This Charming Charlie

I love The Charming Charlie blog for two reasons – the first Charlie Brown and Morrissey lyrics? Genius!

The second is more appropriate to the copyleft issues I usually cover here: they’ve gotten legals from Universal in 2013, and have defended it through lawyering up and enforcing fair use and the man himself approving of the blog, I noticed they subtly slipped Smiths quotes in the letters themselves! Nice ;-)

Shame they had to go that far though, for what is a obviously transformative ‘mashup’ and parody and thus covered by fair use, and as the letter points out, part of that case law is Lenz vs Universal, so they should be aware of it!

Oh well, it seemed to have ended well!

This Charming Charlie 2

Steve Albini faces up to the music industry (again)

Great if long video / transcript of Steve Albini’s speech at Face The Music in Melbourne which echoes his classic ‘The Problem With Music’ from 21 years ago. Although I’d not describe Prince’s music as ‘poison’ I do think the purple dwarf’s attitude to the internet is poisonous, and all the people who try and control digital media and how music is heard today. Total control is not only unwise, it strangles any new or transformative uses of music, and actually silences music from being part of culture, like the background of a YouTube video, or orphaned 78s and dusty 45s being lost because no-one can find the original owners.

As he said: “Inside that trite sentence, ‘We need to figure out how to make this work for everyone,’ hides the skeleton of a monster” – you hear a lot of defences like this, and he’s right to tear that apart, because what it means is that those who grew fat off the bands and artists while they starved, the ones who brought guns and heavies to deal with bootleggers and contract deals, the ones who strung out the musicians on drugs to make them easier to control or get their money stream, the ones who gouged fans with CDs…the list is endless.

That system can burn for all I care – music, the listeners and those who create it will be fine, even if it goes back to live music only, that would be better than the last 90 years which have been a bit of a cul-de-sac in the thousands of years in history of music where music was always live.

Radio Moscow Nights and Time Zones

I know Radio Moscow not so much from my shortwave exploits (although a little, I was a World Wide Catholic Radio kind of girl…so much death, gloom and hypocrisy translated in stilted language, so little time!) but more from Time Zones by Negativland. But a friend posted about Moscow Nights by Vladimir Troshin, which I never knew in the heights of the cold war was a hit in the West by Kenny Ball & His Jazzmen (yes HIS Jazzmen, you can’t have them, they’re not any old jazzmen…). It’s a beautiful song, but also was used as the ident from Radio Moscow and Radio Mayak. You can hear the Troshin version and the scarily upbeat Radio Moscow version, and Radio Mayak using it as a jingle. Interesting how the song spread over radio…

Always been entranced by the strange pronunciation from the English-speaking World Service of Radio Moscow, it’s a bit uncanny valley…almost American/Western but not quite? Stilted. Still Moscow Nights is a beautiful song…must’ve sounded amazing phasing in and out bounced across the clouds on shortwave. Hence the broadcast at the top from 1980 (no dancing Brezhnev this time, thanks) with the time signal and another song I originally thought was Moscow Nights but was another, Wide Is My Motherland? Which sounds better as an ident jingle, I can tell you. It’s USSR pomp to the max, only place on earth that still does that is the (Un)Democratic People’s (Non) Republic of Korea – what is it with the places that have to shoehorn so many Democratic/People’s/Republic/Free in their country names etc tend not to be that free, democratic, of the people (or for that matter even a republic)?

As a time related aside, Russia has just abandoned summer time aka Daylight Savings Time, so has gone back to standard time, +3 UTC permanently, but in the UK we’ve just gone off British Summer Time temporarily – it’ll be back, unlike the summer. Happy Minus BST! Although in the geopolitical world, the two contested areas in the Crimea / Ukraine – Donetsk People’s Republic and Luhansk People’s Republic – as well as trying to hack this site (well hackers from Ukraine generally are – hi guys! :-p) are going on to Moscow time now. Who said time can’t be political?

Which reminds me of the odd fact, that during the last world war, an the cold war the apparatchiks that set the time, International Time Bureau all countries still met every year to basically ‘synchronise their watches’ on a larger scale. Dunno why that freaks me out so much still, it’s probably that behind the curtain of OMG END OF THE WORLD propaganda, they still needs bureaucrats to make sure the clocks all work? Can’t be having Pythonesque debates about turning up for a battle at 6am and the Hun turns up at 5:57am spoiling it all, I guess? :-/ Pretty sure the ITU or someone met up during WW2 and the Cold War so they could also contact each other on the same frequencies too? My mind kind of boggles to that, really.

It’s like having the missiles pointed and about to press the red button, then stopping cos the engineer has arrived to wire in a new phone so you can contact who you are about to bomb? Diplomacy is odd.

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