Ignorance Isn’t Bliss For John’s Headliner Critics

People who are complaining about Big Boi as John’s May Ball headliners: do you enjoy being ignorant?

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After nearly three years at Cambridge, the one thing I have learnt is that possessing intelligence is not the same as possessing culture or understanding. Cambridge students may be some of the most intellectually able in the country, nay the world, yet the ability to assimilate something outside of the cultural comfort zone of white middle/upper class life remains an impossibility for the vast majority here.

This is abundantly obvious when you look at the average music tastes of your college bound companions. For most students here, you exist in one of two camps. Either you are a regular Cindies goer who happens to think that Truly Medley Deeply are rather marvellous at covering those songs that you know a minute and a half of or you attend Kambar nights to listen to the new and fresh sounds of a completely talentless dubstep producers.

Obviously, judging what is “good music” is a hugely subjective undertaking and in populist settings good music certainly exists, such as the minute and a half of “Last Nite” that makes Cindies briefly bearable. But as a rule of thumb, for most music “fans” at Cambridge good music is not justified by a wider appreciation of the form but by what fits into their simplistic categories of what is” good”.

The Tab’s poll suggests that 67% of people are “disappointed” by the John’s line up. And this would be bad enough if it wasn’t reinforced by comments at the bottom of the May Ball Blog saying that “he isn’t a big name”, that people don’t know who he is or that “it’s the worst headliner in years”. Such claims are simply inaccurate and utterly infuriating.

A multi selling platinum artist with genuine global repute, Big Boi’s output far exceeds, in terms of sheer quality at the very least, the pap of other May Ball headliners Cascada, Chase and Status and Tinchy Strider. His 2010 solo album release “Sir Luscious Left Foot” was enormously well reviewed, as shown in this eulogising Pitchfork review, while his half of The Love Below/Speakerboxx Outkast double album easily eclipsed his supposedly more illustrious counterpart Andre 3000. So why the hostility?

An obsession with status is one reason for the hostility; a desire to see the money that they have spent give them an obvious means of bragging to random friend that does not rely on any appreciation of the actual quality of the act, but instead on their position on the table of mediocrity, the UK Top 40. Such focus ensures that musically ignorant people, whose opinions are more broad brush than their understanding of the topic, control the debate whilst those who have some knowledge get pushed to the side. Then, because Big Boi isn’t Lady Gaga and isn’t known for wearing meat dresses or acting like a tit, he is considered below the attentions of such ball goers.

The result of all this then is that an excellent booking by Ents Officer George Johnston, which has completely blown away the unfiltered faecal material of Cascada and the response can only be considered of great sadness to the musical standing of the university as a whole.

I am not trying to represent myself as the paragon of music taste in our fair university city but as someone with more than a modicum of musical appreciation, I can say with some certainty that the only people complaining can know very little of the man they criticise. So when you go to the May Ball Blog and bitch about the headliner to your online “thumbs up” monkeys just remember the damage that you all are doing to the collective musical reputation of our university. If an international rap superstar is considered below the status of Cambridge, this is not a reflection on him but the sickening and crass elitism of the culturally ignorant.