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Woebot
28-04-2005, 12:44 AM
This evening I went to the RIU&SA panel chat show. It was good.

At one point in the evening the complaint emerged on the panel that Music Journalism was dead in the press. NME was compared to Heat magazine by Gina Birch. In spite of being lucky enough to write for a couple of very esteemed, very wonderful magazines, work I undertake in a spirit of high seriousness and emotional dedication I sort of agreed a bit.

I suppose the thing about the NME and Melody Maker and Sounds in their heyday was that they had such enormous momentum. They came out every week! And hundreds of thousands of people read them cover to cover. The (quite excellent) titles I write for come out once a month and quartely and they have, i suppose it's fair to say, a quite small readership. I reckon those conditions, completely without regard to the kind of writing thats being turned-in, aren't suitable the kind of mind-melting density, the "heat" that the inkies used to generate.

Someone, I think it was Tom, piped up with words to the effect of "it's all on the internet now!", and rather than feeling sort of stirred, well things can get extremely passionate and very involved and trans-national to boot, I felt kind of ambivalent. Now I've dedicated as much energy to the internet as anyone, and I just wonder if rather than being this site of extreme freedom, it's a sort of ghetto. And I'm posting this in the "thought" forum, cos I wonder if that doesn't apply to other subjects just as much.....

egg
28-04-2005, 10:48 AM
I don't think it's anywhere :(

It might be on the internet, but I read differently online, skimming rather than engaging.

Consistent editorial policy and tone of publication are hard to achieve when people are getting paid less or not at all.

martin
28-04-2005, 03:45 PM
I don't think it's so much a 'ghetto' to readers - most of the blogs are fairly easy to find, and I have actually read a lot of them with the same attention I'd give to a mag / paper. They probably become a 'ghetto' to the writers though, as its a fairly solitary activity.

Still, even though me and my friends at school hated the NME, we'd always read it and comment on how we couldn't believe anyone would give House of Pain or the Melvins a 4-star review. Whereas, if you say, "Did you see the latest post about Hatebeak on Pop Is Dead blog? It's this thing on the Internet", it's like yeah whatever. I disagree with egg on the payment front, maybe this was the case 5 years ago, but I think writing for peanuts or nothing on the Net has become so commonplace now, it doesn't stand to reason that there'll be a resulting drop in 'quality' (which is surely subjective, anyway?) I have to be honest and say that, of all the blogs that hover around Dissensus, I've never read one that I thought was 'shit' in the slightest.

As for Gina B, presumably she just wants page after page of overblown retro bollocks about how 'great' the fucking Raincoats were.

soi
28-04-2005, 06:27 PM
I have to be honest and say that, of all the blogs that hover around Dissensus, I've never read one that I thought was 'shit' in the slightest.

definitely, but aren't these blogs just the equivalent of the quarterly magazines? if you took the best of the music blogs there would be far too much excellent stuff to fill a weekly that would kick the arse of nme. reading blogs takes time, and the biggest problem is it takes reasonably affluent time, and solitary time too. i think to put too much faith in blogs to create the 'heat' risks taking the community out of things.

i mean, i read a lot of blogs daily but that's because i am sitting on my arse at home or in a job that gives me a desk and a computer. you can't buy the nme on the way to work and read it in yr fag break like you used to

and hell ye i am with you on the melvins, they deserved 5 stars at least :)

martin
28-04-2005, 10:20 PM
i mean, i read a lot of blogs daily but that's because i am sitting on my arse at home or in a job that gives me a desk and a computer

Yeah- it's constrained to fixed terminals. You can't kill a boring long train journey with a blog, sadly. And if someone from work should come over to see what yr reading, you're more likely to click the window shut and then pretend to be scrutinising some email abut the company charity 'fun run'.

owen
28-04-2005, 10:42 PM
where I think the problem is with 'the internet' isn't the writing itself (come on, the last few years on the blogs have featured some of the best writing about music i've ever read, perhaps the best in a lot of cases) but the (unnecessarily, considering its free) limited readership and the lack of connections to actual music-makers themselves is a problem.

one got the idea from the panel thing last night that the music press and the bands were egging each other on to go further, each inspiring the other- that simply doesn't happen now- there is very little connection between the two (with the arguable exception of the junior boys...)

egg
29-04-2005, 12:51 AM
so there's mroe distance then, both between artist and press and reader and press?

owen
29-04-2005, 09:54 PM
dunno if 'distance' is the word (as surely the internet is inherently more participatory), but eg, (according to the myth anyway) paul morley bigging up dollar had an effect on pop discourse in a way that, for instance, woebot and simon's attempts to revive 'rockism' won't- mainly because of the difference in the size of audience- and the make-up of said audience.

also, martin's comment upthread about how with the inkies you could talk to all sorts of people about the ideas or reviews or whatever but if you mention its something on the internet you get blank looks is absolutely spot on- most people i know are to one degree or another interested in pop, philosophy, politics, all the stuff that gets talked about here and on associated blogs- but just don't use the internet in that way. partly i think because you DO often have your boss looking over your shoulder!

jomina
10-05-2005, 05:16 AM
I suppose the thing about the NME and Melody Maker and Sounds in their heyday was that they had such enormous momentum. They came out every week! And hundreds of thousands of people read them cover to cover. That was me. Back in the late 70s I read NME and Sounds every week, as you say, from cover to cover and then back again.

Those were sombre, troubled times. Music often reflected that and provided us as listeners, but obviously writers and musicians as well, with a stage on which to express ourselves.

It was all quite po-faced :), but the momentum you speak of required music to be understood as something more than "just" music to dance to or get gently and mellowly stoned to. The two pet hates of the papers, after Thatcher, were hippys and disco, after all. There was a belief that music could change things, or at least make a difference, hence Rock against Racism and Rock against Sexism - and, eventually, even Band Aid.

This is not to say that everything was great then and really crap now (although as I head into middle-age, that particular tempatation is never far away :) ), but that the way music was perceived was different then. It played a different, and arguably bigger, role in many peoples' lives.


Someone, I think it was Tom, piped up with words to the effect of "it's all on the internet now!", and rather than feeling sort of stirred, well things can get extremely passionate and very involved and trans-national to boot, I felt kind of ambivalent. Now I've dedicated as much energy to the internet as anyone, and I just wonder if rather than being this site of extreme freedom, it's a sort of ghetto.
Fandom always has been a ghetto, surely. The internet simply makes it a much, much bigger one.

The internet has allowed me to experience a vast array of music that I never had access to before, and I'm not talking about p2p, either. On ebay I can find albums that I never saw either in my local library or in any record shops (except Sterns circa 1981 - and even then...), and there are boards and sites devoted to a huge range of music that were never talked about in the papers. I can buy FLAC files direct from Smithsomian, or the entire catalgues of Tangent or Ocora or the LSO direct from their websites. This was not possible before...

Rachel Verinder
10-05-2005, 08:07 AM
I think we have to be careful not to assume that, because we as individual bloggers might be tired of blogging, that the concept of blogging is tired. If music blogs don't influence or change things, at least in the short term as opposed to longer-term, subtler osmosis, then that's not the fault of bloggers; more a rueful acknowledgement that the print world, and perhaps The World In General, act and think like dinosaurs - slow-witted, slow to catch on to things.

Thus we can have the controller of Radio 1 saying that no one could come in and do John Peel's job, when I can think of at least 200 people from this world, off the top of my head, who would make a roaring success of it. Or we have broadsheets raving on about this fabulous new music website they've just come across called Pitchfork - no offence intended to the latter, but it's a bit like the Guardian in 1978 going on about this great new band called Roxy Music.

Also it is in the interest of the corporate-controlled media that people are not made aware of the music blogosphere, for this enables them to continue their symbiotic/parasitical relationship with the mainstream music press, which as we all know exists on the basis of favours done (will Uncut ever do any live reviews which aren't of "Uncut Presents" gigs?) and encourages solvent retards in the misguided belief that it was all over in 1968/1979/1985/1996 and there is nothing left to do except consume and re-consume different configurations of things they already know.

Thus it's left to us to lament in our own perspectives of "the only sane voice left, crying in the wilderness." Other than that, we should just enjoy doing it. I stopped my blog last week for personal reasons (mainly to do with intense exhaustion, both mentally and physically) but I'm not proclaiming that everyone else should.

Woebot
10-05-2005, 10:07 AM
sensible reflections all round. i dont think i have any less respect for contemporary bloggers as such, actually i have a nagging suspicion that there is some other small burgeoning network out there, people getting fired up in the way for instance you marcello did during COM. just that "we" are unaware of them/it.

actually i still feel really positive basically about the internet, its just that when it comes to feeling grandiose about it, in the manner of suggesting that its the sole cradle of "proper music criticism" i suppose i sort of recoil a little. wince, maybe. i suppose i see the net as performing a function, as being more a resource/source of energy/hub than as a substitute for more literary criticism. as jomina remarks, that can devolve into fandom *guilty as charged* but if it then serves as a sketch/launchpad for thought and action then i guess that's fine.

Rachel Verinder
10-05-2005, 10:35 AM
I still get fired up by music - both new music and old music rediscovered/uncovered - but I don't feel the need to write about it as much these days. The phenomenal output of CoM - both in terms of quality and quantity (even after being edited, the final manuscript still extends to 575 pages!) - required reserves of energy which I simply don't have any more. The comparative non-urgency of Maja and Koons, I feel, made for less compelling reading. As Morley said in Words and Music, after a while the music writer inevitably runs out of things to express, or ways to express them, and is in danger of ending up twisting the music to suit his own agenda (or, to put it another way, once you've said what you wanted to say and gone through all your specialist subjects, then there isn't much left).

There's also the danger, as you say, that the meme of "proper music criticism" can lead the blogosphere into becoming a rather smug, self-satisfied insular mindset, and therefore an Aunt Sally for the next generation of bloggers to come along and gleefully trash. So really the only solution is to move more towards the concept of community. Whatever folk here may think of ILx - and clearly I speak as someone with a foot in both camps - it has succeeded rather splendidly in building up a connective global community. The idea of FAPs happening in Australia or in the Midwest is quite an achievement when you think about it.

But I'm also quite intrigued by the possibility you raise of a parallel blogosphere universe, where people are doing equally worthy stuff without our knowing about it.

stelfox
10-05-2005, 11:46 AM
I missed this thread earlier, but it wasn't Tom who said all the good writing is on the internet now, it was one of the other ILM people who I didn't know; the same guy who asked the 1st question, which I don't remember anything about any more.
Matt, I think you're absolutely right. internet writing is an absolute ghetto - it's counter-productive and an absolute waste of time, for my money. That's why I've stopped writing anything more than a paragraph about music on Breaking Ranks, leaving the MP3s to speak for themselves, and am absolutely insulted when I am described as a "blogger" - I am a journalist of some years' experience and not inconsiderable success, DAMMIT!
That might sound pissy and I in no way mean to belittle the sterling work that many folks do on the internet - i still enjoy reading Tom's stuff, our Marcello's and quite a few others (have to confess I don't read enough of them: I'm time poor and reading on a moitor gives me a horrible headache after a while) - but as long as good writing is to be found on the internet, in all its free, DIY glory, magazines don't *have* to raise their game.
Also, doing anything for free essentially devalues it - if you're prepared to give it away, what does that say it's worth, really?

Rachel Verinder
10-05-2005, 11:55 AM
Yes, I had a bit of a flare-up with some troll on ILM last week about that latter point.

Thing is: OK, there's a book deal, so I'm not strictly doing it for no money, but that's not why I was writing. To sum it up glibly, some people write for a living, but I was writing to live, if that makes any sense. In that way I was working in the way that someone like Bill Fay works with his music - he just keeps on writing and recording songs without any thought of their ever being released, or even of anyone else listening to them. What's important to him is that "service is done to the music," and for me the important thing about CoM, above all else, was that appropriate service was done to Laura's memory (the "Me" of "Church of Me" wasn't "me," but then you knew that). Whatever other rewards come as a consequence of that work are necessarily secondary. That isn't to say that I turn my nose up at advance cheques - quite the reverse! - just that money's not the primary motivator behind the exercise.

stelfox
10-05-2005, 12:34 PM
no, i totally understand the reasons for CoM, Marcello and that's to a certain extent a different kettle of somethingorother to many blogs - CoM worked for the very specific reasons it was done, blissblog works because it's sort of a notepad/place to bounce ideas round/community hub. plenty of others make total sense, too, silverdollarcircle now, heronbone then being great examples.
i just didn't like my old blog, i didn't like the reasons i was doing it (and in hindsight i shouldn't have done it - that's why i took it down) i.e. not getting any proper writing work, distracting myself from the rut I was in etc. the mp3 blog i do now, with pretty pictures and no waffle, is a much better thing. it works in happy conjunction with my paid writing, djing and stuff, so it's different - a fun, optimistic little web presence that i hope people enjoy, rather than something to distract from a then-stalling career.
this is all totally about me and not meant as a critique of anyone else's work, though.
one other thing is key for me - i'm an incurable romatic about printed work. i love it and there's no way any piece on the internet ever feels as good as one that goes into a mag/newspaper, regardless of its penetration, longevity or whatever. you never see anyone reading your blog on a bus (unless it's one of marcello's insanely long piece that you just CAN'T read on screen!) and, for me, nothing's better than seeing my byline over someone's shoulder on the way to/from work!
i'm interested to know marcello whether or not, regardless of your need to do CoM and its obvious worth and meaning to you no matter where it was published, whether or not there's something nicely legitimizing about it going into book form, on paper, for posterity - y'know something to show yer mum/grandkids/nieces/nephews etc? I know it would feel that way for me.

Rachel Verinder
10-05-2005, 12:51 PM
Well it would certainly be legitimate in the eyes of my mum, who has absolutely no concept of the internet or computers in general, to say "look! my son's got a book out!" Also in the eyes of Laura's friends and colleagues, both at the Bodleian and at the Brookes library - special copies are going to be put on display in her memory when the book is published - so from that perspective it's important that I get it right, because people will be reading it who aren't necessarily savvy about developments and trends in the undercurrents of music, and they should be able to get the main story that CoM was telling (for the same reason, I've said to my editor - not that I have any influence over who reviews the book - that in an ideal world I would prefer a "non-music" critic to review it (Hermione Lee? David Thomson?) as this would prove the underlying worth of whether CoM works as a piece of writing). To have CoM in print, between covers, would be tangible proof that once upon a time, both Laura and I existed.

Interestingly enough, one morning on the tube there was a woman sitting opposite me reading something she'd obviously printed off her PC - from surreptitious glances it was clear she was reading CoM! I thought of introducing myself as the author, but realised that I would be answered with a look of utter contempt and an expression in the order of "yeah, right."

stelfox
10-05-2005, 12:59 PM
see, it wasn't just me!
more seriously, i thought that might be the case re the book.
we're not thinking that differently and that's why i'm glad the deal came through for you.
it sort of seals everything and puts it forward as a story worth telling; something that should go into libraries and be in people's homes and part of culture/history.
things on paper always feel more "of record" to me, that's all.

michael
10-05-2005, 01:20 PM
things on paper always feel more "of record" to me, that's all.
Whatever anyone might say about the legitimacy of that kind of feeling, it's very much the case with music too. Consider releasing (or having released) a CD vs. having a page of MP3s on soundclick or wherever.

Even the amazing stuff I've discovered via web labels (this guy lomov (http://www.lomov.de/) blows me away for post-Chain Reaction ambience) feels really different to me than if I were able to pick up a slab of whatever flavour of petro-chemicals with the same music etched on it. I don't know what I think about that, but if I'm being honest, it's the truth.

michael
10-05-2005, 01:25 PM
I feel a bit like I just stepped in on a rather serious and personal conversation to take things on a complete tangent. It's a weird mix of off-the-cuff and very earnest on dissensus, I find.

stelfox
10-05-2005, 02:53 PM
not a problem mate, i know exactly what you mean. i think it all comes down to that cult of the artefact, be it with records, writing or anything. it's nice to pick up and hold something if it matters to you (so you can count on selling at least one book, marcello!).

k-punk
10-05-2005, 04:17 PM
I think CoM worked better for two reasons:

1. It had a clearly defined concept, which was narrow enough to give it consistency, but broad enough not to be constricting. (By contrast, the 1974 thing, while interesting, is perhaps too narrow and too mechanically programmatic, especially for the internet: if it were in a book form, the reader could jump back and forth at will, whereas now both writer and reader are subject to the tyranny of the alphabet, lol).

2. It was published weekly, which meant there was a definite sense of event (i.e. what is he going to be writing about this week?)

I'd say I was a cured romantic about print, in that I was the world's biggest print devotee (I still have most of the key issues of NME from when I started reading it from 83 onwards until it got shit, i.e. when Collins and Maconie arrived). I thought the internet could never match up to the NME at its peak, or MM when Simon, Stubbs, Oldfield were on it.

Now, though, I would take the opposite view. If the internet isn't good enough, it's down to the readers and writers: who else can be blamed?

There is no equivalent in print media of any kind of the type of exchange that is happening on the web, between intellectuals and pop fans, between theory and popular culture. Once, print media may have had visionary editors (like Mark S on the Wire) who were capable of making their publications more than the sum of their parts: now, they are grub street PR hacks, subservient to big business and demographics, who do the opposite. For example: does anyone seriously think that the pieces Marcello is allowed to write for Uncut etc are BETTER than the ones he produces on the internet? The print world looks pathetically cramped compared to the internet. I haven't bought a pop magazine in years. Even when there's one good article from Simon in them, it's better to read them in the shops, because you then don't have to clutter up the house with boring drivel on the Band and Bob Dylan etc etc.

With the web, you get to edit together your own mag.

So no need to have to put up with Paolo Hewitt and Stuart Cosgrove, let alone the dullard time-server press-release re-writers of the print press now.

(I'm going to write a post on this on k-p when I get home).

stelfox
10-05-2005, 05:17 PM
yeah but mark, i'm buggered if i'd do that kind of work for nothing - that's the point.

Elan
10-05-2005, 06:01 PM
As a North American I used to read <I>MM</I> and the <I>NME</I> in the late 80s (MM more, I'll admit) and I was alternately amazed and amused a lot of the time by what I read - the complete intensity of some of the authors, the sincere hyperbole (if that's not an oxymoron) - so different from <i>RS</i> or <i>Creem</i>! From what I've gathered here that has been totally lost & Nick Hornby-ized, save for the occasional writer. That all may be obvious, but how on earth did it happen? Why is nostalgia so prevalent?

In any case, writing on the internet is more than good enough and at times it is the best writing I have ever come across about music. I've printed out a few pages of CoM myself - not just because I love it, but because it is great writing and I am inspired by it - both to listen to things in a new way and from the writing itself.

blissblogger
10-05-2005, 07:12 PM
the blog world -- well this corner of it -- is going through a definite lull at the moment and the reasons, as far as i can see, are threefold and simple

-- a lot of the don dadas on the scene have retired (woebot, luka, Koons, blackie lawless--those last two being arch-recidivists are getting like the bloody Who endlessly reforming!), some of the others have been forced into hibernation by other duties (silverdollar) or just gone real sporadic (jon dale, skykicking, many others not springing to mind just this sec'). the ones that remain that i check regular and that output stuff regular, they tend to be quite specific subject-fixated (either grimecrentic, or pursuing their own fairly defined aesthetic -- gutterbreakz). that leaves kpunk who is still churning out quality stuff, i don't always agree with him mind, but that's the point it's all thought-provoking innit

-- the mp3 blogs are almost universally a waste of space AFAIC, i don't turn to the web for music (can't think of a single revelatory track i've downloaded to be honest, the bits of pirate grimage are nice and the dj mixes too but mp3s sound so shit, and perhaps i have a different perspective on it, being so inundated with music professionally). no i want opinions and analysis and mockery (and merkery). shoving music up there preserves the more irritating show-off side of bloggery ("i know about obscure music me") without the good stuff (insight, incitement, theory, speculation). it's sort of evangelism without content, innit? if you're going to evangelise about music then at least do the decent thing and come up with a gospel, a credo!

-- the other factor, let's be honest, is that Music isn't really coming up with the goods, the food for fervour, at the moment. yeah yeah yeah the usual disparate nicenesses abounds, it'll be no problem pulling together a chunky end of year list, but the kind of major new development that would warrant a convulsion of discourse has not shown up. (i reckon that's why MIA got way more discourse swirling around her than was strictly warranted, cos it was a bone of contention, something to argue about). the last big thing discourse-activating thing was of course grime but three years down the line that topic's been well-masticated and feels a bit spent.

writing about old music is always fun of course and i think when i resume blissbloggin in fuller force when duties subside that's what i'll probably mostly write about , but it lacks the urgency of when you're writing about stuff that is happening now. that's what the music press, when it was "on", had -- it was dealing with now-stuff that had to be shouted loud about that very week.

k-punk
10-05-2005, 09:43 PM
Yes, I think the failure of the music is a big part of it; quite honestly, I for one would be delighted if Simon started writing about old music; the new stuff isn't worthy of his attention in the main. 'Boycott mediocrity' Luka said a couple of years ago... that's right... There's no need for blogs to tolerate let alone celebrate the mediocrity which meatworld press is forced to deal with....

That's why Poptimism is wrong not only empirically - the absurd claim that there is always an equal amount of good music waiting out there at any given period of history - but ethically: it contributes to a situation of continued tedium.... I think the more that blogs completely deviate from the timetable laid down by the industry and PR, much better to use the greatness of the past as a stick to beat the trash of the present with... the first step would be to admit that things are crap...

One thing that's abundantly clear from Rip It Up is the productive power of FACTIONS and FRICTIONS - the most damaging and enervating cultural attitude is that contemporary student- Last Man thing, yeh, I like Futureheads and Razorlight but I like Hey Yaaaaaaaaaah too, like a bit of everything really .... if Pop isn't the carrier of a dissident and inconsemsurate reality what is it? Ppl ruthlessly differentiating themselves from others (and from themselves... how they were a few months ago), imposing some conceptual consistency on themselves (I can't wear that any more)....


(btw I think some people have given up on (their) blogs too quickly... if you want things to happen, you have to be patient and build them up, wait for the mainstream to catch up... )

nomos
11-05-2005, 02:31 AM
(can't think of a single revelatory track i've downloaded to be honest, the bits of pirate grimage are nice and the dj mixes too but mp3s sound so shit, and perhaps i have a different perspective on it, being so inundated with music professionally).

I think it's a matter of geography and access. The net is about the only place I've had revelations in the last few years. Not just new just new stuff either. More often it's things i missed the first time 'round living in the wrong place, not having money, or being unaware/interested in something else.

turtles
11-05-2005, 03:44 AM
I think it's a matter of geography and access. The net is about the only place I've had revelations in the last few years. Not just new just new stuff either. More often it's things i missed the first time 'round living in the wrong place, not having money, or being unaware/interested in something else.
Seconded, thirded and fourthed. The internet is THE source of music for me, both in terms of reading about and hearing. I really can't stress how massively important the internet has been to my development as a music listener. ALL (and i do mean all) the artists & musical styles that i have discovered and gotten into since about '01 have been through the internet one way or another (blogs, zines, p2p etc). I own maybe 3 copies of the wire, and that's about it as far as print-media goes (and i only bought those for the wire tapper cds!).

Considering I only really started to get heavily into music around '99-'00, its hard for me to even imagine what it would be like to be seriously into music without the internet. P2P is a godsend, and honestly mp3 blogs are even better because I keep getting turned on to new artists and genres that I had never been exposed to before.

from the music-fan perspective, the internet is entirely crucial and necessary.

Backjob
11-05-2005, 05:18 AM
Well this is all very well, but the naysayers (Dave, Matt) are basically establishment figures awash with cultural capital and sitting right on the geographical nexus (London-NYC) of the things they are interested in. From that privileged position maybe the internet is a waste of time.

But the fact that I can walk into a cafe in Cebu, Philippines, and hear Dizzee Rascal playing or that I can have a conversation about current US TV shows with Japanese people is entirely due to the internet and the attendant globalisation of cultural discourse.

And I think it matters that we can see Toronto emerging as a regional grime centre, not entirely unconnected to the fact that this forum exists.

So purely in terms of access, it's a great thing that there is accessible writing on the net about all sorts of topics (and that's not even getting into the importance of people in places like Baghdad or China or Myanmar being able to read it).

The nature of the discourse has changed, sure, but for all the reasons everybody listed above its hard to see how that change constitutes any kind of definitive downward shift in quality. It's just more dispersed now. Perhaps the 30 minute read that MM used to represent is now a 30 minute read smeared out over a dozen blogs globally (and a different dozen each week, I might add).

From a consumer point of view, of course no single blog is the equal of an old-style print magazine. But blogs in general piss on any magazine in history from a great height. The money cost of purchasing print has been converted to a time cost in finding the good stuff but the relative weight of the transaction in terms of cost versus benefit hasn't markedly changed.

(in fact there is probably a huge opportunity for someone to search out the good bits and charge a fee for a monthly email listing them, ethics of this aside)

Rachel Verinder
11-05-2005, 07:59 AM
I think CoM worked better for two reasons:

1. It had a clearly defined concept, which was narrow enough to give it consistency, but broad enough not to be constricting. (By contrast, the 1974 thing, while interesting, is perhaps too narrow and too mechanically programmatic, especially for the internet: if it were in a book form, the reader could jump back and forth at will, whereas now both writer and reader are subject to the tyranny of the alphabet, lol).

2. It was published weekly, which meant there was a definite sense of event (i.e. what is he going to be writing about this week?)

This is fair comment. Admittedly the 1974 thing was commenced with the vague idea of a book in mind - a bit like David Thomson's Biographical Dictionary of Film crossed with Julio Cortazar's Hopscotch (in other words, a childhood memoir disguised as a year in music) - but I was getting bogged down in it and logistically it was proving a headache; for every "Beach Baby" there are a dozen mediocre chart fillers to trudge through. The difference with the 69/82/85 lists is that these were done spontaneously, in one sitting, one-liners, bang bang bang, so duff records could get away with a few curt words of dismissal; but '74 I think was a wee bit over-ambitious - ending up a chore to write and, consequently, a chore to read. The good "future entries" which I've already written, e.g. Suzi Quatro, Alan Price, Wombles/Mike Batt etc., might appear as stand-alone articles on a future blog. At the moment though, outside of message boards I don't feel like writing about music at all - and Simon is right that the comparative paucity of interesting current music to write about is a major factor in my reluctance to do so (2002 was an unbelievably fecund year musically; 2004 considerably less so).

For example: does anyone seriously think that the pieces Marcello is allowed to write for Uncut etc are BETTER than the ones he produces on the internet?

I'd be extremely suspicious of anyone who seriously thought that! In any case, the management at Uncut seem to have come to the same conclusion, viz. I am not cut out for the 80-word capsule review world.

Woebot
11-05-2005, 08:54 AM
Well this is all very well, but the naysayers (Dave, Matt) are basically establishment figures awash with cultural capital and sitting right on the geographical nexus (London-NYC) of the things they are interested in. From that privileged position maybe the internet is a waste of time.

But the fact that I can walk into a cafe in Cebu, Philippines, and hear Dizzee Rascal playing or that I can have a conversation about current US TV shows with Japanese people is entirely due to the internet and the attendant globalisation of cultural discourse.

Love the idea of being an establishment figure! Ha ha ha. Me and my scrawny ass.

I don't think I'm really a naysayer. I think I've tried to argue that (in contrast to the bloke at the RIUASA panel, sorry if I wrongly ascribed it to Tom, was facing forward at the time) I dont think the net is necessarily the cradle of Music Journalism in its classical sense. Like Dave says of Breaking Ranks, he feels that site works better in different ways. Naturally a lot of this has to do with feeling that my "blog voice" was played out. The analogy I used to use (with depressing regularity) was one of standing on a soap box. Sometimes your knees got wobbly, sometimes you enjoyed standing up there furiously gesticulating, but eventually its time to come down.


(paraphrase) "on doing it for free"

as someone who has gone on to earn a few shillings from a couple of magazines, i'd have to admit i'm STILL doing it for love even though i'm getting paid.

Rachel Verinder
11-05-2005, 09:01 AM
Let's face it, no one writes for the Wire for the money! ;-)

henrymiller
11-05-2005, 01:21 PM
from a writer's pov, freelancing is more or less 'for free', ie so badly paid it may as well be. the 'director's cut' thing is presumably why many pros get involved.

from a reader's pov: i only really engage while at work, so it's win-win really. the internet 'could do better' perhaps, but there are still inexhaustible supplies of *stuff*. if it isn't the early eighties or the late sixties, so be it. the need for 'one big movement' a la punk or acid house is the subtext of laments for the music press, which is fine, but there are always lots of things going on. while choosing between futureheads and 'hey ya!' might not appeal, the choice in 1988 between eric b and rakim and acid house and ar kane (fer example) is more interesting. the 'one big movement' nme was unable to deal with all three. arguably the net would have been better-suited.

stelfox
11-05-2005, 03:15 PM
well, that does depend on where you write for, henry. obviously 'lancing for the guardian isn't ever going to take you off to rio, but you can live on freelancing money and the more people take the line of "oh, well i'm lucky to be in print so the money doesn't matter", or "i'll just depend on the day job and write for love", the less it's likely to get better.
btw, the wire pays only very marginally less than certain national newspapers, marcelly (i'm not going to correct that typo coz i like it), so i think they do pretty well, to be honest.
re matt's point about blogdom's view of *itself* as the sole (probably true) and best medium (absolute insanity) to find good writing has led to quite a pissy atmosphere in certain circles, a bit of a mutual-masturbatory/congratulatory whirligig whereby some writing is hailed as brilliant because it's "the sort of thing you never see in magazines" even though it's often pretty bloddy shoddy and there's a good reason no one would print it.
that might well be the reason that i prefer the blogs of professional writers (or always prefered the blogs of those who went on to be) to those of writers who only had blogs (there are MASSIVE and numerous exceptions to this rule, obviously).
it also leads certain sections of blogworld to build up a view of themselves as much, much more important than they really are because their boys (it's so often boys) get the odd mention in the guardian.
re simon's point on MP3 blogs: i very rarely check for any of the "eclectic" MP3 blogs and tend to prefer ones with a pretty tight focus. as much as i think the guys behind fluxblog, tofu hut, bitchlaces et al are lovely chaps (they're the only ones i've ever had any dealings with in personal terms - comments boxes, emails, links etc), i just don't often feel like using them.
cocaine blunts, we eat so many shrimp, government names and a few others, however, have introduced me to a shitload of great stuff, reaffirmed my love for lots more, so i tend to find this the way forward: clear ideas, a honed aesthetic and a load of knowledge.

Rachel Verinder
11-05-2005, 03:26 PM
During my brief spell on the Wire I wrote six reviews and earned the grand cumulative total of £150, so it's about par with the monthlies. It was the unpublished seventh review that got me banned from their pages forever, on the basis that one is not supposed to criticise "friends of the Wire."

henrymiller
11-05-2005, 03:28 PM
what k-punk said about the internet meaning that you can edit your own blog -- i think that's right. otoh i kind of agree with stelfox on the practical level. more or less every professional writer i've met thinks the net is bad 'for the profession' and i don't think that's just fear of unlettered names taking their edge off. usually the best essay-type material on the web is by pro writers or aspiring pros and as one of the latter you do wonder if it is a dead end, whether the aspiring writers should be trying harder to get into print.

also: much of 'the internet' is really print journalism online. obvious point, but key, i think.

jenks
11-05-2005, 04:25 PM
I suppose from my point of view what the internet gives me is access to the debates in a way that the nme letters page of old could never do. for those who are pro writers/ musicians it may seem like a small world of the same old faces/ tropes but of course for those of us with other jobs this has a democratising effect, we are now party to the discussion and can communicate with those 'opinion formers' etc and actually get involved on a pretty immediate manner. the down side is the trolling etc that forces people to remove comment boxes from their blogs and there is a constant pressure to have something to say.
as far as the quality of the writing goes, i have to agree with a number of people here, giving access to everybody means allowing all those who can barely string a sentence together to publish in the blogosphere. the end result though is unread material, and at least it's not adding to a giant paper mountain.
what makes the internet work is the realtively new way it leads us to read, that is, not necessarily in a linear fashion but instead in a linking fashion. i came to the blog/ dissensus world through reading a small article in the wire about blissblogger and penman - from the links at the side i have come across all kinds of cool writing - some self indulgent and uninspiring and the occasionally awful, the former goes onto the favs toolbar the rest get forgotten.
i think those of you who work with music may forget just how difficult it can be to access all kinds of new music, the london pirates don't reach out here, there are very few vinyl shops, things don't come through my letter box for free - we welcome anyone who puts something up on usendit - i have heard more new music in the last six months through dissensus than i have donefor years, now maybe i am catching the tail end of something and maybe it was all better two years ago - i dunno.
fianllly i agree that the whole mainstream music stuff is poor but i would suggest that this is not that new, i still yearn for another 1988 or 1982 but it's not happening, i think blissblogger is right it's time to go back, there's plenty left and if it gets the writing quality up i am all for it.

Ness Rowlah
12-05-2005, 05:02 AM
Just one little tangent. On the actual act of writing.

It's often not about the quality of the writing - being a good weblogger
is also a matter of "web style". Short paragraphs, good headlines, the "conclusion" up front and so on.

Reading from screen is different from reading a newspaper article or a book. Many either
do not know this or make no effort to change their writing (just look at the replies above -
which ones are you going to bother reading?).

Only if the writing and subjects covered are exceptional (like K-P and blissblogger)
can you get away with a different style on the web for long.

Ness Rowlah
12-05-2005, 05:19 AM
this guy lomov blows me away for post-Chain Reaction ambience

seconded (it's one of my "4 stars or more" in my free, legal download cat MP3s).
Some of Biosphere's newer stuff (freely available from http://www.biosphere.no) and also some
Finns fall in that category (I can't find their name right now -
but when I heard them I had to check that they were not Lomov, they sound almost exactly the same).

craner
12-05-2005, 01:17 PM
Short paragraphs, good headlines, the "conclusion" up front and so on.

The very idea!

Rachel Verinder
12-05-2005, 01:41 PM
I think it's up to bloggers to decide how they want to write and present their blogs. If readers don't like them, there are millions of other blogs they can read. After all, it's not as if we're getting paid for doing them, is it?

k-punk
12-05-2005, 04:07 PM
It's often not about the quality of the writing - being a good weblogger
is also a matter of "web style". Short paragraphs, good headlines, the "conclusion" up front and so on.

Reading from screen is different from reading a newspaper article or a book. Many either
do not know this or make no effort to change their writing (just look at the replies above -
which ones are you going to bother reading?).

Only if the writing and subjects covered are exceptional (like K-P and blissblogger)
can you get away with a different style on the web for long.


But that's not a matter of style so much as presentation: and I do pretty much, and quite self-consciously, stick to those criteria. Quite early on, Penman told me that he wrote in a different 'tabloid' way on the net: capital letters, short paragraphs etc. I've tried to stick to that ever since!

Grievous Angel
13-05-2005, 10:21 AM
The fact that I was a professional writer years before I was a blogger (it's OK, I've managed to give it up now :) ) shall not deter me from noting the mutual masturbation of professional writers on this thread :).

Blogging's not about the pro's, nor was it ever. The heart of blogging has always been people doing it for love: enthusiastic amateurs participating in networks of relationships. The great excitement of seeing the pros doing blogs is that their fanaticism shines through, just as the principal disappointment of pro's blogs is their occasional need for magazine-style subbing -- a malaise from which Marcello's longer pieces sometimes suffered. That's why "blogging" has gone back to the forums -- bloggers have sought out better social networks. The values and yardsticks of print-centric auterism grate a little when applied to blogging.

But to go back to Matt's original point: I don't think it's about whether the Internet is good enough (though of course it isn't, never can be). It's about whether one's human relationships, whether purely online or translated into the real world, are good enough. For me, as a busy parent, blogging has helped provide as many human relationships on and offline as I can handle, so it's all good over here.

---

You will note that this is not a defence of bad writing (or a value judgement about word rates).

Woebot
13-05-2005, 11:19 AM
The fact that I was a professional writer years before I was a blogger (it's OK, I've managed to give it up now :) ) shall not deter me from noting the mutual masturbation of professional writers on this thread :)

Oi yoi! ;)

Presumably everyone has found Mark's post here:
http://k-punk.abstractdynamics.org/archives/005497.html
which i thought was excellent (is mutual masturbation between semi- and non-professional writers allowed?)

Fascinating to hear Murdoch clocking blogs, and those figures Mark produces about bloggers general intellectual fitness (very gratifying!)

Grievous Angel
13-05-2005, 12:15 PM
Presumably everyone has found Mark's post here:
http://k-punk.abstractdynamics.org/archives/005497.html
which i thought was excellent
Yes, the K-Punk nexus has grasped the concept of blogrolling and network effects as a mechanism of value in the economy of attention better than anyone.

I suspect it emphasises the value of human relationship as a product of those network effects less than I would like :).

However, I'm totally in agreement about the need to revitalise the Tory party as a means of opposing Kapital. (http://k-punk.abstractdynamics.org/archives/005481.html) I start my new role at central office in two weeks. We begin bombing in five minutes.

||| Quick Side Comment |||

Interesting how the K-Punk nexus' decision to refuse to interiorise the network within its blog, by getting rid of comments, actually made the blog a more valuable node in the network?

Rachel Verinder
13-05-2005, 12:20 PM
I never take any notice of criticisms that my pieces are "too long." From my perspective it's like saying I'm living too long.

stelfox
13-05-2005, 01:01 PM
mark's right in many ways and so's paul; mark especially on the point of editors perhaps not being such a great thing when you look at contemporary mass media. the only thing i have a problem with is the way the mediocrity mark underlines can be elevated to such an absurd degree in *either* sphere - pro-print journalism and blogging are equally guilty here. i'd just contend that both facilitate different kinds of mediocrity; in the mainstream media it's represented by the cult of the snide middlebrow hack, in blogging it's the equally snide and arguably more snippy and sneery blogger who writes for other bloggers and thinks this somehow makes him superior to anyone who doesn't accuse people who dislike MIA of being acolytes of oswald mosely or those of us who don't see much point in crowbarring references to badiou into the works of terrah danja (substitute any grime producer/mc and any philosopher here and it'll work just fine). and meme, you sarky bugger, you're one of my exceptions, so you can fiddle with whomsoever you like as far as i'm concerned. we're very liberal round these parts ;)

Rachel Verinder
13-05-2005, 01:48 PM
you can fiddle with whomsoever you like as far as i'm concerned. we're very liberal round these parts

The exact words which Amanda Platell mouths to me in my dreams...

stelfox
13-05-2005, 01:53 PM
someone please ban this man!

stelfox
13-05-2005, 01:57 PM
(or maybe i could resurrect my money-making idea for a range of "inflatable companions" based on music critics and instead give them the heads of bad tv presenters/right-wing wannabe dominatrices - orders mailed out in the strictest confidence in plain brown paper wrapping)

Rachel Verinder
13-05-2005, 01:57 PM
mmm...with those 20-inch stilettoes...who needs acupuncture?

Elan
13-05-2005, 06:35 PM
Y'know, I was going to post here about how a blogging friend of mine (who started out in print journalism and has been on radio as well) is trying to drag the Torstar Corp. into the 21st c. by getting them into blogging, but after Rachel's reveries all I can think of is a certain big-eared northerner whisking me away in his blue police box.

Damn.

Thanks to all for explaining the whole media situation. I don't think there's a 'right' way to blog; good writing is good writing - though I'll admit that sometimes brevity wins out, if only because people can't be online 24/7.

Grievous Angel
13-05-2005, 09:56 PM
the only thing i have a problem with is the way the mediocrity mark underlines can be elevated to such an absurd degree in *either* sphere
's true. I don't bother with many blogs these days, just the obvious ones, people I've met and friends of friends. Too much tosh everywhere.


crowbarring references to badiou into the works of terrah danja
I blame Bat. Often copied but never equalled. As I have found out :(.


and meme, you sarky bugger, you're one of my exceptions, so you can fiddle with whomsoever you like as far as i'm concerned. we're very liberal round these parts ;)
You're too kind. Your idea about inflatable music critics has me reaching for the lube and the kleenex...

Ness Rowlah
14-05-2005, 02:50 AM
I never take any notice of criticisms that my pieces are "too long." From my perspective it's like saying I'm living too long.
and

I don't think there's a 'right' way to blog; good writing is good writing - though I'll admit that sometimes brevity wins out, if only because people can't be online 24/7.

Agree. There is no right way of writing (whatever works for you is right) and
there is nothing wrong with writing long pieces for online consumption.

If you go with the "I am a superb writer of wit and intellect; and only want readers who can be bothered to read my 1000 word masterpiece formatted as one long paragraph (with my challenging point right at the end and wasn't "On The Road" overrated anyway?) --- and I don't care if its effing unreadable that will sort out the lesser readers"-school, that's fine.

But don't expect the random reader who sees your masterpiece
to stop by for more than two seconds - before moving somewhere else.
That's how most people "read" on the web.

Why are you writing in the first place?

If you are writing for yourself it is useful to be able to switch to a web style,
if you are writing for others then why not make sure they have a chance of reading it?

Keep your style and keep it long - but make sure it's readable
for the web-punter on the other side of the wire.
We punters simply READ differently when reading from screen.

---------------------

The book is still a winner - the right price, no DRM,
user-friendly and it is fit for all styles of writing.

Nielsen was wrong (http://www.useit.com/alertbox/9703b.html) when he predicted that super-dpi screens would be common by now;
instead we've got LCD which makes reading of screen material even harder.

Ness Rowlah
14-05-2005, 03:28 AM
The Lomov tangent -

Haare from Finland - free MP3 pieces at http://music.download.com/haare/3600-8622_32-100397856.html
(It might be a one man band, if anyone has more info on Haare I wouldn't mind).

michael
14-05-2005, 04:50 AM
The Lomov tangent -

Haare from Finland - free MP3 pieces at http://music.download.com/haare/3600-8622_32-100397856.html

Great thanks. I kept checking back in on this thread hoping a link would come up. :)

If it's of any interest, a friend flicked me a link to a bunch of free MP3s (http://www.muzie.co.jp/cgi-bin/artist.cgi?id=a004238) by Dublee. It's in Japanese, but the links are clearly marked. :) He's recently released something on disc with... bah, fuck knows, but it's on the Kompakt MP3 shop, so someone affiliated. Sorta older Vlad Delay biting, but interesting enough.

Other faintly amazing stuff in this vein is a Mexican net label called Filtro (http://www.filtro.com.mx). Mainly that first release.. zillion mixes of a real nice ambient track covering all the contemporary nerd subsubsubsubgenres.

Should start another thread...

k-punk
14-05-2005, 11:24 AM
I never take any notice of criticisms that my pieces are "too long." From my perspective it's like saying I'm living too long.

I wouldn't say they were too long: they're just not ideal for 'screen reading'. But that's OK, like the woman you saw on the train reading CoM, I print out the very long ones ...

As for Paul's point on closing comments: I think that has turned out to be right. As Luke noted at the time, the effect of comments is to depress inter-blog interactivity. It speeds and heats things up too much. Plus, there just does seem to be a point - Infinite Thought reached it recently - where malign time-wasters so dominate the space that it becomes a platform for their resentments and little else.

The professional-non-professional writer thing is a bit misleading; Dave's right, there's mediocrity in both fields (I'm not into lo-fi amateurishness in writing any more than in music!) but surely such mediocrity is far more unacceptable from paid so-called professionals. The reason why I don't bother trying to get stuff published in the mainstream media any more is (1) it involves a kind of meta-work (hussling, pitching etc) that is worse than actual work and (2) the pressure to conform to what mags project as the interests of their demographic acts as a virtual policeman, an internalized censor, that determines what you write and think even before you produce it (a bit like Jon King saying that in the post postpunk period accountants became like the extra member of the band).

Ness Rowlah
14-05-2005, 04:39 PM
Even when there's one good article from Simon in them, it's better to read them in the shops, because you then don't have to clutter up the house with boring drivel on the Band and Bob Dylan etc etc.

Another tight bastard ;-)

Reading whole articles "while browsing" seems to be acceptable here in England
(at least in the WH Smiths in and around London),
back home in Norway it isn't (some security guard or the kiosk owner
will come over if the reading session is starting to get too long ("this is not a library") -
although things might have changed since I moved over here almost 8 years ago).

Useful - I read the whole article on the recording of "Never Mind The Bollocks" in SoundOnSound
a few months ago and didn't have to carry a hundredandfifty pages of new synths back with
me home. Chris Spedding did NOT play guitar on NMTB - this the word from the producers/engineers;
the Pistols could actually play their instruments (well Sid hadn't joined yet).

martin
15-05-2005, 09:07 PM
I used to agree with Stelfox about the power of print, but I just couldn't care less now. All I know is that I'd rather flick through blogs than EVER go near The Wire - this is the same magazine that gave full marks to Maurizio Bianchi's early tape reissues - how the hell am I meant to trust the critical faculties of any organ that would gush such garbage?

I personally reckon the West Country Blogs are the dog's. I would read anything they have to say, regardless of whether or not I like the music / bands / comics / films / whatever they're on about. Whereas I wouldn't pay 2p to pick up 'Mojo' or 'Uncut', even if Throbbing Gristle were on the cover.

Rachel Verinder
16-05-2005, 08:32 AM
The reason why I don't bother trying to get stuff published in the mainstream media any more is (1) it involves a kind of meta-work (hussling, pitching etc) that is worse than actual work and (2) the pressure to conform to what mags project as the interests of their demographic acts as a virtual policeman, an internalized censor, that determines what you write and think even before you produce it (a bit like Jon King saying that in the post postpunk period accountants became like the extra member of the band).

As many fellow "pros" pointed out to me after the fact, if you wish to embark on a career as a freelance (music/anything) writer then only about 10% of your time will be devoted to actual writing. The remaining 90% will be taken up with pitching, ringing editors and PR nincompoops, trying to get anyone interested. I thought: well I have to do "pitching" of a different kind during the day, why should I have to use up my "free" time doing the same thing? And it doesn't pay enough to justify jacking in the day job.

I'm inimical to the concept of a "web style" for the same reason that I stopped doing the freelance writing; because I wasn't writing what I wanted to write, but somebody else's non-aesthetic/pie chart-driven concept of what I SHOULD be writing. As I say, why should I be expected to apply the same "principle" to blogging when I don't even get PAID for doing it? This is just another manifestation of the faux-Kapitalist pseudo-Marxism (much beloved of post-war moneyed Labour, see Richard Heller, David Hare et al) which dictates that either we do things for The Market/The Common Good (where's the practical division?) or else it is self-indulgent, solipsistic and worthless, i.e. it cannot be made into a docile, servile Kapitalist tool.

That having been said, I have developed my own "web style," if you want to call it that, very naturally, and it is immediately recognisable without necessarily having to signpost it. The moment you start to think about developing a "web style" before writing is when you shoot yourself down in flames. Just as the amateurist ethic can beget either Tallulah Gosh or Drenching-Pleasure Improvers, then the blogosphere will give us a ton of angsty, cuddly pink glop, or gorgeous, acidic and purposeful writing. As far as the one paragraph monument approach is concerned - well I'd take WG Sebald over Nick Hornby any day.

k-punk
16-05-2005, 11:56 AM
I wholeheartedly agree with this.

The reason I'm free to follow my own lines on k-p is that it is not subject to the demographic censorship of either academic publishing (which because of the Research Assessment criteria must now be at least as restricted and hidebound as universities in the old Soviet Union) or the pop-cultural press (which as we've all noted, imposes its own highly constrictive protocols). The alternative to producing within these tramline-determined conditions of artificial stupidity is not necessarily solipsistic expressionism - the best blogs are those which explore conceptual and thematic consistencies - the worst are those which either badly reproduce the format of existing media or those which function as repositories for ego-whine (cf Infinite Thought's attack on blogs-as-diaries (http://www.cinestatic.com/infinitethought/2005/05/indie.asp))

What is abundant on the web is what is lacking in the Gutenberg galaxy: SPACE, in both a literal and a more abstract sense (i.e. space as a zone of potentialities). I don't think people are anything like positive enough about a cultural situation in which you can publish your own work to a genuinely global audience without the intervention of middle-men of any kind; google and technorati etc facilitate the production of networks ... middle-men want us to think that anything that doesn't pass through them is solipsistic and irrelevant; that is what the 'de-punking' of culture has amounted to - a re-claiming of the role of the authorization of culture by the 'middle mass, vulturous in the aftermath'.

I think there's another important dimension to this, which is effective anti-capitalist strategies. Participating in a web network - either by producing or consuming - in which the main aim is not profit - indeed in which no money changes hands - is already, in and of itself, engaging in anti-capitalist activity. One of capitalism's most dangerous secret weapons is its claim that only those things which make money have value (equally pernicious is the claim that ONLY things which make money are valuable). It is not as if those of us who produce 'get nothing' from the work - it is just that what we receive is not financial. But the idea that this is somehow lesser than money is capitalist ideology through and through. Surely being part of a cyber-collectivity is much more important than making a few quid.

Woebot
16-05-2005, 12:05 PM
in blogging it's the equally snide and arguably more snippy and sneery blogger who writes for other bloggers and thinks this somehow makes him superior to anyone who doesn't accuse people who dislike MIA of being acolytes of oswald mosely

(confused)

http://static.userland.com/images/cheese/Bush.jpg

sufi
10-05-2010, 10:48 PM
well, is it then?

massrock
10-05-2010, 10:53 PM
mildly diverting

swears
10-05-2010, 11:32 PM
I think there's gonna be more big sites like Pitchfork acting as gatekeepers now, people like a stamp of authority and having everybody on the same page. My 18 y/o brother and his pals at 6th form are all into sites and social apps I've never even heard of.

sufi
11-05-2010, 12:13 AM
reading back thru the thread a lot has changed already since 2005

john eden
11-05-2010, 09:09 AM
The discussions here about paid writing and the internet kind of informed this talk I did in Berlin:
http://www.uncarved.org/blog/2009/03/you-dont-want-to-bring-the-arms-house/

grizzleb
11-05-2010, 03:17 PM
The discussions here about paid writing and the internet kind of informed this talk I did in Berlin:
http://www.uncarved.org/blog/2009/03/you-dont-want-to-bring-the-arms-house/Enjoyed listening to this, cheers john.

john eden
11-05-2010, 04:37 PM
Enjoyed listening to this, cheers john.

glad you liked it!

to return to the theme of the thread I can't help feeling that "the internet" is still trying to find its own level.

There is still massive amounts of discussion about the medium rather than focussing on content. I don't think that's been the case for TV or radio for quite some time.

It's easy to be nostalgic for the music press of yesteryear - too easy for me. But let's not forget that the NME et al had been really quite unspeakably shit since the early nineties - years before the WWW was in any kind of common usage.

Culture has become more fragmented, which means you can't capture it all in a weekly inkie. I don't think this is all because of the internet either. But this fragmentation has opened the door for things like The Wire, and Loops Journal and Woofah, as well as a bunch of online things like FACT.

My main worry now is the trend towards closing down people's options online. Closed systems like Facebook or the monetarisation of online newspapers.

Producing two internets?

One which is full of mad stuff and also loads of spam.

One which has a restricted readership but perhaps "higher quality writing". Which I have to say makes it sound a bit like Mojo Magazine rather than anything I'd want to read.

john eden
11-05-2010, 04:38 PM
reading back thru the thread a lot has changed already since 2005

yes - I read the bit about not being able to read blogs on the train whilst I was on the train this morning!

Loki
12-05-2010, 08:35 AM
I think it's a mistake to compare and contrast most blogs to the print media... I don't know about other people but i'm sure i don't put the effort into my writing that paid writers do, only rarely check or draft a post before pressing send...

i don't see it as an alternative to the print media, more a way of haphazardly networking with a bunch of minds (some of them like, the others less so) about random crap - it's more a replacement for no longer living in a student house, the conversations displaced into shiny graphics and html tweaks...

more like sitting around Muellered (Gerded etc) with a bunch of friends, bitching through a magazine, saying who'd you'd shag and who you wouldn't... only with music and films and books. Sort of.

in fact, like other non-professionals, most of my music gets sifted to me via here - actually via many of the people on here - and the frisson of figuring out that somebody other than you and the Myspace bottom-feeder frenzies likes, say, Vluba is not to be dismissed....

continuum
15-05-2010, 02:05 PM
only read the last page of this thread but have been thinking about blogging's reputation as oppose to traditional journalism / media. To me one is not better than the the other. They are different and blogging is still misunderstood.

Unrelated to the above comment and not sure where else to post this link a friend sent me but here seems appropriate enough > http://knowyourmeme.com/

sufi
16-05-2010, 09:16 PM
http://www.douglasadams.com/dna/19990901-00-a.html


A couple of years or so ago I was a guest on Start The Week, and I was authoritatively informed by a very distinguished journalist that the whole Internet thing was just a silly fad like ham radio in the fifties, and that if I thought any different I was really a bit naïve. It is a very British trait – natural, perhaps, for a country which has lost an empire and found Mr Blobby – to be so suspicious of change.

But the change is real. I don’t think anybody would argue now that the Internet isn’t becoming a major factor in our lives. However, it’s very new to us. Newsreaders still feel it is worth a special and rather worrying mention if, for instance, a crime was planned by people ‘over the Internet.’ They don’t bother to mention when criminals use the telephone or the M4, or discuss their dastardly plans ‘over a cup of tea,’ though each of these was new and controversial in their day.

Then there’s the peculiar way in which certain BBC presenters and journalists (yes, Humphrys Snr., I’m looking at you) pronounce internet addresses. It goes ‘www DOT … bbc DOT… co DOT… uk SLASH… today SLASH…’ etc., and carries the implication that they have no idea what any of this new-fangled stuff is about, but that you lot out there will probably know what it means.

I suppose earlier generations had to sit through all this huffing and puffing with the invention of television, the phone, cinema, radio, the car, the bicycle, printing, the wheel and so on, but you would think we would learn the way these things work, which is this:

1) everything that’s already in the world when you’re born is just normal;

2) anything that gets invented between then and before you turn thirty is incredibly exciting and creative and with any luck you can make a career out of it;

3) anything that gets invented after you’re thirty is against the natural order of things and the beginning of the end of civilisation as we know it until it’s been around for about ten years when it gradually turns out to be alright really.

Apply this list to movies, rock music, word processors and mobile phones to work out how old you are.

This subjective view plays odd tricks on us, of course. For instance, ‘interactivity’ is one of those neologisms that Mr Humphrys likes to dangle between a pair of verbal tweezers, but the reason we suddenly need such a word is that during this century we have for the first time been dominated by non-interactive forms of entertainment: cinema, radio, recorded music and television. Before they came along all entertainment was interactive: theatre, music, sport – the performers and audience were there together, and even a respectfully silent audience exerted a powerful shaping presence on the unfolding of whatever drama they were there for. We didn’t need a special word for interactivity in the same way that we don’t (yet) need a special word for people with only one head.

I expect that history will show ‘normal’ mainstream twentieth century media to be the aberration in all this. ‘Please, miss, you mean they could only just sit there and watch? They couldn’t do anything? Didn’t everybody feel terribly isolated or alienated or ignored?’

‘Yes, child, that’s why they all went mad. Before the Restoration.’

‘What was the Restoration again, please, miss?’

‘The end of the twentieth century, child. When we started to get interactivity back.’

Because the Internet is so new we still don’t really understand what it is. We mistake it for a type of publishing or broadcasting, because that’s what we’re used to. So people complain that there’s a lot of rubbish online, or that it’s dominated by Americans, or that you can’t necessarily trust what you read on the web. Imagine trying to apply any of those criticisms to what you hear on the telephone. Of course you can’t ‘trust’ what people tell you on the web anymore than you can ‘trust’ what people tell you on megaphones, postcards or in restaurants. Working out the social politics of who you can trust and why is, quite literally, what a very large part of our brain has evolved to do. For some batty reason we turn off this natural scepticism when we see things in any medium which require a lot of work or resources to work in, or in which we can’t easily answer back – like newspapers, television or granite. Hence ‘carved in stone.’ What should concern us is not that we can’t take what we read on the internet on trust – of course you can’t, it’s just people talking – but that we ever got into the dangerous habit of believing what we read in the newspapers or saw on the TV – a mistake that no one who has met an actual journalist would ever make. One of the most important things you learn from the internet is that there is no ‘them’ out there. It’s just an awful lot of ‘us’.

Of course, there’s a great deal wrong with the Internet. For one thing, only a minute proportion of the world’s population is so far connected. I recently heard some pundit on the radio arguing that the internet would always be just another unbridgeable gulf between the rich and the poor for the following reasons – that computers would always be expensive in themselves, that you had to buy lots of extras like modems, and you had to keep upgrading your software. The list sounds impressive but doesn’t stand up to a moment’s scrutiny. The cost of powerful computers, which used to be around the level of jet aircraft, is now down amongst the colour television sets and still dropping like a stone. Modems these days are mostly built-in, and standalone models have become such cheap commodities that companies, like Hayes, whose sole business was manufacturing them are beginning to go bust.. Internet software from Microsoft or Netscape is famously free. Phone charges in the UK are still high but dropping. In the US local calls are free. In other words the cost of connection is rapidly approaching zero, and for a very simple reason: the value of the web increases with every single additional person who joins it. It’s in everybody’s interest for costs to keep dropping closer and closer to nothing until every last person on the planet is connected.

Another problem with the net is that it’s still ‘technology’, and ‘technology’, as the computer scientist Bran Ferren memorably defined it, is ‘stuff that doesn’t work yet.’ We no longer think of chairs as technology, we just think of them as chairs. But there was a time when we hadn’t worked out how many legs chairs should have, how tall they should be, and they would often ‘crash’ when we tried to use them. Before long, computers will be as trivial and plentiful as chairs (and a couple of decades or so after that, as sheets of paper or grains of sand) and we will cease to be aware of the things. In fact I’m sure we will look back on this last decade and wonder how we could ever have mistaken what we were doing with them for ‘productivity.’

But the biggest problem is that we are still the first generation of users, and for all that we may have invented the net, we still don’t really get it. In ‘The Language Instinct’, Stephen Pinker explains the generational difference between pidgin and creole languages. A pidgin language is what you get when you put together a bunch of people – typically slaves – who have already grown up with their own language but don’t know each others’. They manage to cobble together a rough and ready lingo made up of bits of each. It lets them get on with things, but has almost no grammatical structure at all.

However, the first generation of children born to the community takes these fractured lumps of language and transforms them into something new, with a rich and organic grammar and vocabulary, which is what we call a Creole. Grammar is just a natural function of children’s brains, and they apply it to whatever they find.

The same thing is happening in communication technology. Most of us are stumbling along in a kind of pidgin version of it, squinting myopically at things the size of fridges on our desks, not quite understanding where email goes, and cursing at the beeps of mobile phones. Our children, however, are doing something completely different. Risto Linturi, research fellow of the Helsinki Telephone Corporation, quoted in Wired magazine, describes the extraordinary behaviour kids in the streets of Helsinki, all carrying cellphones with messaging capabilities. They are not exchanging important business information, they’re just chattering, staying in touch. "We are herd animals," he says. "These kids are connected to their herd – they always know where it’s moving." Pervasive wireless communication, he believes will "bring us back to behaviour patterns that were natural to us and destroy behaviour patterns that were brought about by the limitations of technology."

We are natural villagers. For most of mankind’s history we have lived in very small communities in which we knew everybody and everybody knew us. But gradually there grew to be far too many of us, and our communities became too large and disparate for us to be able to feel a part of them, and our technologies were unequal to the task of drawing us together. But that is changing.

Interactivity. Many-to-many communications. Pervasive networking. These are cumbersome new terms for elements in our lives so fundamental that, before we lost them, we didn’t even know to have names for them.

4linehaiku
16-05-2010, 10:21 PM
Smart guy.