What will it take to get rid of the idea that brilliance and bad behaviour need each other?
This is a brilliant read and very topical.
I have always found it odd that with Edward Elgar’s affair it is often dressed up as cute (“snowflake”) and a necessary part of his artistic pursuit of inspiration, but when Alma Mahler did the same it was an act of devastation for her poor husband. I don’t mean to moralise about people’s lives or marriages, it’s just the inconsistency that I find disturbing. Composers seem to get away with a lot in the name of genius.
It seems the same is true of Brand, who when he was talking revolutionary politics was able to get away with his hiding-in-plain-sight abusive behaviour and demeanour, and is clearly the top of a huge iceberg that people would rather sink than deal with. I liked Marina Hyde’s piece but notice The Guardian - my go-to paper - are not remotely acknowledging the extent to which they enabled Brand. I hope something is changing for the better, but if it is it appears to be moving at a glacial pace.
The headline in slipped disc that broke the story made me furious, referring to a 'singer incident'. Another critic complicit in the problematic power structures.
This is a really, really important and well-written article - I am very thankful to you for it and have passed it on to a number of people - in particular music journalists I know here in Germany.
Mary Ellen Kitchens
Board Member, Archiv Frau und Musik, Frankfurt
This is an exceptionally insightful analysis, thank you for writing it!
Thank you Leah - I certainly wouldn’t have the stomach to read Musk’s biography. Is there any reference to a cultural life? Does he have a favourite novel, a favourite symphony? A favourite poet? Does he go to the theatre?