When I got on a train yesterday I read a few competing stories. Some said he was dead. Others said there was a hoax that said he was dead and he was alive.
I concluded he was alive.
When I got home it was confirmed he was dead. At this point I didn’t know what to think and his death still hasn’t registered. I like a lot of his stuff very much – I have all the VU albums and a few of his solo records. I have a bootleg of his pre-VU ‘Primitives’ work including ‘Do the Ostrich’.
But I think the latest album I have is 1973’s Berlin, so I can’t sit here and say his death is going to affect me. This normally wouldn’t stop me from having a bit of meditative listen to the music, but in this case my brain is confused and still won’t believe the guy is dead. To add to this, I haven’t listened to any of his recent music, and it goes without saying I’ve never met him. So basically he’s as alive to me today as he was yesterday or last week.
I’m just writing this down because for me, being a bit of a slow one to take these things up, this is the first death on social media I’ve witnessed where it was all very messy and confusing. This leaves me not sure what to believe, even after the facts have been confirmed.
Just checking out this new Spotify Play button thing. Actually it’s underwhelming – it doesn’t play it for you inline – it just starts up Spotify (at least on my Mac it does anyway). So I fail to see what the advantage is over just having a link using the spotify URI.
But in checking out, I figured out that there really is a heck of a lot of stuff on Spotify now. Wow. I mean a lot of stuff still isn’t, but they have some seriously obscure LPs. Peg o My Heart by Robert Maxwell. I wasn’t expecting that and couldn’t imagine a market for it. Loads of records I hunted down fanatically on LP or CD – Knef for example.
One really good thing about it is that it can confirm suspicions – such as my suspicion that it would be impossible to do a decent cover of Se Telefonando by Mina. There are dozens of random recordings/karaoke tracks. All dreadful!
We rarely listen to music not on headphones in my office, but a colleague asked me to throw something on that afternoon (that is, a few hours before his death was announced) and I chose one of his tracks.
I first learned to programme (forgetting an unconsequential flirtation with BASIC in the early 80s on the Vic 20) in 2000. I had been working on websites for the last 5 years and I could deal with HTML but the actual programming and interaction of forms and data seemed beyond me.
In the autumn of 2000, almost by accident, I came up with an idea for a website and decided to learn PHP so I could build it. While I don’t regret doing that, the standard of my coding left something to be desired. I actually learned how to do it (wrong) from a particular book. This was the one. Even the front cover is evocative to me now. I remember that $29.99 seemed a lot to pay for such a thin book. But then again, if such a thin book could teach me how to do this, wasn’t that a good thing?
It actually took many nights of staying up learning stuff and plugging away. I’m still not sure if my partial programming knowledge (I had worked among programmers) was a help or a hindrance. Anyway, in March 2001 my site was ready and I unleashed it on the world. Incredibly people actually went to it! I announced it on a music mailing list of which I am a longtime member. The nascent blogging community picked it up and I probably had about 50 people linking into it within a week, and member numbers grew dramatically. And the site was kind of cool. Basic, but kind of cool. There wasn’t so much of this around back then remember. I then started this very blog just a few weeks later.
Anyway, as I said, my code seriously blew chunks. I had been putting off fixing it properly for many years (and this is in spite of having become a reasonable programmer in the meantime). Now in 2011, my programming career having pretty much come and gone, I have gone in and fixed it up? Why? Because the number of bots trashing my server pushed me over the edge. I have hardened the settings and had to reprogramme a bunch of things to get them to work at all.
Now, what I really need to do is update the whole concept of musicaltaste.com and remake the whole thing for the modern world. But one step at a time! In the meantime, touch wood, the thing is safe and will stay up there for a bit.