Archive for the ‘music’ Category

Choosing a better history: a big, big day

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

This quote has been attributed, correctly or no, to Nelson Mandela -

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

Go vote, America, and choose wisely.

‘A Brighter Day Will Come’

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Here’s another stunner of a non-Obama-Campaign, campaigning video -

What was that I said?

Exquisite? ‘Wake Up, Freak Out, Then Get a Grip’

Thursday, October 2, 2008

I watched this thanks to Ray Ison, and was mightily impressed with the quality of the animation and the sound effects.

I found myself wanting more!  I’d love to see the team that created this apply their talents to lots more stuff.  It strikes me this medium can work incredibly well as a storytelling and educational vehicle. Very nice song at the end.

Now for my critique.  On the whole, the narrative was cogent, but the intense relaying of scientific information seemed to cater more for a science-literate audience.  I felt the scripting and narration left quite a lot to be desired.  The narrator skipped quickly between concepts, leaving non-scientists like myself befuddled and breathless, and needing to rewind the animation to work out what was being discussed and to catch up.  It seriously denigrated my experience of what could be a stunning project.  I dearly wanted a simpler script and much, much clearer transitions between each science-spiel segment.  And less jargon. (Interestingly, the animation’s creator conceived the animation as an old-fashioned piece of unilateral communication.)

I’m curious what you think and how you feel about it.  Comments and insights welcome.

Brilliant – Barack get’s rolled in the right place

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

- the Replubican Convention. Enjoy!

On the urbanisation (and significance of) birdsong

Monday, June 30, 2008

From the Guardian -

New research shows that male birds trying to compete with traffic and city sounds are singing louder and at increasingly higher frequencies, which could harm their vocal cords and hearing. As a result their songs are becoming more chaotic and less diverse, which makes them less attractive to female birds and damages their mating opportunities. Some birds, including robins, are choosing to sing at night instead of during the day. This not only makes them more vulnerable to attack but, because the birds need to be awake in daylight hours to feed, creates stress and exhaustion.

‘The difference between urban and rural birdsong is becoming so great that the two groups could now be unable to communicate, leading to inbreeding and a weakened gene pool,’ said Dr Sue Anne Zollinger, of the University of St Andrews, who has studied the impact of environmental noise on birds’ song learning and development. A group sharing a small gene pool, said Zollinger, was less likely to be able to adapt quickly to new diseases or environmental pressures, putting them at risk of being wiped out.

[...]

Mark Constantine, author of The Sound Approach to Birding and founder of the Sound Approach database, the fourth-largest natural sound archive in the world, said: ‘Birdsong is used as an indicator of quality of life and has been proved to reduce our blood pressure. When we live in the centre of large, urban areas, we get more stressed and it’s extremely good to have birdsong around us. The impact on humans of birdsong is massive. It harms us, as well as the birds, if their songs become simpler, shriller and louder.’

Having recently moved to a rural village from London, it’s not only the birdsong that’s different (it’s more varied, given the greater variety of birds – which is nourishing). The pace of life is noticeably different, of course.  But it’s also, I’m sure, people’s capacity to perceive the variety in their surroundings; how much of urban life is given over to an ever-narrowing focus on human fashions, technologies, and discourses, marginalising the ‘more-than-human’ world? And marginalisation of the more-than-human world tends to equate with a high environmental impact: as Lucy Siegle pointed out in a parallel article, urban noise is highly correlated with our so-called ‘carbon intensity’.

Influencing the conversation: Gore’s self-funded ad blitz

Monday, March 31, 2008

Superb interview, which prompted a personal reflection on his failed 2000 presidential campaign, despite his attempt (‘words fail to describe’ etc.) to evade the question – i.e. ‘shattering’.

From CBS News.

Note Gore’s message – ‘Yes We Can’ mitigate the devastating effects of man-made global warming (which sounds good as far as an Obama endorsement is concerned).

[One of the things I find interesting about his approach is his casting of the issue as a moral-cum-spiritual problem, one that concerns basic survival -

"We all share the exact same interest in doing the right thing on this. Who are we as human beings? Are we destined to destroy this place that we call home, planet earth? I can't believe that that's our destiny. It is not our destiny. But we have to awaken to the moral duty that we have to do the right thing and get out of this silly political game-playing about it. This is about survival," he said.

I had thought basic survival comes first on the (Maslow) hierarchy of needs - with spiritual/moral needs coming later, once basic survival needs have been satisfied. (I kind of like Max Neef's take on this; see the Maslow wikipedia link above. Maslow could have been projecting a whole lot of cultural junk, about the developmental stages of evolution towards 'civilisation', into his hierarchy - but that's a whole other discussion.) Maybe Gore's understanding of the relationship between survival and morality reflects a difference between British and American culture. I don't know. To my mind, matters of survival don't necessitate lofty arguments about morality but rather the finding of food, water, air, shelter and warmth. And probably laughter too. Anyway...]

Perhaps unsurprisingly many are envisaging Gore as a possible bridge between the Democratic party and the White House. What did I say? I still maintain, though, that Obama should be at the top of the ticket.

Some intervention into the presidential campaign his ad campaign could be.

Make your own Obama ad – and win $20,000 worth of equipment

Thursday, March 13, 2008

According to the Washington Post, ‘Oliver Stone, Moby, Jesse Jackson, Ben Afleck, Steve Buscemi, Lawrence Lessig are just some of the folks that will pick the ad that will run nationwide.’ Submission period is between March 27th and April 1st; no attack ads will be accepted, and you need to be either a US citizen or permanent resident in the US to apply.

For those who haven’t seen/listened to it, here’s the link to the will.i.am ‘Yes We Can’ music video. The thing that strikes me about the Obama speech, on which the video was based, is that he gave it in New Hampshire in response to losing that state’s primary. If you think Clinton is the one with tenacity and drive, think again.

If it was me making an ad for the Obama campaign, being a citizen of the world beyond the US’ borders, I’d focus on his international appeal. Being a UK citizen, I’d propose that his judgement would not have dragged my country’s leadership into a spectacularly unholy war.

Palace of Westminster, London - Feb 2007.jpg
The Palace of Westminster, from wikimedia

Worth voting for, just for the music

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Begs the question, what outpouring of poetry, art, film, theatre, literature, philosophy and scientific endeavour would emerge should the big O go on to win the general election? This music video might just herald a new renaissance celebrating the human spirit and soul. God bless America.


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