Why “The Clash City Rockers” is a Well-formed Song

UPDATE:

It seems that I converted Mick Jones to librarianship after this video.    (Yeah, that’s the ticket.)   Actually, he really just opened up his own collection to the public library.   Bottom line is, Mick understands the importance of making knowledge of all kinds and formats available to the public.   Thanks Mick!

(July 3, 2009)

A long time ago, I used to be a Tutorial Assistant for a Listening to Music course put on by Adrian Hoffman.   Usually at the time when we discussed the “Classical Era” (ie. Mozart, Haydn, early Beethoven) there was a lecture on form.   Often, form was expressed as a tool for absolute music (ie. how to give a song a structured feel to it).    I always itched at doing a lecture on how form can impact program music (music that tells a story or paints a picture) – and especially I wanted to do this lecture using a piece of popular music.

So I did an explanation of form using “The Clash City Rockers” by The Clash.   I should note that I believe that the brief samples I use here qualify under fair use policies, in particular because I am using them in a tutorial about music, adding considerable amount of my own knowledge and material in the process.    Got any other good examples of how the form of a rock song really suits the lyrics/content well?

UPDATE:

You can go through all the verses of the song and perform the same exercise, actually.     Third verse has “everybody gone dry” on the “down” section” and “plug into the aerials that poke in the sky” in the “up” section (sky/up works really well, don’t it?).    Then, the suburbs are down, and the “you won’t succeed unless you try” get the up.   Very simple “up-down” technique that does alot to help the song makes sense.   I’m always impressed when I see this amount of craft put into a song.

UPDATE July 5, 2009

Just watched this with my wife and must admit that the front needs considerable editing.   (yeah, I’m babbling alot about whatever and whatnot – I think I couldn’t decide whether this was a video blog post or a tutorial on music).

Skip to about 1:30 to get to the fun part (where I use the “W” to show how the song is well-formed).   I’m going to spend some time editing this down shortly and I’ll repost it.

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How You Look Is Part of the Story

Inspired by Joel Kelly’s first experiment with Videoblogging, I grabbed a flip and made my first attempt at video blogging.     In the aftermath, Joel noticed that people wanted to talk about his vacation beard more than what he was actually saying.

On the whole, the advantage to video is that you have appearance and sound to add to your blogging palette.   We shouldn’t be surprised that people comment on such things, even if it seems inane at times.

Halifax Rentals Go Viral

UPDATE:   I HAZ Embed Code now!

Killam Properties (the people who run Quinpool Tower) team up with Picnic Face ( the people behind the PowerThirst Video ) to bring you Landlord Lou, the only sane presence in a world full of murderous property thugs, annoying roomates and er, WTH?   a dancing panda?   (I’m not mentioning his siberian white tiger girlfriend.)

Yes, of course I know its an ad.    But I’m happy to see a little viral action coming out of my hometown.   And, I’ll let you sell me something as long as you entertain me first.  🙂

Cory Doctorow at ALA

Cory Doctorow at ALA

Originally uploaded by cindiann.

Well, if that’s isn’t something. Someone gave Cory Doctorow a Library Society of the World Ribbon! (It’s the black and gold one under his nametag).

If you are not sure what LSW is, then maybe you should check out the Meebo Room and find out.    But first, you’ll have to contact me to get the password.

Librarians of the World unite!

For Local Readers: Halifax Social Media Group Meet-Up

Last month, we had some great fun attending the Halifax, Nova Scotia Social Media Group Meet-up.    We’re doing it a second time, and I hope anyone in town will consider joining on in for some beverage and chat.

In case you do not want to hit that link, it’s going on May 22 at the Argyle Pub (on Argyle, down from the Pizza corner) from 6 to 8 pm.   We’ll be around the bar.

It’s pretty informal, and we usually have one or two people get up and say 2-5 minutes worth of “what are you doing around social media these days?”   Bring some business cards with you, as there are people from all walks of life there.

Passion Quilt Meme

off to work..

Originally uploaded by *Solar ikon*.

Ok I was tagged by Cindi and Amanda for the Passion Quilt Meme. I’m not a meme-ish sort of person — probably because anyone I tag usually does not end up doing the meme.

So, you are supposed to grab a photo from Flickr’s Creative Commons or other photo directory, and caption it with a statement that you feel passionate about for children.

My caption for this photo is:

Follow the path that works.

There’s so much mumbo-jumbo out there, and to be truthful — I’m glad for it. Mumbo-jumbo makes the world go round. If it didn’t, there would be no such thing as YouTube, Flickr or even libraries for that matter. And there’s a mumbo jumbo for just about everyone.

The only problem is when you are following your own bit of mumbo jumbo, realize that it is doing nothing for you and yet you still keep wasting your time on it. That’s when you must, for your own sake, step off the path a bit and move to something better. Do not deny yourself this courtesy. And if you think this courtesy is going to hurt someone you love, well, be gentle yet firm. You’ll probably find that they were on the wrong path too.

No need to be a mumbo jumbo snob, either. To each their own. Love the mumbo jumbo. Be kind to yourself first.

And one more thing. . .. If you are in a room. Look for the person who is obviously out of place: that person who wears a mohawk at a business luncheon; a summer dress in a power suit atmosphere; or whatever makes them look unique in that crowd.

That’s the person you want to talk to to find some wicked mumbo jumbo.   Go say “hello!”

Tagging new Halifax social media peeps:

Ben
Lauren
Carman
Jen
Shannon (who wasn’t there, but said she wanted to be — and her blog is cool and I need a fifth.)

Navigating Online Cultures

I’ve had a tongue-in-cheek post-in-waiting for a while now that would look at traits I notice in online cultures as a way of understanding whether or not a particular service is for you or your library.    It had been percolating, percolating, percolating. . . and then I read Greg Schwartz’s post on Managing His Own Social Network.   In it, he describes how he offers a quiz to people who request being his “friend” because he does not want people in his network that do not want to converse with him.   I appreciate this trait alot.   I met Greg at CIL and you can immediately tell that he does not take interpersonal contact lightly.   He is all the positive aspects of extroversion personified.    I don’t blame him for expecting dialogues from his online friends.   I approach things a little differently, because I am more than happy to have people lurk around in the social networking world (so long as there is no spam).   Like any or all things interpersonal, there’s alot of discretion that happens within and without social networks.   The only way to tell if something is going to work is to try it out.   Or is there. . . ?  

One of the things I’ve decided is very important is to understand a bit of the culture of an online space.  I thought, “If we can look at a few features, measure them on specific scales, and then align them with our own personalities — then maybe we can have a tool to see if the service works for the organization.”    Well, as a tester, I have 12 things that could be assessed on a social site to give a flavor of what does or does not work for individuals or organizations.   For added fun, I gave them goofy names.

Here they are:

Friendsliness  

  • Friendliness would refer to the extent that a service expects you to collect friends as badges on a profile.   MySpace and Facebook would score high on this as they practically force you to expand your network into outerspace.   Twitter, surprisingly, would not rate as high — you can follow, but it really is more on your own terms.  The “friend” aspect of Del.icio.us and Flickr really focuses more on whether an individual likes the content than it does on whether there is a social connection between two or more individuals. 

Ratingsliness

  • How much does ratings matter to a social site?    For sites like Digg, StumbleUpon and Amazon, it’s just about everything.   Del.icio.us, by comparison, is much less Ratings friendly.   Delicious doesn’t care if people think something is cool — they merely want to know how many people bookmarked it.

Folksonomics

  • How important are tags in the service?  LibraryThing and Delicious score high.   Facebook scores low.

Hiveability

  • Hiveability would describe the extent to which a readership needs engagement, discussion and even outright flamewars to remain successful.   I would pit Wikipedia and the Blogosphere high on this scale.

“You Ness”

  • “you” ness would refer to the extent our narcissistic desire to show people our whims factors into the web service.   YouTube is the obvious example, but Flickr applies as well.

Collabability

  • Different from hiveability in that it merely opens doors to encourage more than one user to act on a project at the same time, Google Documents, PbWiki would score higher on this than, say, Wikipedia because they provide easy answers to specific collaboration problems.   One would not want to say “let’s go on Wikipedia to work on a project!”

Anonymanimousness

  • Does it matter to the web service that you use your real name for your identity?   This is an interesting one.   For example, Twitter does not force you to use your real name, but I think it matters alot whether or not you do.   Facebook requires it.   Del.icio.us actually makes it pretty hard to make your identity known.

Dumbanomics

  • This is not intended to be an insult at all.   How friendly and/or forgiving is the service to newbies?   Is there an expectation of lurkership, or can people just go ahead and be dumbasses in spite of themselves?    The easy-to-use Google and Yahoo! products are definitely high scorers for being accessible to just about anyone.   Metafilter would score lower — not because they are unfriendly to newbies, but because they work hard to ensure that the content appearing on the site is relatively asshat-free.

Graphicality

  • Some services depend on graphics more than others.    This should be fairly easy, but Flash/Gaming sites like Newgrounds and Kongregate would score high.   Text-based social sites like Twitter and delicious would score lower.

Contribattitude

  • How much does the site depend on the contributions of users?   Blogger and WordPress are high on this, of course.   Let’s put BoingBoing.net on this one as a second tier, because user comments often add a lot to what they have to say.   Miniclip, the gaming site, doesn’t score high, because if all the reviews on the site were gone, you’d still have the games to play.

Carrotomics

  • Does the site provide something of values in return for your participation?   The classic examples are Second Life and World of Warcraft.  The more you play, the more points, money, levels or whatever you score adding to your prestige.   Your average blog gets attention through usage stats, but that’s not the same — those stats exist anyway, not a “carrot” provided by the service.

Noseyamourousness

  • To what extent does the service enable the nosey online user to peek into the lives of others.   I won’t link them, but porn sites would be an obvious qualifier.   YouTube, Flickr, Twitter, and MySpace all appeal to the nosier side of human behavior as well.

That’s my 12 for now.   Even as I write this, I could go on with more examples.   For instance, how tolerant is a service of profanity?   What are the privacy settings and TOS like?  Add your own, please!  

I also think some of my suggestions could be grouped together to make a more tidy unit of measure.   Let me know if you have any ideas.

I think it would be a good thing to look through this list and see what would match library culture the best.   What do you think?