Bird’s Eye: What have we got? A delightfully scathing speech from the Aussie PM, Julia Gillard, follows up on last week’s gender issue. Books are better, thanks to the demise of the publishing industry. A detailed review of David Byrne’s book on music establishes that he’s more than just another talking head, and a truly lovely photo arrives a little late for our autumnal photo spread.
* Gillard Labels Abbott A Misogynist – YouTube (via boingboing)
Australian PM Julia Gillard rose in Parliament to address a motion from the leader of the opposition Tony Abbott to dismiss the Speaker of the House for sending sexist text messages. She proceeded to unload on the smarmy shitheel opposite her for fifteen solid minutes, setting out his record of awful, misogynist garbage.
* It’s Hard Out Here Tremble the Devil
Traditional publishing never worked, it was an industry ruled by chance and blind luck. Its demise will be the best thing that’s ever happened to authors as the royalty system is rearranged and bureaucratic fat is removed from the system.
* “How Music Works” by David Byrne – review The Observer
Ever against the grain, the now 60-year-old Byrne explores a whole symphony of argument in this extraordinary book with the precise, technical enthusiasm you’d expect from the painfully bright art school-educated son – born in Scotland, raised in the States – of an electrical engineer, occasionally mopping his fevered brow in the crestfallen manner of a 19th-century poet. The title is perfectly chosen. Music doesn’t just work because of its effect on the senses; every aspect of its sound and construction has an emotional impact, right up to the way it’s distributed, even marketed, and the machines on which it’s consumed. It’s fascinating.
Even before you hear music, Byrne points out, it has been shaped by the environment it was designed to be heard in, and by the equipment employed to make or record it. Much of the slow, stately western music of the middle ages sounds the way it does because it had to work within the four-second reverberations of stone-walled cathedrals (Bach’s was more agile because he mostly wrote on a small church pipe organ). Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby capitalized on the arrival of the microphone as it allowed them to reach their predominantly female following with a whisper not a shout.
Arena rock of the early 70s evolved as a way of reaching the back of the sonically unsuitable sports stadia that the expanding market now required its bands to perform in. Talking Heads themselves fashioned their angular funk partly because it suited the acoustics of CBGB, the box-like New York club that launched them. Byrne no longer plays at Carnegie Hall, he explains, because it’s designed for opera and thus deadens his current brand of highly percussive “groove music”.
* A Wall Of Fall Flickr