Monthly Archives: April 2003

Music Industry Hysteria?

When I was growing up records (of the vinyl variety) used to come marked with a skull and cross-bones and the legend, “home taping is killing music”. Twenty years on, music is still with us and, without home taping, I would never have discovered many of the artists whose CDs now fill my racks (Tom Robinson, Michael Jackson, The Housemartins, The Smiths … all of whom I originally “borrowed” from well-meaning friends).

Forward to 2001. I hear a track on a TV programme and discover it’s At Seventeen by Janis Ian. Napster is in full swing, so I get an mp3 and listen to it over and over on my office computer. Today, I own several Janis Ian CDs.

Today I was browsing the Janis Ian web site for the first time and came across this article. It’s now about 12 months old but it still stands up. It’s one of the most interesting pieces of writing on the subject of music downloads that I have read – particularly because it comes from a singer/songwriter with an extensive recorded library and a record contract. In fact, it’s written by one of the people the record industry says they are trying to protect when the want online music outlawed. If, like me, you haven’t seen it I urge you to read it.

And I still don’t believe that home taping is killing music!

On this day…

2004: Mayor Of London
2004: What Version Control?

Cough Cough

Jase Wells (probably one of my all-time favourite sites and he now blogs on his site – hoorah) talks about TIVO on his new site. Immediately after reading that, I visited Prosaic who pointed me at this article about the television recording gadget/device TIVO:

Like early adopters of cellphones and the Internet, the first wave of users of personal video recorders swear that the devices have fundamentally altered their lives changing domestic routines, making it possible to live a life free of commercial interruptions and even providing the satisfaction of a rebellion against network goliaths.

Now, if you are in the UK I can, after less than two drinks at a party, tell you how Sky Plus (or Sky+) – which is a similar device hooked into your Sky digital satellite box – has changed my viewing habits.

In fact, I started watching yesterday’s highly amusing Major Fraud documentary about twenty minutes after it actually started and didn’t miss a single cough. Fantastic.

On this day…

2005: Deception Point
2005: Same Again?
2003: Airport Cafe

Good Friday

I am becoming very frustrated with the industry in which I work and I don’t want to turn this into a rant about work – which isn’t why I write this blog. I am, however, suffering as I seem unable to articulate my frustrations with the online advertising industry into anything like a coherent argument.

On a brighter note, it’s the Good Friday holiday and the weather seems very warm. I will go and sit on the land behind my house that I pass off as a garden. Happy Easter.

On this day…

2006: Spy Versus Spy
2005: Somewhere, Someday, Somebody, Somehow
2003: The Boys of Summer

What We Shouldn’t Be Talking About

Well, some good news for the online marketing industry at last:

Internet advertising is one of only two disciplines in the marketing services industry to report an increase in budgets over the first quarter of the year [Brand Republic] and if we all stop talking about these online ad topics, what will we say to each other?

The biggest percentage of responders (13.1%) thought that click-through rate discussions are a waste of time. The second anti-productivity prize went to Branding vs. Direct Response debates (7.9%) [Media Post]

Other links of note I have been pointed to today:

  • Whoever buys the assets of UMS – and there are companies sniffing around – they will be doing so when there are signs, albeit tentative, of a recovery in the bombed-out dotcom sector. There are plenty of undervalued companies around – and also a lot of money. However, investors are still nursing their losses from the dotcom collapse and are reluctant to part with it [Guardian via Plasticbag]
  • Craig Newmark observed people on the Net, on the WELL and in Usenet, helping one another out. In early ’95, he decided to help out, in a very small way, telling people about cool events around San Francisco like the Anon Salon and Joe’s Digital Diner. It spread through word of mouth, and became large enough to demand the use of a list server, majordomo, which required a name [craigslist in London via Kottke]
  • A huge advertising campaign focusing on heterosexual tourists risks ignoring the increasingly important homosexual visitor [Sunday Herald via Gay News Blog]
  • The new name for the Phoenix browser is ‘Firebird’ … In addition to securing Firebird, we’ve also got the OK from those contributing legal resources to use the name ‘Thunderbird’ for a mail client [via Mozillazine]

On this day…

2006: New Doctor New Earth
2005: Jack: Straight From The Gut


the Luster film posterJackson works in a record store and he lusts after Billy who he met at an orgy. Billy, however, likes it rough and prefers being beaten. Then cousin Jed arrives and Jackson shouldn’t really fall for his cousin, should he? Now a customer at the record store falls for Jackson (but he’s too clean cut for the poet/songwriter). There’s plenty of sex, a rock-star who feeds off the talents of others (and administers some of the beatings), a lesbian who also finds Jed intoxicating, and, ultimately, a more-or-less predictable ending.

another scene from the film lusterJustin Herwick as Jackson is reasonably good and Jonah Blechman is cute (he also has an underwear design company!) but, sadly, the film doesn’t engage quite as much as it could. It’s enjoyable but not brilliant. You can see the Clerks influences!

On this day…

2003: New Look Listen to Musak

New Look Listen to Musak

Screenshot of Musak, 26 March 2003So, I am having a little bit of a spring clean around here and you may notice that there is a new design. Over the coming days I guess I will have to make everything work properly so apologies in advance is something isn’t working.

Currently, my biggest problem is with the Man of the Moment project as all the images have thrown this new design (if you’re reading this in the archive, I hope it’s all fixed).

There were two reasons for this re-working of Listen To Musak. Firstly, I wanted a cleaner look than the old one. Secondly, I wanted to start incorporating more photographs without causing the download times (and bandwidth usage) to jump. I needed to find a way to do it. I think I have the idea now and the re-design will let me start!

Thanks to the beauty of style sheets and Movable Type, it’s only taken a couple of hours.

On this day…

2003: Luster

End Game

cover of the end game dvdAt the London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival I saw Endgame. It’s a unique take on the London Gangland film genre – in this gangster/sugar daddy (Mark McGann) keeps his rent boy housed in a plush apartment to turn tricks for those required to be kept onside. Without wanting to spoil the plot, rent boy Tom (Daniel Newman) escapes his prison, befriends neighbourly Americans who come to his aid and escape to a remote country cottage.

Normally, I don’t watch films with so much violence (there are scenes of rape and some horrific beatings) but it’s filmed/directed in a way that’s does keep you watching. Despite the things that happen to him, Tom’s character never really develops much beyond the chain-smoking cute-boy that starts the film, although you do begin to empathise with him as the film moves on. Mark McGann, however, is menacing and John Benfield (as Dunston, the corrupt detective) is threatening (if a little one-dimensional).

Disturbing but interesting.

On this day…

2004: 50 First Dates