28 November, 2020

Black Friday Bam-a-lam!


Dear bands, singers, musicians, and other assorted recording artistes as appropriate:

If you must go in for this Black Friday nonsense – and I get that market forces probably mean you have to – do you know what I would really like to order from your online store?


Not a hoodie.
Not a denim jacket with a patch bearing your name sewn on the sleeve.
Not an infant’s onesie.

Not your latest album spread across ten 7” picture discs.
Not monogrammed cigarette papers.
Not a download with extra tracks. If I’m going to pay for a download, it had better be at least 48kHz, 24-bit lossless or GTFO!
Not a pair of socks.
Not Christmas tree decorations.
Not a 250g LP in 4-colour spattered vinyl because that’s the only physical medium you chose to release the album in. Hey, I love vinyl but I’m not a fetishist.
Not a scarf.
Not a pillow case.
Not a water bottle.
Not a mug.
Not a teapot.
Not a cassette. I like retro technology but cassettes sucked even when they were the best option available.
Not a dartboard.
Not a jigsaw puzzle.
Not a hip flask.
Not a pint glass/shot glass/bar set.
Not a tote bag.
Not a tea towel.
Not a lithograph of a concert poster which was never used for the original tour anyway.
Not a CD which has been bundled with a vinyl record, T-shirt/jacket/hoodie, and art print.

Just a plain old CD.

Actually, it doesn’t have to be plain.

I love beautiful packaging, so long as your idea of beautiful packaging isn’t a massive hardcover book bound in virgin ostrich leather which will take up 25% of my shelf and cost somewhere in the vicinity of a flight to Thailand.

And it doesn’t have to be old.

I’d prefer some new music to your most popular album remastered by technicians at Space-X under the supervision of the original tape-op because somehow the four previous remasters still didn’t get it right. And that slight remix to strip the original album of the production values which didn’t remain fashionable? Not really necessary. I know they didn’t have Pro Tools in 1970. That might be why the original records were so good. If you took all the gated reverb off the snares in those 80s albums, would we even recognise the songs? And in situations where the principle artist is no longer around to approve (or disapprove), it’s getting dangerously close to musical fan-fic.

Just one further request:

Could you put ALL the music on the CD please? Don’t hit me up in another 6 months to buy the version with all the tracks you forgot to include the first time around. And if you want to do a coffee-table book edition – so called because it’s roughly the size of an actual coffee table – that’s fine for those who like that kind of thing, but please don’t expect me to invest in this massive slab of furniture just to get the bonus live disc. That really isn’t fair. DVDs are cool too. Include them by all means but the same rule applies: don’t make the DVD with all the bonus features only available to those willing to shell out for the version that comes in a ¼ size replica pyramid with certified used guitar strings and a lock of the singer’s hair.

I am more than willing to pay a price which, averaged out across the print run, will compensate you for the time and resources spent writing, recording, mixing, manufacturing and distributing the product, with a reasonable profit margin.

Is that too much to ask?


13 November, 2020

The five levels of Trump delusion

No-one really gives a shit that Donald Trump himself is denying all reality. 

He is just being who he has always been and doing what he has always done. 

It's not as if he didn't telegraph the fact he would dispute the election result way back in the middle of 2016. When someone starts making excuses for losing well before the game has even started, that ought to tell you something, but here we are. 

Whether or not he concedes is irrelevant. Whether or not he refuses to leave is irrelevant. If Trump is still in the White House at 12:01pm on January 20th, he will be a trespasser and treated as such by the Secret Service. Their duty is not to Trump but to the duly elected president of the day. I, for one, would pay to watch that

His backers like Steve Bannon, Stephen Miller and anyone remotely connected with Breitbart, who have used Trump as a front for their own crypto-facist ambitions, don't give a rat's whether the election was free and fair or not. They would probably prefer it wasn't. To them, democracy is simply an unavoidable (for now) impediment to their objectives. 

They may or may not believe their own bullshit. It hardly matters. It's all a means to an end for them.

Trump's children - who would be irrelevant if not for their high places in the administration and campaign - probably don't know any better. Their partners, who have also been given senior positions in the campaign and/or administration have less of an excuse. They joined the cult rather than being brought up in it so their denial of reality is either wilful participation or terminal naivety. 

When you've been raised with Donald Trump as your moral compass though, what hope do you have? Invanka, Don Jr and Eric can almost be forgiven... Almost.

Media shills like Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson, Laura Ingram, et al are playing to a particular audience. They are reactionaries with no ideas of their own. All they know is if "teh left" are for it, then they're against is and if the left are against it, then they are for it. Of course, this is from a mindset where anyone who is slightly more liberal than Mussolini is a "radical leftist." 

If Joe Biden - who by any objective standards is a centre-right moderate if ever there was one - said the Earth orbits the Sun and grass is green, these people would say he's wrong and find some de-registered crackpot to come on all their shows to agree with them. They have no other thought processes. 

As for the likes of Alex Jones, he is just a big bowl of chili way from claiming it's all a plot by the alien lizards. Anyone who listens to him deserves to. 

But it's the modern-day Quislings, Mike Pence, Lindsey Graham, Ted Cruz, Newt Gingrich, Rudy Giuliani, Mitch McConnell, and so many more, who history will judge the most harshly. Each of them is on the record either decrying Trump directly or at least the kind of behaviour he revels in. And they all threw whatever principles they had away and accepted Trump's hostile takeover of their party for the sake of short-term political advantage. 

Donald Trump, having never had to take responsibility or face consequences in his life, was always going to be a 74-year-old infant. Those who demonstrably knew better and still chose to roll over and say black is white, up is down, and Trump won the election, must be shown no mercy.