Tarago Diaries #47 – No John Mayer!

Mark tackles ‘cancel culture’ in the form of bans on John Mayer’s music.

Author:  Mark Seymour.

Date: 16 March 2021.

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


Article Text


I was lining up for the early-morning caffeine slap at some junked-out inner-city hole in the wall, the walls smeared with boutique graffitti, the barista lookin’ shaved, sharp and onto it.

“What’s your dream this morning Bro?”

It was the second time in my life I’d been asked that.

The first time was in Byron Bay.

All mind-bending aside, your man knew how to make a long black. I knew that.

It was cold out. There was a bunch of us waiting. Puffer jackets and beanies. Dark tones of course, it being Melbourne. I leaned into the window for warmth.

Not too close of course. There are rules now.

And noticed a little sign on the CD player behind the counter, or whatever the gizmo was he was playing his stuff through:


Now I’ll grant you, between heaven and earth, there are things far more worthy of attention on this platform of virtue.

Facebook being what it is..

And really, John Mayer ‘aint no prize for some. Still, why the militancy? A ban on John Mayer no less. I pleaded ignorance at this point..

Did a quick google check on the smart phone. Knowledge is power. Turns out our John has said some fairly offensive shit in public which he’s apologised for later but the gist of it is this:

Mayer is, dare I say, a bit of a dick.

But see my problem is, being in the same game, whenever I hear a John Mayer song while I’m buying yoghurt at Woolies, I tend to admire the artistry. Nail me up but I can’t help it.. He’s actually pretty good at his gig.

Still, on reading our barista’s little bit of behind-the-counter cancel culture, I had to ask,

‘What the fuck is wrong with me that I actually enjoy a bit of John.. while I’m buying the frozen peas?’

Our John has sort of got it right a few times at least, surely?

In the song writing department, if you get my drift.

All things being equal.

‘Cept all things aren’t equal. The world isn’t fair.. or flat.

And then there’s militancy on top of everything else and I’m just not getting that. Maybe I’m too long in the tooth which means I just can’t get that worked up about this shit anymore..

Still, not wanting to be left in the dark forever, I put the question, as the wind blew a gale around the servery window..

“Hey Mate..” I said.. “How come ‘NO JOHN MAYER’?”

pointing cleverly at the gizmo..

He looked at me. The eyebrows did this thing and there was a slight head wobble..

“We’re not about that,” he said, then he moved quickly to the next order..

It was the timing really. It was masterful.

As if to say..

‘How dare you even ask. Do we look like we’d play John Mayer?’

’Actually yeah,’ I thought, just looking round, answering my own question..

All in the head mind you.

Back when I was still young enough to think the world revolved around me, I used to judge like fuck. ‘They’re shit. She’s cool. He’s not.’ I had my reasons of course. It gave me comfort, knowing there were all these other interesting somethings out there who hated the Eagles just like me..

But gee… maybe I was wrong..

Ignorance dies in a shallow grave. Vanity, jealousy, the usual flaws. You thought whoever it was sucked and then went to a concert years later, stood amongst the applauding thousands and thought..

‘Gee.. They sort of got that right didn’t they?”

Seriously though, how do you strike a balance between your own so called ‘truth’ and the truth of others? Especially if yours turns out to be manifestly wrong?

Of course, there are those of us who cling to the notion that your own truth can ‘never be wrong’.

But let’s not split hairs.. some of the greatest catastrophes in history have been committed in the name of people ‘believing in their own truth.’

Unfortunately I’ve learned, gratuitous negative dialogue about other people’s work simply isn’t helpful, especially if you’re looking for inspiration. Besides, there’s much to be gained in tipping the hat to genius. Such questions as..

“How did she do that? What does he mean? Where did that idea come from?’

They tend to unclog the arteries.

But you know what?

I’ve stood in rooms full of boys with guitars, worked up a song with them, recorded it, even got the radio add.. only to discover years later when one of them asked, in an expansive moment,

“Hey MATE.. What’s the grail ‘really’ all about?”

And I had the horrible thought.. that ‘meaning’ is chaos and a lot of people don’t actually care about it..

including musicians

Here’s a good one though. It’s about ‘Lord.’ Someone actually said this..

‘Lord isn’t lame enough to be ironic but not good enough to be cool’..

Now, I ask you, what level of intellectual gymnastics did that statement require? Especially given, no matter how you try to bend it, it doesn’t actually mean anything?

The first album I ever bought with my own money was ‘Toulouse Street’ by the Doobie Brothers..


Still, snobbery can get you a long way in a room full of interesting people by being as pretentious as fuck.

Judgement is easy when you don’t have to butter your own bread..

And that’s the thing about song writing…

You want to say something truthful, you’ve got to be ready to stand in the cold..