In the previous incarnation of this blog, I did a thing called Hitting The Links, a sort of ‘what I’ve been reading’ link round-up. Now that we’re riding the blog train again I’m bringing it back, perhaps as a weekend staple. God knows I read a lot of things and some of it is interesting. These lists could go long, but I’m limiting this one to four fun items of note.
Screwed Up Records & Tapes is not a normal business. It’s a brick-and-mortar record store that sells neither records nor tapes, but rather CDs. These discs are all by a single artist, the late DJ Screw, the inventor of chopped and screwed music, who has been dead almost two decades. […]
This is perhaps the only record store in existence where no albums appear on the floor. You order one off the menu, by name or catalog number, and Big A slides back behind the glass and grabs it for you. You cannot take communion until you have cash—only cash—in hand. I start scanning the whiteboard, but my eyes glaze over.
I remember the first time I heard a ‘screwed’ mix (It may have even been a recording of DJ Screw). It was around 1994, and I’m driving through South Beach Miami. I heard about Miami’s then-thriving pirate radio scene and thought I’d check it out. I spun my radio dial to a bottom frequency, and there was this crazy station playing 45 RPM R&B records at 33 (and then probably pitched down -6 — at least — on the Technics). I had no idea what I was hearing. It was mesmerizing, and I listened to that station every time I rode in my car during that Miami stay.
Jon Ronson had a freewheeling — and often emotional — conversation with Russell Brand on the
The problem is that we fell in love with a new weapon too much. So it became a place where people could become very unselfconscious … a level playing field … at the core was a utopia. And then when somebody transgressed on the outside … we could hit them with a weapon we understood and they didn’t, which was social media shaming. And so we certainly found that we had power. Voiceless people had a voice and powerless people had power … then what happened is that we fell in love with our new power too much. And a day without shaming felt like a day treading water. So the parameters of what we considered shame-worthy grew wider and wider … and then as a result of that, what happened — and what is still happening — is that instead of seeing humans the way we ought to which is (as) a complicated mess of positive and negative character traits it’s a stage for constant artificial high drama where everybody’s either like a hero or a villain.
Next, David Moldawer, in his must-subscribe weekly newsletter, lays out ‘the coffee situation’:
It doesn’t have to be good coffee. It doesn’t matter if the people there even drink the coffee. However, if the coffee is plentiful, easily accessible, and constantly on offer, you can count on a constellation of other factors related to good work, from a serendipity-boosting layout to an appropriately stimulating but non-distracting acoustic environment. The space itself doesn’t have to be pretty or clean, but it will be conducive. The coffee situation tells you a lot. […]
I’m not telling you to decide on a publisher—or on any other collaboration—based on whether you’re offered a cup of joe as you walk in the door. And then another one when that one’s finished. But, come on, shouldn’t you?
I’ll close out with this great profile on Massive Attack in The Guardian. Check out the photo at the top of the article — no one does ‘morose’ like those guys. Banksy — oops I mean Robert del Naja — addresses one of my favorite topics, a resistance to nostalgia:
“I don’t think I’ve got a problem with nostalgia, because a lot of the time things are self-referential. When you’re working in the way we do, taking things from the past and making them new, making collages…” He pauses. “I stopped feeling nostalgia for the moment because I imagine myself looking back on it from the future, which really freaks me out. I get this vertigo where I’m not thinking about the past, I’m thinking about how I’m going to feel in 10 years’ time.” Nostalgia isn’t as good as it used to be, I joke. Del Naja rubs a hand forwards through his hair.
It’s a bummer that this Massive Attack Mezzanine tour is coming nowhere near our Orlando home base. I think Washington D.C. is the closest stop. Massive Attack, Elizabeth Frazier, Horace Andy, Adam Curtis … I’m equally a huge fan of each, and here they are on tour together (well, Curtis’s visuals in his case). Alas.