Separating the art from the artist

Just been reading this article on Cosmic Tiger where the Dutch producer Arp Frique listed some of his essential summer tracks, and noticed that he went for that horrendous new anti-vaccine/anti-lockdown Eric Crapton song at number 10, calling it “vital” and praising him for having the balls to release it. What a nobber.

Such a shame as some of the Arp Frique stuff is truly exceptional, but supporting a racist, rapist (by his own admission) and notorious anti-vaxxer certainly takes the shine off his work doesn’t it?

Definitely something to be said about the struggle to separate the art from the artist in this hyper-online day and age but I’ll leave that for someone better at writing to explore.


yeah, the old debate… find myself conflicted on a lot of this stuff. Whether it’s denial, hypocrisy or just unexplained selective outrage I don’t know. Unless we’re talking serious crimes I’m wary of retro-judging people who were messed up. In Clapton’s case he did later apologise for his 1970s horror persona and I don’t know if that is necessarily relevant now to the anti-vax stuff. But then again, he is an arse… Certainly there are a lot of people who ‘consumed’ way too much, mostly in their 50s/60s now (wild generalising here) and I don’t know if that defiant, libertarian streak is connected to the subliminal selfishness that went with a lot of later hippy culture, once the cynicism had set in? I’ve noticed it isn’t generally people 40s down or 70s up, on those mad demos. The only cert for me is that that song is bloody awful.


Not wanting to listen to Clapton any more is one thing, which I could understand.

But not wanting to listen to someone any more because they listen to Clapton is a whole different level, I don’t think I’d go that far.

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Yeah, when it’s put like that I appreciate it sounds pretty ridiculous, but just to reiterate it’s not simply because of the fact it’s Clapton, but the producer’s comments alongside it which suggest they share the same views as Clapton in regards to the song’s thinly veiled subject matter.

Again, I realise to some that no longer having the same enthusiasm for an artist and their work based solely on this and this alone may seem a tad excessive, and I do often wonder if I’m only feeling this way due to “cancel culture” rubbing off on me, and the ease of seemingly being able to find someone’s personal/political views in seconds through social media.

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This is my simple rule, it works for me, and has helped others-

  1. Acknowledge that much of the great art has been made by deeply flawed people.

  2. Consume or don’t consume that art at your discretion. Change your stance at any point- sell their records, but buy their autobiography, keep the records but don’t go to their show. Whatever, after some considered thought makes “sense” in your head.

  3. Never try and impose your choices on other fans of art. Recognize them as personal and irrational and move on with your day.


I raised an eyebrow at this from a Joe Claussell interview


I skipped an event because of this. Again I’m not gonna sit here and say that it’s logical and that I’ve systematically divested myself of his records and mixes. I mean I’m wearing a body and soul shirt as I type this but I also didn’t feel that week like giving him money when this vaccine has saved the lives of hundreds of people I personally know.

We could make a whole thread out of this-

I sold my slayer and r Kelly records but kept my public enemy records. Totally inconsistent but art is always a feeling not a logical thing.


DJ Pierre too, talking here as though a public health emergency is akin to consumer choice…

perhaps we venerate DJ culture and DJ opinion too much - but it kind of matters when they still have the power to bring 1000s together

So here it is on a mass scale- while this woman is a joke to probably almost everyone on here she has hundreds of thousands of fans who take almost everything she says as gospel despite the fact that she is married to a sex offender etc. etc. and has continually proven to be a totally irrational and angry person. The Trinidadian community already has a huge problem with people who will not get vaccinated because of fertility misinformation. So is anyone obligated to stop listening to her music because she pulls this horseshit as part of a tantrum over not being allowed in to the Met Gala? I don’t think so and yet she is CERTAINLY harming people.


Agreed, it’s so lazy how people go on about Clapton so much, constantly bringing up his NF rants etc. Having watched the documentary you can see he was a terrible person in the 70s because of alcoholism and bitterness/abandonment issues, and subsequently became a somewhat better person (though clearly a bit deluded regarding COVID). He changed. People do.

(BTW national treasure Ricky Tomlinson was also a paid-up member of the NF at the time, as were god-knows how many other deluded/angry people.)

At the end of the day, I believe in redemption – it has to be an option for all but the worst people, otherwise we’re just fascists.


And also… Michael Jackson?

It was pretty easy to cancel Gary Glitter because no good tunes (and really easy to stop listening to Clapton, because who does anyway?).

But when I hear PYT in the car I shudder all the way through. Especially as it’s my kids that always request it.

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Alcoholism and bitterness/abandonment issues doesn’t give someone a pass to be racist and xenophobic in my book, but each to their own.

The bloke’s an arse and always has been.


This is a great stance. I’m noting this down!

Some wise words and sage advice in this thread.

Sometimes it makes me sad I can’t enjoy some of my favourite art in the same way anymore but I tend to rationalise the situation by excepting that it’s all a by-product of society progressing in the right direction. I’ll happily see individuals called out for such acts as racist discrimination and sexual assault and no longer enjoy their work if it means that I then live, and my kids live, in a world where that sort of behaviour is no longer tolerated and people are rightfully called out for appalling acts as oppose to society just turning a blind eye because they happen to be a celebrity for example.

The anti-vax issue is a tough one as good friends of mine have taken that stance and I can’t help but judge them negatively. It’s a really tough situation given the level of noise out in society across social media platforms.


I think this is another case of “accept the contradictions”. We all choose where to draw our own lines and those lines are not always straight as dr Brown says, you may choose not to listen to one thing but ignore someone’s failings elsewhere and that may vary from day to day.

Shall I stop listening to the stone roses because Ian Brown’s a dick, I doubt it.

Did I stop listening to the smiths because morrisey is a dick, hell yeah.


Nobody’s giving him a pass, but they were all out of their mind, Clapton, Ringo, Bowie, Moon all of them. I’m uneasy with the internet playing high priest all these decades later, when we’ve evolved so much


I agree with this. I love much of Clapton’s music because of what it meant to me but I never ever thought to pay much mind to any rock “star”'s opinions on anything other than maybe music, and even still it should be taken in historical context.

This is particularly true IMO about people who are famous in their 20’s, and even more so if they were famous in their 20’s in the 1960’s and 70’s. What’s bound to happen when you shove a proverbial microphone in front of these people’s faces and ask for their opinions on things they aren’t remotely an expert at is that you will hear a lot of self-important bullshit.

So I have no issue separating the art from the artist, although it’s never a complete separation. Life’s too short not to listen to what you enjoy, however in this day and age there might sadly be a few unwanted consequences to doing so openly, which is bullshit but what can you do?


Yep, nobody gets a pass and everyone has to be accountable. Those things have real world consequences, whether it’s violence on the streets in the 70s or people dying of COVID now.

But also, people can say and do stupid things and then change and be sorry, no-one’s stuck in stone.


That article is a bit all over the place but the overlap between hippy ‘freedom to party’ and libertarian ‘the state should never interfere’ is a real thing. At the birth of rave a few wealthy right wing Tories were right there.


Along with all the nonces, sexual predators, and racists, you can also add any DJ who continued to tour throughout 2020, particularly those who went to 3rd world countries and helped spread the virus. Plaguey Goo, Dixon, Âme, Kravitz and all those other whoppers. Not that they will care in the slightest, but they are all fucking dead to me now.