album art, backtrax usa, coltan, death at a funeral, duran duran, giles slade, golden earring, green design, greg kot, juno, kerri miller, kevin kelly, kid kelly, made to break, media, mining, mpr, soloist, steve miller band, vinyl albums, vinyl music, west africa
I’ve consumed a fair amount of media over the past few days. Honestly, who can’t say that about their experience in the U.S. of A. today? We’re saturated, but this was media I was thoroughly focused on, not using as background noise.
On Friday morning, I heard Kerri Miller’s Midmorning program on MPR about independent record stores and how music on vinyl is making a comeback. I complained about the lack of album art now that music is going digital waaaaay back in January 2007. Turns out that the album art is one of the drawing points for vinyl. Duh!
For the last 15 minutes of Midmorning on Friday, the discussion turned to none other than my favorite mogul of music industry reconstruction, Trent Reznor and all of the crazy things he’s doing to sell his music now that he’s free of a record company contract. None of this was news to me, of course, not even the mention of Kevin Kelly’s Thousand True Fans (even though the commentator, Greg Kot, didn’t mention Kevin Kelly’s name). I just thought it was super cool that MPR was discussing the topic because we simply can’t discuss creative genius enough imho.
On Saturday evening, during a visit with Soloist, my media consumption included watching the movie “Juno,” which we had looked for at the video store, but was out. Soloist rented the last available copy at a different video store thinking we’d like to watch it. Great minds think alike, no? Instead, we rented “Death at a Funeral,” which we watched after “Juno.” Both movies were hilarious and quirky and worth watching more than once. I wish my parents had been the loving smart asses that Juno had for parents. I think our kids might agree that Hubby and I can be quite the smart asses ourselves, but we have a quieter form of smart-assedness (acidness!?!) than Juno’s parents displayed.
Yesterday, while Hubby and I were driving Daughter to Ikea to purchase a new bed and wardrobe, we listened to Kid Kelly’s Backtrax U.S.A., which featured music from the ’80s. Daughter astutely noted that “our” music had more synthesizer than today’s music. Hubby and I were treated to such favorites as Golden Earring’s “Twilight Zone,” Duran Duran’s (Duran-squared, if you were a die-hard fan) “The Reflex – flec, flec, flec, flec, flex), and the Steve Miller Band’s “Abracadabra.” This last song was considered quite risque when we were kids. Now it barely raises an eyebrow.
The rest of my media consumption included reading the new Wired magazine and finishing Giles (pronounced jai-elz) Slade’s book “Made to Break.” This guy knows how to do some serious research. He covers a multitude of products in the book and how they were designed to become obsolete quickly. Each product could have a book of its own to discuss its history, which means that Giles had to do a lot of reading in order to write this book. It’s scholarly, but not dull, so don’t let my yammering about all the research scare you away.
Remember my post on Planned Reclamation? How I was asking by page 34 of the book why we couldn’t design things with disassembly and reuse in mind? Giles gets to that in the book and says that this is called “green design” or “design for disassembly.” (pg. 182) As I was reading, the other thought that came to mind during the discussion of toxic e-waste was . . . If it’s so toxic to take apart things like computers and cellphones, what about the production end? Isn’t it toxic to collect the materials needed to put into these gadgets? It is.
Giles touches on the mining of one ingredient needed for digital technology on page 278 – colombo-tantalum ore, a.k.a. coltan. I’m not sure whether coltan itself is toxic, but its mining practices “produce social and geopolitical chaos in West Africa.” (pg. 278 ) And, of course, there’s environmental degradation from the act of mining. Our quest for more and more and more digital stuff has to be tempered by the effects our excessive consumption is causing world-wide – from both the production end through the disposal process.
So then, what interesting media have you consumed lately?