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Free the Women – But Not Forever

2009-11-10 07:54
Free the Women
Maybe I'm just a little peeved at all the free passes being thrown at women. I’m not a woman. Why am I made to pay for all my drinks? Why am I the one beaten up when she started it? Why have I never been to a “guys free” party? Why is an all-woman rock band so special (with apologies to my good friends Coal, who are probably not talking to me now*)?

Women are free at Mercury Live for the month of November. And I, for one, am torn because I have a healthy respect for the business and what it takes to make it work.

Promoters and venues and artists really do have to bend over backwards sometimes to get consumers to pay attention or buy into their product. So letting women in free to all shows for an entire month is a massive gesture from many role-players. And it is both good business and risky business.

Kudos to the negotiators for getting the promoters to go in on such a chancy proposition. Promoters (who are NOT the venue) are agreeing to cut out about half their potential income by allowing women into the venue for free. The promise is that more people will enter the venue, because – the theory goes – where the girls are, the boys will follow.

From experience, I can’t argue that last point – though I would like to. I guess I’m what you’d call a consumer antagonist. I don’t like the idea that you’d buy something just because someone made it easy for you.

You should be going to the show because you know it’s good. You should not have an issue with the R30 it costs you. I think sometimes you expect too much and give too little. But that’s just me.

It doesn’t diminish my willingness to do same. Because I’ll do what it takes to get you to my show, even if it means giving up my middle of the month Salticrack.

So, all things considered, all I can really ask of you is that you say “thanks” when you walk in the door. Be kind to the venue staff, the artists and the promoters. They do this for a living. Give you things for free, I mean. And when things aren’t free anymore, continue to pay them respect.

Anton Marshall is a musician and music writer, but is not all that impressed with your assets.

It would seem to an alien eye that women are spoiled in my line of business. Particularly young women. The entertainment business, like a certain insurance company claim, is often first for women. Girls get nicer restrooms. They don't get beaten up when they start fights (girls have the worst fights). And they don't have any trouble getting drinks at the bar. It seems.

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