Monthly Archives: April 2009

My profession

When I got my first computer with built-in 14.4Kbps dial-up modem (wowee), I spent most of my consequent formative years on it. My mother would get very angry at my excessive use. We would not have guessed then that it would be how I would earn my living.

And how much it would hurt for me to type now. Damn RSI.


World is ‘getting smaller’ – ditto timelines

It’s super easy to find and enjoy stuff from 100 years ago now. Try saying that in 1980! Of course artifacts, books and photos have been around for much longer, but now we can simply type in whatever takes our fancy and if they’re any good, you can find a film clip or some music, in the comfort of your own home/bed.  Such a broad and rich source of culture. I remember having to physically go to the National Library to ‘research’ anything to put together some primary school scrapbook.

Now you can find 3 centuries’ (hmm, yes “19th, 20th and 21st”) worth of footage from ITN Source, for instance. On youtube/vimeo/etc anything and everything gets airtime – one doesn’t have to be famous. In 60 years’ time you can watch a video of your late grandfather’s teen angst-y video response  on youtube. If youtube still exists then.

World’s oldest film, according to youtube – filmed in Leeds in 1888. Of all places!

People won’t be too happy if youtube or facebook or any major personal repositories dissolve along with years of collective personal history. We now have a situation where most of our info resides not (just) with us but on outside ‘resources’. Like, say your hard drive gets wiped out. But your video is still on Youtube. Your pictures and friends are still on Facebook. And hooray for Google Docs! Oh yes, your mobile contacts are on Mobyko. Phew. You don’t even pay any of them!

But we must be paying somehow. Data – obviously. Advertising revenue – targeted -> privacy issues.  Add carelessness to the mix (yes that includes weak passwords) and it goes one step further, to fraud.

About privacy though, what really do we care about it? That’s a strangely worded question – I mean, maybe people don’t mind others knowing what songs they like, that they went out last night, and have brown hair. Maybe it’ll pave the way for a more honest and open-minded world – or dual identities.

Anyway. We should not take the pervasive force of the internet for granted. I am grateful that I got to experience a pre-internet, pre-mobile life as a pre-adolescent – as there is no going back, and no way of future generations to know what it was like. And I am so glad to also be living in today’s convenient world!


The French were bred to die for love
They delight in fighting duels
But I prefer a man who lives
And gives expensive jewels
A kiss on the hand may be quite continental
But diamonds are a girl’s best friend

A kiss may be grand but it won’t pay the rental
On your humble flat, or help you at the automat
Men grow cold as girls grow old
And we all lose our charms in the end
But square-cut or pear-shaped
These rocks don’t lose their shape
Diamonds are a girl’s best friend

…Tiffany’s … Cartier…
Talk to me, Harry Winston,tell me all about it!
There may come a time when a lass needs a lawyer
But diamonds are a girl’s best friend

There may come a time when a hard-boiled employer
Thinks you’re awful nice
But get that ice or else no dice
He’s your guy when stocks are high
But beware when they start to descend
It’s then that those louses go back to their spouses
Diamonds are a girl’s best friend

I’ve heard of affairs that are strictly platonic
But diamonds are a girl’s best friend

And I think affairs that you must keep laconic
Are better bets if little pets get big baggettes
Time rolls on and youth is gone
And you can’t straighten up when you bend
But stiff back or stiff knees
You stand straight at Tiffany’s

Diamonds… Diamonds…
– I don’t mean rhinestones –
But Diamonds, Are A Girl’s Best Friends

Yum. Marilym Monroe’s isn’t known for her singing. But it’s unsettlingly interesting.

Job is better than freedom

It’s great to be able to return to your sixth-form college and meet with teachers who still have knowledge to impart and not just do small-talk. I came back to do a presentation about music (packaging you and your art, basically) and perform. I was astounded to see how much they’ve physically changed in six years. Everyone had gone grey or greyer in the 6 years, and in the case of their children, now teenagers. Stages of rapid aging – child to teenager, man to old man, triggered depending how lucky you are. If you met someone at 28 I doubt s/he’ll change much at 34. Meet someone at 50…

I mentioned my very lucky ex-collegemate who has an all expenses paid education, from IB to PhD – who is attached to a very long bond afterward. But with so many ‘free’ grads in unemployment or not great jobs, a secure job that makes appropriate use of your knowledge is the way to go. “A job is better than freedom,” I said.  “Those are words of wisdom,” my teacher replied. “That’s not what they sang about in the 60s.”

He must think how sad my generation is.

Credit crunch music

I caught Tinariwen perform a joint gig with Tunng at Koko. It reinforced the power of the niche – songs that fit like a gloves on a cold day. Also there isn’t a single spare, stray note – everything has gravitas. Now people are more likely than before to want quality music that is considered, cutting, purposeful. Not lumps of noise.

That’s really hard. Simple but boring is easy; simple but right is hard to pin down. Getting guitarists to stop twiddling is another. No egos checked, no feelings offended, everything just comes out as one bright but blunt looking plasticine.