Friday, October 31, 2008

A Music Industry First And A Good One

I am sure that as most of you that know me, also know that I have some pretty strong views about the music industry, come to think it I have pretty strong views about almost everything except politics.

I do not advocate the piracy of music or video's, to me that is robbing the artist of the few cents on the dollar that he is due for his hard work. Although The RIAA claim the cost per year is in the $billions, I suspect that they are aiming a little high, but certainly there is a $ cost. And certainly the artist, and creator is the one who hurts most. He may only be getting a few cents per CD, but those few cents are what he lives on.

For the longest time I have felt that the Artist is the one getting the short end of the stick.

My opinion about the music world changed yesterday. A couple of days ago I received a copy of Al Stewart's new album Sparks Of Ancient Light. I am a huge Al Stewart fan and couldn't wait to rip the plastic off it and get it on the player.

I had my review written in no time flat. While reading it prior to publishing I realized that it would be so much better if I could embed a track sample, you know, a 30 or 45 second sound byte. So it was off to the world of the internet to see if such a beast existed on Al's web site or the labels web site, alas none was available.

Well I don't give up easy, I am a known entity to Al, his PR folks, and the label, having reviewed most of his now 19 albums at one time or another. So I fired off an email to the record company asking if they has a streaming audio that I could access.

Within minutes, I had my answer, 'no streams available'. But all was not lost. Appleseed went on to say that they had included an MP3 of an entire track, and as long as I promised not to make it available for download I was free to use it in the review. In other words stream it.

In this day and age of RIAA breathing fire over piracy and shared music, I find Appleseed's approach to be a real breath of fresh air.

Oh, and you can read my review here.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Oak Trees + Squirrels + Tin Roofs =Trouble

Usually I enjoy nature, it is fun to look at it, and marvel at the diversity that exists. Sometimes though, nature and man do not exist together in harmony. The part of Mississippi that we are now living in has an over abundance of squirrel's and Oak trees. This in itself is not an issue. The squirrels perform an admiral job of eating the acorns, and occasionally burying one that the forget about, and a new tree starts to grow.

Unfortunately man has encroached on this squirrel nirvana by putting up houses. The standard house in this neck of the woods has a porch at the front, and a car port at the side.

So whats the problem? I hear you ask.

Well, it is really quiet here, particularly in the middle of the night. Seeing as the weather has cooled off we are not even running the air conditioners 24/7 (a huge sigh of relief comes from my bank account)!

I woke up at 4am, and decided to smoke a cigarette, it is so nice not having to put on the arctic clothing to participate in this filthy habit. So with my robe on, I headed out the back door. Everything was so quiet that you could hear the moon orbit.

Then a sound from near by that sounded like small arms fire, maybe a .22? Well we don't live in the best area in town, but it is hardly a ghetto, so I decided that it likely was not a gun. But what the hell could it be?

Bloody squirrels messing around in an oak tree, dislodging acorns, which when dropped from 30 feet onto a corrugated tin roof makes a noise that could wake up the dead!

Ah, the joys of the deep south!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

The Deep South

Well it certainly is different! We are living in a small Mississippi town, a pin prick on the map! Picayune, it certainly is a lot different to living in a city of over a million. There are most certainly pros and cons.

On the downside Picayune is in a dry county, yup, zero bars! I viewed this as a very bad situation, and I have to admit that I suspected Jan did this on purpose! But those of you that know me, also know that where there is a will there is a way!

It did not take much exploring to discover that the local gas station, and the local supermarket sell beer, oh and its one hell of a lot cheaper than Canada. I also discovered that the local coffee shop three blocks away has a beer license, woo hoo.

The Cafe Amore, is quite the small town gathering point, and although I am an international interloper I have been excepted into the fold. The hot time to visit is between 2 and 3 in the afternoon. It is at this time that an eclectic group of generally dissatisfied people gather around one of the outside tables to bitch and complain about life in general and Picayune in particular.

Non of this group is actually from Picayune, but for one reason or another call this little piece of purgatory home. Cafe owner Angel heralds originally from the Philippines, and moved from New Orleans after hurricane Katrina, his right hand man Trunks is from New York, the ever grumpy and amusing retired restaurateur Chris is Austrian. Others come and go, but this is the core group.

The daily meeting of The Knights Of The Round Table is always a fun event and if you happen to be passing through Picayune well worth stopping in to say hi.

So, as you can see, I am still alive and kicking.I do hope to get back to writing more on here, but this not working for a living has me so damn busy I never seem to have time.

I have to admit though, there is something really nice about telling Jan that I am going off to work, grabbing a chair and sitting on the porch to read for a couple of hours in the mornings.