Thankful

This Thanksgiving
As I turned to face the turkey,
She gave me the hairy eyeball
And asked,
“What have you done to deserve me?”

So I wracked my brains
And thought of the year past,
But all I could bring up
Were all the times my
Personal flag flew at half mast

I’ve won a bag full of adrenaline
And some very close shaves
I think of all the money
Adventurers blow
That I have just saved!

And I’m not an insomniac,
I’m down as soon as I hit the pillow,
But what I do in the hours
Before I snooze
Is something I’ll never know

But the work is going just fine!
You’re not falling in the grind,
Yes it’s true, but the only
Reason for that
Is I’m bored out of my mind

I have all the time
And none of the motivation
Remind me of that and we’ve
Hit panic station:
I’m the embodiment of generations

So I frown at the turkey,
And what I’m going to say
Has nought yo do
With my fears
But it works anyway.

I say, “Hear, hear, turkey, you’re a meat!
Evolution’s got you beat,
I’m a Human with my tools
And a civilisation built by fools
In the upper echelons of philosophy

And you’re nought but a dinner treat to me
So you’re getting served tonight
By capitalistic decree
And for all we speak of thankfulness,
This has nought to do with me.”

Fruitful Musings

“Matter can neither be created nor destroyed”, said Antoine  Lavoisier.

Then explain fruit flies.

My room can be an almost perfect vacuum at times, (with a WHOLE lot of approximations, which seems good enough for physics and so is good enough for me cuz I’m hardly home) yet those things manage to get in, every week. I’m starting to suspect they arise out of the ashes of my dustbin.

It’s just pure putrid energy, gathering all the essence it can from its surroundings, slowly and gradually forming a tiny mass in its centre, solidifying black… and voila, all of a sudden there’s a new buzzer born. Sexual reproduction is overrated. Do it like fruit flies: just sheer, pure energy, willpower and thought. Lord supreme over those gigantic oafs, those brainless creatures they call humans, so weak, so needy, so dependent on another of their kind to reproduce. They vainly search for so-called advanced life on distant planets, and at the edges of their knowledge of the universe; pity the puny beings, they’d hardly know that the pinnacle of evolutionary perfection hovers under their very nose… and in typical mindless human fashion, they swat it aside. But pity the fools, for they know not what they miss; what they’re spending billions searching for! Haughty scientists, cloudy crystal ball-gazers; if they ever knew the truth… hehe.

Puny bipedal losers.

They call us small, weak, say we live only upto 16 weeks; what do they know, for our kind, it is enough. We have perfected every art form they could not! Efficiency, a full life in sixteen weeks! They spend that long moping over their failed relationships in life. Locomotion, we’re not dependent on gas-spurting guzzlers to take us everywhere, neither will you see us cussing at a lamppost if our heaving bull refuses to move forward: the poor race, it’s not even the master its own creation! They look at acrobats and marvel, call it an extraordinary skill, when we have perfected daredevilry itself: the breathtaking trajectories, the sharp turns, we live on the the edge!

Ask any other species of animal (the categorisation their “civilisation” has spent centuries trying to distance itself from) who the most annoying is and that’s where the puny race really shines. Interfering, annoying, bumbling idiots! They use us in trial and haste: experiments indeed! Bzzzzing bzzzes!

(Sorry, we don’t normally give into the lowlife human penchant for cussing and stressing out over naught. It won’t happen again. Word of a true ‘civilisation’.)

Yet it seems we have outdone them: annoy the annoyance! They swat at us, and we’re certain it’s not out of joy. How quickly we elicit a reaction from them! Our shiny-eyed fruit fly-scientists have benefitted dozens from clocking their emotions: they get frustrated fast and give way to easy mistakes: the faster we get to our food, the more we’re making of our sixteen weeks than they ever will!

Sixteen weeks. They make it sound like such a tragic thing. We’re of the opinion that it’s actually good. It helps keep things in perspective. You eat, you live, you play, and then, with the sheer power of your superior mind, you leave your legacy to carry on for you, and then you die.
We haven’t much evidence that humans work that way: their little trinkets seem to get in the way. Their minds are so very precious to them: use it or lose it they say. They work so hard to give themselves meaning over their aeons of time, it’s almost a little heartbreaking to our kind. But of course, we understand, they must find some use for their brains, you see. Not every species can use its mind’s seemingly infinite power to create life itself.

Oh, and all those fruit fly cloning experiments?

Please, that was all us.

Social

Sometimes, you just have nothing to say. I’ve often had nothing to say, I’ve just hung around wondering how people talk so much.

Then they turn and hit you with the s-bomb. You’re so silent!

Yes, well, if all you can talk about is the last wedding you all were at and all the food you ate there, there is no way in a million lives I can contribute to that chatter.

I’ve realised of late that my way of coping with this, anticipating that dreaded blow, has been verbal diarrhoea: oh you wanna talk food? Allow me to divert and rant about how spicy this was, and then hijack the conversation and start talking about the history of spices and why all countries in the world wanted to set sail for India back in the set sail times (hint: thé answer is spices). Then I plan to dart and run away before you can throw any kind of bomb at me. I’m out.

Or you can be nice and give me the wifi password and we can avoid this whole mess. Keep me leashed, I guess, if you value your sanity.

And yeah, of course you’ll probably end up in one of my comics. That’s the sole reason why artists exist. We love annoying you.

Doll

Keep that hair short
And your eyes up
Off your phone
In vigilant zone
Knees together;
Attention!
And your jacket zipped
And face, a calm ocean.
And devoid of all emotion
And do truly believe
For all intents and purposes
To be ordinary works fine
Works to slip in with the masses
So is this a military test?
A spy mission to disperse unrest
With the world at our behest?
Well, don’t raise an eyebrow
Don’t bat a lid;
That’s just our everyday
Subway trip.

The Death of The Album

Circa 2014, rock band Muse declared the album dead. One of music’s most lasting legacies since the emergence of recorded music, the longest format, with its relative simplicity, the band claimed, in the face of the digitalisation and ubiquity of music on the internet, had perished. 

They weren’t entirely wrong. A statistical study published on the website Statistica recorded the annual music album sales from the year 2007 to 2017 (with ‘album’ including “CD, CS, LP and digital albums”). Most years, total album sales fell lower than their preceding years. Between the years 2016 – 2017, album sales dropped by 9.4 million units from 205.5 million albums being sold in 2016 to 169.1 million in 2017. In fact, only in the year 2011 did album sales see a marginal bump up from its predecessor (from 326.2 million to 331 million, a rise of only 1.5%). Overall album sales had fallen from just above 500 million units in 2007, to under 200 million in 2017. With streaming today giving many people the choice between paying $20 for 12 tracks or $10 a month for access to a seemingly infinite music database, the shift is hardly shocking. 

In today’s age of digital music, where the number of streams and views on a song online is bigger news than an album’s garnering platinum success, the standalone single has emerged as the most popular format. It’s almost logical: give a time-pressed world a short three-minute catchy song with a video that looks good on YouTube (but perhaps not in your mother’s hands) and sticks in their head, and the world will reciprocate with its attention. It’s as simple a thing as giving people what they need. The radio will take care of the rest. 

Will it run for forty minutes?
Credits: thrillist.com

In today’s age, people want variety, entertainment and familiarity rolled into one, and they want it quick. 
The fifty-minute Length Play can hardly keep up with anything less than a traffic jam. The concentration asked of most experimental records won’t keep your eye on the road during your morning jog. And it’s no fun trying to keep up with something completely unfamiliar in rhyme or rhythm in the shower or on the dance floor. This is where the album, with its structure, discipline, and some may say, conformity, loses out in 2018. It’s also where your curated Spotify playlist wins. 

Listening to the modern chart radio reveals a few patterns.
 Either in the contents of the lyrics, vocal and tonic technique, baselines or drum machine patterns; something seems homogenous. Something sounds familiarly like the last fifty songs you’ve heard. Something in the song knows what makes your foot tap from past trials and is here to serenade you again. 
Out-of-breath crooners are back in fashion. Trance baselines have been in for a few years and stubbornly refuse to leave the charts alone. Acid bass drops get you moving. Minimalistic drum taps interfere the least with your dance floor groove. (As a disclaimer, this is all terminology coming from a rock music listener who’s spent way too many holiday car trips with the Tops 40’s radio.)
There’s always a story, either vocal or instrumental, that you’ve heard before  and it becomes easier to fill in the rest. 
But there’s always something almost obligatorily new: a synth melody in a new key, a different chord progression (Hmm, perhaps playing ‘A#-D#’ this time instead of playing ‘D-A’ will sound extremely novel), a new instrument thrown into the mix; something to make a case for your argument in favour of variety. 

What this sums up, to me, is a tired, wary society. We like our variety, in fact we’re wired for it, but only in micro dosages. We cling to familiarity and will take our blankets and pillow along with it. This is a generation that has seen more than its fair share  of experimentation and variety in life and wants no more hard surprises. Yes, you can dye the cat purple for all I care, maybe the colour will even look good on her. Just don’t let me know that I can’t afford my rent this month. Don’t tell me my student debt has doubled and that I’ll probably never be able to retire. Keep the papers away. Oh, and while you’re at it, don’t mess with my music. 

Pop music—historically short for popular music—is in this sense still quite a good reflection of society and its current mental state.
 Most of today’s adults the teens and preteens of the mid-00’s, a generation that grew up under the dominant reign of Disney Channel. This decade’s rise in (or perhaps, resurgence of) Disney artists in the popular music charts could well mean a generation of now-grown kids holding onto the last of their childhoods—a time when things seemed simpler, or were at least taken care of, and there seemed a lot more to look forward to in the future than they grew up to realise—through their childhood stars. 

So are we holding on to something that’s over and smearing its remains onto our music– a large aspect of our cultural lives and legacy? Does the ‘death’ of the longest format of music represent a breaking down of barriers, the handing of the reigns to the listener to modify their listening experience to their own comfort, the result of our collective wishes as a generation to find familiarity; or is it the death of music as we once knew it?

Loosest Stuff I Could Piece Together: Anyone Can Write Deep Poetry Series

Come on over and write yourself the next chart-buster. Anyone can do it, no lie!

First up, welcome to the Anyone Can Write Deep Poetry series. 

Have you spent all day and all night, listening to Pink Floyd, obscure French music and frantically pulling up your old English notes from school searching for all the phrases and idioms that may have passed you by in twelve years of worthless education, and sit there scratching your head wondering where deep, meaningful poetry comes from?

Are you walking around town in low-waisted, ripped jeans with shades and a bedhead with a purpose, looking around for someone to pass you a few tabs of acid to unlock the sheer poetic creativity that sleeps passively in your soul?

Are you following all the latest yoga fads and rewatching every John Lennon interview in existence to find the meaning of life and finally turn it into that soulfully-worded song you know you should have written by now? (Come on, you’ve been searching for a year already!)

Well, fear not, for I have ended your woes!
Here is a step by step guide to getting in the frame of mind most fertile for sprouting pearls people will quote for years, read and reread to really grasp the inner meaning of, that people will cry upon deciphering. 

Basically, I’m gonna turn you into Radiohead. 

So let’s begin. Echoes 2.0 ain’t gonna write itself. 

What time is it? 
Did you just get back from work? Are you tired of the structured life, does the hypocrisy of society frustrate you?
Yeah well, you’ve already tried writing about it. 
And yelling, “down, down, down with the governmeeent!” clearly hasn’t helped your SoundCloud grow. 

Try the indirect approach. Orwell neatly shrunk society into a farm. Look at how many musicians quote his books. You want that, don’t you? 
What can you come up with?

Ditch the obvious! The LSD ain’t gonna help your head if it isn’t thinking!

Here’s a start: you think people shy away from self-contentment, don’t you?
Let’s find you something a level beyond “We’re all sad fucks.” 

What’s the least obvious thing that could represent fulfilment?

Yes, now you’re using your 3 AM brain, good work!
Cream cheese.

Why not? 

Satisfaction is cream cheese. You know it’s what Jagger wanted. But none of you can get it, you sad fucks, you’re afraid of getting it! 

What would shake up society more anything else?
That’s right, someone getting it! And not just getting it, but enjoying it!

Attaboy, my Dylan! You’ve got yourself a full verse already! Should’ve come to me last year, don’t you think?

So here’s your first verse. 

Cream cheese is good
Real good food
I put it in my mouth
Until it’s all gone

What’s more torturous than just getting, and enjoying good cream cheese?
Getting it again! And again! And again! You rebellious soul, what will you do to the planet!?

You loop it. You say the same thing, again, and again, and again. You drive your bloody point home. You’ve got some fucking cream cheese out there. And you’re gonna eat it, period. 

What a symbolic middle finger in the face of the establishment. 

Yeah, how’s your acid working out for you?

Freedom can be trippy. Make sure your listeners—and the damned Establishment—know it! 
Put the trip and the trap into your music: echoes, delays, fades, until you’re so high on your own freedom that no one can hear you anymore. 

You’re a quick learner.
 Let’s put that onto your draft now. 


Cream cheese is good
Real good food
I put it in my mouth
Until it’s all gone

Yeah, cream cheese tastes good!
Is real good food
I put it in my mouth
Until it’s all gone!

CREAM CHEESE IS GOOD, YEAH?
Good food, yeah?
See me put it in my mouth
And watch it be all gone!

YEAH CREEM CHEEZE IYYY OOODD
EEEZZZZOOOODDD FOOOODDD
PUUUIIINN MAAA MAAAAAUUTHH
TILL ITS ALL GOONNEEE

Now, you and your group break away: there’s strength in numbers! Free your mate, and free your girlfriend, free your neighbour’s dog! Give ‘em some cream cheese. 

(song continued)

And my mate likes good cheese
My girl says it’s good food
We put it in the dog’s mouth
Until my neighbour’s gone

How’s that for emancipation of the people, sir? Could the establishment have an answer to that? Now all you need is to seal this with a kiss. 

I rise up, raid the pantry!
We rise up, raid the factory!
Wake up, eat up, 
Wake up
Wake up!

Who’d have expected that? You’ve got the critics in tears, reviewers raving; you’ve put together something nonsensical enough for the radio, deep enough for the underground, heady enough to score you that dream collaboration with Post Malone, you star!

Take a look at your final product and be proud. 

Cream cheese is good
Real good food
I put it in my mouth
Until it’s all gone

Yeah, cream cheese tastes good!
Is real good food
I put it in my mouth
Until it’s all gone!

CREAM CHEESE IS GOOD, YEAH?
Good food, yeah?
See me put it in my mouth
And watch it be all gone!

YEAH CREEM CHEEZE IYYY OOODD
EEEZZZZOOOODDD FOOOODDD
PUUUIIINN MAAA MAAAAAUUTHH
TILL ITS ALL GOONNEEE

And my mate likes good cheese!
My girl says it’s good food
We put it in the dog’s mouth
Until my neighbour’s gone

I rise up, raid the pantry!
We rise up, raid the factory!
Wake up, eat up, 
Wake up
Wake up!

Now, about the music, jeez, aren’t you exhausted? This song’s already a chart buster, why don’t you send your A&R guy to sample the neighbour’s dog pissing? It’s so meta, I can’t even. It probably even sounds good on record. About the actual rhythm section? Scratch some pads, man, anyone can make music. 


(In case the point was lost, this was pure sarcasm. If you actually do write a song about cream cheese, and if it actually does hit the charts, I want in.

This is not a generic attack on lazy songwriting, and is neither a diss on any of the songwriters mentioned above. 

Except maybe Post Malone. But whatever.)

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