Thursday, 10 March 2011

Is Melancholia Supposed To Feel Good?

It's always the case, in my experience. You do something online to service people who genuinely give a shit about the music and eventually, typically, the people not cordially invited to the party (or, presumably, any parties judging by their social skills) try their best to ruin the fun. Except that they don't ruin the fun, the fun just moves someplace else and they're left in the same miserable place as they were already. I remember when the police used to try breaking up outdoor raves in the 80's. It didn't stop people enjoying both music and company, it just made them smarter, and they went underground. It also made the police seem ineffectual. Sadly so. No one wanted the police to appear so petty and joyless. I guess we wanted the police to seem cool, like we want fans of music to appear cool. It's sad when they (fans and police) come across like mosquitoes. I don't even squash tiny insects, yknow?

And so here we find ourselves, on, continuing the party. Please spread the word about this place. It won't be long before negative creeps find and pollute this place too. Let's enjoy it while we can.

Speaking of raves and the 80's, I kinda miss the days when musicians were expected to be unapproachable. When it was all about music. When there was no means of getting a reply from a musician apart from actually writing to their fanclub and maybe getting a response. And when going to all that effort the last thing you wanted to say was "I think you're a fat cunt", right? At least I didn't want to say that.
Don't get me wrong, in a day and age when we get to speak to supporters of our music I value the opinions, thoughts and general presence of anyone who actually cares about music. I love communication. But I do tend to move away from extreme negativity. Just uproot and move. I have to. It makes me angry, and I really don't like feeling such anger, especially at people I'm supposed to be making music for. It makes me entertain thoughts you probably wouldn't believe I harbour.

Still, there was an emphasis on the music in 80's that isn't there anymore.
With this in mind I thought I'd visit some music that meant a lot to me when innocence shaped my listening pleasure. Some of it might strike a chord with you, some of it might make you feel sick, but the beauty of this era of info-lution is that switching off is as easy as opening up a new window.
Back in my day you'd have even remotely relevant music programmes on TV maybe once a week, now you have youtube. And with attention spans evolving into such flimsy forms of distraction, so desperate that insulting accessible musicians becomes a modern method of approach, it's time to wonder "did rock stars get too close to the fans?"

I'd never heard of Steve Hackett before hearing this song. After hearing more of his stuff I find difficult to picture him playing music like this, but then it was around the time of punk, and I guess that movement affected everyone, from pop guys to prog rockers. This time its effect was rewarding.
Still, some stuff on the radio was completely unaffected by punk, yet still proved to be essential purchases for me. records I will cherish to my dying day.

I remember hearing this one morning and I was still laughing so hard, hours later, that I scrabbled together my pennies and procured the single that afternoon.

Probably around the same time scale two singles with the same title came out, both of which I still treasure in their original sleeves.

Can I just mention that at this point in this blog that I realise you can't be having nearly as much fun as me listening to this stuff, but maybe, just maybe, someone out there remembers these selections and is feeling the same pull of melancholia. It's that possibility that keeps me doing stuff like this. Its that belonging that makes me even continue to make music.

Like, for instance, if someone loves this track even half as much as I do then I have done something worthwhile here this evening. And that is enough for me.

And this... (although it has been used in movies recently). This really makes me feel young again. I don't miss youth but I do miss innocence.

I guess I came here tonight with nothing to say except that I'm stuck in Helsinki missing my family, and wishing that music today made me feel something close enough to how I felt as a child. Then I came across this video and realised that music DOES make me feel like that sometimes, I guess I just feel a little jaded from being neck deep in the sport, y'know?


I guess feeling melancholy isn't so bad after all. Right?


In that case why do I feel so fucking sad?

Friday, 4 March 2011

When Swimming Against The Tide...

...swim until your arms get tired, and when they do? Stick them together and pray the tide is headed towards the shore, and not away from it.
Otherwise you're fucked, mate.
Have a nice swim.

I guess I'm not one of life's more quotable people.

"If you're going through Hell, keep going" Winston Churchill.
Now there's a quote.

I love Winston Churchill quotes, very uplifting, especially in a world in such desperate need for heroes that we elect Charlie Sheen as the worlds most quotable generator. Now don't get me wrong I love this whole Charlie Sheen Winning thing. I'm not one of those people who are bored with it. I never get bored of illuminating characters. I cling onto them and hope they don't go away, or get boring, much like the guy swimming against the tide. Except I know which way the water is heading and, just as with the entertainment world, it is heading in the way it is supposed to go, via the path of least resistance. The popular way.

Except I hate the popular way. Always did, always will. McDonalds is the popular way and that tiny bistro, the one sells the best home cooked food you ever tasted, will be kept tiny because everyone would rather eat at McDonalds. Everyone in the world it would appear. It is the popular way.
Fuck the popular way.

Winston Churchill lead the British to victory because he trod the unpopular path, and there couldn't have been much in the way of company amid those overgrown weeds and that rough, uneven rock floor. The company would have been treading the popular, smooth, level road, unthinking, unchanging, uninspired. Having it easy. Not winning, not in any way.

Nothing has ever been done of any worth by taking the obvious approach, except for maybe creating a social level of excellence that you can obtain easier than nabbing a library card. Life is hard? Bullshit. In the western world life is designed to feature as little hardship as the public will demand from the comfort of worn out armchairs, 32" flat screens and lap tops. They make it easy because it keeps us quiet.
Being out of shape sucks, TV is boring and the internet fries your brain, these are all universally accepted facts, and acceptance takes way less energy than resistance.
There's that bloody swimmer again.
And I feel like that swimmer today. I feel like giving up trying to make a difference. The modern business model tells me that albums are dead, so why bother making them? The average Schmoe wants to flail around willingly accepting arcane modes of promoting and marketing, so why even try to change heritage?

Except I can't escape from a basic mode of operation that follows me to bed and is there to greet me when I wake up.


What is so great about anyone else's method that it can't be challenged?

This little guy agrees, even if no one else around him does.

And this guy agrees, even though everyone else ends up also agreeing.

The one thing they've got in common is that success was the last thing on their mind. They just wanted to fight apathy.
We lost the music industry because we didn't fight apathy, and now the only way you're gonna make a cent is by getting off your arse. And, judging by the plague of inactivity going round at the moment, 'sit on down' is most definitely the new 'get on up'.
Maybe we actually needed the spark that was the record industry? Jesus, did I just say that?

Here's some genius to enjoy. Just pure, simple genius that only involved someone saying "hey, what if we did this?". It cost them nothing but imagination and balls.

Yesterday I finished off recording for the new album "The Frankenstein Effect". Made me feel weird. I was listening to it thinking "nothing really sounds like this. I mean I like it but I have absolutely no idea if anyone else will".
That slight apprehension was met with giddy excitement and slight nausea, and it was a feeling I'm not readily used to. I normally kinda know when something is good, or great, or falling short of the mark, based on established standards and norms.
I'm in Kerrang! magazine this week with a nice news feature/studio report. Been told for ages that studio reports aren't important, that news features aren't important, but I tend to hear discouragement from people as "if it isn't my idea then I'm not interested", then I go ahead and try to do it anyway.
I'm that penguin who doesn't care that other penguins stand around in the cold to keep warm, I want to see if leaping about keeps you warm too. And this time it did, but it was also fun.

Still there is only so much swimming against the tide that can be done before fatigue sets in, and I have to say I'm starting to feel a little tired lately. Tired of having to reinforce ideas, (voluntarily) running ahead of others, investing my own money and trying to persuade others that something is worth doing. Sometimes I think I want to give up, give in, see how things would be if I stopped working so hard. Except I kind of know how things would be if I stopped giving a shit and it looks pretty bleak, to be honest.
Let's hope the tide changes direction soon, eh?

In the meantime here's something nice n' disturbing with which to change the subject.

Blogs are weird, aren't they? Given the absolute freedom of expression sometimes, I imagine, this outlet exposes musicians as shiny little ornaments housing very little of any worth, but, I suspect, sometimes it elevates lesser known commercial entities and highlights internal workings rather more fascinating than their meagre mainstream success would suggest to be the case.
And other times it's more of a cathartic purge. This one feels more like a trail of breadcrumbs leading back to where I started, except that I felt lost at the beginning and now I'm not sure there ever was a point. We all feel lost. Life is tough for everyone. We all feel like we're going a bit mad (right?). Things often make very little sense.
Sometimes we need something familiar to cling on to, like this:

Yeah, feel a bit lost today. Lost and alone. Thought I'd let you know, just so you know you've got company.

You're not alone. Or, should I rephrase that, we're all alone.
That's what belonging is.
Bearing that in mind it shouldn't be hard to swim against the tide, right?
Except that it is. Anything worth doing tends to be really difficult otherwise everyone would make a difference. Why should they put you off? Fuck them, do it anyway.

Whatever it is you want to do why not just go and do it? Do it without giving a shit what people say or who is by your side.
And if you're alone then fuck it, so is everyone.
So was the guy that started the dance craze in the festival video upstairs. And the first guy who joined him? He was alone too. And then there was a huge crowd sharing the glorious experience of being alone, together.

We arrive in this world alone and we die alone, and we make a difference alone.

Don't let it put you off.

Happy fucking Friday. Here's the Wanky Shit Demon.