Reading, Writing, Linking, Thinking, Talking
By popular demand ( @bowbrick ) #improv #themachineisthestar
A cover of the original classic:
#jazz #ambient nice guitar…
#disruptive #innovation #bigband #jazz
I haven’t published anything on my blog for a while.
Why? Well, I’ve been busy, looking for a new job.
At BBC Monitoring, among other things I’ll be doing “innovation”.
But what does “innovation” mean?
There seem to be as many definitions as people doing innovation.
Maybe it doesn’t have to be defined. You know it when you see it:
Here are some recent examples of “innovation” that I like.
“The Future of Wind Turbines? No Blades” from Wired. So people who think windfarms are an eyesore have less to complain about.
Andiamo, a start up I met through the Angel Academe programme where I am a mentor. They are using 3D scanning and printing to create better orthodontics (back braces, leg braces etc) for disabled children.
All of these are not just clever, they also all have the potential to change lives for the better.
And here ‘s a good basic guide to the subject: “Ten Types of Innovation” from DOBLIN
I think my approach will be “constructive innovation”, or perhaps “innovation in a sensible shirt”…
Writing about music. When you stop to think about it, it’s a bit odd.
Why write about music when you can listen to it? And once you have listened to it, why write about it?
But humans like to talk. Music is a very good source of things to talk about, whether it’s Rhianna’s latest selfie or technical details of key, tone, technique or equipment.
Which is why writing (which is just talking on paper and more recently on electronic devices) about music, even good writing, tells you more about the writer than the music.
So if I was to say “Woven Entity” by Woven Entity is the best improv album I’ve heard since “Clear Frame”, I’d be showing off. I’d also be misleading you. It would be more accurate to say “Woven Entity” by Woven Entity is the only improv album I’ve heard since “Clear Frame”.
Or the only one I can remember.
Improv (or “making it up as you go along”) is the most difficult of genres of music to define and to find good examples of. And since now everything is defined, labelled and commoditised so it’s easy to sell, this makes improv even more difficult to find, because it’s not well labelled.
And then there are people who think “improv” means” stand up comedy”. Which it doesn’t.
And there’s the question of whether I’ve even labelled it correctly. Woven Entity have been on “Jazz on 3”. So are they “jazz” then, not “improv”? They call themselves “cosmic jazz”. But their great strength is they have their feet on the ground, not their heads in the stars. It doesn’t sound “cosmic” to me (which is good).
It’s all rather exhausting.
But, since this is published on my personal blog I’m not showing off to many people. If you’re one of them and got this far you may have some idea of what I’m talking about.
So of all the CDs I was given over Xmas why is “Woven Entity” by Woven Entity the one I’ve listened to the most?
They have an original sound. It’s a simple, clean, fresh, elegant sound: a large variety of drums, percussion and electronic noises, and Mr Pete Marsh’s double bass. Mr Marsh is a musician who I admire (and I should add a disclaimer that he gave me this CD for free) and his playing is lyrical, funky, gnarly and always tasteful.
On three tracks Julie Kjaer joins in on sax and flute for some extended grooves. She’s very good.
The flute is firmly on my list of “things that should not be allowed in music” (it’s too “cosmic”). However I like Woven Entity so much that in this instance I’m prepared to allow it.
On my bookshelves is a a very old, very tatty paperback called “Modern American Humour”
My copy was published in 1956, but original publication date appears to be 1943.
it includes a short story called “Captive Audience” by Anna Warren Griffiths, To my surprise you can read it, here. (I can’t vouch for the site it’s been reprinted on)
The story is a satire, imagining a world where all products have built in jingles. So your cornflakes packet pumps adverts at you while you’re eating your breakfast. The whole house is a cacophony of ad messages controlled by a little black box full of discs. (internet of things?). It’s illegal to turn them off, and even illegal to wear ear plugs.
Grandma rebels and wears her earplugs, so is sent to prison for five years, where there are no adverts and it’s nice and quiet.
The twist is that Fred, her son, the advertising executive, suddenly realizes that prisoners are the perfect captive audience:
“Why couldn’t we, say have a little box in each cell where the cell could be kept.. it would sort of preserve their buying habits and when they got out they wouldn’t be floundering around”
I was reminded of this story, which I first read way back in my teens, when I read this piece in the Daily Dot last week:
“The case for Facebook in prison – why Internet access is a basic human right”
“For the hundreds of thousands of convicts released from prison every year, though, this is an ongoing struggle—as the astonishing pace of technology can make the adjustment back to civilian life all that more difficult.”
To call the internet access a “human right” in a world where too many people still don’t have clean drinking water still strikes me as a tadge presumptuous. Surely the “human right”, if there is one, is the right to high quality, accurate information, or perhaps the right to free speech. The internet is just a tool whereby you can exercise that right.
My view is that if you’ve committed a criminal offence and go to prison you forfeit some of your “human rights”. The Dot article states that “prisoners have freedom of speech”. This article states that these rights are “limited.” And both are talking about the United States. The situation in the UK seems different.
If I were a prison governor pondering whether to give my charges internet access I’d be asking:
“How do I stop them getting access to porn? I’ve heard there are parts of the internet where you can buy illegal drugs and weapons, and even put out a hit on someone. How do I stop them downloading TOR? Will they be able to search on how to join IS? Why do they need Facebook anyway if they can make phone calls to family and have prison visits?”
I’d be happy for prisoners to have access to an old fashioned prison library with real, physical books. But I’d ensure there were none on the shelves on how to make a bomb.
As for adverts, well they’ll be plenty of those clogging up their eyeballs when they get out…