By Hans Ebert
Hear that sound? It’s the sound of silence. Real silence. See what I’m doing? I’m doing nothing other than gathering my thoughts, blocking out meaningless distractions, and spending some much needed Me Time by breaking bread with myself and cutting myself off from being drawn into the online world and “sharing” and reading the thoughts of weekend politicians and keyboard warriors.
All the lonely people, where do they all come from? And now that the genie is out of the bottle, will we ever return to where some of us had been before and where we engaged in the art of face to face conversation? It was often probably asinine conversation served with huge dollops of bollocks, but there was truth even in our dishonesty. Today, well today, we might be scared to admit it, but we’ve changed so much, we’ve let priorities slide, family values are thin on the ground, we’ve lost all track of time management, and, without even realising it, have probably become users and cheaters relying on second hand news to try and dazzle others with bullshit to get us through a day.
Think about that: Get us THROUGH a day. Why?Because we’re really not DOING much other than travelling through the online world relying on and feeding the Blue Meanies living in all these delivery platforms and raging against the machine.
It just might explain the creativity and longevity of Sgt Peppers, a complete creative product- everything from the groundbreaking album cover design to the sequencing of the tracks ending with the numbing “A Day In The Life” and that last chord. It just might explain the musical and cultural legacy the Beatles compared to the brittle world and weak stabs at creating music today, which, yes, have many places to go, but where’s the investment on time and money? “Likes” and “views” on the low end of the totem pole pay nothing except feed the ego.
It’s incredible to think that Sgt Peppers was written and recorded over fifty years ago with rudimentary equipment and no one- no one- has come even close to equalling that level of creativity. Why? The time, the mood of the world where everything seemed possible and also those four fab guys called the Beatles, who wanted to- and knew- they could change the world, and a Sorcerer named George Martin. They wouldn’t have given tuppence about “likes” and “views”. They believed in themselves, and not others to believe for them. Hell, here was a record that didn’t even have a video to help promote it. It just arrived and we wanted it.
We’ve also allowed ourselves to become slaves to technology, which has dumbed us down and made us forget how to be honest to ourselves and say, “I really don’t know. Google doesn’t have all the answers. Billy Shears might have and we let him go.”
It’s probably why so many believed a fake story that at Glastonbury recently Radiohead tuning up onstage was a track off their new record and raved about it. No one really knows anything for sure so they believe anything and everything. The Beatles, well, they believed only in themselves, and the very small group of confidantes around them and that was enough.
Social media: it’s also where, too often, aspiring musicians could get a very warped view of being “popular”. A few hundred or even a few thousand “likes” or “views”, often mainly by friends and family to show support, certainly doesn’t mean one has “arrived”. It’s just a bit of self-publicity that’s good for the ego and which might lead to a few gigs.
It’s hardly being an “internet sensation” or “YouTube phenomenon”, other numbers driven distractions, which only take everything further away from the creative process that results in producing anything really new. It’s just another brick in the wall along with all those television singing competitions where the only winners are the hugely paid panel of celebrity judges- Mel B, who’s hardly a singer and neither is J Lo, are judges? Please-the network and those who own the Rights to these shows.
The contestants are the easily discarded props who end up going nowhere except, if lucky, being, yes, an “internet sensation”. This hardly pays the bills let alone catapulting one into the stratosphere of stardom. Remember Taylor Hicks? Kris Allen, who beat Adam Lambert? Fantasia? They all won American Idol. Today? Some are playing malls in the Philippines and Singapore. Small malls.
Name one person who has gone anywhere after winning The Voice or any of those America/Great Britain/Anywhere Has Talent television karaoke competitions? Does the world really need a kiddie version of Celine Dion? Remember what happened to Hanson when their voices cracked?
Like fake news, it’s all fake fame and audiences being easily impressed with some very good karaoke singers performing songs they know. Would these same audiences react the same way if these contestants performed original material? Of course not. Why? For the simple reason that when it comes to popular music, no one- often not even those creating this music- have the courage of their convictions to truly know what is good.
Somewhere along the way, we have lost that ability to immediately gravitate towards a hit before it becomes a hit. Today, it’s a herd mentality and following the lemmings. Simon Cowell Says someone is great and the world agrees.
Simon Cowell and even my old friend Simon Fuller are very successful businessmen, who made their moves at the right time, but they’re hardly great A&R people like Chris Blackwell. The far more modest Simon wrote the other week to mention that it’s all systems go for the return of American Idol. And?
Apart from more Ryan Seacrest and the hype as to who will be the celebrity judges, it’s hardly going to create this incredible paradigm shift where there will suddenly be a hugely creative world filled with musicians and friendly competition, which will result in another dawning of Aquarius, or at least light that fire which made McCartney want to better Lennon who wanted to better Dylan and Eric Clapton sitting in awe and wondering where was Planet Jimi.
Being Me Day I was thinking where I have gone and am going with my music- and whether I am really enjoying the journey or have lowered my standards because this is how it is. This is as good as it gets.
I know the answer and it hardly fills me with great expectations. There’s always been something missing in the mix. And with all this time spent on social media, it’s hardly creating an online community able to make something great- not fun, not okay, not better than the sum of its parts- but something so great you immediately know it is because you’ve become a game changer. Being that hamster on a treadmill and happy going nowhere is just a stupid way of going through life wearing blinkers and living in hope.
Truth time. I can’t sleep without my iPhone next to me. It’s nothing to be proud about. Never having been able to sleep without the television on, and now being addicted to checking my iPhone to see Facebook and Twitter updates has not exactly helped my social life. It’s a lifestyle that’s literally driven women away.
Even despite after very good sex, having to try and sleep with a cacophony of sound around you and three repeats of The Late Late Show with that horrible theme coming on and that fake laugh of host James Corden, is tough enough for me to take let alone a partner needing sleep as she has work the next day.
Stop the world, I want to get off. Either that or get rid of the iPhone. At least over dinner and lock it up before going to sleep. Whatever’s happening can wait until tomorrow. Goodnight.