Clapton

“Clapton is God” was written all over the world on buildings reflecting the guitarist’s influence on rock, rhythm and blues and other genres of modern music. It’s ironic when each album was released, Clapton wasn’t necessarily recognized as a seminal force or a technical master. Even with the release of Layla- the greatest rock and roll record ever made- didn’t bring the adulation that his contemporaries enjoyed. Part of that had to do with the aspects of Clapton’s low keyed sensibilities as a human being first and a musician who just wanted to play guitar.
The documentary below gives a good hearing to the guitar virtuoso and his influence on the rock world.

Apple: Strange Fruit

This documentary touts the legacy of Apple Corporation to the music and counter culture of the 60s and beyond. At the time the idea of signing unknown musical talent to recording contracts was unheard of- the Beatles wanted to share their good fortune with others in the music business. Make no mistake that Apple was a result of them paying confiscatory personal taxes in Great Britain, who’s tax system favored corporations who created jobs. Among the artists they signed included James Taylor and Mary Hopkins.

calm

This is a documentary on David Bowie’s early years. Has the usual interviews with folks who knew him or played in his early bands. Well worth the effort to see it even if Bowie wasn’t a favorite. David Bowie legacy was that you could do anything in the rock world and opened up other bands to many possibilities…

art

As many of you have noticed I’m a big fan of Eno. The appeal to me as having once been an artist, somewhat of a musician and numerous other pursuits in my life is that he represented along with Bowie and even Iggy Pop an artistic vision of entertainment and therefore self discovery that is multi-dimensional instead of a one trick pony. This is an important direction for mankind that bleeds over into other areas such as environment, economics and yes, even politics. I think it is important to strip away pre-conceived notions of what a profession and hence what an individual contributes to society. The joke about capitalism is that there is no room for thinkers, for dreamers unless you are making money for your masters. My vision of life is that we are here to enjoy ourselves, our family, our friends, and even others we don’t personally know, not cogs in some machine that grinds up bodies and spits out hamburger. That vision of life colors what I see, what I hear and what I say. In short, achievement is not a profit/debit world but one where the experience of life itself is to be celebrated not looked upon as drudgery…

ManWho

As a straight male, I didn’t identify with David Bowie’s image but loved his music as he had much to say about the world we live in. Rock musicians before Bowie were pretty much a one dimensional persona and he was an artist in the true sense of the word. His contemporary musicians rarely wrote their own songs with the exception of the truly big acts like The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Doors, Jefferson Airplane and a few others.
Bowie was different too as he was more than just a front man for a band- smooth singer, songwriter, saxophone, piano and guitar player, producer, designer of sets, album covers, not to mention his persona changes that reflected his changing personalities. All these added up to an interesting mix of styles that were imitated but never quite perfected. He was creative in the world of music that often as not didn’t make the kind of money the bigger bands brought to the corporate pocketbook.
I would rank his Diamond Dogs album based on Orwell’s 1984 as his best as every song was a hit and had something to say. He wrote it in the hopes having it done as a Broadway musical but was deemed too depressing for the contemporary shallowness of theater.
His albums starting from the Man Who Sold the World to Let’s Dance in 1983 were some of the most creative works in the history of music. Each album represented a different and highly reflective view of an artist such as Picasso who changed styles like we change socks.
The video below tries to capture the essence of Bowie but fails on many levels, ignoring his works and focusing more on the borderline folks around him rather than those who actually made the music with him. For me, that comes off as pretty superficial but it is worth viewing only as another view of a man who was truly a “changling.”

HouseofCards

I plowed into the third season of Netflix’s House of Cards with Kevin Spacey. If you haven’t watched it, you’ve missed not only a good script and acting, you get to ponder some of you preconceived notions of living in this “democracy.” Some will surely fall for blind obedience and while that is your choice, you short change your family, your country, yourself…

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Hedges

“There will be rebels. They will live in the shadows. They will be the renegade painters, sculptors, poets, writers, journalists, musicians, actors, dancers, organizers, activists, mystics, intellectuals and other outcasts who are willing to accept personal sacrifice. They will not surrender their integrity, creativity, independence and finally their souls. They will speak the truth. The state will have little tolerance of them. They will be poor. The wider society will be conditioned by mass propaganda to write them off as parasites or traitors. They will keep alive what is left of dignity and freedom. Perhaps one day they will rise up and triumph. But one does not live in poverty and on the margins of society because of the certainty of success. One lives like that because to collaborate with radical evil is to betray all that is good and beautiful. It is to become a captive. It is to give up the moral autonomy that makes us human. The rebels will be our hope.”

Chris Hedges, got a BA in English Literature at Colgate University, got a Masters of Divinity at Harvard Divinity School, journalist, author, educator

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bubble

“As the intelligence systems online gathered ever more data, new forms of guidance began to emerge. Social media created filters…complex algorithms that looked at what individuals liked, and then fed more of the same back to them.
In the process, individuals began to move, without noticing, into bubbles that isolated them from enormous amounts of other information. They only heard and saw what they liked. And the news feeds increasingly excluded anything that might challenge preexisting beliefs.”

Hypernormalisation, Adam Curtis BBC documentary