What kind of musical cultures do we create? I have been thinking about this issue for some time now and I’m not sure I have the answer. However, what I do know for certain is that the musical societies that we create, rather than encouraging exciting music to blossom and develop and grow are stifling the life out of what was a vibrant and exciting thing. New bands pop up with drive and ambition and produce music lacking fear or expectation. Debut records spring forth and people find their new heroes to worship and discuss over a beer in the pub or see live in some dark little venue. We have all done it. Then those same bands put forward their second, third, fourth records and no matter what, we pat them on the back, continuing to scream about the quality of this band or that band until the bands themselves are so convinced of their importance – even when the quality is gone. It happens far, far too often. For me, the only way artists can grow, in any discipline, is through constant critical review and reflection. It’s no bad thing to have somebody say – ‘this isn’t good enough’ or ‘you can do much, much better’. In fact, I believe it’s what makes people truly successful. And 9 times of 10 the people who are truly brilliant are so self critical that it’s almost destructive. Unable to understand their brilliance they think they are not capable of producing anything of real worth. It is those people who will always strive for more. Always aim for the best. Not just rely on past glories. And who inspire me every single day.