Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Lights off (South) Broadway

I will make my 2nd annual Holiday appeal to all my friends, clients and co-conspirators in the Arts to avail themselves of a driving tour of East-Central Lemay near the Mississippi River before it’s too late.

There is no display anywhere that comes close. If you are looking for a Wildwood McMansion festooned with lights designed by Himmler’s descendants, purchased in 2010 (and soon to be trash canned), this isn’t your place. But if you want completely idiosyncratic designs with often-ancient lighting sets carefully maintained by people too poor to buy new ones against a background of housing where no two homes are alike, plus narrow streets and close set-backs so that you can almost reach out and touch the displays … go thither. I will stack the denizens of Lemay up against the trendies in the Central West End, Benton Park, or Soulard for refined artistic sensibilities and pure right-brainism.

Although I have taken some iphone shots that I may post later, they do not really do it justice. However, I jotted down a few addresses of note:

318 Lenhardt
137 W. Cartwright
118 W. Cartwright

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Howard Stern Wimps Out

“One of the keys to the deal was Sirius would be distributed on other platforms, such as the iPhone, which hadn't been in place before.“.

You don’t need Sirius to “distribute” you to iPhone.

So even Howard doesn’t have the guts to dump Sirius. Had he gone straight to iPhone with his own app … that would have been the cutting edge move we expect from Howard. Instead, he played it safe. Took the guaranteed money. Booo! Now he has to worry about every mobile device app – available now and invented in the next five years - ripping Sirius off, and Sirius getting aggressive and suing Stern fans just like the record industry sued the fans of their artists in the 2000s.

If you are Howard Stern, you *want* entrepreneurs inventing apps out there for you. Or you want to develop an app yourself that better integrates the suggestion with the purchase. Right now on Sirius, it’s the same premise of radio that it was with Fibber McGee and Molly: “I might remember to go out and purchase Life Lock or I might not.” But what if a free trial of Life Lock was waiting for you on your Stern app, linked with your credit card, password-protected and encrypted in Safari?

Plus ... what about the show as a Podcast so that people could listen on demand? Wouldn't listenership increase? How important is that "live" feel? Most syndicated shows are delayed an hour or two anyway.

Howard Stern to stay with Sirius Satellite Radio; signs new five-year contract.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Stackridge's American Journal

8a. California Dreaming - Part 2

Monday 25th Oct ( D-Day ?!)

Up earlier for another attempt at consuming an American breakfast @ I-
( I failed to finish all of my pancakes ! ) . Granny arrived at the
Inn @ 11.00am & we all gathered to check out & load our bags in the
van. A
short drive to CBS TV - aptly named "Television City" - a huge complex
buildings with a number of vast car parks surrounding. After identity
checks at the security gate we were allowed to drive in and following
instructions drove to a designated area. We were all feeling slightly
overwhelmed by
it all , but when we found 8 parking spaces roped off with a sign
Stackridge on each we stepped up a notch & began to feel like real
stars. (
The other spaces were for our special guests ). Waiting for us was
lovely Brittany Perlin , with whom many E mails & phone calls had
taken place
over the previous weeks. She ushered us to a reception area where we
for security to let us through more doors, then we had a long walk
corridors bustling with busy people popping in & out of offices . We
passed several studios with signs saying "On Air" etc. , some open
sets being constructed for shows , did not see anybody "famous".
Finally we reached the Craig Ferguson "area". Clare & Sarah had their
dressing room , the boys had another. Across the corridor was "The
Room " , staffed by some lovely young ladies, endless coffee, big
fridge of
beer, and a bit later massive piles of food arrived - buffet style for
us to
help ourselves to whenever we liked. I think all of us had now reached
stage of " Hey I could get used to this".
The backline gear arrived from the studios where the band rehearsed
day before - on time - Jerry arrived . Technicians swarmed around as
we had a
look at the studio where Craig's show is recorded. Everything went
clockwork - at exactly the time on our schedule we got the call for
up & soundchecks. All went well. I sat in the audience section
watching ,
the camera crew were already trying out angles and shots . Then it was
for a run through of the actual song , several times while the sound
adjusted & tweeked & the producer decided on the camera plot.
All done it was then time for .....make up !!!! Sarah & Clare really
enjoyed this ( there was a strict embargo on us taking any photos
anywhere but
I did manage to get a few of the girls getting their hair & faces
before I was told off & I had to agree to pack the camera away ) .
James &
then Crun were stunned to find they were sat next to Condoleeza Rice
as she
got her make up done- she congratulated them on "the music" she had
apparantly been watching & listening during the run through !!!!
Sad bit coming up ( well for me & Clare). She had joined me on the
roof of
the building where there was a smoking area & an amazing panoramic
view of
LA/Hollywood with the famous sign in the distance. While we were up
Craig himself popped into the Green Room & shook hands with the rest
of the
band , told them how his older brother had turned him on to "Bowler
back in the 70,s & that he had just done 2 sell out gigs @ Carnegie
where , once again he used Last Plimsoll as his intro music. Later he
sent a
hand written note down from his (secret) office with the words " Fuck
- Yes
". when he heard the music.
Now the audience were ushered in to their seats, David & I had to
stand at
the back ( imagine raked seating for about 100 , a bit like The Rondo
Bath ). The warm up man came on to do his bit, get the audience
clapping, laughing in all the right places then ............SHOW
TIME !!!!
He announced "Please everybody -give it up for STACK RIDGE ! " & on
strode , looking great, full of confidence , as if they did this every
& the audience went wild.
Continuity man stands in front of them counts down from 10 , on 1
his hand down & bang - there is Glenn with the piano intro & the
camera is
on him with Jerry & drums in the near background & the girls
( looking
gorgeous in their new black sparkly dresses ) in the far background.
changes to one at the front focusing on James and .....oh dear , there
suddenly some feed back . Floor manager does the classic finger across
"cut" sign & the band grind to a halt. While the technos sort out the
suddenly Jerry yells " They are English , I am American". Audience
cheers & laughes . Then Clare shouts " I,m A Scot " and somebody in
audience stands up & yells "So Am I ". More applause & laughter.
Warm up chappie does his intro again , the countdown - and they storm
the song & this time it all goes perfectly . 3.45 mins later -
have done it , nailed it , sailed through it. They get a genuinely
response from the studio audience as they troop off .
Back in the green room ( while the gear is quickly moved off & the
is set for Craig & the warm up man keeps the audience amused we are
all able
to watch a playback of the Stackridge performance on a big screen TV -
I have to tell you they looked & sounded incredible.
We all stayed around in the Green Room to watch while Craig recorded
part for that night's show - and jolly good he is too. C. Rice was one
his guests & she was great & funny .
Several of the floor staff came by to congratulate us , saying "one of
best band's we have ever worked with" . I made sure that they, the
make up
girls & the servers in the Green Room all got CD,s as souvenirs .
Saying farewell & thanks to Jerry M . we were ushered back to our
by Brittany who had hovered around all afternoon to make sure
was OK for us.
I suppose it must have been about 7.00pm by the time we hit the road
of L.A for the journey to our next port of call.

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Washington-Texas jinx (a/k/a "Santa Anna's curse")

No Team located in Washington or Texas has won a world series game since 1933.

This includes 177 seasons of baseball.

50 years of Washington Senators/Texas Rangers baseball
49 years of Houston baseball
The last 27 Years of old Washington Senators baseball
6 years of Washington Nationals baseball
34 years of Seattle Mariners baseball
1 Year of Seattle Pilots baseball

I call this the Santa Anna curse. President Santa Anna of Mexico hexed his twin enemies of Washington and Texas in the future sport of beisbol.

UPDATE 11/2/2010: Although it has been pointed out that it is still the case that no team located in Texas or Washington has won a World Series since 1924 and that the team that perpetuated the streak this year is the representative of a hispanic-named city, San Francisco,  that, therefore, the General Santa Anna curse lives on.   But, I declare that after Texas' lone World Series win in 2010, the curse has ended.  Appropriately: 177 seasons of baseball frustration ended in the year in which Santa Anna was presidente of Mexico exactly 177 years ago exactly.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Listening to Sunday football on the radio: ruminations of a casual fan of a poor team

2 Quick Hits:

#1: I am a very casual football fan. And don't listen to sports radio at all. But I do listen to Rams football pre- post- and game coverage on KLOU and now 101.1 ... as a form of background noise/"Sunday nerve therapy" for me, if nothing else. Consequently, I don't get too low when the Rams are down nor too high when they're on the uptick.

But the enthusiasm, post-game yesterday had me tuning out. I couldn't stand it another second. They actually read, with approval, some guy's text into the station which said, "Dallas [Super Bowl] here we come!" instead of instantly hitting delete as they should*. So much for 'editorial sifting'. (I haven't even learned the names of who does that show yet.) I mean i am as glad as everyone else that the team is showing some promise, but ...

And how long do these post-game shows go on for? Monday morning? I feel like telling 101.1, "Don't you have a format to go home to?".

#2 I consider it one of the flaws of football that of all the sports that have 6 or more positions, it is the sport with 22 positions that is most influenced by one position. And that a team can change overnight with an addition/subtraction at that position (QB). It's probably great for league parity, but it's too unrealistic for my tastes. "Let 'em rebuild", I say. A good lo-o-o-ng time.

And all the other 21 guys that sucked last year are suddenly [i]great[/i]? Why weren't they great last year on their own? Not enough pride?? Oh, they were down in their dobbers because they didnt have the right quarterback and now that they have the right quarterback they're "free, free, FREE to be who they really are"??? (sorry about accidentally breaking into a lisp there)

Anyway, can we buy these 101.1 guys some Xanax so those of us in the listening audience don't have to?

* The St. Louis Rams are 1-2 this season and have notched a whole six wins the last three seasons.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Hype vs. Innovation: Music Startup 'Beyond Oblivion' Highlights the Age-Old Battle

I naturally recoil from hype like “Music Liberation” and gimmicks like a “Countdown to Insurrection” (with a clock ticking live to the second). Even the name itself, Beyond Oblivion, is over the top.

It’s natural to be proud of your invention. But anybody hyping that much makes me think immediately the Emperor has no clothes. We have been working on the Digital Content Exchange (boring name isn't it?) for 8 years. That is a good sign that we're on the right track because a problem as big as piracy (a better way to put it: artists not being able to control the use of their creations in digital space) is a big problem that takes a thoughtful solution.

The key thing to recognize is that it is not a legal problem, it is a technological problem. Solved the same way we solve everything else in society since the Cotton Gin (and of course loo-o-o-ng before that): innovation. What has set the industry on the wrong road IMO is too much chasing of hype without innovation. Not having the patience or taking the time to assess new ideas and innovation. The music industry has adopted the same policy for music start-ups that they used for artists in the 1990s and 2000s: look for the buzz, and then sign it to a contract. That may be okay for a pet food website ("How many users do you have? Sold!") but it is not a mature way to go about solving a technological problem of this magnitude.

We don’t need hype, we need a solution. I guess when it comes to solving this problem, we are asking the music industry to go back to 1970s style A&R: listening to demos quietly and thoughtfully and deciding, "Is this the right stuff?".

Newscorp has invested in BO. I hope this time they got it right.

Friday, September 17, 2010

How tech companies are devaluing music

This is a smart three-minute video that I highly recommend, showing how Google and Apple treat the music industry like an ugly step-child. Google and Apple’s insouciance about the music industry’s woes is especially demonstrated by all the help Google and Apple give you to do more with your pirated tunes. Googapple are, so far as we can tell anyway, agnostic as to whether the music was legally purchased or not. Remember all those people that stole music via Napster/Kazaa and forwent buying CDs in 1999-2004 … when all you could really do readily with the illegal file is play it through cruddy speakers? Just think of how much more they are probably stealing *now* that they have iPods, iTunes, and the new Google Music service which is supposed to scan users’ hard drives and make that music available to the user anywhere from the cloud!

For background on the Google Music service plan rumors, see this from TechCrunch. (Hint: Net Neutrality in the cross-hairs).

Just so I am not accused of posing problems only and no solutions: piracy is a technological problem and must have a technological solution. We know how to find this solution: we must innovate. Technological innovation. So far, the powers that be have not even begun to innovate. Because of parochial, short-sighted interests, all the solutions which have been grasped at have involved either giving up on ownership or giving up on copyright law or sometimes both.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010