What is good about Pop Music?
Definition One: Pop = Music in The Charts
No really! It's catchy I suppose, but then so can music which isn't popular be. It has no exclusive grip on the memorable, marketing power puts many tracks which aren't memorable, even hummable, in the charts. A great deal of those tunes by Jennifer Lopez. What puzzles me even more, in finer detail, is why so many people on the Internet hold pop music in high esteem. Why do people collect it? Why do they write about it? Why does it interest them? I'm genuinely mystified. Pop doesn't need them, they're definitely surplus to requirements. Smash Hits suffices.
Some people I know argue that Pop is the true barometer of the times. Like Sociologists they analyse the political currents of the times and draw (often very convincing) parallels between what's happening in the Charts at a particular time and that which is happening in the broader culture. I suppose the apposite example may be The Specials "Ghost Town" (coughs, good tune, coughs) and the urban riots of that year. But, forgive me for this, isn't this always a bit like those crummy TV Dramas in which Arsenal's Victory/The Miner's Strike/Tony Blair's coming to power is compared to the existence and travails of John Doe that very same year? How he overcame his fear of social exposure just as Naomi Campbell defeated The Mirror in a lawsuit. I always find themes such as these, well I find them to be a bit wobbly. Even in novels they're more strained and far-fetched than they are illuminating and engrossing.
It's such a seductive idea isn't it, that the micro mirrors the macro? But isn't it a comforting fantasy? Granted, sometimes clever artists capitalise on this, moulding their content so it fits with people's erroneous notion that there is indeed such a flimsy cosmic organisation. Like Bob Dylan. "There's something going on here people" (counts money). I'd argue that more often than not anachronistic music can shed more light on a time, show it in its true hue, than current music.
(scratches head) What other reasons could people give to find pop interesting? I guess old Pop is geist-y, but then so is any old music. Perhaps to laud it as some surreal index over which you have no control? On to the next defintion......
Defintion Two: Pop = A Marketing Term
I've been quite honest about this since day one. When I discovered that by Pop music people meant "music for imaginary rather than real communities" I was depressed for about a month. That people could consume Grime as "Pop", that they could do the pick'n'mix shake and vac ting and "consume" something oblivious to its source, well for me it just didn't bear thinking about. That all music could be subjected to the whim of the consumer like this, that there were people out there for whom all music was essentially reducible to a quotient of it's entertainment value (a mark out of ten, an "A" minus, a four star rating in their iPod ratings menu)...... sad innit. Each song becomes a unit, an equal unit, stripped of anything approaching life. How murderously void.
Though to just live an everyday life and get pleasure out of music like this must be fine, but to theorise music under this banner, to attempt to shroud this approach in a gossamer skein of intellectualism, well it's a travesty isn't it? Isn't it? Is it? I don't know, I mean I'm obviously horrendously out of kilter. Like a miserable old Jehoviahs Witness cunt.
Post-Modernism hasa lot to answer for here. It made these clean surfaces theoretically acceptable. Pop was "interesting", being a hard headed grey persistent twat, loyal and dogged was "boring". This is going to be a brutal reduction of theoretical thought, so apologies if I loose some finesse here, but Modernism, Modernism wasn't ahistorical. Andy Warhol, Le Corbusier and Jung were ruptures but they weren't abandoning history. Warhol with his tondos, Le Corbusier's fanatical love of ancient Greek Architecture, Jung steeped in Alchemaiacal lore, none of them simply wrote clean of the past. Furthermore it's a corny adage, but without embracing their past they couldn't have been free. To turn this on the mechanics of Pop appreciation: meaning is always dwindling in Pop, it's never accreating in the way it does in the underground rhizomes.
A friend I met at the weekend told me a story of how a colleague of his, not aware of the history of Typography, used a font designed under the Nazis for a poster for a museum for the Holocaust. It's a very extreme example but it does sort of encapsulate how I feel about the barren landscape of culture. Look into your font folder on your computer, how many of those fonts mean anything to you? Yet you'd be amazed how enriching it is to understand a bit about them. Check this out about Eric Gill (http://www.linotype.com/7-391-7/ericgill.html).
I suppose everyone's wary of history. I've begun to blush a little at my rampant indexing of music in relation to it's sonic precursors. But isn't it a good thing? From a Marxist point of view of course its really important not to abandon history, to let Capitalism consign it to the waste bin marked progress. I suspect my "Online Pop Straw-man" is timorous of exploring history. He is afraid some self-appointed old-fart-at-play will castigate him for his ignorance (me I've never pretended to be an authority on anything, I can't even work out the difference between Dogzilla and Durrty Doogz) He is cautious about aspiring to belong to subcultural groups (like, er, Grime) on the basis that he's Middle Class, White and Old. But really no-one gives a toss and what's the alternative anyway? To accept something less-threatening and fake in some compromised quasi-ironic manner. To give up on the real because it underlines the uncomfortable reality of one's own situation?
Defintion Three: Pop's charm = The Drama of High-vs-Low
Is High-vs-Low even an issue here? I dunno. I think not. It used to be quite a thrilling notion to me. It still is. I love it when I find out things like the fact that Bernard Parmegiani designed the sound for Charles De Gaulle airport. It's always sort of exciting when improbable "underground" things stray into the pop landsacpe. Like More Fire's "Oi". Or even to roll back to point one, when The Specials are number one. But this isn't my issue really (besides isn't this just folk music swelling in grandeur prodigously?). My issue lies with the reception of Pop, with people taking that Pop tack. Explain the appeal to me. I'm genuinely curious.
Excellent post! And very well written too (not to sound patronizing -- and i'm certainly in no position to patronize anyone here -- but i'm often very impressed by the sheer extent of your talents, which i used to think (naively) confined to drawing comic strips and doing computer graphics, largely b/c you're so modest in how you present yourself . . . . )
rather than address the issues you raise directly, let me make a couple comments:
(1) remember the poptimist debates from a couple years back, where the prime antagonists were k-punk and the american music journalist/blogger eppy? eppy introduced the scheme of pop 1, pop 2, and pop 3 . . . . not sure how eppy distinguished pop 1 from pop 2 and pop 3, so let me do my own rough version:
pop 1 = music that is designed for the charts & high sales, which is roughly the same thing as music for "imaginary rather than real communities"
pop 2 = music that is rooted in a particular community -- whether that community is (A) actual and geographical, i.e., east london or jamaica or the various regions of u.s. hip hop nation; or (B) the less "real" but still discernible communities that are constituted by the radio waves of college radio stations or which coalesce in certain kinds of clubs (punk clubs, goth clubs, etc) -- BUT WHICH HAS UNDENIABLE POP CHOPS, e.g., the street anthem that rockets into the charts (before hip hop became totally hegemonic), the 91/92 rave anthems that rushed the gates of civilization, and so forth
pop 3 = music that is "catchy" and "accessible" rather than "difficult" -- this corresponds, first, w/ the basic distinction b/w classical and jazz music on the one side and all other popular musics (i.e., musics that don't require formal training to do well or erudition to appreciate) on the other side -- but the distinction may also be made within popular music b/w music that is (A) catchy or which wins over the massive and (B) music that is difficult or lacks persuasive power or is perhaps simply poorly constructed and inept ----- pop 3 is music that belongs to a popular scene or subcutlure and which never transcends that scene, although a particular scene or subculture may on occasion define the times, shape a generation, etc -- again, to use example of uk rave generation
(2) now it seems to me that you're discussing in your post pop 1, but that your comments could be extended to pops 2 and 3 as well . . . . for example, people often discuss the turn to jungle music (is it pop 2 or pop 3? -- depends -- a jungle hit that charted in 92/98 = pop 2, while the jungle massive = pop 3) as though it were a "barometer of the times" -- a notion that has always struck me as very wobbly!!! -- that is, were things really that tough in 92/93/94 in britain compared w/ the 80s, such that jungle reflected the desperate realism of marginal urban youth under tory govt of john majors? -- seems to me that jungle can be explained sufficiently in terms of the cultural and sonic baggage of one of the key constituencies of the uk rave movement, and that somehow correlating the rise of jungle to a minor recession in the uk economy only adds confusion to the discussion -- although people like guy called gerald explained there move to jungle as reflecting fact that it had become a "jungle out there," this is to my mind false and obfuscatory, i.e., "voodoo ray" was already jungle . . . . so isn't it really the case that no music, whether pop 1 or pop 2 or pop 3, is ever simply a barometer of the times??? . . . . and yet isn't it also the case that pop 2 music is what periodically succeeds in defining the times, e.g., the rave onslaught on the charts, the post-punk & early new wave era of 79 to 82, etc, etc -- OKAY I'M CLEARLY CONFUSED ON THIS POINT
(3) the question of real versus imaginary communites -- which might also be framed in terms of exclusive allegiance versus no allegiance versus many allegiances -- and *please don't take this point the wrong way* -- but how do you make sense of your musical pantheism, of the fact that you're so conversant in so many different musics simultaneously, invested not only in grime but also in ariel pink, etc, etc??? -- that is, where does the typical dissensus person fit into this scheme?
or let me put the matter still differently, i feel as though i "belong" to the dance music community, a community that is falling apart and in decline, etc, etc, and which is perhaps more "imaginary" and certainly more cosmopolitan than other pop music communities -- but that for me this sense of belonging is the result of the most intense listening experiences and social experiences and spiritual experiences of my life, i.e., the brief time span from 1990 to 93/94 -- and these experiences had nothing to do with "book knowledge" concerning dance music, i.e., most of my book knowledge about dance music i've gained after the fact and so too most of my 12" records, i.e., my current interest in music is more a matter of constructing a private world based on memories of past experiences, i.e., an idealized/fantasized past, plus some desire to keep up on new developments like grime (and grime really means nothing to me as a white middle-class american, *except* for the one level at which i can value it, which is as ultra funky *dance* music)
and yet i get the sense that many people at dissensus are more interested in *seeking out* what is modern or avant or cutting edge than in having *membership* in a particular pop 3 music community . . . . now these two dispositions are not exclusive of each other, but certainly there's a tension here?????
so let me propose this scheme of the various dispositions or engagements with music:
(a) what WE IMAGINE is the stance of people directly engaged w/ grime, hip hop, dancehall -- i.e., black people in the urban ghetto making the powerful beats -- this is the "real" community
(b) the position of people like me, who sense that they "belong" to the dance community, but whose sense of "belonging" is in part the product of willful desire, i.e., i could just as easily say "fuck it, that all happened a long time ago, there's nothing happening in dance music now, and most of what did happen occurred in england not america, and i should just get on with my life, stop going out late at night to dj bars and small clubs, get a proper girlfriend and spend my money on taking her out to dinner rather than on drinks and old records" -- and yet i persist -- (btw how does this relate to k-punk's discussion of laddishness/depressive indolence in his latest blog entry -- a brilliant discussion that struck awfully close to the bone!!!) -- and i should add that i never separate music from its scene, i.e., if i go to a dj bar or go see a band perform, i'm just as affected by and attach as much significance to the people there, the culture, the vibe, etc, as the actual music
(c) the position that i *ascribe* to most of the people on dissensus -- which is (1) that their engagement w/ music is more a matter of book knowledge or seeking out that which is new & bold & fresh & innovative & avant, no matter where such music should arise (though w/ some attachment to the sounds of east london) -- an engagement that seems to me fundamentally non-political or disinterested -- and yet (2) marked by intense passion for music -- people like woebot and SR are clearly very passionate about music, more so than i could ever be -- i.e., for them it's more about the music than belonging to a scene ------ or perhaps this position is necessary if one wishes to be a successful music critic????? -- again, i stress that i'm *ascribing* this position to SR and Woebot and others here -- i trust they'll correct me if i'm wrong
(d) the position held by all other "adult" middle-class people, who seem to have no particular passion for music and no particular identity issues involving music
OKAY -- hopefully this comment will add to the thread rather than confuse issues for no purpose
Last edited by dominic; 29-03-2005 at 04:22 AM.
again, if we move to pop 2 and pop 3, then i think it all depends on whether you're a believer or participant in the pop movement that claims to define the times -- if you felt yourself swept up in rave, you likely believed it constitutive of your generation -- and if you didn't participate or were unimpressed by it, then you probably thought it more a matter of media hype than reality -- and this has nothing to with retrospection, the view that "old pop is geist-y" -- rather rave seemed to define the times for people swept up in the so-called dance music revolution mid-stream -- indeed in retrospect rave can be made to seem more a function of adolescent thrills-seeking consumerist culture (see "synthetic pleasures" documentary) than a genuine countercultural uproar
Originally Posted by WOEBOT
yes, you Woebot seem to be part wine connoisseur and part would-be grime soldier . . . . as a connoisseur you do more than merely "pick'n' mix shake and vac ting and 'consume' something oblivious to its source" -- rather you have wines from all regions of the world, you know a great deal about the soil and climate and grape varietals, etc . . . . but you're also very self-conscious about the problematics of being a connoisseur, and so you fantasize about belonging to the grime massive (while realizing the absurdity of ever joining such group)
Originally Posted by WOEBOT
again, i guess my solution is to treat grime as dance music -- b/c i can "belong" to the dance music community but not to the east london grime community or the various u.s. hip hop communities -- again, the entire dance music community thing is a weak community, it's cosmopolitan, almost purely imaginary -- and yet it's not the same thing as pop music as such -- you can "belong" to something rather than nothing
Originally Posted by WOEBOT
and for me there is nothing ironic about wicked dance music
Last edited by dominic; 29-03-2005 at 05:12 AM.
I'm dead wary of posting on this thread because I'm sure I'll end up as aforementioned popist straw man. And while I like pop plenty it's not my passion. But anyway, I don't think this is so hard to understand:
My issue lies with the reception of Pop, with people taking that Pop tack. Explain the appeal to me. I'm genuinely curious.
So in the name of empathy, and because this thread clearly needs more lists and subcategories, answers to the question:
1. Because so many students like nominally "non-mainstream" indie rock
2. Because mainstream hip hop was eventually revealed to be much more credible than the backpacker variety
3. Because chartpop is tons better now than it was 10 years ago
4. Because the familiar holds sonic pleasures equal to, but different from, the strange, and some of the most familiar music is the stuff that's on the radio (unless you're permanently plugged into an iPod)
5. Because the working classes like pop therefore it must be good
6. Because intellectuals are bad people
7. Because it's difficult to make good pop so there is a level of craft appreciation
8. Because pop is the most flexible, mutable and open of all musical categories
9. Because girls like pop therefore it must be good
10. Because if you want catchy and hummable the percentage of pop that fills those criteria is probably higher than any other genre
10 very good reasons for liking pop music -- well done!
obviously Woebot and many others at dissensus would side w/ commercial hip hop as against indie hip hop
and most would agreet that today's pop music is much better than that of 10 years ago
but I think that what Woebot has in mind by "pop music" is not so much the music itself -- i think what he's disturbed by is the "pop relation" to music, the way he pop mindset treats all music as the same, interchangeable, endlessly delectable, merely there for listening pleasure -- and this relationship to music is perhaps a "strawman," as woebot acknowledges
Why do some theorists assume that working class people automatically prefer 'pop'? This is as lame a stereotype as claiming that middle class people prefer to sit around sipping wine and listening to Philip Glass. But to go down this road, a lot of people who work long shifts or are on low wages are fairly reliant on whatever the radio plays and can't afford to go buying all the latest hip, underground 12"s or CDs. Plus commercial clubs are bound to place an emphasis on uplifting pop and, after a week of work, people want to socialise and feel good that it's the weekend. But even so, there's hundreds of thousands of working class who'd rather go and do something else.
And let's face it, experimental type nights and events haven't always been the most friendly of places to 'outsiders' - why would someone risk messing up their Friday night to go and see something they might be potentially interested in, just to encounter a load of chinstrokers who think they're thick cos they haven't heard of AMM?
God, you're so uncultured.
Originally Posted by mpc
i think the main reason some people get quite evangelical over pop is that they/we find ourselves getting quite obsessed with music, and then notice that, often, in the particular 'alternative' scenes and cultures that we find ourselves in, there's a big, unjustified, prejudice against pop. so they try to counter that by pointing out how good some pop music can be. whenever you feel that something has been unjustly ignored, for elitist reasons, yr likely to get pretty evangelical about it, to try to rectify the balance.
it's just being fair innit.
however, that kind of once-common anti-pop prejudice is waning to the point where it no longer seems that important to point to Good Pop so much; as a friend of mine once said, go to an indie/alternative club night now, and yr way more likely to hear the new kylie or timbaland singles that you are to hear, say, a new Troubleman, or touch and go, release.
also, pop obviously forms part of our environment- you hear it everywhere. and as such, it often holds much richer and deeper memories and associations for people than stuff that you only hear in yr own homes, or at small clubs. like, sugababes 'round round' still evokes a whole summer for me, as does basement jaxx's' 'romeo'.
POP! and its discontents
well funnily enough i've been hatching a blog post addressing some of these issues (telepathy, great minds etc), but for now a few stray thoughts:
the whole M** episode was kinda interesting to me because it demonstrated how underneath this sort of blithe poptimistic attitude there's this kind of SNARL lurking
you don't have to do much to unleash this, just express a few doubts and ambivalences
i was genuinely surprised by the tone of sheer indignation voiced -- "how DARE you interfere with my pleasure," how dare you pose any impediment to my unproblematic enjoyment of this thing
(subsequently it's been interesting to see how much people are prepared to explain away or jettison in order to cling onto their enjoyment, "terrorist chic--no problem!", "all that 'pull up the people, pull up the poor" 3rd world stuff that last week i was happy to have as a patina of seriousness to my pop? nah, forget about that, the lyrics aren't important.... it's, it's, it's a POP record!")
that debate was so fierce because of a displacement involved... they weren't defending M**'s right to be a dilettante-producer, they were defending their own right to be a dilettante-consumer
to always take the easier option
it's about consumer rights, see
pop is invested in so intensely i think because it's about the right to consume, and in this day age consumerism, that's one of the few areas of power and agency anyone has
in this scheme, someone's "refusal" to enjoy (as if anyone can control what excites them!) a specific pop thing cannot possibly be justified, it must explained away as an act of perversity or ressentiment, as ideological blinkers
you don't like pop artifact X
you must be a "hairshirt"
or a "brownshirt" (no really, some idiot actually said that!)
(incredibly offensive analogy really, if you think about it -- not liking or being ambivalent about something = you are a fascist. offensive not so much as an insult--although if you think about the track records of supporting certain musics that the people being called fascists have, it's pretty fucking insulting -- but because it's trivializing to real fascism's victims)
(and again showing that self-congratulatory, "i'm an impurist, me, i listen without prejudice, me" attitude , that' s already been thoroughly deconstructed as a kind pseudo-PC quasi-cosmopolitanism)
interestingly, Eppy invoked the concept of pleasure in his discussion of M**'s "Pop" -- apt title in this context -- talking about her right to take pleasure wherever she finds it, to pleasure the listener
that sense of entitlement becomes a trope/proxy for the consumer's right to take pleasure wherever they like
extrapolate from that to:
"Kingston/London/Brazil/, quieten down, i need to make a sound"
whole communities silenced by the chutzpah of this plucky individualist!
it's very Madonna
as some people have astutely noticed already
while seeing it as some kind of flattering analogy!
it's the pop process in a nutshell -- extraction/decontextualisation/dissemination
talking of the hedonic rights of the consumer, over the last few years, have you noticed how quite a few pop formats/media/ products have been promoted with a sales pitch that essentially posits the consumer as a petulant child, greedy and impatient -- the whole "my music", " i want my music NOW" angle -- the pop consumer as Veruca Salt in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
if consumption is so freighted with the frustration from disempowerment etc,
then what becomes paramount is 1/ ease of access and 2/ sheer volume of acquisition
hence downloading, iPods, etc
downloading (and hell i do it too) is interesting because it is pure pop in a sense -- it is the absolute denial of the producer's existence -- the absolute blanking out of the actual material origins and conditions of existence of the pleasure-source you're enjoying -- something for nothing
the iPod i cannot help seeing as an attractively-designed emblem of the utter poverty of abundance
those ads for ipods creep me out, the idea of people looking outwardly normal and repressed and grey-faced on the subway but inside they're freaking out and going bliss-crazy
everything that once exploded into public space, becomes interiorized, corralled, quarantined from the world, insulated from ever changing anything
pop as solipsism
i'm sure mark has something to say about the injunction to enjoy vs the New Puritans!
interesting discussion. so just to get it out of the way, what about "pop" as a genre by itself. I mean how some people want to make catchy music and they call it pop even if it has no chart intentions. See for example the music featured on Fluxblog. A good chunk of it is chart music but other stuff is just catchy indie type stuff or dance. So I am guessing you don't have a problem with that latter sort of stuff?
it's only the marketed music, or music that becomes broadly marketed despite the original intent that you object to. Or not even the music but that fact that people champion it purely for the fact that it is in the charts. Or the fact that the marketing destroys any context and meaning it may have had. I just want to get this straight because a lot of the time I feel that people here talk about only tangentially related things and so don't get anywhere.
i actually have no opposition to successful pop music particularly -- there's many things that are hits that i love, and with all of the hardcore continuum sounds, i've wanted them to get more popular, to explode into the wider world. in some cases -- hardcore in 91/92 and 2step in 99/2000, they were pop music, they absolutely swamped the UK charts. Grime, weirdly, started as pop -- it started at the very top of the pops: so solid's 21 seconds' and oxide and neutrino's 'bound 4 the reload' both #1 -- bit later 'oi!' at number 7. and mainstream US rap is another good example of something that's both street and pop simultaneously (and a lot more interesting to me than the underground, backpacker stuff).
what both intrigues and irritates is pop-ism as ideology and psychology
see, the strength of rockism is that it can explain (within its own terms, naturally) when pop is great (auteur-producer as visionary, pop's embrace of new technology, etc) and when it falls within its own remit and value-scheme but
popism is incapabling of explain when rock (or rockist-oriented musics like rave, rap, etc) are great.
EXCEPT by a diminishment, the isolation of its "pop sensibility"
(e.g. crunk's great cos it's so catchy and so forth)
and stripping away or discounting of all the other reasons it's potent/exciting/interesting
and that applies retrospectively: the Sixties, punk, postpunk, etc, all become inexplicable and faintly embarassing to the popist worldview
so a pop-ist take on say The Doors would be, 'they did some great pop tunes' (which is of course true, they were a terrific singles band) but would of necessity involve trying to ignore everything else that is powerful about the group.
to your other point:
it's true that there are many examples of "pure pop" and "perfect pop"
but these are of course substyles of Matt's RetroRock, collector-fetishist reproduction-antique bizniz
High Llamas say or some other indie group making a music that will never in a million years get in the charts, no matter how soft, melodic and "poppy" it is
Orange Juice chanting "no more rock'n'roll for you" on "Poor Old Soul Part 2" is of course an ultimate rock act -- it had no meaning outside the rock discourse, NME
i was so eager to discuss this topic that i wrote far too much, w/ the probable result that most people rolled their eyes and skipped over my remarks -- i got my just comeuppance
however, lost in the glut of words i wrote is the question that particularly interests me, which is the nature of mindsets/psychologies/dispostions or relationships to music that are different than the pop mindset or pop relation to music . . . .
that is, if we're opposed to the pop mindset, then from what position or positions do we count ourselves in opposition?
what is the nature of our own mindsets or relationships to music -- which i assume vary widely among different participants on this forum
actually we have 3 threads right now discussing aspects of this issue
(1) this thread -- which opposes the pop mindset
(2) stelfox's thread -- which opposes the world music mindset
(3) mms' thread -- which questions the mindset of rich white folk n2 roots reggae music
so let's have a go of it and address this whole mindset/relationship to music issue . . . .
same same but different
Yeah but see, this "pop mindset" is to me a totally artificial construct. Nobody here is talking about the real pop consumer, the person who consumes through the radio and tv and buys a couple of cds a year. In fact we're not even talking about the actual 'scene' consumer either, or at least not the mass of them. Here on the interweb we get way too caught up in our own bullshit to realise that the majority of music consumers don't really give a toss about genre. See Ruff Sqwad using metal guitars and imagery on "Guns and Roses"? That's the truth of it. Most London teenagers will quite happily rack 50 Cent next to Linkin Park next to tape packs from garage raves and not see any contradiction in this.
That's exactly why hardcore and 2step were pop in form and big in scale - because they were catering to this broad mentality, as opposed to getting caught up in micro-politics and internal genre wrangling.
When we say 'pop mindset' we're actually all wanging on about the music obsessive/blogger types who expound on the virtues of pop as an aesthetic. And I think that mindset is pretty much identical to the genre obsessive/blogger view of music, it's just focused on a different genre. It's still basically the same curatorial dick-measuring and oneupmanship, it's still the same angsty educated males expounding their views.
I mean it's an interesting development, that people can apply an essentially underground/specialist worldview to the most public and accessible form of music, but it's hardly a radical step or really anything different to obsessing over Stax/Motown or Synthpop both of which are highly mainstream genres that have persistently gathered obsessive curatorial fans.