A Dialogue Regarding Music

I had a task to write a two-person dialogue about music. This is what I ended up with:

Person A: It must have been something to live in Manhattan in the 1970s.

Person B: What, with all the gangs and blackouts and street crime? Must have been something, yeah.

Person A: Well, okay — but the music scene. CBGBs. All of the punk and post-punk and New Wave, it all came through there.

Person B: Right, there’s that. I guess it makes sense that all the pain and poverty and chaos and whatever would turn into some groundbreaking art.

Person A: Yeah, art in general. There was Warhol and Studio 54 and everything. The night life basically came out of this whole scene — everything we think of with dance clubs, and everything that came out of that.

Person B: Sure, I get you. But actually living there —

Person A: Well, let’s forget the practicalities and live in the glamour for a moment. You’re right, there’s a direct tie between the chaos and the art.

Person B: There usually is.

Person A: I know, but specifically. Like, the black-out, it meant all these impoverished people grabbed all this cutting-edge electronic equipment and used it to invent hip-hop.

Person B: That… is interesting. I mean, it makes some sense, if you think about what hip-hop is — it’s all of these borrowed pieces stitched together, I guess, like the equipment that it was made on.

Person A: Exactly — everything has its context, and is inextricably a part of it. That’s the trade-off you get: live in boring times, and there’s nothing to act against, except maybe that tedium.

Person B: Makes you wonder, then, why so much dark metal comes out of, like, Sweden and Norway. Don’t they have the strongest social safety nets in the world, or thereabouts?

Person A: Yeah, I guess it’s just a lack of sunlight. Everyone’s depressed up there; it’s like heart disease in the States.

Person B: Thinking about it, how far back does this go? The blues were pretty obviously created in response to their environment…

Person A: See, yeah, and that shows a point as to why so much music comes out of black America — it’s such a unique cesspool of inequity and horror that they’ve got to create some damned strong art to keep their heads up at all.

Person B: This is making me sort of uncomfortable to talk about.

Person A: It should! Just about any music with a beat that you or I enjoy is a result of cultural appropriation. We took their bodies, their labor, their wealth, their dignity — and finally their culture that they use to cope with all of our abuse.

Person B: Man, I, uh.

Person A: I know. But, we can’t help the world we’re born into; it just helps to understand what we’re working with and why it’s there, if we want to do any better with what we’ve been given.

Person B: I guess, yeah, there’s lots of raw material sitting around now to make something beautiful. I wonder if there’s any way to repay the debt, though.

Praxitar: Auto, Pill, or Provider?

All these commercials, lately. Good grief. I don’t remember things being this bad, even a decade ago. I suggest conflating all the car, medication, and cell phone ads into a single thirty-second spot.

When driving your Audi 500, if you feel you may have restless leg syndrome, use Verizon to call your doctor.

Everything fits together if you look hard enough.

Crystallizing the Canon

I’m getting there. I’ve made my one pass on the posts; over half of them are now private, and everything is at least remedially tagged and sorted. I’m about five-eighths of the way through a quick second pass, making sure things are formatted okay, adding any missing tags, and hiding or making public misfiled entries. I should finish that up in the next day or two, depending on my free time.

And then we come to the professional publications. Good thing I have been keeping fairly good records of my own! With the aid of this site, though, I will have a reference guide always at my fingertips. And then perhaps, eventually, a cross-reference guide. For once I’ve uploaded and updated all my work, we will notice many running themes and recurring elements. Having crystallized my official canon, as it were, we can begin to weave the web even tighter. You know, the way we used to do at Insert Credit.

And once all of that is updated, who knows! I have untold reams of material, both written and otherwise, to put up and integrate. I can begin to update more constantly, and have a basis on which to hook any new thoughts. I’ve many more interests; I can move on to related sites, and link them back in here. The limits are only my energy and enthusiasm.

And now that I’m getting to know what I’m doing with backend coding, any future developments should be a bit more ambitious. The overall concept of this site is now four years old; it just took this long for me to get my wits together and code it properly. It’s a nice design, and I’m proud of it, and I’m proud for finishing what I started. It’s just, hey, this is 2010. Let’s get interesting.

Bit by bit. Within another two weeks, I think everything old will be settled. Again, depending on what else life delivers.

So, jump to the left. As I’m writing this, it is now quarter after one in the afternoon, New York time. That’s five hours earlier than GMT, which makes it quarter after six in the UK. In forty-five minutes, the new era of Doctor Who begins. Who’s paying attention, eh? I’ve rambled about it before, and I’ve a good excuse to do it again. This is pretty much what I’ve been waiting for since the show returned in 2005. It is going to be great, I know it.

And then, in two weeks, the new Doctor, companion, and showrunner — Smith, Gillan, and Moffat — will be in New York, for a free theatrical screening and Q&A session. You can bet your bootstraps the lady and I shall camp outside the theater, as early as possible. It’s a first for me, this behavior. Perhaps I’m finally hitting nerd boot camp. I do feel like I’m making up for ten years of lost time, lately.

Soon I may institute a feature on this site; I’ve been tagging particularly memorable entries, and setting them aside. I may set up a highlight post of the day — allowing an insight into the more curious depths of the archive. The posts will be of all manner of subjects, from game design to philosophy to film analysis to musings on the aesthetics of doorknobs. The odd dream or misadventure may also get its air. The idea is to start pointing arrows in all directions: see how this connects with this, and that connects with that. It’s all about connections, here. And in the end that’s how I’d like to shape the site. Make it one big, squishy neural net, ripe for the plucking.

I’ve some other business to attend to, so you will forgive my cutting this entry short. Keep in mind the comments feature is actually functional. It would be great to get some conversation going. And now that it’s on my brain, as one final note, if anyone’s in need of a bit of light design or coding — HTML, CSS, PHP; a bit of Photoshop or what-have-you — do get in touch. I’m branching out, here. Or, rather, picking up some long-forgotten threads, and twining them back together.

This place is going to become pretty neat, pretty soon. Keep on comin’ back, will ya.

Tedium at the Core

How many Doctor Who stories have at the heart of them a Problem Bureaucracy? I’m talking about a horrible central power, usually run by a paranoid and irrational old man who won’t listen to anyone, that serves mostly to string out the story’s run time or give it a reason to exist at all, by creating unnecessary and often unnatural conflict?

Often in these scenarios, everyone else in the story’s world seems more or less reasonable; it’s just this one bad apple, with a few of his puppets, who causes all the problems that allow the story to wheeze along.