Tarago Diaries #33 – False Flag

Mark reflects on music and the music industry.

Author: Mark Seymour.

Date: 30 May 2020.

Original URL: https://www.facebook.com/MarkSeymourOfficial/


Article Text

‘False Flag’

There’s nothing like scarcity to simplify a life choice.

The ‘Rona forced your hand.

Wandering the aisles, there was a certain brand of baked beans you were looking for. Who knows why? It might have been the price, or the words ‘Aussie made’ with the cute little Australia made of beans with the sauce drippin’

Suddenly there were hardly any left so you had to move fast before someone else did.

It was all getting a bit personal, right?

The rules had changed and you weren’t sure what the new ones were.

People like to think they’re in control at all times. And the more choices they’ve got the more powerful they feel. Some brands are ‘better’ than others right? Everybody knows that. Doesn’t matter what. Food, cars, toilet paper. At any given moment there’s a healthy supply of stuff you can roll around in. There’s nothing like a bit of bling right? Adds spark to your day. Mine’s green. Yours isn’t. My eggs are cage free. Yours aren’t. My phone’s got more grunt. Mine’s a Tesla. Yours isn’t. Simple really. It’s ‘freedom’ man! You are there.

But only as long as there are choices available.

How you get to have them doesn’t really matter in the end. As long as they’re there, supplied by forces you’d rather ignore. Or pretend don’t exist..

‘Then along came ‘Rona..’ and blew them all away

Which only proves one thing. We are creatures of circumstance. Every choice we make has a context, far greater than us.

Like it or not, there are reasons you chose one thing over another that aren’t your own. Some you’re aware of. Others not.

There’s nothing new in this. You get ‘influenced’. So what?

When it comes to your basic needs, like food, at least you can adapt.

But then there’s music.

See, there’s a problem with music. With music, punters want to surrender to ‘feeling’. Which means there’s something deeper at work. More personal. Beyond basic need.

This song ‘touches me’.. they say. ‘It was ‘almost a religious experience’.


What the hell is that?

Well, if nothing else, it’s really bloody confusing.

Especially when all this yearning is attached to your spotify account. All these punters running ‘round with their wafty yearnings clouding the bottom line. Pity the record company. Where the hell has my zeitgeist gone now? Damn. It’s over there. Starts with an ‘N’..

Authenticity is a turkey shoot.

But don’t we all love it? That’s the thing about music. There’s so much room for conjecture. We get to argue.

“Who? Them? Are you serious? You like THEM? They’re lame. What’s wrong with you? Nah. Yeah. Nah.”

The more controversy the better. Is it bullshit or is it not? And what are we looking for here anyway? The truth? Are you kidding me?

Don’t even think that just because we’re dealing with ‘heart and soul’, or ‘suffering’ and joy’ that marketing gets pushed aside somehow..

It’s exactly the opposite.

Music is a promotional bonanza. After all, you can attach it to anything right? Cars, sport, sex, furniture, kitchen ware, garden tools, death, marriage, war.. politics. So many avenues of need.. Need I go on?

And then there’s the ‘gush factor.’ Now there’s a tiger to ride. Musicians love it. And boy do they go hard. Especially when it comes to their own work. Long after the rooms have emptied. Mind you, gushing will get you a long way. Years potentially. Until finally the penny drops…. ‘Hey.. did you notice? People were actually leaving! Before we’d even finished!”

The horror!

Still. Success breeds success. What with all these punters running ‘round getting emotional about buying stuff. Milk it while it lasts. The bigger the act gets, the more dosh gets thrown around, bigger venues, bigger production. More T-shirts, more bandanas, beer coolers, straw-hats. EVEN FOOD!

There’s a blizzard of artists out there, all clamouring for attention. Which is perfectly reasonable. But the noise has nothing to do with how good they are, how real or truthful.

Songs either elicit a response or they don’t.

Hey. I’m no clean skin. I make value judgements. It’s called art. I decide. One form of expression over another. But there’s a price to pay. You will hear the song in your own way. You’ve got agency, to coin a hip term. Along with your given condition, whatever that is.. Your gender, your race, your friends, the town you live in, your income, your religion, your sexuality..

I can tell you what it’s about, or how it was conceived but I can’t tell you ‘to like it’.

Even though I really want you to.

Then again, millions may come to drink the kool aid, at least for a while. But like all things, the novelty will wear off or die suddenly for a lack of


And as the smoke clears, powerful people will do whatever it takes to avoid pointing out the obvious.

The emperor is naked.

Beware the false flag.