Thom Yorke spells out the downside of pay-what-you-will

Thom Yorke at Latitude 2009 photo by Hero of Sorts

This is a very interesting post from The Trichordist, which eloquently sums up my feelings on how music is treated. Yes, it’s always been a business, but, ironically, at least Sony et al actually cared.

‘”We were so into the net around the time of Kid A,” he says. “Really thought it might be an amazing way of connecting and communicating. And then very quickly we started having meetings where people started talking about what we did as ‘content’.’

– Thom Yorke talking to the Guardian

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Write and wrong: quotes from a scandal

News of the World Dylan Thomas Alamy Economist

The stench of corruption is sickening. I’d always said that the difference between Brits and Americans is that the Yanks trust people and the Brits trust institutions, but now ours lie in tatters and we’re floundering. On the one hand, it’s easy – and right – to react with shock and outrage at just how deep this toxic rabbit-hole goes, but on the other, any sensible person has to recognise the potential for a hysterical witch hunt that does nothing to restore our confidence in the institutions that we need to trust in to function.

We all “know” that newspapers are dirty and politicians corrupt and that there will inevitably be a few rotten coppers on the force – but to see it there writ large as hacks are jailed and police accused of being paid off? That’s not naiveté on the part of the public. It’s a seismic event in our culture that could send shockwaves around the world.

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The F Word

Although, growing up, it was a word I was aware of, it wasn’t one I used. Nobody else I knew used it either, except in a broadly technical sense, and even then, very occasionally. Perhaps standards have changed, and times certainly have, but I hear it everywhere I go these days. There’s no escaping it. Every newspaper, every magazine, blog and publication is f- this and f- that: the sheer saturation is overwhelming. I’m starting to wonder if people have nothing else on their minds. I’m talking, of course, about feminism.

Until about a week and a half ago, I had a pretty solid grasp of feminist polemic. To auto-generate your own blog piece, just grab any rant from the Daily Mail on immigration, CTRL+H the words “black people” with “men” and then top-and-tail it with some patronising assumptions about how billions of people are magically silenced and only able to communicate via white middle-class over-educated underachievers. You don’t need to confine it to stuff about women, either – just lump in anything that white-middle-class-guilt-ridden-lefties are angry about and you’re good to go.

Then something very strange started happening: the general shrieking cacophony of the popular press started to make sense. It’s not that my own opinions have changed, so much as everyone else has miraculously stopped being absurd. It all started at the Guardian. Continue reading

The secret diary of Osama bin Laden

The Times reports today that Osama bin Laden’s diary has been found in Pakistan.

“A US official described the diary as a ‘journal of ideas'”, reported the paper.

The question we’re all asking ourselves right now is “what does it say?” Even those of us lacking the prurient curiosity to see his corpse must be wondering about the scribbled ravings of a cave-bound lunatic.

Fortunately, a source close to the White House has released some extracts exclusively to Reinspired.

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Guardian Pays Tribute To Cardiacs

Following the release of the Cardiacs’ tribute album Leader of the Starry Skies in order to raise money for Tim Smith’s rehabilitation following his stroke in 2008, the Guardian has published a piece about the album, urging fans (and anyone with a love of music) to click on this link.

According to the Guardian piece, Blur’s Damon Albarn, The Divine Comedy’s Neil Hannon and Faith No More’s Mike Patton have pledged their support and future involvement in any future fundraising activities. In the meantime, the Starry Skies tribute contains well-received contributions from (among others) XTC’s Andy Partridge, Julianne Regan (All About Eve) and Ultrasound.

Obituaries: Leslie Nielson and Peter Christopherson

The Guardian has today written a lovely obituary in clips for the late, great Leslie Nielson, so I’ll refer you there instead of writing my own. Indeed, there are few people who can make you smile at the merest thought of them.

I also realise that I haven’t written anything about Coil’s Peter Christopherson, who also passed away very recently. He telephoned the place where I worked once, about 15 years ago, and on saying his name I grilled him about music for half an hour before answering his question. He seemed really nice. I greatly enjoyed Coil’s performance with Foetus back in 2000. Again, I’ll link to The Guardian’s thoughtful obituary. I would add to that one thing: the only way in which I found Coil “shocking” was in how accessible they were. Their music was easy to enjoy and their live show – hypnotic beats and dazzling lights – was effortlessly entertaining. Perhaps the thing I’ll take with me about Peter  Christopherson was that people didn’t talk enough about how likeable he – or his music – ever was. Read Brainwashed’s affectionate tribute, including words from Sleazy’s musical friends and collaborators, here.

The Slits – Animal Space

It’s been a funny old week. The Guardian ran a piece today about how it’s been 40 years since The Female Eunuch by Germaine Greer was published, and I found myself thinking that I probably ought to read it if only I had slightly more interest in political history and fewer unread books on my shelf.

I remember my mother mentioning it when I was a child, in the sort of “that’s quite interesting” tone that one generally uses when leafing through National Geographic. My mother wasn’t (and isn’t) either a feminist or an anti- or post-feminist. She was just born into a very long line of women who regarded other people’s opinions as “quite interesting”. I suppose I’m that way too. It’s not so much a “don’t give a f***” attitude as one that will simply give your opinion the consideration it deserves.

So if, say, I wanted to wear my underwear on the outside of my clothes and you told me that looked stupid, I would think, “OK, you think that looks stupid. I think it looks nice,” and carry on with my undergarment display. It wouldn’t be some act of defiance, but just a lack of any sense that other people’s opinions are more important than my own.

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