I don’t write this merely to plug Pete’s Birmingham Gig Guide. While I hope some of you will check it out and follow my tips I also hope some of you will take a look, decide I’m an idiot with my stupid tastes and start your own. Or something inbetween.
My thinking for starting this is two-fold. On the one hand I come across a lot of information about gigs in my daily work but I don’t have a decent venue to push them. Created in Birmingham is supposed to be impartial (something I find hard to be about music) and my personal blog has a wider reach that the West Mids so filling it with flyers would not be wise.
More pertinently this is an example of something I’ve been banging on about recently – that while comprehensive gig listings are a good idea they’re just the first stage in building the audience levels in Birmingham. What’s needed is a system of recommendation, filtering all this raw information into something useful. This can be done in a number of ways automagically (I like Last FM’s events section which recommends gigs based on your listening patterns) but I think there’s a special place for personal curatorship, if that’s even a word.
The point here is I’m not setting myself up as an authority. I’m not saying “This is the best stuff going on” or making some kind of objective statement. All I’m saying is if I had all the time and money in the world I’d go to these gigs. The events are linked by me and if, having perused my choices for a bit, you think we’ve got something in common then you’re more likely to try something new.
Now take this idea and expand it. Imagine if everyone who spends most of their time in Birmingham’s arts and music scene were to be running something along these lines, effectively curating the city into manageable packets of goodness. Ian’s 7inch listings are a good example of this. If you like the mindset behind 7 Inch Cinema then the chances are you’ll like the stuff they like. Multiply this, ooh, 100 times and even if you only follow five or so people you’ll probably see your gigging increasing exponentially.
Okay, enough with the evangelising. If you want to give this a go I’d recommend using Tumblr a low-impact blogging service that lets you grab images from websites and post them in seconds. Perfect for grabbing flyers from MySpace. I’d use it myself if I wasn’t already doing so.
As always, this isn’t a new idea. If you’re already curating Birmingham’s live scene in some way this isn’t aimed at you and feel free to leave a link to your stuff in the comments.