brian eno's argument, it was part of the trans-atlantic hocket, the call and response game that gets played out between africa and the west (inc. the diaspora). eno (and this is crucial) pointed out the influence My Life in the bush of ghosts had had on dance music and in turn back on african music itself. you might possibly be able to claim that maya is a true reaction to world music (i wouldnt say that but....), however you sure as hell wont see world music influenced by maya.

i just hate to see confusion over the authenticity issue and maya. i certainly wouldnt give two figs if she was "authentic" or not. it does bother me that she isnt "honourable" thats a totally different issue.