3. The Liner Notes

This here blog is a blog about liner notes and has no festive connotations despite the time of year (Christmas), it has no topical relevance such as politics or world affairs, and is continuing down the same route as the previous two blog entries; misinformed, cynical, narrow minded, lazy, and a sarcastic take on the mutating trends created by a music buying public acting only with selfish consumerism negating thoughts of sympathy to the industry they thrive off of whilst carrying an air of authority that holds it’s own opinion in higher esteem than any others. Overly long opening sentences too. I’m sure you’ll find this read here riveting. The liner notes to the record collecting enthusiast are what the Dewey Decimal Classification is to the keen librarian.

My listening repertoire expanded drastically when I started reading liner notes. The little golden nuggets of information. Here you will find personnel, in no order of importance: the Band line up and players, sometimes with the useful details such as which instrument they play or which is their mug (face, not tea cup) in the band shot included. You’d also find who was the real writer/composer. Sometimes, out of modesty maybe, the composer may remain anonymous or credit the whole band but either way, royalties are probably shared, possibly unfairly. Am I being cynical? Fuck off. It’s important to credit the Producer. Now the role of producer changed over the years but I’ll come to that shortly.

Sometimes you’d also then get some important roles that shouldn’t be left out but often are, like any of the technical support, runners, contributing composers, band managers and some more. Once you’ve finished nourishing your brain with that sort of stuff, you can then go onto the “Thanks to” lists. I’ve seen some genuine lists of people included in an artists “Thanks to”. Parents or family members get mentions, friends or figures of treasured importance. Religious Deities including God or Satan get a little tip of the cap. Sometimes sarcastic mentions get included, sometimes the Record Label gets targeted or previously estranged band members. One of my friends (and this is definitely one of those stories where it isn’t me) had an album by Yngwie Malmsteen with, some might say, some pretentious mentions. He thanked Ritchie Blackmore, Ludwig Van Beethoven and Johann Sebastian Bach. There are probably worse dedications out there but this one I thought was worth mentioning. Although Ritchie could have given you the personal appreciation of saying “You’re welcome”, I doubt you’d have had the same courtesy extended by Beethoven or Bach. They’re not alive. And I’d rather tell a story about my sexual failings of following through in public that owning anything by Malmsteen. One of my favourite musicians, who I would certainly include in a ‘Genius’ list, is Chick Corea. On most of the Return to Forever Albums he compiled there was normally a dedication to L. Ron Hubbard. Maybe Chick likes Old Pop Art science fiction. Wishful thinking? I don’t know. I think Chick donates a lot, not sure really.

Know these people. Learn their names and what they do. Not necessarily L. Ron Hubbard but the people that are being mentioned on the card or slip that came with whatever record you bought. If no one is being mentioned then something isn’t right. I started reading liner notes and I enjoyed learning at the same time just because I could feel my brain increasing in capacity.

I started listening to Red Hot Chili Peppers “Blood Sugar Sex Magik” a few years later than it was originally released. I was only 11 when it came out but my older brother bought it and I acquired my own CD several years later. Two things stuck in my head from reading the liner notes back then. Rick Ruben was the producer and Flea was the bass player. Now, I know almost everything I need to know about the Chilis anyway but at the time I got engrossed in the details. I had to find out more about both. Ruben was supposed to be able to give bands that “Touch of God” an album needed to reach the top of the charts. He was able to fuse the rap and rock world seamlessly, as evidenced by his work with acts such as Public Enemy. Flea stood out from other bass players. His playing ability was outstanding and it was the first time I’d paid attention to a bass player and to the “pop and slap” technique – developed by bass guitarists some twenty or thirty years prior to the Blood Sugar. Firstly, it inspired me to learn to play the bass the way he did. But then it inspired me to learn about why Flea was playing that way. It kickstarted started my research into other bass players and had unleashed a world of new music that resonated with me. Fun and fast, funky as fuck and groovy and soulful and innovative and interesting and and and. Flea was influenced by Bootsy Collins. I investigated his music with Funkadelic and Parliament and loved it, so I went a bit further and bought myself some Sly and the Family Stone, and learnt about Larry Graham (from the liner notes). He was the guy who developed bass playing into a percussive form and inspired many other bass playing heroes. I went over to listening to Stanley Clarke who blew my mind and suddenly I was exposed to Jazz. By reading the liner notes on Clarke’s album ‘School Days’, I found myself unlocking yet more musical doors.

I have an extensive knowledge of players who have featured on albums and I have learnt these names not because of any musical celebrity shennanigans but because I wanted to know who they are and how they got to be the way they are. If, put into a situation where I am talking to someone ten or fifteen years my senior and we get onto the topic of Level 42, then there’s a likely chance the condescending prick might try to say to me something like “…they were a bit before your time” and they’re right in the sense that Level 42 was said Condescending Prick’s era and not mine. But what they don’t know is that I never bought a fucking band poster and stuck it on my wall because I wasn’t old enough to know. Eliminating me from Level 42’s celebrity success. However I would have found out which bass guitar Mark King was using in Lessons in Love. Next I would have been asked whether I was exposed to this sort of music by my Dad. In the case of Red Hot Chili Peppers, I heard my brother listening to it first but with Level 42, I sought out the music myself because I liked reading liner notes. Nowadays when the average music buyer downloads a track onto their handheld device, they won’t be receiving anything other than the track itself. Sad times people, sad times.

With downloading becoming much more prevalent in our era of music purchasing, the knock on effect is obvious: It’s going to be harder to offer musical credit. It’s also going to be harder to research what I like to know: all the silly facts and stories found on the liner notes. What about the session players or producers? They’re happy enough that they’ve done a good job for it, been paid and had the credit. They don’t have to appear in the pop videos, on the front covers with the bands, in the interviews. They don’t do it for the ego. But some do. Actually that helps me swerve away from that kind of music… or more likely the music itself is not my sort of thing. Cos it’s shit.

Arthur Hamilton wrote Cry Me A River for Ella Fitzgerald. This is not shit. Brilliant title too. Justin Timberlake released a song toward the beginning of this century that makes no reference to Hamilton’s work. Timberlake was able to maintain an incredibly strong solo career following a tough time dragging a failing boyband behind him and a dead end relationship with some tart “ball and chain” he was able to get rid of, break free from, and soar high in the sky. I used to work behind a bar at the time of that release where the music channel (when music television channels played music) had that song on an hourly rotation. So “Cry Me, Cry Me…. Cry Me, Cry Me ee_ee_ee_ee_ e_e_e_eee” got stuck in my head pretty quickly. Also, there’s a little middle section in the video where an expensive car roles up and some fella in the car roles his window down a raps some monotonous line about “the damage is done” and repeats himself about fifteen times. To me it sounds like a sample of something not worth repeating due to be completely pointless and tedious. To the video director, this guy needed to be brought in. It’s Timbaland. He produced the song for Justin Timberlake, so he probably suggested “Hey, while you’re harping on about your lame celebrity break up in this song and doing your weepy shit over my mic, how about I get in the vocal booth and lay down some fine rhymes?”. Suddenly I was introduced to producers who were more at ease in the public eye because that’s how they wanted to gain reputation. I turned my attention to the sickly-pop-spouting music television channel a bit more and realised that this fella, Timbaland, wanted to be in all his artists’ videos. Each video there was a time he’d accentuate a lyric or a drumbeat, or an instrumental lick, with his own stupid face. I couldn’t tell if he was supposed to be the comic relief of the video, “Am I supposed to take you seriously?” to which I’d answer myself with a firm “NO!” Each video would garner an image of him looking more and more like a puppeteer. He would stand behind the artist with talent and gesticulate as if he were a conductor in front of an orchestra. This is a producer that, according to Wikipedia “began making hip hop backing tracks on a Casio keyboard” but it does not mention when he moved on to less rudimentary songwriting facilities. Never, says this keen-eared bloggerino. He is a producer who has managed to traverse the line alongside the talent he produces and, in the process, managed to reduce popular music down to below the mark of bland beyond the point of no return. I don’t like him, his stupid face and his stupid music. Pharrell Williams is worse though. He can play, and chooses not to. At least he has a choice. What a pelican.

I was so excited to buy an old Red Hot Chili Peppers album produced by George Clinton. Ha, fancy that! Nile Rodgers wrote and produced Let’s Dance by David Bowie – good liner notes info there. Joe Zawinul, Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, John McLoughlin and Tony Williams all recorded on Miles Davis’s In a Silent Way album. Wayne Shorter also features heavily, as does Dave Holland. I discovered that from the liner notes of the album which led to an intense listen to the album all the way through several times to get what was happening. It was only after opening up the album and seeing the legendary personnel which encouraged the purchase. To me that was worth getting excited over. This album was the origin of several Super Groups – Mahavishnu Orchestra, Return to Forever, Weather Report, Lifetime, Headhunters. I knew of everyone individually but having poured over the details explored in the liner notes, I decided I would have loved to have been at those recording sessions. I’d have loved to have brought Timbaland and his Casio keyboard and sat him down in between Herbie Hancock and Chick Corea. Or to try laying down some sort of rhythm pattern unwittingly in front of Williams before thinking he could talk about harmony with Wayne or Miles. At some point he may feel like the turd in the swimming pool and shrug at Dave Holland and say “The damage is done so I guess I’ll be leaving”. Teo Macero will then have to redirect Timbaland from out of the storage closet and through the proper exit. He’ll be back for the music video though, probably lurching behind McLoughlin as the Yorkshireman’s fingers fly over the fretboard, unaware of the oaf-like producer’s existence.

I’m simultaneously aware that not only have I managed to fantasize two timelines, intermingle two unrelatable genres, come across like a “Hater” on a vastly successful producer and music video cameo actor, but I’ve also lost my way on the liner notes theme. Would it be easier if you sent me a postcard if you don’t get it, so then I can reply to everyone in person and apologise?

timbaland Millionaire. Bell end.

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2. Why I will never get rid of my CD collection. Admit it, you care.

“there is no real me, only an entity, something illusory, and though I can hide my cold gaze and you can shake my hand and feel flesh gripping yours and maybe you can even sense our lifestyles are probably comparable: I simply am not there.” – Bateman (or Halberstram, I wasn’t paying attention)

Since the late 90’s the way people store their music library has been transformed by the invention of digital media. The introduction of a downloadable mp3 file onto a hard drive gave birth to the idea of trading in a purely aural state without the superfluous extra paraphernalia and packaging. What sort of loser would go out and just buy the case when all they need is the precious commodity hidden within it? Especially if all they wanted was the crappy music in the first place.

Imagine if, in the future, somehow food had been technologically developed so that it can manifest itself actually within your mouth, a download bite at a time. It would be a bit odd, you’d get used to it but then you wouldn’t have to worry about things like cutlery and other utensils either. Try to actually visualise your breakfast cereal suddenly appearing in your mouth and all you have to do is chew and swallow. Now you’ve got something that is quite convenient right there. Are you going to miss all the normal extras you get? Would you miss the games you get on the back of your Snap, Crackle and Pop box if all you had to do was press a button and milk and the familiar texture of rice crispy cereal mush was beamed into your gob? Imagine having to log online to see the nutrition information rather than looking at the side of the box (if you wanted to). But you wouldn’t be contributing to the carbon footprint. You would be conserving waste. You wouldn’t have to wash up either. Apple might have the technology already and are ready to take over the food market as well. If I could work out that sort of technology I’d use it for revenge: a raw steaming turd in the mouth of anyone who has ever wronged me, that’ll do nicely.

So you’re not going to go out and buy yourself packaging for a product that can be downloaded or streamed straight to your computer or device. Just like you wouldn’t have to buy a cereal box if the frosted flakes of nourishment can be sent to your mouth by magic. Now, once you hear a song you like you just have to click a button somewhere and, hey presto, it’s there. Well… it is there somewhere. Not physically. In fact there isn’t even any way of verifying what you have downloaded is real. You press play on a media device and then you can hear something. You could just be completely insane and pressing a trigger button that begins the discordant banal loony tunes that lasts for a few minutes. All you did was download it after all. The play button isn’t triggering a file in your player to run, thus causing soundwaves to eek out of the speaker-thingys and onto your ear drum, rather it could simply be a remote government signal remotely activating your brain receptacle twiglets to vibrate and make you think music is occurring when it’s not. Like the Matrix. Fucking deep man. I lost you didn’t I? Somewhere around the “Why I will never get rid…” part. Soz.

What I sometimes like to do is to go to my CD cabinet, choose one of the CD’s, which would only ever be an album, or compilation of some kind and take it over to the stereo and play it. That sounds like real hard work right? Well it’s not. My albums are put into order of bands/artists, by when each album was made, then if musicians or bands collaborated with each other, then similar groups or artists in the genre, then by genre onto derivative genres based on common traits found within the music. Sue me for being anal but it’s a system that works for me. No alphabetical rubbish, ACDC isn’t next to Ace of Base. No colour coding. I know where to find something. Ok so it still takes me a very long time to actually choose what I’ll play but that will always be the problem with too much choice. Other drawbacks are the box shapes. Sometimes a band may release quite a flamboyant CD case. I have the Pulse album by Pink Floyd and it upsets me every time I see it. It sticks out a centimeter from the others both in height and length. It also has a flashing LED built into the spine which can get me all in a fluster because I don’t know whether to put the CD back facing the wall or out toward the room. It doesn’t look right. “Disaster” I hear you cry. All their other CD cases are relatively normal. Sometimes I get wound up because the printers have decided to write the album name and band upside down on the spine putting me in the awkward position of whether to store the CD on it’s head or not. My CDs are all set out like books in a bookcase. The idea is to be able to see the CD from the spine and pull it out with one finger. Are you still with me? Once I had a CD tower. It stored 50 cases and had horizontal ruts to help you guide the case in so it remains straight. I had 3 of the towers. I have close to a thousand CDs now. It’s not the biggest collection but I outgrew the towers a while ago. I’m very picky about which album I buy next, whether it’s got the right sort of music I’d like on it and the sort of musicians I’d get on with listening to. I never want to look through my albums and see something I’d want to chuck away. Obviously as we grow up our tastes change but how did I know when I was 18 and started buying Rush albums, that by the time I was 28 I had fallen out of love with them, big time. Not that badly, I’m not embarrassed although you probably think I should be, I will still happily listen to 2112, Fly by Night or most of the others.

Alas the problems soon came when I’m thinking of moving house. The thought of having to box everything up and then taking up valuable space, space that could go to other furniture in a removal van. It’s such a mission as well. It takes ages because you can’t just chuck everything in without order. Well I can’t anyway. I know that when I have to unpack at the other end it will be easier to get everything into order again. I won’t have any nasty surprises like leaving a Mr. Scruff album in between King Crimson and Emerson Lake and Palmer. Or even Bowie’s Space Oddity next to Robbie Williams’ Life Thru a Lens. Hey hang on; I don’t have any of that camp cheesy rubbish in my CD collection. I have Bowie’s stuff of course. Not the ex Take That tit. I’ll have a whole Living Room Wall taken up with music. But that isn’t a problem for me. In fact I like that. I gravitate to other peoples CDs to see what they have. But it’s still a bit of work and it’s less work just buying a canvas of a New York taxi, nailing that onto the same spot and being done with it. That’s also cheaper. If I am moving and didn’t give a toss about what is placed on my shelves full of CDs then all I have to do is store it on my iTunes library, close the MacBook and focus on the rest of the packing, make sure the socks are colour coordinated and all the light bulbs unscrewed and re-boxed. No, I’m not “That Guy”.

A good friend of mine, Ismael, introduced me to this way of convenient thinking when he was moving. The iPod had just become popular. This is the 3rd generation white ipod marketed to be the same size as a pack of playing cards, had a click wheel that was sensitive to touch and could hold up to 20G of music. We both had one and we both had a lot of CDs. He had thousands of jazz, funk , afro-beat, reggae and old rhythm and blues albums by all sorts of different artists. The sort of collection that you could go through and guarantee he’d have more of a selection of rare and unseen albums than HMV in Oxford Street. But he also said that it was a chore for him to keep them and would rather sell them and just have everything stored on the hard drive. He hadn’t thought about the boxes, artwork and liner notes that come with the CDs. All that he was worried about that time was the convenience and the simple notion of ease. I should have bought his collection off him in his moment of weakness. If only I had had the sense at the time, or the money.

Convenience is the biggest seller in most markets at the moment. The human condition can sometimes render us very lazy. Getting the lift from the ground floor to the first floor because it was there. That is lazy. Catching a taxi to go a couple of blocks down the road. Lazy. Everything is being designed to make us feel we aren’t wasting too much time. A debit card used to be swiped and signed for, then chip and pin, now it’s a contactless system so you just briefly hold the card over a machine. In a few years you’ll be able to blink in order to authorise a payment. The download is a convenient way of obtaining the music you want. And it’s a little lazy too.

I’ll admit without any issue that I wanted the ease of wanting to get music on demand. But that wasn’t my initial motivation for owning an iPod. Well it was a Christmas present when I was 23 anyway so I didn’t have much say in the matter. But I don’t think many people did what I did. I didn’t install iTunes on to my windows pc and then start uploading all my CD’s I had. I did get round to doing that but for the first few months I didn’t. In fact I took it over to my friend Ismael’s house and he put his music library onto my iPod. I didn’t want my own music. I wanted to be exposed to someone else’s library, learn about a load of artists and bands I’d never thought to get myself. 20 gigabytes worth of music is a lot too. It’s a lot if it’s all music you hadn’t chosen yourself and I wasn’t in the habit of sticking to what I know. I learnt a lot by doing this too. It was the first time I’d heard of a modern jazz trumpet player called Erik Truffaz or Dr. Octagon or an Acid Jazz band called Galliano who were overshadowed by the bigger names like Brand New Heavies or Jamiroquai. Young Desciples too. I’d only ever heard one of their songs before and now I got to hear the whole of Road to Freedom, which is such a great album. Ismael’s taste in music was already in harmony with the sort of things I liked anyway so it wasn’t going to be too much of a problem uploading a bunch of music I didn’t like onto my iPod.

It’s not advisable just to try that with anyone of your mates. If you’re more inclined to listen to Cindy Lauper or Pat Benatar and you fill your iPod with your mates collection that features the likes of Slipknot, Cradle of Filth, or something a little lighter like Korn then maybe that might not work. You’re trying to expand your mind. Not lose it.

After I had listened to my own iPod with Ismael’s music on it I thought it be best to actually purchase the stuff I liked. Amazon became my best friend after that. It was rare that Amazon didn’t have what I needed but ebay might have it if Amazon didn’t. I didn’t want to just listen to the songs but I wanted to see more. It’s always been a treat for me to lie back onto my bed with the CD case in hand and go through all the personnel, the lyrics or any other written word I can read like the Thanks to section or other albums available by that artist or label. In my first iTunes program I couldn’t see what the album cover was either. That is extremely important for me.

I mentioned Erik Truffaz earlier. The albums that Ismael had were called The Dawn and also Bending New Corners. It was the first time I had heard someone successfully blend contempory modal jazz with intelligent drum and bass flavours. There was even an MC on the mic who was filling in between the soloing instruments. I loved it. There was drive and constructive composition, and sophistication and purpose. But they were made in the early 90’s and I couldn’t find them anywhere. I don’t know if it’s because neither had been released in the UK or because Truffaz was unhappy with his own albums and recalled them all. Unlikely. After much searching and time spent on the internet and all the good CD stores I managed to track them both down on some dodgy looking independent wholesale website that was asking for £35 each. I’m paying over the top for these here especially as Bending New Corners only had 10 songs where as The Dawn only had 8. Now you might be wondering but £35 back then is a lot of money and by value of today’s money with inflation and the discontinued £5 note I was spending a total of £1,280. Luckily I had the doe because I’m a hard worker. The Queen’s face was still on the bill too.

In both cases it was a great buy for me. I cherish both CDs. They are not even highly sort after or collectables but now I actually felt like I owned something and not just an mp3 file on a media device. There wasn’t even any decent liner notes. Actually I’m glad because I’d probably have to translate his French. The 2 CDs now sit comfortably next to each other up on my shelves with the other CDs next to the Esbjörn Svensson Trio discography, a short distance away from Jojo Mayer and Nerve, Joseph Patrick Moore and within spitting distance away from Miles Davis as if to imply some sort of musical link through influence. As if Truffaz would spit on Miles. Maybe he’d dribble a bit out of the horn but only because of a build up of saliva.

There is somewhat a sense of achievement when I look through a lot of my CD and record collection. I vet each purchase carefully to make sure I am still going to like the music a few years down the line. There isn’t anything in there that has been bought through social conformity or because it tells me that it thinks its Now The best music of 2002 or The Best Funky House classics. I can’t stand someone assuming they can tell me what I can like or not. The strength of a single is sometimes important. Pretty Fly for a White Guy was strong enough for me to buy The Offspring album that it came from. Sometimes it’s not important maybe because the composer wants people to get a sense of entirety in his/her work by listening to the whole album, see Original Pirate Material by The Streets. But now I have the album I take full responsibility for buying and owning it. The CD is worth it for me. And what makes me value it more is it’s existential state because I know it’s there. If I pick it up and put the CD on to play the music I will still feel the physical presents of this tangible box in my hand and recognize it’s album mainly by the picture on the front and font of writing along the spine even before reading the album title or band. It is the box of cereal I have in the morning to fill my breakfast bowl up so I can feed each individual spoonful into my mouth. And while I do that I can read the back of the box and replace the cereal packet back in my vast collection of cereals feeling ready for the rest of my day. The difference is I’ll never get rid of my CD’s. I Wish I had a bigger Record collection though. I’m a product of the nineties, what can I say?

1. The constitution of the Music Revolution, where I start… Go.

“Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything.” – Plato

If you were anything like me then maybe, before you had found this little blog, you were already inclined toward wanting to see some change in our not-so-beloved music industry. Notice how the industry now resembles the overly flogged rotting corpse of a dead horse rather than the proud stallion it once was. And maybe, like me, you probably typed ‘music revolution’ into Google or Bing or Yahoo to see if anyone is bothered. Because if someone else has already bothered to do something because they’re a little more activist than you – you know: boat rockers, Che Guevara or Moses, no perhaps not Moses – then maybe you can join their emailing list or sign a petition or something equally meaningless. It could say something like Mark your email address here and give us your electronic signature to say how shit you think current music is.

That would be about as big a gesture as liking a picture on Facebook of kids holding up a sign saying if this gets 1 million likes then Daddy won’t take them out into the backyard and shoot the family dog in front of them. While I’m on the subject of Facebook, I searched for a ‘Music Revolution’ group page to see if anyone had picked up the reins. Not really was my finding. Instead I found a group page called ‘The Music Revolution’ with a link to the source website DJmusicrevolution.com, which doesn’t seem to exist. At the time of writing, this had 25,542 likes and 23 users were chatting about it. “A good amount of interest indeed” this writer says. Closer inspection reveals an assortment of fleshy videos to help titillate you as you browse the timeline. Justin Bieber, Christina Aguilera, One Direction and Rihanna, amongst many other sugary sweet pop song vids. Don’t get me wrong, I like Rihanna as much as the next man, only if that next man was Chris Brown of course, and only Chris Brown following one of their heavy arguments and when somebody is feeling like some rough and tumble. I don’t condone violence of any kind. Read with a pinch of salt.

I felt a little let down and not just because the music in question isn’t my bag. I’d rather poke my eyes out with a rent boy’s cheesy flesh tube, pulp them into a runny paste and have an eyeball enema than voluntarily watch these ‘sexy’ videos. It’s a strong principal for me – they get enough playtime everywhere else. This page is just a bit of a slur on what could be considered a Revolution. In fact this has as much of a revolutionary impact on the music industry as Nick Clegg has playing Deputy PM in a Coalition government. A glass hammer springs to mind. It’s no good naming your poncy Facebook page ‘The Music Revolution’ and then putting up the same musical bullshit a body of mainstream producers churn out in numbers for multimillion dollar deals. If anything it’s more revolting than revolutionary. What was your Facebook page all about Mr DJmusicrevolution? Was it an edgy title? Scumbag. No, scumbag should be reserved for the sort of scumbag that liked the fucking page in the first place. Twat. No, that goes to me for not being able to figure out a suitable or harsh enough put down for you not being able to use the term ‘music revolution’ in the right context.

Actually, I hope I haven’t shot wide of the mark by mildly slamming some guy’s Facebook group just because I didn’t pick up on his witty use of irony. Rather than some sort of misrepresentation, let’s find out what constitutes a revolution and maybe then I can get to the point. The online Oxford Dictionary defines Revolution using several examples: The second bullet point in the definition goes on to say “a dramatic and wide-reaching change in conditions, attitudes, or operation” eg. Your standard French or Russian Revolution. Each, within their own context, was a people-united, riled by the aristocratic rulers deciding to rise up, overthrow the King or Tsar and set about making things better for themselves. Whether they succeeded isn’t the point. In a room full of people, one person stepped in dogshit and someone else had enough, couldn’t tolerate it and went about fixing the problem. That’s what this is. Someone smelling some shit and not being afraid to say so. And if we go back to the French Revolution analogy I just want to find out, by show of hands, who is up for seeing Justin Bieber on the Guillotine?

Revolutions have occurred through human history and vary widely in terms of methods, duration, and motivating ideology. Their results include major changes in culture, economy, and socio-political institutions. Simply put, there is an ideology today that I consider to be wrong. Actually, if I am wrong then probably best you stop reading now, find your receipt and go return the book, get your £25 back. Or just put the book back on the shelf you cheapskate (This will never be printed anyway). But imagine if that motivational ideology isn’t wrong and by utilising some method, no matter how long it takes, there could be a major change in our socio-political institution, our culture and perhaps even a positive knock-on effect on our economy. I have a sneaking suspicion that maybe the Western world entered into this double dip recession because people no longer hear music the way it once was. Yeah, that’s right. The only reason why you’re struggling to make ends meet is because you didn’t buy the right albums. You heartless bastard. Think of the children.

Music is fundamentally important to me personally. I’ve always believed that it plays a major part in life and can change the way you think and feel. You can play the right music for the right mood, then completely change the mood. I’ve grown up with music. That’s an obvious thing to say because, unless you are deaf, the chances are that most people grew up with music. It’s whether it was there incidentally in the background or if it’s been played to you with intent. If you grow up with a family of musicians and are surrounded by music then it would be pretty hard for you to ignore an art form which has been thrust inside your ears, shoved up your nose, rammed into your eyes and reminds you it is always there. Even growing up with just one person to inspire you with their own taste in music, you could potentially get a similar effect.

Recently it’s come to my attention that there aren’t as many people listening to music the way the average Joe once would have spent in front of the record player. Meet someone new like a friend, new work colleague, flat mate or some random, and music would have been considered as one of those conversations people used to gain common ground with their fellow chatter. It was in the same vein as talking football or celebrity gossip. This doesn’t seem to be the case any longer. “Hey, you like music?” is a good start. “What sort of music you into?” Is better. But when someone says either of the following, “No not really” or “I like all sorts of music” then change the subject immediately. I can’t help but give an incredulous reaction to both really. “What do you mean ‘No not really’?” or “How can you be into all sorts of music? Do you like Gregorian Chanting? No? What about Dixieland Jazz? No? Well what do you mean? R ‘ n ‘ B? Rihanna? Fuck Off. No, honestly, off you fuck. Now I fancy an eyeball enema.” I should have changed the subject.

I’m visiting too many houses and seeing too much empty space on walls, leaving too much space for brilliantly controversial Banksy canvasses. Meanwhile, DVD collections have got bigger. People feel the need to have boxsets of The Transporter, Sex and the City and Harry Potter displayed to help guests judge them on cultural integrity. CD collections don’t seem to be as popular and vinyl record collections are even rarer. What of that too?

Year after year on TV there seems to be some fascination with finding an adequate singer who can replace the singer we already think is perfect from the previous year. They compete to the death in front of TV audiences to get your vote and that’ll be how someone decides what sort of music they like at the time. I’m going to record stores and, much to my delight/disgust (I haven’t decided yet), I can buy two or three of my favourite different albums at bargain bin prices. If I want vinyl then the likelihood is I’ll pick up a near mint press previously owned for under a fiver. Nice because everyone likes a bargain. Disgusting because I don’t want to find my favourite albums found in anyone’s bargain bin sitting amongst the Natalie Imbruglia album and Del Amitri’s best of. It happens all too often and I don’t know whether to shed a tear or relish in my own cheapskate self-satisfaction. Maybe I’ll go up to the cashier in the shop and try and make the cost of the CD up to a tenner, and complain if they dare give me change. Picture me standing at the till forcing the money into the till. NO! Send the cash to the record companies that made this CD and tell them to make more. They need it more than me. Poor old Sony BMG or Warner, they’re bleeding chips.

I refuse to believe that time is passing me by. You mean to tell me that music is progressive and I’m not? I haven’t got on the bus, right? The bus that is carrying every music movement that you like but I don’t and the cunt of a bus driver saw me at the bus stop but didn’t let me on. No no no my friends, music is cyclical and every now and again a time will come to which we need to pay attention, like a comet in a clear night sky. It may only be once in your life but if that’s the case then don’t continue to stare at the ground. Look up and bask in the visual glory of a much needed, and perhaps welcomed changing of the guard. Like I said before, put some ownership into the music and it can actually affect you and you might feel differently. Put on some Prodigy and feel adrenaline enter your blood. Put on some Oasis and develop a swagger and thirst for Stella. Stick a bit of Kool and the Gang on and find yourself involuntarily thrusting your head forward because of your chicken neck. Play something new and describe the feeling you get by discovering some extraordinary sound that you aren’t normally exposed to on TV and radio because you found it all by yourself. Put on a Led Zeppelin guitar solo and tell me you’re not cock thrusting and playing an air guitar solo. Break through into jazz and once you’ve handled the modal melody or polyrhythmic beat displacement, you actually get it, and enjoy it, and understand it, and crave more because it speaks to you. Get some Bob Marley or Lee Scratch Perry on the go and try saying no to a spliff (stereotyping). Listen to an entire concept album by Pink Floyd or Genesis and take a journey of the mind. Play the recent London Philharmonic concert for Dvorak and take in the waves of emotion. Put yourself in a darkened room and let your hearing senses take over. Have some fun with it and take some time out to go over your steadily building collection of music, choose something to either put you in the right mood or choose something that complies with the current ambience. What’s that? You don’t have enough music because your shelves are collecting all the Lord of the Rings Blurays? Well we shall have to see what we can do about that then.