Photography by Nadav Dov Boretzki
Before we begin (well, actually, we have begun, but you know what I mean)… Holy crap! You ever have a little piece of skin on your lip, annoyingly sitting there, you feel it on your tongue, on your upper lip, you try Carmax & Chap-Stik & whatnot but it’s still there buggin’ you, so you reach up, thumb & index finger, try to grab it, miss or slip, try again and maybe even again and then suddenly you got a good hold, give it a nice tug, and instead of that lovely “peenk” feeling as a little bit of annoying dry skin pops off, you get a face squirming “peeeeeeeeeeeeenk” as half your goddamn lip skin pulls off, or worse, is hanging there now waiting for the final “peenk” from you to “finish the job”?????? Yeah, happened last night while mindlessly farting around online. Damn it. A glass of fruit juice did not help the situation, or the mouth wash this morning. I guess I should consider myself lucky, it happend more on the inside of my bottom lip, not the outside, so it’s not visible to my coworkers, so I don’t have to worry about having Paris Hilton Disease (aka face herpes). So, silver linings and all, right?
Anywhosaldoosalwoosalshoosals…… Today’s topic. Right. See, one of my bloggy blog friends had an issue about their music photography (the stuff they actually take, not the promo photos they use) getting swiped off their website and showing up on other bloggy blogs in their post about the band frozen in the frame and well, as things like this tend to do, it gots me ta thinkin’. Thinkin’ tends to result in long diatribe/rants/nonsense and what follows is what vomited out of my brain. I just happen to have notepad open to capture it. It may be a tired old conversation, but until we figure this whole copyrights in the digital age thingy, it will still be relevant. So here goes…….
In an ego-free universe, we would create art (music, photography, etc) for ourselves and wouldn’t feel the need to make sure other people see/hear/etc them. But we don’t, we feed our ego. We feed it cake. We create art, then put it out there. Then we push it on friends & family via emails/twitpics/facebooks/etc/etc/etc. Some then go further and push it onto strangers at galleries and bar gigs or on the street. Some then try to get someone else to push our art onto the world via emails and blog posts and big website write ups. Some then hope that the “right person” sees that art and then takes it globally, bring fame and/or fortune & J.Lo wanting you to take her picture for that Blender magazine cover (yes, I know they are defunct, as is J.Lo).
But… unfortunately, art is a commodity now. Use it as you like, then dispose of it when you are done. Doesn’t matter who made it, doesn’t matter what it took to create it, doesn’t matter if the part you are taking is only a small nugget of something bigger & special, like a series or album or whatever. Grab the hot song, put it on your iPod, listen to it, love it then get bored with it & delete it. Remember that song you loved back in 1982? Don’t worry that you sold off your record collection in 91, Google, click, hello!, “save as”, all yours!
It’s the digital age, it’s all just bits & bytes, which aren’t even “things”. I can put the entire world of art history on a flash drive. I can then throw that flash drive in the trash, go back to my computer and do it again. I can have every song I ever heard on my computer. I can then “select all”, delete, POOF! I’ve lost nothing. Why? I can just go out and get it again, never lifting my ass off the chair cushion. It’s a kleenex, grab it, blow your nose, throw it away, repeat.
But… at the same time, because of the bits & bytes situation we find ourselves in, the playing field has been equalized. For instance, you can find my work, just as easily as you can find my hero Helmut Newton’s. Bill’s Basement Banjo Band can reach just as many people as The Black-Eyed Peas. Same number of clicks on the mouse and I’ve got a song playing in my ears or a jpg set as my wallpaper. That’s pretty amazing & awesome & wonderful & w00t! Right?
But (3rd ‘buts’ a charm) you can’t have your cake & eat it too, you’ll get a cottage cheese thighs! As easy as it is to share your art with the world, it’s just as easy for the world to not “play share” right. Google, click, hello!, “save as”, all yours!
I’ll admit it, I do it. I try to give credit where the credit is due, but I still do it. I know that people do it to me (NSFW, pretty proud of that). Is it right? I don’t know. In the old world, it was wrong. Dead wrong. I did it anyway. I’ll even admit to even removing a few pages from the local public library of images of my favourite photographers. But in the new world? I don’t know. But I do know the old way doesn’t work. We all do, but no one really knows what to do about it.
The new world & the old world don’t mix. You can’t make that cake, delicious lemon cake with a butter creme icing, put it near me, then tell me to look at it, want it, smell it, crave it, but then not eat it. It’s cake! You made it for me, for all of us, and you even put a slice of it on a plate in front of me — I can feel the warmth on my chin! — with a fork, napkin, a glass of milk/Silk, and a nudge! I’m going to eat the fucking cake!
What’s my solution? Fuck if I know. If I did, I’d be one rich mammer-jammer. Right now, I think we are still in that lovely transitional phase where the old world is kicking and screaming and clawing and hoping to force itself to live on by deleting blogs, DMCA notices, copyright/patent lawsuits and the new world is looking at all the cake and wondering how the hell can it eat all of that and not throw up over the entire kitchen & shit over the person who made it. I don’t know. The cake’s been made, it’s there, and it’s being eaten — what’s with all the cake talk, right?
This much I do know. Yes, I’m going to continue to post other people’s art (audio, visual, & otherwise) but I’m going to give credit when I can as I want to celebrate & promote those things that I love. I’m going to fuck up/get lazy from time to time, I’m sure, but I’m certainly not going to take someone else’s work, cut it up, put my own name on it & pretend like the artist never existed like this person did (that is not their photo that they cropped and re-watermarked with their name) instant kharma, website went on the fritz! ha!
So let’s start the love & celebrations!!! First with something old. Well, “oldish”, 2001 — might as well be 1901 in this day & age, eh? — with one of my very favourite Crash Test Dummies / Brad Roberts albums, I Don’t Care That You Don’t Mind!
This actually ties in quite well with yesterday’s conversation about break-ups as inspiration, but instead of losing some hottie, Brad almost lost his life in a car wreck out in Boston. Laid up in a hospital is one helluva great time to gain a bit of introspection and with this album, it shows.
Previously, in the states, Crash Test Dummies was basically that “Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm” song. The end. In their native Canada, their first album actually had some success of it’s own, including this little hit called “Superman’s Song”.
Amazing quirk-folk-pop album, but with God Shuffled His Feet and their massive “one-hit-wonder” status cemented below the border, that was it. Odds are, unless you were a fan-fan, that’s all you knew. Funny, “Mmm…” wasn’t really a great representation of the album as much as say, “Afternoons & Coffeespoons” was with it’s acoustic based fun…
But oh well, c’est la vie, tis life and what not. Anyways, years later, Brad’s driving around Boston or something, crashes, gets saved, and meets some lobster men who are musicians and records, what I believe to be, his masterpiece to date (word is another album is coming and it’s stuck in limbo). It’s a bit alt-country, a bit slow bar blues, a bit jazz lounge, a bit hillbilly porch jam, but it’s all Brad’s voice, love it or hate it, that ties it all together and makes it work. It’s clever & dripping with a combination of atmosphere and humour all at the same time, rich & light, a pretty impressive feat if you ask me.
I picked a couple of my favourite tracks that kinda represent the gamut maybe. Just enjoy and pick this bad boy up on your own for a juxtaposition of a good time!
01 I Don’t Care That You Don’t Mind
02 On And on
03 The Day We Never Met
04 Let It Feel Like Something Else
05 Little Secret
06 Sittin’ on a Tree Stump
07 Buzzin’ Flies
08 Yer Devil Ways
09 Hangin’ Tree
10 Every Morning
11 Never Comin’ Back
12 Put Me in a Corner of Your Mind
13 Shoot ‘Em Up, Shoot ‘Em Down
14 I Never Fall Asleep at Night
But we ain’t done, with the “old” it’s also good to look at some new! And it’s The Tallest Man On Earth that’s got his new around my balls with The Wild Hunt!
Yes, he still sounds like Bob Dylan, one quick google search will call up the literally 159,000,000 search results for “the tallest man on earth bob dylan”, but that’s just the nature of his voice and that he goes mostly acoustic guitarish and whatnot. Okay fine, yes, he’s Bob Dylan reincarnate, good for him! A blessing & a curse I imagine. This time around TTMOE (sorry, can’t write all that out again) takes a slight evolution forward, but just slightly. He’s still doing what he does best, stark & sparse songs with a loud whiny voice. But it feels a little more forward… OR I’m just hearing what I want hear?
Meh, whatever. It’s a stunning & simple album and that’s really all that matters. Perfect for a quiet anytime. Now, this one is on Dead Oceans which appears to be part of Jagjaguwar, so let’s stick to the official “single”, eh?
01 The Wild Hunt
02 Burden of Tomorrow
03 Troubles Will be Gone
04 You’re Going Back
05 The Drying of the Lawns
06 King of Spain
07 Love Is All
08 Thousand Ways
09 A Lion’s Heart
10 Kids on the Run
Cheers & thanks for putting up with me today!