Twee - a discussion...

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noLooking

Re: Twee - a discussion...

Post by noLooking » Tue Aug 05, 2014 01:35

Yeah, you're right, nowhere is perfect and I was just talking in relative terms - to be honest, I'm surprised that the people on here let anyone get away with that sort of shit, but then people surprise you all the time, not always well. I don't think you should have to put up with it, if that means anything.

The Sarah zine was a good demonstration of the other thing you said, where all the excuses for having a go at them were constantly linked to words like 'limp-wristed', etc' . I think people saying 'twee' itself has taken over from that, a nice, catch all, patronising term for any emotion that is a bit vulnerable, fragile,unmanly - it's just a get out of jail free card for all the same bullshit.

I really should go to bed.

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Re: Twee - a discussion...

Post by linus » Tue Aug 05, 2014 07:10

But my problem with 'twee' (or my suspicion of it) is that it reduces perfectly natural behaviours, traits and states of being to codifiers or affectations, as if those things can be adopted or 'put on'

And maybe that isn't a problem, I'm not looking for authenticity, I am looking for sincerity though and that's probably why I don't get along with it or indeed anything where I can't gauge the intent or purpose

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Re: Twee - a discussion...

Post by Trev » Tue Aug 05, 2014 09:01

I used to hate the word twee. It was first used by lazy journos as a put down for the cutie scene. See. Indiepop wasn't a thing for me then (the mid/late 80s). It was just 'indie'. I first read about cuties and twee in the press. Then I saw it being used in a snarling way to put down some bands I was really identifying with at the time.

Somewhere in the 90s the word got taken back (in the US? on that twee mailing list?) and that which I found really odd and bizarre when I came across it in the late 90s. I switched off from 'indiepop' in the mid 90s and hadn't notice the turnaroud. I found the word still jarred with me because of the connotations it had been given back in the 80s. Now, I am more indifferent. It's a lazy word. It's used by lazy people. And if a band I like sang a song about cute kittens I'd have a fucking fit. But yeah, twee, it's just a shit word.

KILL. TWEE. POP.
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Re: Twee - a discussion...

Post by indiehorse » Tue Aug 05, 2014 09:46

I have about as much desire to read a book about things that are twee as I do about things that are purple. Some things are undeniably purple and I think 'purple' is a useful word for describing purple things. Some purple things I like; others I'm largely indifferent to. I find sometimes being purple adds to the appeal of a thing, but often they just happen to be purple. Sometimes purple things are round. But can they ever be truly round if they are purple?

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Re: Twee - a discussion...

Post by Murray » Tue Aug 05, 2014 09:52

Excessively or affectedly quaint, pretty, or sentimental
Origin: early 20th century: representing a child's pronunciation of sweet.

Sweet or cute in a way that is silly or sentimental
Origin of TWEE: baby-talk alteration of sweet
First Known Use: 1905

Overly precious or nice

I really hate the use of the word twee. I'm sure my hatred could be better used elsewhere, but I've got plenty to go round.

The definitions above come from online dictionaries. I can't belive a group of people has ever sat down and said, "let's start an affectedly quaint or cute band and let's be overly-precious about everything." Apart from Little My maybe. But I very much doubt it.

Similarly, if anyone ever asks what sort of music I like, I'm about as likely to use the adjective 'twee' to describe it as I am 'plip-plops'.

I think the review is decent enough, but I think the book sounds shit.

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Re: Twee - a discussion...

Post by a layer of chips » Tue Aug 05, 2014 10:20

I don't understand how music can be twee. Or a person. It doesn't make sense to me.

To me, this is twee:

Image

noLooking

Re: Twee - a discussion...

Post by noLooking » Tue Aug 05, 2014 10:32

Murray wrote:Excessively or affectedly quaint, pretty, or sentimental
Origin: early 20th century: representing a child's pronunciation of sweet.

Sweet or cute in a way that is silly or sentimental
Origin of TWEE: baby-talk alteration of sweet
First Known Use: 1905

Overly precious or nice

I really hate the use of the word twee. I'm sure my hatred could be better used elsewhere, but I've got plenty to go round.

The definitions above come from online dictionaries. I can't belive a group of people has ever sat down and said, "let's start an affectedly quaint or cute band and let's be overly-precious about everything." Apart from Little My maybe. But I very much doubt it.

Similarly, if anyone ever asks what sort of music I like, I'm about as likely to use the adjective 'twee' to describe it as I am 'plip-plops'.

I think the review is decent enough, but I think the book sounds shit.
Fair enough, but it doesn't much matter whether you or I hate the word (and yes, I do as well) and it's connotations, 'cos a lot of good music (and films, to an extent) will get thrown in there with it whatever we think and that's where I think she was lazy. I suppose you could say that she was reviewing the book (which, I will repeat, sounds terrible), but she was clearly using it as excuse to have a go at the content. I don't think people should define themselves by such a thing and think it makes them better than everyone else (which is where Spitz seems to be going), but I don't see why I should be told it's worse, which seems perenially to be the case with indiepop.

If there is such a thing as twee politics (which I don't think there is, not in any sort of group-think sense), I don't see why it should be ascribed as being a sort of 'bury your head in the sand' mentality. Most DiY types seem to be socialist to some degree and at very least a fuck sight more informed than most of the 'know nothing, care less' people about these days. It seems unfair that they should be tagged as something close to Holocaust deniers on the basis of the records they listen to. That is what pissed me of, that she makes a lot of casual assumptions and sweeping generalisations, though fair play, it seems that Spitz has spoon-fed them to her.

That said, being rather cut off from things, I could easily be missing something - are there really a lot of people like that, defining themselves as 'twee' and saying that the holocaust is a case of extreme bullying? If there are, I never want to meet them. Then again, perhaps that's just me burying my head in the sand.

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Re: Twee - a discussion...

Post by Yex » Tue Aug 05, 2014 10:50

I find all of these viewpoints very useful to the evolution of my understanding of "twee".

I for one, perhaps because I didn't grow up listening to indie pop in the 80s, was never introduced to the word in negative terms. My (initial) understanding of it is probably more rooted in the American reclaiming of the word in the 90s that I've read about, but even that is really just history to me. I was introduced to the term when I was in high school (circa 2006) and to me, at the time, I only knew it in reference to one specific band from my town, that band being Watercolor Paintings. In my town they had things called nature shows where all the local musicians would just play for free in parks and such, Watercolor Paintings being amongst them. This, as a teenager, was totally mindblowing and in a very tangible sense introduced me to the idea of DIY music - I wasn't even really aware that my peers were making music before discovering this scene. Watercolor Paintings was the band that, far more than any other, imparted upon me the notion that really anyone could make music about anything. Rebecca Redman would just get up there with a harp, accompanied by her brother on ukulele or toy drums, and sing about seemingly trivial, cute things - laundry, feeling happy, having something stuck in your teeth, whatever. These are literal examples of topics she sang about. It's definitely worth noting that she quickly moved away from that aesthetic and now plays "serious" music, which is still really good, but it was early WCP that will forever be the embodiment of what "twee" is to me, because that's the only thing I knew of the word. At that point I didn't even know it represented anything at all. Hell, I didn't even know it was a word.

Later when I became exposed to older waves of indie pop, and as I read journalistic attempts at portraying "twee" as some sort of historical movement, really the base paradigm I had for understanding what they were getting at was a memory of Rebecca Redman singing about her laundry with a grin on her face. I felt like if that was a movement I wanted part of it, and so when I started making music I identified with the word "twee". Later, as I did fieldwork on indie pop, I asked people what twee meant to them and got the repeated answer of "nothing". Even people who supposedly had been part of that reclaiming of the term in the 90s told me it was a meaningless term that they hated. So you know, I've come to realize that the term is at best a non-descriptor of music and at worst a sexist slur, but, you know, somehow to me it means something, deep down, something intangible rooted in memory. I mean the music that I associate with twee doesn't even really sound like the sort of indie pop most people listen to on here, or the sort of music against whom the term was flung in the 80s, so sometimes I use the term "twee folk" instead, though even that sounds a little silly to my own ears, but you know, it's really just an attachment to an idea, one that I realize now is rooted in fallacies, that there is or was some sort of movement based around cute, happy music about nothing, based around the idea that music can be "Sweet or cute in a way that is silly or sentimental". To me the word was originally something inspiring, and so it will probably always remain so on some level. Maybe I took The Cute Manifesto too seriously, I don't know. I'm pretty tired and I'm rambling, but I thought I'd give some personal reflections on twee.
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Re: Twee - a discussion...

Post by RITH » Tue Aug 05, 2014 10:59

Ooh a discussion about twee: anorak comes alive. Good attempt andyiong!
stolenwine wrote:the main thing that bothers me about a lot of negativity/dismissal of it is that people tend to associate it with femininity and being "un-macho" and use that as a valid reason to hate it. which is kinda shitty.
This. This is the essence, the root of the problem. It's not so much the music, or the preciousness, or a matter of honest taste. As soon as the word 'twee' enters a negative review, it's never just about the music; it's about stupid expectations about how people should behave.
andyiong wrote:I think people saying 'twee' itself has taken over from that, a nice, catch all, patronising term for any emotion that is a bit vulnerable, fragile,unmanly
'Unmanly'... now there's a word I hate even more than twee.

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Re: Twee - a discussion...

Post by RITH » Tue Aug 05, 2014 11:07

Yex wrote:I mean the music that I associate with twee doesn't even really sound like the sort of indie pop most people listen to on here, or the sort of music against whom the term was flung in the 80s, so sometimes I use the term "twee folk" instead, though even that sounds a little silly to my own ears, but you know, it's really just an attachment to an idea, one that I realize now is rooted in fallacies, that there is or was some sort of movement based around cute, happy music about nothing, based around the idea that music can be "Sweet or cute in a way that is silly or sentimental". To me the word was originally something inspiring, and so it will probably always remain so on some level.
I don't think there's anything wrong with wanting to call yourself 'twee' or liking music that's being called that. As you can see from people's reactions, you may not be doing yourself a big favour with advertising yourself as such, at least not everywhere, but you should be able to proudly be who/what you feel you are. I'm not too big on labels myself, and certainly not attached to one specifically. It's never a reason to like something. Whether it's called punk, or twee, or rock, or pop, or indie, or indiepop... in their need to label everything people usually get it wrong anyway. I think I've chosen to make 'DIY pop' my choice of name for what I like most, but that's pretty vague as well.

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Re: Twee - a discussion...

Post by stolenwine » Tue Aug 05, 2014 11:10

andyiong wrote:Yeah, you're right, nowhere is perfect and I was just talking in relative terms - to be honest, I'm surprised that the people on here let anyone get away with that sort of shit, but then people surprise you all the time, not always well. I don't think you should have to put up with it, if that means anything.
there was a debate about it...with people on both "sides" of the debate, and a lot of people saying a lot of awesome things and not letting people off the hook (the fact that someone brought it up in the first place says a lot) but there were enough people on the other side of the debate and i think the fact that it was even up for debate is pretty bad. like...i'm sure if the same comment was made about women "women should be limited edition" there would be unanimous agreement that it's shitty, and this forum has been REALLY good at picking up on sexism and dealing with it straight away, definitely more than any other forum i've been on. BUT ANYWAY...the race stuff it's no different to what happens in those scenarios outside of indiepop/indiepop forums and i guess these things just take time to change.

i don't really like the word "twee" either (well, not to describe the music i listen to anyway) but i'm kind of indifferent about other people using it. some indiepop fans describe their music taste as twee (when they mean indiepop ;)) and some describe this music as twee (in a derogatory way) but those ones have either never actually listened to any of the bands (who don't really sing about happy/cute stuff in general) or the ones they heard really are the twee kind (there are some that do that) or are just hating on something because it's "girly" and being sexist dicks.

it doesn't bother me enough to get riled up about it but i understand why others do. i also think this book sounds pretty bad but maybe this guy is just trying to capitalise on an american pop culture thing where people have started wearing cute clothes and watching cute movies and doing cute things, while probably not even knowing what indiepop is (not the guy who wrote it, but the people into this whole american subculture). it seems like for some people it's purely an aesthetic thing and indiepop/indiepop history doesn't even come into it.
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Re: Twee - a discussion...

Post by stolenwine » Tue Aug 05, 2014 11:18

ALSO: sometimes you CAN be really angry and un-twee but also like twee stuff like bunnies and cupcakes etc. i think when people use it in a derogatory way they create these one dimensional caricatures of people that could never be real. it's like they think anger/angst and happiness/cuteness/niceness can't co-exist in a human being. which is so ridiculous!
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Re: Twee - a discussion...

Post by linus » Tue Aug 05, 2014 11:49

I can see how somebody may choose to identify as twee, what I find unhelpful/destructive is when it's used (usually by journalists/lazy folk) as a blanket term to describe seemingly everything (or certainly anything that isn't, y'know, overtly black, urban, heavy, etc)

You either self-identify and be proud or the world should let folks be whatever they choose to be however they wanna be when they choose to be what they wanna be (and that can be many things, some of them entirely contradictory, because that's people) without being labelled indiscriminately and carelessly- stop copping on our happening lives, journo scum/lazy folk

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Re: Twee - a discussion...

Post by linus » Tue Aug 05, 2014 11:53

I'll qualify that by saying 'unless you want to be a dick' because you better have a very good reason and be subverting shit with that dickishness or otherwise you are just a dick and that should be a lonely, cold place to be

also, I feel I may be repeating myself, particular points

but that's groovy

we dig repetition

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Re: Twee - a discussion...

Post by noLooking » Tue Aug 05, 2014 12:24

RITH wrote:Ooh a discussion about twee: anorak comes alive. Good attempt andyiong!
Desparate times and all…

I think the self-identification in general has been a bad idea. I get the feeling that when people like Tullycraft first did it, they thought they were reclaiming something, when everybody else just though it was giving them permission to use it, which led to this unthinking blanket use. I'm reminded of a thread somewhere where Michael Hann from the Guardian turns up and starts basically saying to everyone that, if they want press coverage, they'll be called twee and they'll like it - fuck that. It's basically a term based in contempt (which he seems strikingly unaware of), which was why this book was always doomed to failure, even if it wasn't shit.

Back on the race question, looking at the review again, I think it's the one point I would have no satisfactory answer to, including rubbishing the book. But it begs another interesting question: how did guitar based rock n roll in general, the music of Hendrix, Chuck Berry and Little Richard, turn out so white? Is it to do with corporate colonisation, cultural colonisation, etc? Indiepop is no better, but it's no worse either.

Looking back, it strikes me that there may be nothing quite so "twee" as starting a row about twee on anorak.

Unless it's starting a polite discussion about twee on anorak.

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Re: Twee - a discussion...

Post by tonieee » Tue Aug 05, 2014 14:14

andyiong wrote:Indiepop is no better, but it's no worse either.
I'm not so sure. Numbers wise, in both bands and fans, we seem disproportionally white.

noLooking

Re: Twee - a discussion...

Post by noLooking » Tue Aug 05, 2014 15:34

tonieee wrote:
andyiong wrote:Indiepop is no better, but it's no worse either.
I'm not so sure. Numbers wise, in both bands and fans, we seem disproportionally white.
Fair enough, I'll amend to 'not much worse'. Rock music in general doesn't seem to be where black people are making music, as opposed to soul, hip-hop, etc. If indiepop is particularly worse, it's less noticeable because rock is already very white.

Would you say that's true of the wider indie scene as well, or just indiepop?

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Re: Twee - a discussion...

Post by leon » Tue Aug 05, 2014 15:40

tonieee wrote:
andyiong wrote:Indiepop is no better, but it's no worse either.
I'm not so sure. Numbers wise, in both bands and fans, we seem disproportionally white.
We certainly are. However nice or well intentioned we all are that must be pretty intimidating for a person of colour.
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Re: Twee - a discussion...

Post by tonieee » Tue Aug 05, 2014 15:52

leon wrote:We certainly are. However nice or well intentioned we all are that must be pretty intimidating for a person of colour.
And the incident stolenwine mentioned earlier indicates that we may not be good at overcoming that.

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Re: Twee - a discussion...

Post by tonieee » Tue Aug 05, 2014 16:01

andyiong wrote:Would you say that's true of the wider indie scene as well, or just indiepop?
I'm not sure we what the wider indie scene is anymore - I've become insular and out of touch in my old age!

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