You may recall I mentioned earlier in this blog that I was probably unlikely to enjoy Twitter, all that Facebook status updating nonsense etc. Well, if I wore a hat I’d be inclined to smother it in gravy as it seems I do actually like it and irony of ironies it’s mainly because of the thing I thought I’d dislike. Being restricted to only 140 characters does make you think twice before posting.
But perhaps it’s not so much Twitter that I like as the myriad of services that support it. For instance there is blip.fm a site that integrates with Twitter nicely (as well as last.fm) and allows you to search for tracks that are online and not only allows you to play them it allows you to be a DJ (of sorts) broadcasting to the world or at least the world of blip and twitter. Then there is bit.ly, with only 140 characters to use in a message you could find that most URLs either exceed that or leave you too little to say anything. Bit.ly is one of those URL shortening services that reduces a URL to around a dozen characters and again, integrates nicely with Twitter. There are also sites like TwitPic for hosting photos so if you use your mobile phone you can literally have your photo and comments up online in seconds, with very little fuss or technical know-how.
Someone I have been tweeting with (yes I know, the terminology leaves a lot to be desired!) who goes by the name _Vio_, MissViolette or MissPurple depending on where you find her, works for a Communication Agency (I think this is just a new name for a marketing/public relations outfit but what do I know?) Anyway, my fellow tweeter asked me if I’d be interested in submitting a blog for a website called This is Now. The marketing blurb says it’s something to do with Ford Europe and is a unique European collaborative project where people are invited to share their vision of Now. This vision can be via film, music or photography.
I’ve been asked to contribute on music and you know something? It’s damned hard! At first I thought it would be relatively simple, think of a track that sums up Now for me and explain why. However when I thought some more about it I not only had a short-list of about 50 tracks spanning decades and continents but there was also one very important factor I realised. Whilst they made me think of Now they also made me think of Then every track transported me back in time to a moment that I realised I always travelled to whenever I heard it. From Summer of 69 by Bryan Adams, which transported me to Glasgow aged 14 or 15 and the joys of getting rip-roaringly drunk with my best friend and singing it at the tops of our voices as we walked home through a wooded area at 1am (I wouldn’t try that now!) to Louise Attaque’s Amours which instantly returns me to the closing months of 1998 in London when it was hard to prise out of my mini-disc player and which instantly gets me making weird contortions with my body, people have referred to it as dancing but I fear I’d be sued under the trade descriptions act if I used it myself, perhaps Violette has a nice communications word for it ;)
Anyway, you understand my dilemma, how on earth do I get to Now when everything I think of as Now takes me back to Then? Of course in thinking that I have Morrissey and The Smiths singing in my head asking me, How soon is now? You’re not helping guys! So, I’m having to give it some more thought, writing for another site is not like this one, here I can waffle on at length and probably throw in a dozen tracks to define my thoughts on Now but I’m not sure Ford Europe wish to drive people away from their site so I have to be relatively brief and focus on the task, do you like how I managed to drop in a Ford model there? ;)
Speaking of music, while I was thinking of Now I started wondering (again) about genres and labels and of all the labels I dislike, the one I have the biggest problem with is World Music. I mean what the fuck is that all about? I thought all music was world music. Big Country who are a Celtic rock band are usually found in the rock section, seldom in the World Music – Scotland section but the previously mentioned Louise Attaque are nestled there under France. Strangely, when I was in France rummaging around in FNAC do you think I could find Louise Attaque in the World Music section? Actually I couldn’t find such a section but that’s more to do with my poor French than anything else. Here in the UK we put anything not sung in English automatically into World Music but do you think that happens anywhere else? Do you think that if you went to Morocco’s equivalent of HMV you’d find Kings of Leon and Elvis Presley lumped together in World music because they both sing in English?? No, me neither. I know it won’t change, I just don’t like it.
One of the problems I have thinking about Now is where to look for it. There are a great many foreign language CDs in my collection and quite a lot of them transport me to times and places of yesteryear but for most of them I don’t actually know what is being sung so I fear picking one of those in case it turns out that the singer or subject is naff or worse. I mean no Frenchman or woman would ever take me seriously if I selected Patrick Bruell’s Alors Regarde as the track that meant Now to me. In my defense I had just turned 19 and it was the first song I heard on the radio when I arrived in Paris and everywhere I went it was playing, in malls, in stores, in bars so I went out and bought it, on cassette no less and I still have it. When I showed it to a French friend about 10 years ago he almost fell on the floor laughing and then explained that no one really took the heart throb Patrick seriously these days. Thankfully the other cassette I bought with Patrick’s I still listen to (only on CD now) and that is Mano Negra’s Putas Fever, again I just have to hear the first couple of notes of any track on that album and it’s 1990 in Paris and I’m having the time of my life, singing along, with no idea what I’m singing but convincing the French that I know more than I do because my accent is good…thank you Manu ;)
Right, time to leave Then and get back to Now! In case you were wondering, the title of this entry is from this song that I blipped :)