Sunday, August 7, 2022

Closed For The Weekend

Until I woke up this morning I had no intention of doing two music posts in a row. But then, I also had no clue what I was going to post about, either. 

I just knew I'd have next to no time to come up with an idea, bang it out, tidy it up and call it done. I had a full Sunday schedule: work, phone my mother, walk the dog. All of that was likely to take me close to bedtime before I even sat down at the keyboard.

Best I could come up with was to string a few screenshots together, probably the grounds of my mansion in Noah's Heart, add a couple of supposedly amusing lines of commentary and hope for the best. Sometimes those are the kind of posts that turn out surprisingly well. Sometimes they're not.

I did have one thing on my side. It was Sunday. It still is, as I'm writing this, although almost certainly not as you read it. 

Here's my Blaugust Mentor Tip of the Day to anyone who hasn't been at this game for long, although I suspect most of our many new Blaugustians have been at it quite long enough already to be familiar with the secret I'm about to reveal: no-one reads blogs on the weekend.

Okay, it's an exaggeration to say no-one. Some people do. I do, for a start, or I did, back when I had weekends off. Not so much any more.

Most people, at least as far as I can tell, read blogs during the week, on someone else's time, while they're at work. I would, too, if I had the kind of job that allowed it. I did have just that kind of job for most of the nineties and much of the aughts and you'd faint to know what I got away with but sadly these days I actually have to do some work if I want to get paid.

For much of my blogging career (Hah! Career!) I was blithely unaware of this rule. I also had a longstanding work pattern that left me free to work on the blog on weekends. Consequently I tended to post my longer, more thoughtful pieces on Saturdays and Sundays. Then I wondered why no-one seemed to be interested.

Now I know better, which is why you're getting this instead of, oh, say, this. Not that that's a very good example. It's long, sure, and detailed, but it's something of a shambles and it didn't get a single comment, even though I posted it in the middle of the week. There's no evidence anyone actually read it.

That would seem like a cue for Blaugust Mentor Tip of the Day #2. (Can you have two "Tips of the Day"?), namely never expect feedback on a post just because you put a lot of work into it. Seriously, just don't. You'll be happier that way.

As every blogger who's been at the game for a while knows, the most feedback comes from posts you dashed off in your coffee break, while the posts you spent hours or even days researching, editing and polishing pass by in a haze of dust and tumbleweed, never to be heard of again. You get used it after a while.

SInce no-one's reading this, I could just stop here. I've more than fulfilled my Blaugust obligations (To myself, obviously. Blaugust is entirely obligation-free.) Just on the off chance there is someone reading, though, I suppose I ought to pick up the baton from paragraph one and explain why I began by going on about writing a second consecutive music post after yesterday's

It was because of a post by Emily of Monsterlady's Diary, which I just about had time to read before I went to work this morning. The post, which I found fascinating, goes by the exemplary, self-explanatory title "Attempting to see a Music Genre I Hate in a New Light". If only I could stick to titles like that, we'd all be so much happier, especially me, when I go back to look something up six months later. I'd make that tip #3 but I couldn't live with the irony.

I trust the handful of people still reading this (Maybe a little more than a handful, since it's still the first week of Blaugust and we all feel duty-bound to try and read everything. Come back in ten days and see how that's going...) will have clicked through and read the post but to summarise it's about rap and hip-hop, why Emily finds them problematic and what she's done about changing that.


Rap and hip-hop, which are clearly two genres not one but everyone still lumps them together, has been the dominant musical form in the West, commercially anyway, for at least two decades. I didn't know that until surprisingly recently because a) I'm old,  b) we all live in cultural bubbles and c) EverQuest

I'm pretty sure Himalayan nose-flute instrumentals could have been the dominant musical form in the first decade of the twenty-first century and I wouldn't have noticed, unless the halflings in Rivervale had started playing them (Which would have been a major improvement over the hurdy-gurdy nightmare the hairy-footed little bastards did favor.)

Even so, I was a fairly early-adopter of rap and hip-hop, at least in my own cultural cul-de-sac. I certainly got into enough arguments in my twenties and thirties, defending my enjoyment of the likes of Run DMC, A Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul and, of course, the Beastie Boys. Ex-punks turned indie kids back then were not as open to change as you might imagine. Or more like exactly that open.

I mostly fell out of like with the genre with the rise of what we broadly understood as Gangster Rap (Or should that be Gangsta?). At the time there were a couple of teenage boys in the house so I heard more of it than would have liked but since my interests had temporarily shifted from music to mmorpgs I made no attempt to engage, just to escape.

I still don't like that style of rap or hip-hop. As must be plain to regular readers, I love me some creative cussing, but good swearing, like good comedy, is all about the timing. If you just replace every fucking adjective with "fucking" it kind of loses the impact. Or, rather, it gains the wrong kind of impact. Instead of the shock of a firework going off right next to you it's more like someone banging a nail into the wall next door - tedious, annoying, predictable and repetitive.

This isn't my post about swearing in music, though. I'm still thinking about that. This is just a quick nod to an interesting post by a fellow Blaugustian (I do like that word.) and something of a Note To Self to do something similar when I have the time. I've made a concerted effort over the last few years to educate myself at least to the point where I can recognize some of the major names in the field, have a rough idea what they sound like and maybe even know why they're respected - or not.

Any learning I achieve is naturally offset (I know who Offset is, by the way. Kind of. I just mention it by way of an example.) by my bloody awful memory but at least I stand a chance of remembering if I'm reminded, which is about all I can expect. And the more you keep at it, the more sinks in. 

Also, the more you listen, the more you hear. Any new musical genre all sounds the same when you first encounter it. You have to expose yourself to a lot of it before the diferences begin to come through.

It is worth it, even with genres you hate. Maybe especially with those. Thanks to having to share workspace with someone who played almost nothing but classic Country for weeks, I can even hear a pedal steel guitar now without wanting to poke my eardrums out with a skewer.

That's about all I have time for right now but it occurs to me this might make a series: Music I Hate and Why I Like It. Something like that.

Thanks for the idea, Emily. This is what Blaugust is all about. Pity it's the weekend and no-one's going to see any of it...

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