Bowie on the Internet

Today Jack Schofield tweeted an old article from the Guardian in 1999, Tomorrow’s Rock ‘n’ Roll , where David Bowie talks to Emma Brockes about his recently-discovered love for the internet. It’s a fascinating document of the time for me, a few months before I started working “in the internet” (for want of a better description) and at a point where I was starting to create my own sites more, and think deeper about what could be done online. I think it’s worth looking a little closer at a few lines from the interview, as there are some interesting insights into how Bowie saw things developing at the time.

Something that is very familiar to me is that he started to learn more about the internet when he created his own site, bowieart.com . Just like the early home computer gamers like myself learnt about programming from trying or succeeding in creating our own games, and from inputting code ourselves, I and many others learnt a lot from creating our own sites. There is a bit of a disconnect now with services like Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter et al where the creation of content is almost completely separate from the code underneath it. Such a disconnect of course brings them to a much wider audience, but often at the expense of a deeper knowledge of how things work.

However when when he talks of “The communication between me and my Web audience has become more intimate than its ever been”, it really sounds a lot like the positive side of the experiences many creators have had with Twitter. Twitter isn’t the invention here, it’s simply that I think it’s made that communication even easier, and open to many more than ever.

What really caught my attention was his understanding then of how the internet could affect music. He talks of how he “would like to see record companies changing their delivery systems so that they could send MP3s (an instant free download) straight to the record stores via an ISDN cable. The stores could then burn the CD for them on site. It would reduce the packaging costs and they would make a fortune out of it”.

It’s easy to have a bit of a giggle at this, but I think he actually got it in the main. The point to him I think was that the MP3s were already approaching instant, and also that in some ways, they were valueless, 1s and 0s. As he understood it, the difficulty and the aim for the record companies instead was to find a way of making these “free” files have a value, add packaging, add value. It almost seems weird to him that they could charge for the download alone.

Where he’s absolutely spot on is the remix culture of the web. I’d never really thought of him as part of it, but his personas and reinventions clearly were remix culture, and even his music at times, which he freely admits in the article. And he just gets the issues that came with that and with the increased ability to just steal content

But on the issue of straightforward piracy, I tend to go with the flow. I am not indifferent to it, but I look on it as a lost cause. The way our society constantly breaks down parameters has led to the disintegration of intellectual property. Whether thats a good thing or a bad thing is to an extent irrelevant, without a doubt things in the future are going to be different.

He wasn’t the first person to say these things by any stretch, but it is interesting to see someone in retrospect who mainly got it, as say opposed to a Metallica, or almost every record company. All of whom had to pretty much be dragged kicking and screaming into the next century (again, as he predicts they’d have to be)

Sci-fi London 2010 Manga All-Nighter

It is Sunday evening, and I’m now still processing all I saw last night at the Apollo cinema in London. A fantastic night of entertainment, liked some of the films, didn’t like others, but the overall evening, and the organisation deserves mentioning as being wonderful, everyone that set up the night deserves props for the hard work they did to make it such a good night.

Okay, props done, lets get to reviewing what I saw there. Let’s get the disclaimers out the way now, I really am not an expert on Anime, I’m just reacting to these films as a cinema goer, what caught my interest, what didn’t.

Redline

Blimey this was good. Redline is the ultimate car race of the future, held every five years. If I’m being harsh, it minded me of Rollerball, in so much as the races are everything, and the rest was filler just getting you to the races. But feck me they were stunning. Visual treats drawn in an amazing fashion, with a earbleed soundtrack, echoing through every inch of your soul. Nothing subtle about this, all action, all entertainment. Loved it.

Bleach 2.0

Not for me, bit weak. Mysterious bloke appears that bloke is a bit worried about, runs away, needs help to beat mysterious bloke, beats him in the end. Lots of battles, nothing outstanding in the animation, just didn’t engage me.
Musashi

This was odd, and in many ways very unsuitable for 4am in the morning. However it was very engaging for me, a documentary of a 17th Century swordfighter whose techniques laid the groundwork for what became the Samurai. Quite a lot of explanation of historic texts by essentially a Wii avatar. Strange, but it worked, because the source material was so engaging. When I have more energy tomorrow I’m looking up loads about this legend, because the detail just got to me. If you’re awake and up for a bit of learning, this will be even better.
Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Blade Works

Rubbish. Really bad. In wrestling, they have the term Spotfest where two wrestlers don’t link together a match, don’t work hard to draw you into an engaging match, they only concentrate on trying to do cool moves. This was a spotfest, but the spots weren’t that good. Everyone changed sides a hundred times. I’m told you need to know the anime to get it, know all the backstory, and this was entertaining fan service for people that know what is going on. Even with that in mind, this was just a load of spots, and ones that weren’t that good.

In summary, see Redline. Rocked my world.

Archigram

It’s always nice when you get taken on a little journey of discovery and information on the internet. I had this today when my fancy was taken by an article on the BBC news site about Archigram. Archigram was an avant-garde architectural group which was formed in Britain in the 1960s. They created fantastic concepts for hypothetical building projects, finding technology and imaginative solutions for the possible problems of living in the future.

It’s probably easiest to go off and explore for yourself (and I don’t want to steal any of the pictures involved. There is an Archigram book (see the Google preview) which is also available to buy from Amazon: Archigram. Well worth investigating.