Music vs Four Stroke

It is depressing how basic things are revealed to be when you expend some effort into understanding how they work. The following revelation came about when discussing how difficult it is to play the drums. The conjecture was that it is easy to play the drums badly, because, to quote the learned gentleman in question, “music is just banging things together”.

I countered this posit with the rejoinder that concert musicians would take no small measure of umbridge in having their considerable skills reduced to “banging things together”. Especially since “banging things together” only really describes the Percussion section, if a little rudely. But then, he’s a rude guy. So, after some discussion, it appears that music can be created in the following ways;

* Banging things together,
* Rubbing things together,
* Blowing into tubes,
* Sucking.

Sucking is a bit of an outsider, since it only applies to the Harmonica, although I have seen musicians on TV sucking big style. And not in a good way.

Put simply, Bang, Rub, Suck, Blow. Music reduced to four words.

So where, I hear you cry, does “Four Stroke” come into it? Well, the Four Stroke Internal Combustion Engine is so named because it goes through four stages during a combustion cycle. Again, put simply, these are Bang, Blow, Suck, Squeeze. Which is very close to the way music has been so succinctly characterised above. Coincidence?

Granted, there is no place for Rubbing in an engine. Large amounts of money are spent making sure engine parts rub against other engine parts as little as possible. Because, as I’m sure you’ll agree, rubbing is tiring, and a tired engine is no good.

So, rubbing has been replaced by squeezing. Which is fine. Musically, this only applies to the Accordian and the Bagpipes, neither of which are found in the traditional symphony orchestra. Neither, strictly, are Harmonicas (or is it Harmonicae?). Maybe they should be. Maybe Harmonicas and Accordians and Bagpipes should be included into symphony orchestras. They let new sports into the Olympics, they should let new instruments into orchestras! Yeah. So, where was I?

My point? There wasn’t one. It started off interesting but kind of got wierd at the end. I’ll try harder next time.

Art: Is it just bollocks?

Yes, it bloody well is.


To make my point; if someone with bad teeth and worse hair can look at a green square and say, in all seriousness, “I like the way the artist has juxtaposed the background with the four dogs and the banana, don’t you think?”, then that makes it a load of bollocks.


More evidence for The Prosecution. On more than once occasion, people have rolled up at a gallery with a “piece of art”, to have the arty types within pee themselves at its wonderousness, only to then bluster like an April lunchtime when it is revealed that it was created by a toddler with lots of crayons and not much supervision.


If, as it would appear, that everything is art, then does it even warrant its own word? I would argue that the term “Art” is of no value, since there are many other far more interesting words for “everything”; “things”, “stuff” to name but two.


This does rather make Art students look foolish.

Aurodynamics

No, its not a typo. Aurodynamics is a term wot I just invented.

In the same way that aerodynamics is a measure of how well an object behaves in an airflow, aurodynamics is a meaure of how well a song will behave in the charts.

Aurodynamics also explains why all modern, mainstream music sounds the same. I will illustrate this point by drawing parallels in the field of aerodynamics.

Aircraft all have the same basic design; wings, tail, engine, cockpit, etc. The reason for these things is that, if any were not present, the aircraft just wouldn’t work.

Cars are designed in computers these days, all of which take into consideration aerodynamics when creating the shape of the car; hence the reason why all cars are much the same.

In order that a song reaches Number 1 in the charts, Aurodynamics requires that the following are present;

  • Drum,
  • ‘n’ Bass,
  • optional string section, for ‘flava’,
  • Urban / Street / Ghetto theme,
  • 3 – 20 twentysomethings with as much variety in race and sex as possible,
  • vocalists ability to sing twenty notes when three would do,
  • ‘bling’,
  • one rap verse by caucasian band member,
  • minor gangsta connection,
  • appeal to mid-teen girls,

The presence of these attributes guarantees the big buck. Since these can be thought of a constants in the recipe for success, is it little wonder that all music sounds the same and less attractive, background, promotional types make large sums of money cranking the handle on the Fame Machine, which picks the next 3-20 twentysomethings from the queue, gives them a wash and a squint haircut and assorted street clothing and puts them on TV……..and we buy it. We can’t get enough of that shit.

So, is there any hope? As with all those for whom aerodynamics is a consideration, pushing the envelope is the only thing that keeps progress…progressing. It is these pioneers, nay, these frontierspeople who drag the rest of the sheep forward into new things.

The Laws of Aurodynamics are constant, but as with any great theory, there are small variables; arbitrary constants which those with vision can tweak in order to push things forward.

So, hats of to all those who push the envelope.

Generation Y vs Technology

Generation Y are the first demographic to have used computers to the extent that their operation is second nature. Our parents, on the whole, are flummoxed by the whole idea.

But, and hear me out, will there come a time when The Nintendo Generation is, itself, flummoxed by new technology? Has our presence at the inception of a such a pervasive technology future-proofed us against new ideas?

Picture the scene; you’re sat on the couch playing the latest beat-em-up with Junior using the thought-controller and he’s Kicking Your Ass. Do you; a) accept defeat gracefully?, b) ignore the fact that he was deliberately not trying too hard so you don’t feel bad?, c) curse loudly, colourfully and at length that, if you’d had a joypad, you’d have kicked his ass?,

When we finally give in and get one of those new-fangled cranial implants (after swearing blind for years that “you’ll never catch someone sticking one of those things in my skull!”), will we be unable to do the next-gen equivalent of double-clicking?

The answer, certainly and depressingly, is yes. Because, even if our mental faculties render keeping up possible, the relentless tide of technological advancement will be such that, at some point, we’ll realise that trying to keep up is pointless and make do with what we’ve got. Either that, or, since keeping up requires the equivalent of the defence budget of small Middle-Eastern military states, fiscal constraints will kick in, as they are wont to do.

So it looks like, as with our parents, we are destined to fall behind in the great march towards technological oneness. To be honest, by that point, we’ll probably be quite happy not to have peed ourselves.

Because your whole life is a test