Friday, January 11, 2008

MTV makes me wanna smoke crack

The mammoth musical monolith that is MTV.

Music television... sucks. Badly.

Its corporatised, homogenising, nonsense is rotting the brains of everyone.


I remember and cherish the time when I could actually turn on MTV and see was a revelation - music 24-7 - a whole!

Now it's full of truly shit reality TV. Ah - but this is the corporate money-making age. Where there are millions to be made selling the celebrity to the brain-dead masses...but not just everyone...oh no - different groups of brain-dead masses.

First came the inevitable geographical divide...MTV Europe...MTV UK...

Then the splintering of genres (according to some Viacom marketing exec and his research...I can imagine it 'focus groups of 18-24 year old teenagers show...) so now we end up with:
MTV One: for brain-dead teenagers (yes it may show South Park and Strutter, but the humour is waaaaay beyond the dumb-ass audience)
MTV Two: brain-dead, 'white-emo' boys...who are desperate to be different from everyone, but still contribute to money-making monolith
MTV Base: brain dead black people and white people who want to be black
MTV Hits: pop for the generally brain dead...perhaps the bored housewives?
MTV Dance: something for the weekend? Getting ready for a drugged up night out?

Ah - I hear you VH1 viewers - you're above this right?

Wrong - guess who owns VH1? It's a sister channel of MTV.

Nice...for Viacom...

Live music is where it's music and recommendations from interesting people...that's what I think is the best source of finding out about music...not that the radio isn't interesting...I only listen to C(r)apital Radio for Johnny Vaughn - I think he's hilarious in the mornings.

But where else is there to find out about new music? Myspace? YouTube? I'm not sure.

Keep music EVIL I mean...LIVE.



And to end with - just so you know - this post was inspired by Beck...and yes he did write a song called 'MTV makes me wanna smoke crack' - it's on the Loser CD single...

Friday, January 04, 2008

Sign "☮" the Times: 2007/ 08

New year makes everyone a bit more reflective.

Not that I'm any different - I too look to how the last year went, and what the next year could hold. I'm not too enamoured with the idea of New Year's Resolutions though...I mean every moment is another opportunity to turn something around...a new second/ minute/ hour/ day/ week/ month/ year...I've heard it called the eternal moment of now...or the power of now...

2007 was a pretty big year for are seven standout moments.

1) Getting married.
That was the zenith...along with everything associated with it...rekindling friendships, eating good food, etc.

2) Going over to the Dark Side.
I bought my MacBook in August, and I've never looked back! It really does get things done...turn it on, wait a few seconds, and get going. I need to investigate the office side of things a bit more - mac: office is ok, and does the job of using all my wonderful excel spreadsheets...but I can't help thinking something better is out there. Of course, when I get a 2nd Gen iPhone it'll be perfect...but that's later.

Someone said to me recently that having to use PCs and Macs means I'll be bad at both instead of good at using one...I guess I'll have to go over completely to the Mac side then...

3) Discovering Facebook.
OK took me until February (and I'd been using mainly MySpace amongst others until then) but the social networking phenomenon of the year did impress me. I found it interesting that it's managed to cross age groups...from professionals to school children. Mark Zuckerberg is poised to be a billionaire...I still use it...albeit more sparsely than I did before.

4) Giving up.
Giving up on something I felt totally passionate about has definitely affected me.

I see how easy it is to sell out on oneself, and that it's a normal state of affairs for most people.

The rather heated argument that happened earlier this year was almost as big a turning point as getting married. I've let it permeate everything I've done since, and it's contributed to my general level of unhappiness (which in turn has led to number seven below). Even now - just about seven months on - I don't feel I've emerged from it. I'm not too sure that I will.

But that's down to me.

The wonderful irony to this point is on a Facebook application, my friends have rated me the happiest!

5) Enjoying teaching.
I finally feel as if I can teach. I am enjoying the journey. I'm not perfect, and I feel as if there's a lot more I can improve on, but after the turbulent beginning my confidence is finally growing. Even the boys enjoy my lessons. Part of me is a bit disappointed I wasn't inspected - I still wonder what the observer would have made of some of my rather chaotic lessons.

6) Playing Wii.
So simple. So much fun! I'm now part of the gaming fraternity...although not the hardcore Halo 3/ PES08 lot...I'm just a mean tennis player! Nintendo completely altered my viewpoint on computer games...from being over-involved and taking ages to master, to being something I can easily play with friends.

7) (Re)discovering guitar.
For so long I'd been trying to nail one particular practice exercise. And through steady practice I got it. I think being generally not happy has driven me to the guitar...that and harnessing the genius of the metronome. The crowning moment has been finding that I can play the opening to Disposable Heroes by Metallica...the rest of the song approaches...key practice songs have been Cowboys from Hell by Pantera, the solo in Sultans of Swing by Dire Straits and Master of Puppets by Metallica - with downstrokes.

That's the past over and done what about the future?

There are a few themes in my head...

1) Addressing being 2st overweight.
That's what the doctor told me. I know I need to lose weight, but I've not been bothered to confront the vastness of my belly...that and comfort eating my way through unhappiness has done nothing for the wonderful opinion I have of myself.

I really just haven't cared.

Seeing pictures of myself ten years ago, I felt fat then! Yet I keep wanting to get back to that...and I think that's the mistake: romanticising the past. I'm seeing that a more effective approach would be to create something for the future...and go for it.

2) Developing creatively: blogs, books, business and music.
Given the increase I'm going to have in free time...I think it's about time I started putting music to all the lyrics I think of. I don't know how I'm going to record it, but I know that I've got something to say...

The same goes with my writing. Having this blog is just a starting point...ideas for books and stories float around my head, but I'm not sure how to get going. I've got the bare bones for a book kicking around on my comp...I've just not added to it for several years.

Apart from music and writing, I've got a few entrepreneurial ideas too...this year will be the time to get them going...I'm just wondering if my but is too big...not that anyone will see me on Dragon's Den anytime soon - if I'm going to do it, I'll do it on my own terms. Besides, what better way to teach business studies than running my own...

3) Continuing Personal Development.
That's CPD in teacher-speak...last year I learned a lot about my own strengths and weaknesses...and spoken to the boys I teach for some inspiration. They've given me a lot to think about.

But I need to determine my focus, and my future in teaching. I know I'll stay in the profession (it's funny how what I predicted is happening - teacher numbers decreasing as people complete the training, but don't stay in the career) despite all my misgivings - it's just choosing a direction.

Note: if anyone I teach/ have taught is reading this - feel free to post a comment...

And there it is...are those three 'New Year's Resolutions'? I'm not sure. I don't want to be one of those silly idiots who makes resolutions every year and does nothing about them, and wonders why their life isn't fucking changing...

...we'll see...I'll make this an annual post...

Perhaps blogging it will make me more accountable - now you all know what I'm thinking about, you can ask me how I'm doing on my three things...

This post was brought to you by the musical genius of Prince