My fear is not merely that the geeks will never come to acknowledge their triumph, as comfortable as they are in their self-professed victimhood. I fear too that we have come to so thoroughly associate fandom with grievance that the two are now inextricable. That, I suspect, is the long-term consequence of the rise of the geeks: that we no longer know how to enjoy art without enjoying it against others. That’s a bitter, juvenile way to approach art, and if it’s the real legacy of the rise of the geeks, it’s an ugly legacy indeed.
Geeks, You Are no Longer Victims. Get Over It.”, Frederick deBoer, The New York Times, 2014. (via aintgotnoladytronblues)

I would find this laudable point even more so if the last time (last week) this dude showed up on my dash hadn’t been an extended “pop culture is vapid, defending it is stupid” rant in reply to that A O Scott piece. Fun stuff, scrappy, but after reading that if I heard him say “I don’t ‘enjoy against’” my eyebrows would jump up a foot or so.

(Reblogged from andrewhickeywriter)

The Doctor’s Mid-Life Crisis

I finally got the time to watch last week’s Doctor Who - this has been a pretty exhausting week, both in awesome ways (Kate Bush) and considerably less awesome.

Anyway, I liked it, as most people did, but something (I think) fairly obvious struck me. This is the third episode in a row in which the Doctor’s role is to have a hypothesis proved wrong (or proved ambiguous, in his case). Daleks can’t be good; Robin Hood is a fake; “Perfect hiders” exist. All assumptions the Doctor states openly, all ultimately either untrue or unprovable (and not the point of what’s going on in the episode).

So this is a theme of sorts in this series - let’s also not forget that there’s a fourth assumption the Doctor has been proved wrong about (“The Promised Land isn’t real”) but he doesn’t know he’s wrong yet, and I’d guess the finale will play out the consequence of that wrong assumption. But it also tells us something about the Doctor’s character in this regeneration.

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Read Like A Pirate Day

I enjoyed comics an awful lot as a kid, but I think I would have enjoyed them even more if I’d been able to read anything as vivaciously, committedly, richly, symphonically, endlessly, joyfully violent as One Piece.

bravestofthepack:

Pretty pigs

I haven’t reblogged any guinea pig pics for AGES, sorry about that.

(Reblogged from bravestofthepack)

Scotthoughts

  • I had friends in Scotland on both sides of the independence debate, but like a lot of English people didn’t really wake up to the reality of the referendum until a couple of weeks ago, when the polls started moving strongly in the “Yes” direction. So I don’t feel I have a right to comment on the result as a whole (and I’m not entirely clear how I feel about it either - some deflation, some selfish relief?) but a couple of things struck me about the campaign/the process…

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One more Kate Bush point about PHONES

theredshoes:

katherinestasaph:

tomewing:

KB said before the shows, nobody take photos on your iPhones - and this was eagerly greeted by trendpiece hunting music writers as part of a general backlash against camera phones at gigs and the intrusion of social media into the concert experience. Kids today right?

But actually watching the show two things struck me. The first is that, obviously, making a request for audience immersion implies a bargain - that you’ll give them something worth being immersed in - KB did this, and actually so much of the show’s staging was about gradual transitions (of weather, in dreams, etc) that it resisted the kind of momentism concert photography encourages.

The second though is that Bush’s request was a very pragmatic one - with a show as dependent on careful lighting design as this, you can’t let a thousand diffferent small light sources loose in the crowd - it would have destroyed the effect for anyone further back than row 10 or so.

So basically, co-opting KB into a digital dualist backlash against modern concert going habits is really bogus. Performers can of course make whatever requests of their audience they like but if they don’t like smartphones at their gigs they should take a leaf out of her book and design gigs that reward not using them, rather than invoking it as a point of principle.

The other thing is that at times it seems like every musician does this, with the same accompanying surprise each time. Most people whose job it is at some point to perform onstage will make a remark to this effect.

Nothing sums up the technological sea-change better than people throwing hissy fits over not being allowed to tape shows on their iThings. “You’re DENYING us the EXPERIENCE!” ….no, you’re having the experience. Truly. Even if you can’t fucking preserve it for /generations/ the technological moment with a shitty filter on Instagram.

The other thing is, and I say this because I am
part of the problem and a YouTube junkie, taking a shitty phone recording of a concert and uploading it to UTU so millions of people can watch it without paying is eating the culture’s seed corn. When you do that you’re making money for the phone manufacturers and the advertisers behind UTU and Google. The actual artist who’s producing the work is never compensated. They could have put out a live DVD or live CD (those terms sound so antiquated) but who’s going to buy those if they can just stream a crappy phone camera recording, or download a pirated copy? The last bit of revenue artists have now is the concerts, and even those are going away, because of this. It’s a peak oil kind of lifestyle. Eventually we’re all going to wake up and figure out when you consume art for “free” the artists go away because they don’t produce the art for “free” and they still have to eat and pay rent. The corporations aren’t the ones who will get starved out.

I dunno about the “recording video streams” point, because the live video streams I’ve encountered on YouTube are SO terrible and foggy for the most part I gave up hunting for them (except if I’m researching something). So I’m neutral on that I guess.

Photos, though - there are multiple “the EXPERIENCE”s people have at shows, and for some people it involves a degree of second-screening and sharing stuff with pals who can’t be there, and for others it involves drinking in the moment and remembering it, and there are a load of other different ways, binaries, etc of enjoying a gig - eg dance or not, drink or not, etc.. And I really don’t feel I have the right, as a fan, to say “this is the correct way to have an experience”, “the experience you prefer isn’t real”, etc. That’s bollocks.

Performers of course have far more of a right to do that, but what struck me about the Kate Bush gig was that there were strong practical and aesthetic reasons underlying the decision which basically aren’t there in most gigs, which look like gigs have always looked like, i.e. people jumping about on stage playing things under fairly consistent lighting. It’s very difficult to generalise from Kate Bush’s instructions to her audience or say “Kate is on my side” because the Kate Bush gig was so absolutely unlike other gigs.

(I think FWIW that all this will settle down one way or another - gig protocol evolves socially so eg. “if you’re down the front you have to dance, if you’re at the back you don’t” has become pretty well established as a way of giving both dancers/non-dancers the equally geniune and authentic experience they want. Other forms of spectacle are working out phone protocols quickly - for parades it’s absolutely fine, for films it’s absolutely not. I could easily see - for instance - performers doing a big first song which is “the one you can photograph” and then asking for phones to go away.)

(Reblogged from theredshoes)

toffeemilkshake:

Suddenly there are loads of people in the parts of the internet where I spend time who are watch experts, presenting me with (often contradictory) potted histories of the wrist watch.

More or less annoying than the sudden expertise on Quebecois separatist politics?

(Reblogged from toffeemilkshake)

stopmoving:

stereoart:

Abandoned Discotheques in Italy. Photographed by Antonio La Grotta.

Hey Mr DJ,
the story is over.
Let the dream fade away
and replace it with another one…

(more here)

(Reblogged from stopmoving)

One more Kate Bush point about PHONES

KB said before the shows, nobody take photos on your iPhones - and this was eagerly greeted by trendpiece hunting music writers as part of a general backlash against camera phones at gigs and the intrusion of social media into the concert experience. Kids today right?

But actually watching the show two things struck me. The first is that, obviously, making a request for audience immersion implies a bargain - that you’ll give them something worth being immersed in - KB did this, and actually so much of the show’s staging was about gradual transitions (of weather, in dreams, etc) that it resisted the kind of momentism concert photography encourages.

The second though is that Bush’s request was a very pragmatic one - with a show as dependent on careful lighting design as this, you can’t let a thousand diffferent small light sources loose in the crowd - it would have destroyed the effect for anyone further back than row 10 or so.

So basically, co-opting KB into a digital dualist backlash against modern concert going habits is really bogus. Performers can of course make whatever requests of their audience they like but if they don’t like smartphones at their gigs they should take a leaf out of her book and design gigs that reward not using them, rather than invoking it as a point of principle.

K8 GR8

This post is hurried post-Kate thoughts, I have a meeting in the morning but I wasn’t going to sleep without getting something like this out.

It was wonderful - spoilers below the cut for those who haven’t been yet (or want to come completely fresh to the DVD)

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