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Old 15-10-2009, 20:33
Bryter Layter Bryter Layter is offline
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Media Backlash when the Manics Visited Cuba

What's the deal with the media contempt before, during and after their visit to Cuba?
I went almost completely off the band after the release of KYE (didn't like the album at all, but some songs have since grown on me) only to return to proper fandom with Lifeblood, so I really missed the whole Cuba episode and subsequently wasn't aware that they were given such a hard time by the British press or even some within their fanbase.

Personally, I always assumed the British public's attitude towards Cuba was similar to Canada's in the sense that we don't neccesarily dig the totalitarianism, but on the whole, we generally don't have a huge problem with their politics. Am I wrong in assuming that? Was the major point of contention that they met Castro or was it because they were charging a fee to see the show in a country where the average wage is quite low?

Sorry if this has been brought up before. I'm just interested to know why their visit caused such a stir in Britain.
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Old 15-10-2009, 20:48
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Other's might have a better idea but I do remember a woman from Florida I believe if my memory serves me correctly writing in to NME saying about not understanding why they were against the child Elian being returned to America from Cuba, something along those lines. I know there were alot of letters at that time but I think they were pretty mixed as to what their reasons were for going etc etc. That's my contribution, I'll leave it to people who know what they're talking about!
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Old 15-10-2009, 21:02
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Don't you mean returned to cuba?
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Old 15-10-2009, 21:05
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Don't you mean returned to cuba?
Probably Tim. I'm tired, that's all!
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Old 15-10-2009, 23:05
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheGreatPretender View Post

Sorry if this has been brought up before. I'm just interested to know why their visit caused such a stir in Britain.
I don't remember any huge media backlash. I assume something was mentioned on another thread or something. It must have got coverage in the music press and probably a byline and the odd article in the mainstream and I must have read some of it. I'd imagine the angle would very much depend on the journalist.

Generally I think there is a fairly balanced assessment of Cuba - I think there is a slight sense of good for the little country sitting 90 miles of the US coast that (sort of) stands up against its huge neighbour. But there is awareness (if you read around) of continuing human rights abuses particular against gays. Its also a reasonably popular holiday destination for the slightly adventurous - been there myself.
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Old 15-10-2009, 23:24
lucy92 lucy92 is offline
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i dont think there was a media backlash. NME treated it as curiosity largely or an interesting lark.

but Juanes is getting a huge backlash show now for playing in cuba last week. he's been getting quite a bit of death threats. but then again that's the US...
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Old 16-10-2009, 00:57
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I think the backlash towards the cuba trip was more of a continuation of what had come before, starting from the timt period, and was perhaps seen by the press/public as a desperate attempt by a fading/washed-up band still allegedly spouting socialist rhetoric who'd gotten old, rich and fat to attract controversy and attempt to remain relevant/edgy. thats really not my opinion at all, in fact i got into them through know your enemy, but that's what i percieved the concensus regarding the manics at the time to generally be, they'd been around too long to be exciting but not long enough to be regarded as 'legends'.
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Old 16-10-2009, 01:21
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I think the backlash towards the cuba trip was more of a continuation of what had come before, starting from the timt period, and was perhaps seen by the press/public as a desperate attempt by a fading/washed-up band still allegedly spouting socialist rhetoric who'd gotten old, rich and fat to attract controversy and attempt to remain relevant/edgy. thats really not my opinion at all, in fact i got into them through know your enemy, but that's what i percieved the concensus regarding the manics at the time to generally be, they'd been around too long to be exciting but not long enough to be regarded as 'legends'.
Well the fat/lazy/old theory was still around at the time of Lifeblood so your probably spot on with that.

I got into them around this album, and I was quite socialist at the time, I toned down and joined the Labour Party, it is true you get more right wing as you get older. I think it was in the music press, I don't remember much in the mainstream press, well the ones I read which were the Mirror and the Independent (So not that mainstream really)
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Old 16-10-2009, 01:29
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Originally Posted by Matt_o_Mac View Post
Well the fat/lazy/old theory was still around at the time of Lifeblood so your probably spot on with that.

I got into them around this album, and I was quite socialist at the time, I toned down and joined the Labour Party, it is true you get more right wing as you get older. I think it was in the music press, I don't remember much in the mainstream press, well the ones I read which were the Mirror and the Independent (So not that mainstream really)
Yeah, snap though i read the nme a load then too, and till the strokes/white stripes/vines etc broke in the uk in the tail-end of 2001/02 it was pretty unfashionable to be a guitar-band then anyway.
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Old 16-10-2009, 02:36
Bryter Layter Bryter Layter is offline
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Interesting replies.
So, if they didn't recieve much flack for doing Cuba, why have I heard many an interview with James about how much crap they recieved from the British press about playing there? Perhaps they needed to blame their dwindling popularity at that time on something?

Actually their appearance in Cuba was one of the few times they had press coverage in Canada, both music and mainstream press. I remember the coverage being quite positive about them going there as it was seen (at least here) as a pretty big deal - first western band to play in that country since the communist takeover. It must have made a pretty big impact as other bands including the Streophonics and the Tragically Hip, seemed to follow suit shortly after.

Last edited by Bryter Layter; 16-10-2009 at 02:40.
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Old 16-10-2009, 08:43
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I don't really remember much of a backlash, but NME would backlash against anyone for anything. They're worse than the fucking Sun, love a bit of sensationalism and they're so so desperate to be controversial. Pissed me off when they gave Forever Delayed 0/10 on the basis that Manics said that they'd sell loads of debut albums and split up. I don't remember reading much about this, but NME probably hadn't gotten over Crappergate by then, and we can't have socialists who don't want to share their toilets with the Beta Band!

I doubt the Manics or many bands at all have had a backlash that's directly over their music. Manics certainly haven't.
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Old 16-10-2009, 08:53
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what is it they say in the Mitch Ikeda book? That Nicky's "secret life in Cuba'" was wearing make-up and a dress in the hotel.

my inference being: he KNEW the massive (typically manics) contradictions in playing Cuba and meeting Castro and still being a Manic, and hence (as they also say in the book) was "unreachable" and intense in private...
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Old 16-10-2009, 11:09
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Originally Posted by TheGreatPretender View Post
It must have made a pretty big impact as other bands including the Streophonics and the Tragically Hip, seemed to follow suit shortly after.
Did the Stereophonics go there too? Well there's Wire's fear of bands with nothing to say treating it as a holiday in Tenerife fear realized if thats the case.

Can't remember any media backlash either. If anything the media in general seemed intrigued by the whole venture. I have never been a huge fan of the Manics politics and would not be too interested in visiting Cuba myself but I still found that whole episode interesting. The gig itself, watching it on C4 and the video when it came out, didn't actually seem that great.
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Old 16-10-2009, 17:11
Bryter Layter Bryter Layter is offline
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Originally Posted by the_soft_machine View Post
my inference being: he KNEW the massive (typically manics) contradictions in playing Cuba and meeting Castro and still being a Manic, and hence (as they also say in the book) was "unreachable" and intense in private...
Why was it a "typically Manics contradiction" for them to play Cuba? I'm not sure I understand that statement.
I also don't understand why it's ok for them to holiday there (or anyone for that matter) yet it's not ok for bands to bring music to an island know for it's love of live music. That seems more of a contradiction as far as I'm concerned.

Yeah, Cuba has an appalling human rights record especially where free thinkers and homosexuals are concerned, but it's a communist country, albeit a benign form of communism, but communism nontheless. Still, this doesn't really stop the average citizen from holidaying there despite these known injustices. I realize none of you have said or implied that they shouldn't have played there, but generally speaking, why come down on a musical act bringing entertainment to those people when thousands take advantage of cheap holidays there all the time? I mean, meeting Castro was a bit much, but I suspect they really had no choice with that one.
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Old 16-10-2009, 23:02
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Generally the media treated the trip with contempt, which was coupled with the blank incomprehension that greeted the (fabulous) album. It was treated as a failed and ill-advised attempt to make the band seem radical again.

People have mentioned the NME, but the media is wider than that. I remember a piece in The Times slagging them off for it. And it wasn't just reviews after the fact - they were criticised before even getting there.

There were issues raised about the homophobia of the country, about lack of human rights. The band's response at the time was to point out that the country's human rights record and attitude to sexuality had improved in recent years, and to point out that America can be accused of most of the same things but no-one criticises bands for playing there.

I also remember that loads of bands and other people used Cuba for its cool factor (Paul McCartney, Kate Moss, among others visited there and met Castro) but they weren't criticised for it because they didn't actually *play*. As Nick's said recently, it's fine to shame Clinton's hand when he's responsible for the deaths of thousands in America's wars, but not Castro's.
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