Last Saturday night I got lucky, very lucky indeed and not in the way you might think. I went to one of the best gigs in my life at the Magazine venue near North Greenwich tube station… in the shadow of the appalling anti-music venue, the U2 or something.
At first I thought it might in be my Top 5 ever, then I remembered the Clash at the Harlesden Roxy, Fela Kuti at Brixton Academy, Sugar Cubes at the same venue and others, so recalibrated it into the Top 10.
The band who played are called the The Clean, an absurdly daft name to describe the individuals involved; Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood of Radiohead and the prodigiously talented Son of Kemet jazz drummer Tom Skinner.
You may have seen the ads. Coming on stage three times at 8pm, 1am and 11am on Sunday, this was a three-time zone event with millions watching online during their respective evenings in Europe, America and Asia.
Well, as the song goes, I was there… with about 700 other people, mostly-male-musos, although there is little or no record of it happening live on social media because everybody’s phone-camera was taped up on arrival, a new one on me.
It felt special, being part of something that had millions watching at the same time, like being at an England semi-final or backstage at Only Fools And Horses many Christmases ago… or like the ‘happenings’ in the hippy-happy 1960s. Even like a massive Flash Mob or the Situationism that emerged in Paris when that city was the centre of the world.
So, why shouldn’t something like that in crytpo? Get together the biggest names in the business, set up a lottery to invite people personally to the gig and then charge reasonable amounts to see the ‘supergroups’ online?
The number of crypto events are on the rise again now that Covid appears to be retreating and prices to attend have rocketed, with event organisers desperate to reclaim revenue after two years of empty halls.
Without naming names, some conferences are as elitist as it can get and cost the price of a decent car to attend. The exclusivity is deliberate in its exclusion of everybody in the ecosystem and the younger geniuses who can’t afford to attend. It’s gerontocracy at worst, kleptocracry at best.
By all means, let those who can afford it pay astronomical prices and for those who can sponsor it let them also pay through the sidereal nose to obtain access to the blockchain and crypto universe.
But let others eat cake as well. Give them access to the smorgasbord of the elite and let them ingest more than crumbs. Crypto and blockchain are supposed to be decentralised, but are becoming more centralised by the day by those who can afford it.
Nobody wants a cabal or some weird Stonemasons handshaking nonsense. Surely, the only way the industry can grow is through sharing and creating beautiful music like The Clean did last weekend and not just for us lucky few who were there.
Let’s have a crypto happening (happy to host – very expensive), let’s do it over a weekend and for every time zone. Turn on, tune in and drop in to paraphrase the great Timothy Leary and make it appeal to those who hate crypto as well, make it a great debate and take the mystery out of if for those who are still too timid to join the juggernaut.
But, for God’s sake, don’t call it The (Crypto) Clean, that would be the worst name in the world… unless Yorke, Greenwood and Skinner offer to supply a live soundtrack. For that, they can call it anything.