Friday, December 23, 2005

A One Man Guy
I want to talk up Rufus Wainwright who is just brilliant and for anyone who hasn’t heard him I recommend that you go out and buy “Want One” and “Want Two” immediately. Rufus is the son of the singer songwriter Loudon Wainwright III, and has a stormy relationship with his father which he has chronicled in the song “Dinner at Eight” off the “Want One” album. “Dinner at Eight” is a poignant tale of a father who walks out on his young child, “

“long ago, actually, in the drifting white snow you left me”

and it describes how the child is always trying to get back at the father for that betrayal.

No matter how strong
I'm gonna take you down
With one little stone
I'm gonna break you down
And see what you're worth
What you're really worth to me

But I want to focus on the song “One Man Guy” off the “Poses” album.

You might presume from the title, especially if you knew Rufus was gay, that “One Man Guy” was a tale of male monogamy. I think this is one of the connotations the song is playing with actually, but in fact it was written by his father who is of course straight and the song turns out to be about him.

Cause I'm a one man guy in the morning
Same in the afternoon
One man guy when the sun goes down
I whistle me a one man tune

However, there is a certain killer irony in Rufus covering his father’s song which is a paean to selfishness, especially with the lyric…

People depend on family and friends
And other folks to pull them through
I don't know why I'm a one man guy
Or why I'm a one man show
But these three cubic feet of bone –
and blood and meat are all I love and know

So I see the song as actually being a companion piece to “Dinner at Eight,” in that the son is trying to address the father using the very words that define his selfishness and therefore are also the rationalisation of his betrayal of Rufus. The song therefore is not so much of a homage but an accusation.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

[[IMMERSIVE]] martin heideggerThe third part of my notes on Heidegger's masterwork, Being and Time is now online (Part 1, Division 1). Instead of the old codger Heidegger, I have found a picture of the young pensive Heidegger - perhaps he is proof-reading the text of Being and Time: "the Being of Dasein is in each case mine," and thinking "what on earth did I mean by that?"

Well if you follow the link, you can find out. The drill is the same as before, if you have any comments or questions about the text, please submit them by commenting on this post. I have decided to break the text into chunks, since at 187kb it was becoming a bit unweildy - and some of us still have to use 56k modems! Hopefully the navigation is pretty intuitive so that the only headaches should be with the content - he he.

link: go to the index page here
[[ZEITGEIST]] If you're a webmaster of a tab site, this man wants you in jail
Meet Lauren Keiser, if you are the webmaster of a guitar tab site he says he wants to put you in jail. Kasner is the president of the Music Publishers' Association (MPA) which represents US sheet music companies and who launched its first large-scale legal campaign against guitar tab sites recently.

Kasner is quoted as saying that
he did not just want to shut websites and impose fines, saying if authorities can "throw in some jail time I think we'll be a little more effective".

David Israelite, president of the National Music Publishers' Association, added his concerns. "Unauthorised use of lyrics and tablature deprives the songwriter of the ability to make a living, and is no different than stealing," he said.

Hmmm, this is a difficult area. A Technological shift has made certain protectionist practices somewhat redundant and reaffirmed as basic truth - that all music want to be free! The fact that sheet music publishing is an anachronistic, exploitative and unfair practice does not seem to have crossed Messers Kasner and Isrealite's minds. After we have all heard the story of those fat-cat artists driving around in stretch limos and the poor publishers struggling to feed themselves in one room apartments - yeah right!

The first thing to say about tab sites is that people do not go out and buy the music and copy out the notation. Usually they sit a home with a song and their guitar and work out how to play it from scratch, for the love of it. Then they publish the results of their efforts online as a gesture of pride, as well as offering a helping hand to other musicians. I have to say that I love tab sites, but I often find that the tabs on them are wrong and I have to sit at a piano usually and work out what is happening (mind you that is exactly the same with sheet music, some of which is appallingly notated). But I digress, tab sites are still incredibly useful, since a lot of the hard work has been already done for you.

Now as for the legal implications. I don't know where publishers stand on this, because strictly speaking it is reverse engineering not copying. Reverse engineering is something that computer companies did in the 1980s to copy IMB's largely third party desktop PC. It ushered in the age of the personal computing. What happened was that a project manager (for Compaq say) would get a group of boffins in a room and tell them, "I a need a component that can do such and such, can you design one?" and "voila!" you had a IBM clone in the shops: leaching vast amounts off IMB profits. I would have thought a similar defence could be tried in the case of tab sites, since the songs on them can be considered to be reversed engineered.

For the source story go to the BBC

Here are some completely balanced and impartial comments on this story

Some good tab sites (visit them while you still can) are: