Saturday, March 26, 2011

Music doesn't need to be a gamble.

Jon Bon Jovi (or John Bongiovi to his parents) has recently blamed Steve Jobs for the crippled state of the music industry.

He pines for the days when kids were "making a decision based on the jacket, not knowing what the record sounded like." This does not sound like the catch cry of someone who's confident in their musical ability. Well, do you know what, Mr Bongiovi? Maybe I don't like to gamble with my entertainment money. Maybe I delight in being properly informed by the Internet.

How many copies of this sold based on the album artwork?

In the bad old days if you wanted to own music you had to make the call based on the two tracks that you'd heard off the radio and hope to Christ that the rest of the tracks held up. $30 for 12 tracks.

That's $2.50 a track (or for fans of rap music... Two dollars Fiddy). Each track that you listen to once and then skip for the rest of your life drives the perceived cost of the remaining tracks upwards. Worst case scenario you end up with two $15 songs in your collection.

Oh sure, you can nurture an album. Force yourself to acquire an appreciation for that 'experimental banjo serenade' that the artist was so taken with, but really, there's so much music out there, is it really worth your time forcing yourself to enjoy stuff you don't really like when there is so much out there you have an immediate eagerness for.

How many albums have you listened to with no skip-worthy songs on them? I have three. Frente's 'Shape', Barenaked Ladies 'Stunt' and Jonathan Coulton's 'Our Bodies, Ourselves, Our Cybernetic Arms'.

I don't need to take risks any more. If I like a song, I buy it. $1.60. Boom! There it is in my iTunes library waiting to provide me with delight when it next comes up on random. No nasty little time bombs like 'Great Big Brain' (off the otherwise excellent Young Einstein soundtrack), 'Race Car Ya-Yas' (off Cake's tour de force Fashion Nugget), or anything off Ben Lee's 'Breathing Tornadoes'.

The MPAA are blaming piracy for their massive losses but you know what? I no longer have to spend a fortune to get the songs that I want to buy. I just stopped being forced into buying the chaff with the wheat.

Film executives are pining all their losses on piracy too. Those guys aren't your problem. You know what is? www.RottenTomatoes.com

Time was that you'd go see a film based on the trailer. That's like asking your dealer what the quality of his smack is. It's a biased point of view. You could read a couple of reviews but art is subjective. There are plenty of times I've disagreed with a reviewer. And so I'd take the risk, and often I'd wish I hadn't.

I've sat through Reckless Kelly (27%), Eddie Murphy's 'Metro' (15%) and walked out of Robin Hood: Men in Tights (48%).

Oh I get it! They're making fun of the Gays. Very droll.
Hold on! Is the fourth one in line my brother?
My favourite films? Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (93%), Fight Club (81%), The Iron Giant (97%)

Sure there's a chance that I'll end up missing a film that I may love, but statistically I won't be wasting my time. Although using this system I would have missed Primer (72%) and the Bank (61%) so maybe I should make sure it's not a Maths Adventure before I write it off.

Because I do like maths a lot.

Perhaps that's why I don't like gambling.

Or perhaps I would just prefer more of a guarantee than simply 'Living on a Prayer'.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

You leaving? Fine. I don't like you anyway.

"Are you a dog person or a cat person?"

I've realised recently that my default reaction has not made me one single ally. The comment 'Ugh! I can't stand animals' is, I realise, not making me any friends. It's akin to telling the parents of a newborn 'Hope he grows into those ears...What?.. Really?... sorry. I hope she grows into those ears.'

I used to have a beloved house cat. I grew up in a home where the most patient and lovely white cat was always around looking for affection. When I was eleven my mother bought a puppy and I bonded quite quickly with that animal too.

Now the rule was, 'Touch the animal? Wash your hands'. Animals carry all sorts of germs so it just makes sense. But then, suddenly if I gave the dog a quick pat I had a paranoia that I'd forget to wash my hands. What if I touched my face first accidentally? What if I ingested that. Ick. That's like licking the damn thing. No, all in all, probably best I don't touch the dog.

Over the years I stopped showing affection to the animals. It just became too nerve racking, and thank god I did too, because you know what the damn things did next?

They died... OF OLD AGE!!

And they were the lucky ones.

Madness. Apparently the life expectancy of a house pet is around 12 years. Why would anyone put themselves through the trauma of building a relationship only to have it so cruelly ripped away?

I have enough trouble when close friends go on holidays for longer than two weeks. "What's that? You're going to Japan for three months? Well, Fuck you too! I never loved you anyway... and I faked every orgasm!"

Of course, this doesn't make it any easier to answer the original question. Perhaps I should simply lie to their face.
"Which one do I like? Which one do you like? I like them too."

Should I go eclectic?
"Oh, Dogs and cats are alright, but have you ever played fetch with A PIG?!!"

In the end I've decided to simply tell people I like scorpions. At least that way if I'm ever taken to task and have to actually own one as a pet I've got a perfectly valid reason not to touch it.

...

Apparently some of them can live up to 30 years.

...

I think I'll call him 'Mr. Pinchy'.
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