Monday, December 25, 2006

Surprise! = Information!

Funny thing. I really love surprise. My favourite DJ doesn’t play my favourites, but plays stuff I never heard before. I still miss John Peel. Now I have DJ Bob Dylan to surprise me, and make me listen to stuff I never tried before.

My favourite authors offer me words I never heard before, or familiar words in surprising combinations, or both. Robert Anton Wilson edged me into Ezra Pound and James Joyce, and my respect for him made me work at it, give it time, overcome my pre-judgements, and try to get the context, the intent, the 'feel'.

Bob Dylan has turned up to open my ears (not with his own music, but music that he loves, and influenced his development) but the young things around me can’t even listen to his DJ voice, and his stories, and his musical anecdotes – and probably flip channels as soon as he plays something their prejudice says they don’t like.

Bob Harris used to do a great show for eclectic stuff, but ‘They’ let him go eventually.

He has turned up on the BBC again, and nowadays plays Country & Western (and even my hackles go up at the idea) and yet he finds all kinds of stuff I like. I keep saying ‘does this belong in that category? How come I like it?'

Hey ho. I grew up with voices (my dad did all the voices for his puppets, my mum sang and taught actors how to use their voices). I love vocal tones. For that reason (among others) I love W.C.Fields (a master of the drawl) and Bob Dylan (a master of vocal tones, like a great actor – I didn’t say he could ‘sing’ but few people can beat his delivery of his own material). I don’t have any musicianship, but even if I don’t like smooth tones (Sinatra, etc) I can appreciate phrasing and timing and delivery.

I like to feel surprised.

Robert Anton Wilson has pointed out that Information = Surprise (the very slogan of his online academy), but I won’t go into that now.

We just lost James Brown. How about him for a total package of show-biz, phrasing, rhythm, tones, and all?

Ah me, and back to the bland, and safe, and familiar world – no challenge, no surprise, no new information. Nothing to shake up yer world view, or stretch yer brain, as Chinese music did mine, or the Oud, or Flamenco, or just about anything I never heard before.

I don’t really care if no-one much shares my tastes around here. I can find people with equally weird tastes on the Internet.

Hello to all my long-distance friends old and new, and not yet met. Enjoy!

Be Seeing You!

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