Monday, 15 March 2010

Please don't follow me...

I’ve said before that I like to do my own thing. That doesn’t mean that I’m anti-establishment, but I cherish my own views and opinions and don’t feel any need to impose them on anyone else. I’m not religious, don’t belong to any political movement and don’t even support a particular football team. In short, I’m not a follower and have no desire to be followed.

Maybe that’s why I don’t get Twitter?

Now don’t get me wrong… I quite like Twitter and have an account (@voisardparsons). As I write this, I have Tweetdeck open watching for Tweets about Worthing or from people who sometimes have interesting things to say or share.

When I first signed up, I was flattered to receive notifications that strangers were “following” me. Great. I had no idea who these people were, but they seemed interested in me. Err, no. They expected me, out of courtesy, to “follow” them and that was their thing – having as many followers as possible, irrespective of who they were. Eeek.

Now, Twitter is a one-to-many medium. For example, I write something deeply profound and all my “followers” see it as can anyone who watches for keywords which I may have included. Some use it brilliantly: Chris Evans asks questions during his show, Duncan Bannatyne found his wife’s dress and, of course, Stephen Fry shares his life online when he’s not hibernating. Others use it badly – the BBC spams out headlines at a machine-gun rate, others “Tweet” their entire day in minute, banal detail. Twitter can be a great way to rapidly spread a rumour, news (Iran, for example) or a viral video.

Maybe I’m reading too much into this, but Stephen Fry is, of course, a national treasure. He is genuinely interesting and passionate about technology but the idea of “following” him, or anyone else, bothers me and, if I’m honest, I don’t really want “followers”.

What I’d really like is somewhere where I can choose “friends” and share the odd thought, cool link or photo with them, maybe chat occasionally and read what they’re up to. Wait a minute, that’s Facebook isn’t it?

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Desert Island survival.

I suppose it’s the done thing for every writer or blogger to do their own “Desert Island” list of tracks, so I’ve been giving it some thought…

The easiest thing would be to write down your ten favourite tracks and be done with it but, actually, if this really were a desert island, and if you really only could ever listen to ten tracks, you’d want to choose tracks to cover every mood and every style you like.


Easy one to start with – Jacques Brel’s “La Chanson des vieux amants”. Rarely heard in English, but this wonderful lament to a lifelong lover and partner is so warm, so touching, so clever. Why isn’t Brel better known? I would choose Alison Moyet’s version every time.

Another easy one, the awesome “Comfortably Numb” by Pink Floyd, preferably from “Pulse”. Simply the best rock track ever, with the two best guitar solos of all time.

Just occasionally, I need to relax to something choral. I’d struggle to choose between the 1st movement of Dvořák’s “Stabat Mater” and the “Sanctus” from Fauré’s Requiem. Go with the Fauré.

I’d also need some opera. Tough one this… could choose “Vesti la Giubba” from I, Pagliacci or Bizet’s Pearl Fisher’s duet but I think I’ll take “Va, Pensiero” from Nabucco.

Now, as a confirmed and proud prog-head, we need an epic. Nothing short of 20 minutes will do, subject matter may vary, but apocalypses are always popular. Choice is between “Close to the Edge” by Yes, “Supper’s Ready” by Genesis and Marillion’s “Grendel”. I think I’ll take the Yes.

Now a mini-epic or two. Many more to choose from: “Evergreen" or “Heroes Never Die” by the amazing Mostly Autumn, “The Awakening” by Mystery, Rainbow’s “Stargazer”, “Breathe it in” or “The Illusion is Freedom” by Darwin’s Radio. Decisions… Ok, “Passengers” by Mostly Autumn and Genesis's “Firth of Fifth”.

Another easy one, a song that I’ve loved since I was six years old, Simon & Garfukel’s wondrous “Bridge over Troubled Water”.

Quick count. We’re up to eight.

Actually, the last two are quite easy as well - Bowie’s “Word on a Wing” and Pink Floyd’s “Great Gig in the Sky”.

Interestingly, only three of those chosen feature in my top twenty played tracks on Itunes.