Lior Phillips and Oliver Primus took to Skype to discuss the recent move by the BBFC to add age ratings to music videos, and ultimately restrict who sees what.

This is an unedited skype conversation. Apologies for the typos and terrible grammar.

Oliver Primus: Fact ran with this story earlier today. What do you think? Do you think it will change much? Should it be done?

Lior Phillips: Firstly it made me think of all the sexually explicit videos creeping around the internet. I guess the initial reaction was "gah blimey OF COURSE" and the usual "just a matter of time" rhetoric.

Oliver: I think a good point is raised by Ruth at Noisey: "But putting up filters and slapping on age-ratings is a perfect example of just sticking a plaster on a deep cut. What's the point of only addressing the symptoms rather than the root causes of misogyny?"

Lior: Brilliant article! Of course that's the festering fundamental to most debates - why are we heading to the backlash instead of the protagonist? It's the same feeling I had after watching the new series of #virgindisruptor debates about "Is Tech Killing The Music Industry" - people have a huge issue with streaming services and are fully able to flail their hands around and picket the concepts instead of heading directly to the fat cat's wearing their onyx rings on their pinky fingers that are initialed with their names (these men often kiss said-ring).We can talk about her comment in a moment. Surely we should define the concept of YouTube first? It's surely become our generations version of TV now?

Oliver: Yeah totally agree. All the old models of presenting entertainment are changing. New technology isn't presented to us on the basis of 'this is what you need', but 'this is what you asked for'. TVs are becoming more like computers, to the extent that you might as well go out buy a desktop and be done with it (or use the TV as a computer...). I'm not sure what the TV licensing approach is like in South Africa, but over here they seem to really pushing the digital aspect in terms of fear ("think you can get away with not paying it because you don't have a TV, FORGET ABOUT IT"). So yeah, we all know where this is probably heading (the likes of BBC moving to full on live streaming through YouTube). I go to YouTube for specific videos, but they became a full on streaming proposition, my TV would be pointless. Not that I really watch TV.

  • Robin Thicke should really be life-restricetd

Lior: I'll tell you one thing, in South Africa they restricted many a movie on TV and my sweet-momma forced us all to watch Children Of the Corn - I wouldn't be me if not for those little child-midgets. I digress. My point was more to realise that the context of these new laws is more important. People inherently hate change, because they suddenly have to re-evaluate every sort of comfort-cushion they screamed into at night, but the fact is that this sort of restriction needs to be implemented in order to control a set of laws that are clearly brewing at the BBFC. So I just ran around a few news stories like a crummy homeless detective searching for scraps - according to the new BBFC Classification Guidelines right off the bat they speak about the general factors that may influence "a classification decision" at any level being mainly the concept of 'Context' and I quote; "Context is central to the question of acceptability of film and video content. When considering context therefore, we take into account issues such as public expectation in general and the expectations of a work’s audience in particular."

Oliver: Like when Tyler The Creator rapped about rape, then framed it as being a "character"?

Lior: One hundred percentile. It's the context, perhaps that need re-evaluating. The problem, as with many new laws - is that the guidelines are shoddy, of course because they're still being formulated - so already, just like advertising alcohol (soon to be banned on all ATL media vehicles in SA) 5 years ago, Alcohol brands were already devising ways to penetrate the public. I use penetrate, because it's fitting.

Oliver: hahaha, excellent pun.

Lior: You know - this gives me daymares about Nelly's video for 'Tip Drill' - there wasn't nearly enough outcry/credit for that video.

It's not that I'm a pervert, or voyeuristic (which I am, aren't we all? Please tell me we all are oh god) but for example, completely explicit AI-riddled porn video by Is Tropical surely needs an age-restriction - the boy looked 12, she wasn't realistic - I mean if you're going to start putting an age restriction on things, where does it end? Is a digitally animated virtual woman considered explicit? Viable for age restriction?

I also think it's important to define what content could possibly cause harm, which of course living in South Africa is geo-centric. My version of violence and topics concerning rape as you mentioned earlier is different to yours, irrespective of globalisation. The matter here I feel which is more important is to what extent can you really restrict a director/artist's level of creativity.

Oliver: Yeah, it's incredibly tough and makes you wonder who will be deciding what is acceptable or not. Plus, how will it be restricted and does that serve to create more "hype" for a video? We might look at this as an attack on creativity, but putting a label on something as "a bit dangerous" will probably act as fuel for people within that sphere anyway. It's like those sites that say, 'are you sure you're 18, select the age you were born'. It's not like there's a person there judging your reaction - you select whatever option you like. Oh look, I'm 91 today.

Lior: I was 45 yesterday :(

Oliver: I thought so.

Lior: I love your sentiment about it fuelling people within that sphere, that's always a cause of concern when restrictions are put in place. I'm in no way vilifying feminism, but after Lily Allen's poor attempt (she made comment, by doing the exact thing she was commenting against) it makes you wonder not only about how the route of the issue is the artist (thanks Ruth from noisy) but that the definition of what is right and what is wrong, will almost always be the dictate from our media. Those onyx-wearing glumps of goo I spoke about earlier? The ones who shove their hands up the arse's of most of their artists and work them like a puppeteer would, to a puppet. There isn't a clear definition from the get go. I guess the real issue will be accessibility and monitoring that - as you said, there's no one swatting Jimmy's hand - Age 17 from Bristol, away when he is about to enter a restricted site. Information is given and thus craved - irrespective of the restrictions, the 'youth' in all their hacker-esque glory will find a way to watch their most beloved artist, sans restriction or not. I can tell you one thing too - that 'artist' will most certainly find a way to that audience as well…

Oliver: So what we're saying is that this is probably a pointless move by the BFFC?

Lior: It just puts us back where it always starts - if artist's were given the exact amount of figures (like a YouTube view count or like a Soundcloud play) but the figure here given is the amount of terrible hurtful acts/delinquent behaviour their video's actually caused - would they question this 'creativity' this 'social commentary'?

  • Hannah Montana wouldn't be too happy about this

Oliver: Good point. Ok, so to answer the question that I'm going to head the piece up with (should music videos be age-restricted) - the answer is probably - "don't go too far you lot (video directors), and if you do, don't worry, Vimeo will probably host it anyway". Does that seem fair?

Lior: Hang on quick: side note from the two of us needs to be - Of course they should, but they need to re-evaluate then every content available on every platform by every artist. Their tweet (context topic from earlier) is just as offensive as the crazy anal-shot in that one video. I think to add to your header for the piece - vimeo will host it, but the artist will too - via their private websites, mailing lists, at live shows etc - someone, somewhere will always make the information available.

Don't know if I'm even making any sense - you should maybe also mention this was a Skype chat without pre-research/devised set of opinions. Nice challenge there OLLIESWEATYBALLS.

Oliver: This is going out as a transcript. You're screwed now.


Oliver: And we'll end it there.

Lior: Love, Jimmy from Bristol

The floor is open. What you do you think about age ratings/restrictions on music videos?