A surprise to many, the arts were once an integral part of Olympic games programming, creating a rich legacy of cultural achievement. That's right, gold, silver and bronze for painting, sculpture, music and literature. Early activities also included musical contests and the high profile contest of the heralds and trumpeters.
I've had a weirdly emotional reaction to Pete Seeger's death. Like, way more intense than I would have imagined. I abandoned him when I grew what I thought was a more sophisticated taste in music; his stuff started to seem too plain, too openly earnest, too babyish. Today, though, I've been listening to his songs non-stop, and nearly every single one of them has made my eyes well up.
It was a gruelling schedule. I came to deeply respect the life of the touring musician as I battled reoccurring ear infections and worriedly Googled the symptoms for scurvy after eating at McDonald's three times in one day, and enlisted our coats and bags to construct makeshift bunks on the overnight bus rides.
I love social media. As a recording artist it's a wonderful way to stay connected to the fans. I remember a time when I use to sit in the back of my tour bus and hand write letters back to the fans. I've always enjoyed that connection and social media for me allows the connections to be more immediate and more often.
To preface this story, I have to admit that my relationship with porn has always been a dishonest one. If I was to watch it on the Internet, I streamed it. I have never bought a DVD or subscribed to a website nor financially contributed to the industry in anyway, only stolen from it. Then, one day, porn got me back. Someone on Twitter sent me a link to a porno that used our song. Art-rock is a tricky thing. It's precious. People talk about it like fine art or good wine. It's pretentious, it's serious and not for porn. So the implication was that I should be immediately up in arms. My art was stolen and slapped over some smut film. How dare they defile something I labored over?
It's that time of year again, when critics, reviewers, amateur enthusiasts of all things aural pull tiny muscles in their large heads compiling and posting for public consumption their lists of Top Albums of the Year. A female friend once pointed out that these oftentimes inane lists are (strangely, suspiciously) almost always the domain of men. We demand demarcation. We want to know. We need to know.
For music programs to stay and to continue being relevant, they need to be modernized. In a perfect world, students would have access to computers with recording capabilities and music editing software so they could learn to edit, produce and mix. We need to understand how music and careers in the arts have changed and find ways to teach classes that reflect this ever-shifting landscape.
In 1990, Guns 'N' Roses had an issue with their drummer Steven Adler. Adler's live performance was impaired. Adler contended that it was due to an opiate-blocking drug, Slash thought Adler couldn't kick it anymore. Either way, Guns 'N' Roses wanted Adler out and had no way to expel him from the band.
You're a good person. I can tell this about you already. You're kind to your neighbours and the people you work with say nice things about you when you're not around. This isn't about you. It's about the type of person that ruins your day by sucking the life out of a conversation, sucking the enthusiasm out of a room, and just plain sucking.
This is not about Miley. It's not about back-up dancers. It's not about one entertainment show that happened one night in August 2013. It's about an institutionalized thought process that is subtly reinforced at every given opportunity. And if we stop writing about the institution, aren't we doing society a disservice?
To the untrained eye, social media numbers are important. However, if you delve, you'll notice inconsistencies. For example, a band may have a ton of "followers", but few likes on their photos. Alternately, a band may have lots of Soundcloud plays on a particular song, but few comments. Do not let buying popularity become the new form of radio DJ payola.