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Blog: An Experiment In Democracy

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On Saturday The Validators are playing our first full Validators set of the year, at Going Up The Countryin Congleton. This of course means only one thing: a big ROW about the setlist!

What usually happens in these situations (i.e. before every gig) is that I suggest a perfectly sensible list of songs which combine old favourites which people can sing along to with some choice selections from the new material, and then Tim counters with a load of KRAZY ideas made up of new songs I don't ... sorry, I mean, WE don't remember the lyrics to, some old songs nobody likes and City Centres 15 times*. We then discuss it at length for about a month, finally decide on a list and then one or more of Rob, Emma and Tom say "Oh i can't play that it will hurt my hand / involve foul language / be rubbish" and then we start all over again. And then of course on the day of the gig itself someone says "But what about I Can See Clearly Now The Rain Has Gone eh?" Is it any WONDER I have to have a drink before gigs?

(* this is totally the way it goes, verified by ME)

SO this time I thought we'd try something different: DEMOCRACY! A couple of weeks ago I entered the Sitcom Trials, a competition for short sitcoms which had a longlisting process where all the entrants read each other's scripts and then voted for their favourites. You did this by giving each one a "YES", "NO" or "MAYBE". These votes were graded with a 2, -1 or 1 respectively and totted up - I thought this was REALLY clever as it meant a) if somebody didn't read or vote for a script then their "null" vote wasn't regraded as a "NO" (as it probably would if you coded "no" as zero) and b) it biased the results slightly towards positivity. My enjoyment of this system was also increased by the fact that I came out of it quite well - have a look at the results and see if you can guess which script was mine!

So anyway, I proposed this plan to The Validators with a LIST of all possible songs, and voting commenced. Everyone was very speedy in doing so - after all, not only are we a well oiled ADMIN MACHINE, but we do all like a decent spreadsheet - and yesterday morning I woke to find the final vote had been cast. I am not at liberty to share the final results here, but i can reveal that it turned out very DEMOCRATICALLY. There was only ONE song that we ALL said "YES" to, none that NOBODY wanted, and in the final result (four new songs, five old ones) we've ended up with a nice selection. Everybody's got songs they felt strongly about either way that DID get in and/or DIDN'T (including me!) but it looks like it'll be a fun bunch of songs to do!

Tune in next week to find out whether our democractic principles held, and how it all went with the audience!

posted 11/6/2015 by MJ Hibbett

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