What if your mom is a punk icon?

Do you:

  1.  Make faces and say, “ugh, mom, please stop,” when she’s creating feedback and breaking strings in honor of Jimi Hendrix, after dancing and singing and urging people to riot for two hours? No temptation to wonder why she can’t be more like all her age-cohorts who are busy tossing AARP junk mail in the recycle?
  2. Cringe when she holds the string-stripped guitar up in triumph and says,
    “This is the only weapon I need.
    And I never run out of ammunition”  ?
  3. Feel happy to play with great musicians and flattered when she says,
    “I always wanted my own bar band;
    when other little girls prayed to be a nurse or a beautician,
    I prayed for my very own bar band”?

Nix on scenarios #1 and #2.

Fantastic show with Patti Smith last night at the Neptune in Seattle. The Banga band seemed even better than everything you might have read, or guessed from the last CD. Audience in rapture (the good, rock kind; not the fairy tale kind).

I came away with all the boxes checked for what I want at the end of a live show:

[x] a belief that I understand the artist in new ways, having reviewed 3/4s of my own life in the course of the show;

[x] can’t quit talking about her and her band in amazement with my friend, so awake past 2:00;

[x] recommitted to making art;

[x] hoping to be a better person.

Not tempted, however, to try that feedback/busted string trick in front of anyone who’s related to me.
And hope to avoid making up bad poetry, live in front of an audience.
(Don’t forget to check the new chapters from Nine Volt Heart.
And check this nostalgia shot from High Voltage Music Store on Pike Street in Seattle.)

HighVoltageMusicStor_9Vamplifiers

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Pork-belly Futures and Vestal Virgins

Thom Yorke in a long Guardian UK interview last Saturday (February 23) said:

“We were so into the net around the time of Kid A,” [Yorke] says. “Really thought it might be an amazing way of connecting and communicating. And then very quickly we started having meetings where people started talking about what we did as ‘content’. They would show us letters from big media companies offering us millions in some mobile phone deal or whatever it was, and they would say all they need is some content. I was like, what is this ‘content’ which you describe? Just a filling of time and space with stuff, emotion, so you can sell it?”

Having thought they were subverting the corporate music industry with In Rainbows, [Yorke] now fears they were inadvertently playing into the hands of Apple and Google and the rest. “They have to keep commodifying things to keep the share price up, but in doing so they have made all content, including music and newspapers, worthless, in order to make their billions. And this is what we want? I still think it will be undermined in some way. It doesn’t make sense to me. Anyway, All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace. The commodification of human relationships through social networks. Amazing!”

I used to work for a corporation, where one day we writers woke up and found we were “content providers.” The corporate view seems to be that the Internet is a marketing vessel that requires words and video to be poured in, or a god-like entity that requires a continuing stream of sacrificial text/video, created by vestal virgins who spin content out of straw.

It’s like two web worlds live side by side, where one is flooded with corporate “content” to deliver “meaning” and edutainment to markets. The other is merely technology used by people who are making and sharing meaning, art, and connections.

Saying No to Commodification: Nix on Pork Belly Futures.
Lord help me, I never performed well as a vestal virgin and hope never again to work as a “content provider.” I’m encouraged by every sign that the making of music and good stories will continue to resist commodification and that people will find their own ways to share art and connections.

Also I prefer plain ol’ bacon to pork belly, because so many places just don’t prepare pork belly correctly