My belief – The Zeitgeist – we can change the world.

My belief – The Zeitgeist – we can change the world.

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I am a very happy, contented, positive character. (Contrary to what many of you may glean from some of my writing).

I am an eternal optimist.

I believe we can solve every problem and make the world perfect. We have the intelligence and problem solving capacity.

I believe in the zeitgeist.

I am not religious – I am an antitheist – I believe religions have created immense harm and are all manufactured by people. I do not believe in God or at least any force that you would recognise as god.

I am a scientist.

I am a scientist who believes that we are only at the beginning of understanding the universe and our own minds. We have much to learn.

I believe that somehow our mental processes produce as yet undiscovered emanations that affect everyone around us. It joins us together into an intermeshing network of minds; we swim in a mental pool created by us all. This is the zeitgeist of the moment.

I have lived through positive and negative zeitgeists. My belief is that we can change the world. If enough of us produce a positive vibe it will tilt the balance of the zeitgeist.

That may sound weird, wacky and naïve to you. It does to me as well. But that’s my hope for the future.

I write so that the nightmares we are creating don’t happen. I want to awaken everyone to what is going on and change the zeitgeist.

I am the eternal optimist but I see myself as a realist. It merely requires more of us! We can make a difference!

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The Beatles – All You Need is Love – Lyrics of optimism and hope that epitomised an era.

The Beatles – All You Need is Love – Lyrics of optimism and hope that epitomised an era.

 

The sixties was an idealistic, optimistic age. The Love and Peace image galvanised a generation and spread round the whole world. People in Pakistan, Peru and Russia were wearing flares and declaring brother and sisterhood. It changed the world

There was hope.

The events of the past decades have been of greed, selfishness and religious fanaticism. It has spawned inequality, poverty, war, death, torture and a divided world. Hatred breeds hatred. Violence traumatises people and spawns revenge.

We don’t seem to learn.

What the world needs now is a big does of love, friendship and a caring, helping hand.

The Beatles got it spot on. Where’s the new Beatles?

“All You Need Is Love”

Love, love, love
Love, love, love
Love, love, loveThere’s nothing you can do that can’t be done
Nothing you can sing that can’t be sung
Nothing you can say but you can learn how to play the game
It’s easyNothing you can make that can’t be made
No one you can save that can’t be saved
Nothing you can do but you can learn how to be you in time
It’s easy

All you need is love
All you need is love
All you need is love, love
Love is all you need

Love, love, love
Love, love, love
Love, love, love

All you need is love
All you need is love
All you need is love, love
Love is all you need

Nothing you can know that isn’t known
Nothing you can see that isn’t shown
Nowhere you can be that isn’t where you’re meant to be
It’s easy

All you need is love
All you need is love
All you need is love, love
Love is all you need

All you need is love (All together, now!)
All you need is love (Everybody!)
All you need is love, love
Love is all you need
Love is all you need (Love is all you need)
Love is all you need (Love is all you need)
Love is all you need (Love is all you need)
Love is all you need (Love is all you need)
Love is all you need (Love is all you need)
Love is all you need (Love is all you need)
Love is all you need (Love is all you need)
Love is all you need (Love is all you need)
Love is all you need (Love is all you need)
Love is all you need (Love is all you need)
Love is all you need (Love is all you need)
Yee-hai! (Love is all you need)
Love is all you need (Love is all you need)

Yesterday (Love is all you need)
Love is all you need (Love is all you need)
Love is all you need (Love is all you need)
Love is all you need (Love is all you need)
Oh yeah! (Love is all you need)
She loves you, yeah yeah yeah (Love is all you need)
She loves you, yeah yeah yeah (Love is all you need)

Has digital destroyed Rock Music?

Has digital destroyed Rock Music?

 

Once upon a time my Saturday’s were spent hunting round a string of second-hand record shops. I would meet up with similar people and have a chat and a laugh. There were bargains to be had. It was all about knowing your stuff; knowing about the artists and albums, the labels and genres. I would find the odd gem plus a number of OK albums and carry them off home to peruse at leisure.

Those were fun days.

When I got home I would spend time looking over my finds. I would read the blurb o the back avidly and look at the photos. Then I’d play them through. Sometimes I would play an album endlessly until I knew every note, every word and the melody. It was an experience.

The excitement of finding a treasure set the heart pounding. You would hold it and look at it and feel the adrenalin rush.

Every time you went out it was with the possibility at the front of your mind. Maybe today you would find that magic album? It was possible.

Nowadays that has gone.

It is not the same trawling on Amazon or Ebay. Everything is there. You are merely haggling about the price.

The digital era means that you can download an artists entire output in seconds. What used to take years of searching and know-how is now available at the click of a button. There is no hunting, no excitement at the unexpected find and no big pay-off when you have it all.

There are the benefits that now everything is available and all those forgotten gems are there at your finger-tips. There are the missing tracks, the unreleased material and a wealth of live concerts. Things have come out of the woodwork that you never knew existed. Who has been sitting on all this stuff? Why wasn’t it available fifty years ago when we would have drooled over it?

The downside is that it has all been devalued. Music has lost its lustre. It does not have the same significance.

Any spotty kid who knows sod-all about music can have the complete set of Chess singles or the entire Trojan catalogue and he doesn’t even know what he’s got.

I’m drowning in a glut of great music but I’m listening to less. Then there is the thing about the quality. Where is all the brilliant new music? Why is so much of it over-produced dross?

I miss those Saturday discussions, meetings, arguments and the hunting. I miss the adrenalin. I miss the buzz and I miss all the social implications.

But then I’m an old dinosaur.

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11 thoughts on “Has digital destroyed Rock Music?”

  1. You said it all, hit the nail right on the head.
    I absolutely hate mp3’s. If anyone tells me “oh, yeah, I downloaded it”, they’ll get a reply from me such as “you ain’t got f*** all matey, you THINK you have, but you’ve not actually HEARD the music”. Quite how anyone can be satisfied with the aural experience of between 5 – 6.5% of the music information is utterly beyond me. I can feel my stomach churning at their inadequacy and mediocrity and total lack of regard to what can be, given the correct circumstances, absolutely fantastic.
    A few weeks ago a friend brought his 15 year old son round. The boy is really into The Who. He had come to the right house. After him falling over just looking at the selection, I asked him if he’d like to hear a vinyl record – he had never heard one. He choose “Quadrophenia” and when the band kicked in after the first minute of wave noises, he physically jumped up off his chair in shock.
    It was hilarious, he was speechless. He’s now saving up for a turntable and has been back round to make himself a list of the records he needs to get. I will of course help him with that adventure.

    I feel very positive about the future of the vinyl record.

    1. I’m so glad to hear that. People get used to tinny rubbish. The power of the real thing is lost. I’m glad a new generation will have that experience. Cheers Opher

  2. I agree almost entirely with you. I disagree that there is no good new music to be found. There is an amazing explosion of good creative artistry going on in the folk-world and the home-recording studio has led to another explosion of good indie musicians, albeit swamped by the plethora of rap and similar music incorporating home studio effects and techniques.

    There is no doubt that vinyl and physical metal needle styli has been proved to produce the warmest and most accurate rendering of the original sound pieces laid on the vinyl record. However, as previously noted the metal styli is the direct cause of deterioration of any given vinyl record.

    The latest technology appears to offer the best of both worlds, with vinyl records being read by a lazer. If I had the money, that would be the setup I’d look to go for.

    As it is, with the help of an Uncle known as Blackbeard, I have the complete works in FLAC and MP3s of most of my favourite artists, so that I can listen through each record as an MP3, and If I like it I will burn the corresponding CD from the FLAC file, and subsequently listen to it as a CD on my compact stereo system.

    1. Cheers Ian. I’m sure there’s loads around that’s good. I don’t get to hear a lot of it. Most of the popular stuff sounds overproduced and bland. I like it raw, loud and preferably with some meaning attached! I’m too busy writing to get around as much as I’d like.
      What would you recommend?

  3. Within the folk world there are so many good acts out there. Pretty much most of it gets aired on Mark Radcliffe’s BBC Radio prog on Wednesday evenings. Mike Harding also produces a regular hour long Internet radio Folk show, which is available as an MP3 podcast after being broadcast.

    My personal favourites amongst the new wave of folk include The Unthanks, Lisa Hannigan and Laura Marling along with the various outgrowths from the Folk Musician Supergroups Blowzabella and the Old Swann Band.

    I havent really found any original new loud electric music that has rocked my boat since discovering Counting Crows in the early 2000s. However there are a lot of very good cover bands out there who are well worth going to see. I’m not sure if The Hamsters are still going, but as their stageshow consisted of 2 sets each of Hendrix, ZZ Top and the Doors, along with their own material, I’d always go see them anytime they pass my way

    1. I missed out on the Hamsters but I heard all about them. I’ve turned on to Laura Marling. I’ll give the others a listen. Thanks for that Ian.
      Have you heard the Mississippi Allstars? They are probably my favourite around aty the moment and I do love the Eels!

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Consciousness – What is it?

Consciousness – What is it?

 

I am aware that I am conscious. I have an awareness of self, feelings, sensations and awareness of the world around me. I think. I have memory and imagination. It is wonderful.

It is also sometimes terrifying. I am writing now. I am transferring thoughts in my mind into words into sentences that (hopefully) make sense. I am aware that I really do not know how I am doing this. I am not in control.

That is fine when I am writing. If the words dry up I take a pause. If I am speaking in public and start to think about the process it fills me with dread. What if I am standing there and the words dry up? What if my mind goes blank? What if I cannot remember what I want to say? The more the fear grips the more your mind tightens up, your throat constricts, your fear wells up.

I’ve been there and done it. I’ve also, as a teacher, got used to standing in front of people and allowing my thoughts to roam, the words come and I am relaxed, free and quick witted. As a Headteacher I stood in front of halls of adults and spouted forth, cracked jokes and relaxed. Practice makes perfect.

I am a conscious being. I find it hard to understand this consciousness.

What do I know about consciousness?

I know that it is the result of the fantastic neuronal net, the most complex thing that we know of in the universe. I know that this operates with a range of neurotransmitters, there is acetyl choline, nor-adrenaline, endorphins, dopamines and such. I can even explain how they operate. I can diagrammatically show how the wave of polarisation travels up an axon, dendrite and jumps a synapse. But that does not explain consciousness to me.

For me the universe is full of wonder and awe, things I want to know more about, galaxies, big bangs, quantum mechanics, quarks and string theory. I am enthralled by polyverses, string theory and the idea that all matter might be nothing more than space coiled up in a further unfathomable six dimensions. WOW!!!!  Isn’t science wonderful? But the greatest wonder of all must surely be our own consciousness.

We are not at the end. We are at the very beginning. Newton, Einstein and Hawkins are the new boys on the block. We have only just begun to unravel the mysteries. I am astounded by how far we’ve got so quickly. The speed is incredible. My grandma watched the first biplanes take to the air and crawl across the sky while standing on a dirt road where horse and cart was the most common mode of transport. They did not have electricity in their house and television had not been invented. The world we now live in was science fiction to that young girl.

Trying talking about quantum theory or DNA with a religious fundamentalist or creationist. They’d prefer we were back in the Dark Ages.

I want to know more about my mind and consciousness. I don’t want to snuff it out in the vain hope that I will wake up in another universe. I don’t believe that. That’s too far-fetched for me.

What is Opher’s World all about?

What is Opher’s World all about?

A blog for Writers, Readers, Thinkers, Beats, Freaks, Idealists, Punks, Hippies, Artists, Musicians, Poets, Photographers, Atheists, and all those of an Alternative Nature with Open Minds who seek Wonder and Fun.

I am writing a blog for thinking, creative people. I wish to promote thought and stimulate the grey matter.

I want to explore naivety.

I want to display beauty and an appreciation of the world, nature and human endeavours.

I want to illustrate politic and social events and not shy from controversy.

I want to highlight Rock Music, good lyrics and music that means something.

I want to communicate.

I want to address philosophy and religion. As an antitheist I would like to highlight the evils being carried out in the name of religion and express my abhorrence.

I want to display my own creativity in the form of Art, Poetry, Music and my Books.

I want to interact and get people involved.

Hopefully you will find this blog varied, passionate, funny, serious and open to all.

I am a humanist who believes in equality, fairness and tolerance. I despise inhumanity, barbarity, cruelty and intolerance.

I wish you a wonderful life in an incredible universe! You are all most welcome!

It’s all happening here! Help build a positive Zeitgeist!!

Aldous Huxley – Time Must Have a Stop – 1944 – extract 2

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Aldous Huxley – Time Must Have a Stop – 1944 – extract 2

This is another short extract from the novel ‘Time Must Have a Stop’ which Aldous wrote in 1944. It is also extremely revealing and still as pertinent today as it was seventy years ago – if not more so!

I completed a reread of this novel on the way back from London yesterday. It made me think.

He could be describing the hatreds, vengeance and continuing cruelty and bloodshed of the Middle East. Violence and atrocity breeds violence and atrocity. The hatred resounds down the centuries. The injustices are piled up in never ending heaps to fester down the centuries. Each new outrage is stored away for use when the opportunity arises.

Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Israel, Gaza, Palestine, Kuwait, Yemen, Nigeria, Syria, Islamic State, the USA, Britain and the rest. One after another in a plethora of inhumanity, bigotry and unending revenge.

Here’s what Aldous had to say way back in 1944:

‘And all those treasures of knowledge placed so unhesitatingly at the service of passion. All the genius and intelligence dedicated to the attempt to achieve ends either impossible or diabolic.’

‘All the problems inherited from from the last crusade and solved by methods that automatically created a hundred new problems. And each new problem would require a new crusade, would leave fresh problems for yet further crusades to solve and multiply in the same old way.’

Aldous Huxley – Quote about how religion and science are used for power, profit and trivia.

Aldous Huxley – Quote about how religion and science are used for power, profit and trivia.

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Aldous Huxley Quote: Triumphs of Religion and Science

In his novel ‘Time Must Have a Stop’ Aldous displays his cynicism at how the greatest wisdom and achievements of man are perverted and twisted for political or commercial profit. He talks of religion becoming a tool for power and making money. He also speaks about how scientific invention, instead of being used to educate and advance our knowledge, is often used to produce trivial entertainment or disseminate political lies.

Faraday and Clerk Maxwell are two geniuses whose pioneering work on electromagnetism in the nineteenth century has given birth to the age of television and radio.

Here is the quote from Aldous:

‘Francis of Assisi miraculously upholding a Mystical Body that was also a political machine and business concern.’

‘Faraday and Clerk Maxwell working indefatigably that the ether might at last become a vehicle for lies and imbecility.’

It seems that the work of geniuses is always used to create profit by the shrewd and uncaring. The greatest inventions used to create mountains of rust instead of diamonds, the highest thoughts used to bolster personal gain and political lies.

One third of the world starves; one third of the world is obese!

One third of the world starves; one third of the world is obese!

 

I don’t want smaller divisions of countries, nations and blocs! I want bigger units.

I don’t want an independent Scotland, Wales and Ireland. I don’t want the United States or Russia to break up. I do not want Europe to break up.

I don’t care who makes the rules as long as the rules are fair.

I want bigger, not smaller! I want global policies.

The way we humans are running this planet is insane.

One third of the world starves while one third is obese. We have a world population explosion that is so out of control that it is threatening all the natural world and our own future. We have countries spending fortunes on better ways of frying other humans while the big issues are not being addressed and most of the world lives in poverty. We have pollution, logging, habitat destruction and the combustion of fossil fuels threatening the future of the planet and altering our climate. We have religious fanatics creating barbarous mayhem and claiming that God will solve it. We have wild animals being butchered for food and superstitious medical nonsense. We have inequality creating trillionaires while babies wither for lack of basic food and water.

The world is run on greed, selfishness, power and wealth.

The planet is finite.

If we let it continue like this we will destroy everything. The only hope is a world government who can tackle all these global issues and solve the problems.

I want bigger not smaller! I want the end of nations! I want a sensible way of running things with fairness, common sense and equality as its mandate.

I want us to mature and create a positive zeitgeist!

What is cool?

Singer Elvis Presley performing on stage in Hollywood, California. June 22, 1956 Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, USA
Singer Elvis Presley performing on stage in Hollywood, California. June 22, 1956 Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, USA

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What is this thing we call cool?

I see all these kids walking about wearing clichés with their hair and clothes. They ape each other, and their idols, in attitude, costume and posture as they try to be cool. Most are merely achieving ridiculousness. Fashion victims are manifest on every high street.

It seems that every age has its version of cool. I bet the cavaliers and 1920s flappers thought they were cool.

Modern-day cool comes right out of black 50s culture and Rockabilly. Black culture epitomised cool. They were discriminated against, lived in poverty (I stereotype) but knew how to have a good time, let their hair down and develop a style that was full of flair. They did not have to fit in. They could wear garish pastel coloured suit, dance and express their sexuality.

White 50s culture was prim, proper and strictly coded. Your life was mapped out. Your hairstyle and clothes carefully manicured. You did not deviate. It was all ordained.

Then came the Blues and Rockabilly and Youth Culture and Cool were born.

Kids no longer worried about their futures and how they fitted in to the status quo; they cared about how their peers saw them. To be in was to be cool.

In the 1950s Jack Kerouac and the Beat Generation focussed on Jazz and the Cool Negro life-style.

1950s Rockabilly adopted ducktails, flouncy skirts, side-burns and hi-heeled sneakers, contrasted clothes and posturing.

The sixties epitomised youth culture and the alternative culture.

Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and the crooners came out of white culture and can never be cool.

Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, 1956 Elvis and Captain Beefheart are cool.

Cool is not fashion.

For me ‘cool’ has to be born out of rebellion and alternative vision. You can’t ape it. You have to have it inside. It is a state of mind. Cool is an attitude.

Words? What do they mean? Do they mean the same for you and me?

Words? What do they mean? Do they mean the same for you and me?

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We are all artists. We paint with words. But is my blue your red?

We start as babies with the spoken word and learn the rudiments of language.

As children we learn the letters and conventions of grammar, we memorise the various punctuation and put them together into the patterns that communicate.

Each word is a symbol. It is no more than an abstract idea.

We each live in our own personal universe and have to hope that the contents of that universe, and consequently the symbols we apply to that content, bear resemblance to the feelings, moods, colours and forms that reside in the universes of everyone else.

How can we be sure?

When I talk of sadness it is of a mood within myself. I must assume you attach the same emotion to that word. Every sadness is different. We apply our empathy.

English is a good language to have as it is such a mongrel of a language. We have purloined words from every culture round the globe and brought them into play. It is rich with great variety. There are many different words for the same thing. When I write I am able to choose the word with the correct nuance and intonation. It gives me scope and choice.

By combining these symbols and arranging them I am able to describe the full gamut of my universe. I am able to combine the symbols as one would combine colours from a pallet, to create hues of emotion, description and imagination. They communicate and so must mean that our universes (created by the range of our senses and operations of our brain) are similar. When I speak of red you can picture that in your head.

That is remarkable.

Yet I must always remember that symbols are not the real thing; they are not the experience. Our communication must, at best, be partial. The world’s we see and the minds we inhabit are unique. We are all so much more that the words we use.

But through writing, using these symbols, we not only see ourselves more vividly but also glimpse the truths of others like us.

Communication is good. Let us hope that we will always share our worlds. You are always welcome in mine!