I took the plunge recently into the Sonos family of sound systems – very clever software is the difference between these speakers and anything else.
I chose the smallest speaker as an introduction to the range. If I want I can extend my Sonos network one speaker at a time. They can play music at the same time if I want. You can group speakers and set them up as home cinema systems too. They work with bluetooth, wifi and other standards like Airplay from Apple. Very clever.
For now though I just got the most rugged and smallest speaker to carry around with me and withstand the household with all the kids smashing it. The Sonos Roam is waterproof and pretty sturdy. We could take it camping and to the beach, if the adverts are to be believed.
Happy Thursday chimps. The latest podcast episode is up today. It was fun to record something again.
There are only a couple of days until the start of my new podcasting project. I enjoy picturing how it might play out. Here is what you might expect from me (the Chimpwithcans) every Thursday.
Essentially, Chimpwithcans is a podcast about fatherhood. About noticing your flaws and choosing to do something. About taming the inner chimp when something great is at stake.
The episodes will be short but I will maintain output for the foreseeable future. I once committed to 4 episodes in 4 weeks and delivered – but it was difficult, relying on guests to interview and each episode lasting way too long to maintain along with a busy life.
These new podcasts will be far easier to create and perhaps a little less structured and serious. More creativity is the goal.
If you’re curious, see the podcast page above for links on how to listen.
Chimpwithcans.com has a new look and a new promise. There is now a home page to welcome you, a blog page, and a podcast page. There will be a podcast episode released each week.
The podcast may not be the most polished production in the world, and it may not be very long, but in the name of taming my inner chimp through creativity I will publish an episode weekly. Please see the new ‘podcast’ page in the menu above for details on how to listen.
If you look up the podcast on your phone, you will find an old episode “On Lemons and Nappies” which I created over a year ago. Listening to this afresh makes me cringe, but it’s a good baseline to work with.
The new, weekly episodes will start this Thursday. This should be fun.
I have now made my chimpwithcans playlist available on Apple music as well as Spotify.
See the following link: https://music.apple.com/za/playlist/chimpwithcans/pl.u-r2yBBvqC3Exe1
This will sync with the Spotify playlist when I update it each week. Something that’s not so easy to do…. But for you dear readers/listeners, anything…. Actually I did this four my mum who can’t get Spotify in Kenya, but that’s another story.
Happy Thursday chimps!
There used to be a 10,000 song limit for liking songs on Spotify. As of May this year this is no longer the case.
This is good news for my chimpwithcans playlist project. It means I can influence the Spotify algorithm and like all the songs from this book: link
Then I can pick the favorite recommendations i receive in my discover weekly playlist.
The things I do for a good playlist. Oh, speaking of which, if you want to hear it, then follow this link.
Happy Wednesday chimps.
Every week I add a few new songs to my playlist on Spotify (See the link to the playlist here: link).
Choosing the songs is the end of a rather convoluted process:
- On Spotify, I ‘Like’ all songs and albums (I’m about half way through) included in the following book: link
- I listen to the resulting recommendations from Spotify in my ‘Discover Weekly’ playlist.
- I Pick a few standout songs and add them to my chimpwithcans playlist (link here).
The results are broad in their musical genre. It has turned into a pretty chilled playlist and I really enjoy pressing shuffle now. It has so many songs I never would have heard. Importantly I feel like I have had a say in training and filtering the Spotify algorithm to spit out something interesting.
This week, my Discover Weekly gave me the following standout tracks:
- Fela Kuti – “Trouble Sleep Yanga Wake Am”. Below is a great review of the song:
Released as part of a quartet of albums from the most productive year of Fela’s career, “Trouble Sleep Yanga Wake Am” has all the hallmarks of a classic Fela single, a languid, self determined instrumental warm up that goes on for several minutes, putting the listener in the right frame of mind, and setting up a tonal theme for the rest of the performance, a choral style, call and response chorus in conjunction with Fela’s omnipresent band, and long winding verse that defy the laws of composition and march at a tempo that only Fela decides. But what really distinguishes this song from the rest of the master’s oeuvre, is the masterful storytelling that Fela employs. Fela had always understood that at the core of his sway over his fans was his ability to empathize with their terribly oppressed lives, and the skill with which he consumed their stories, ruminated on them and regurgitated them back, defiance milled into the broth.
“Trouble Sleep Yanga Wake Am” is brimming with defiance, delivered subtly as an exchange, reflected through a lens of righteous justice. Fela sings of the oppressed, and personifies the oppression of Nigerian people. He asks through a direct chorus and series of vignettes, that the suffering of oppressed be respected and that if it is not, then the oppressed is justified in their decision to revolt, to take arms against the persons who mock their suffering and remain unempathetic to their oppression. He substitutes the government for smaller, more relatable avatars of power, like the landlord who wields the power to deny shelter, or the policeman who can take away a man’s freedom, or even closer. Never to look away from intrigue when the opportunity presents itself, Fela subverts his own theme in the third vignette about a husband, citing that sometimes it is our own avarice and pride, not an external agitator that puts us in trouble.https://thenativemag.com/music/shuffle-trouble-sleep-yanga-wake-fela-succinct/
- Sidney Bechet – “Blue Horizon”. Holy moly please listen to this man play a clarinet! I remember when I was about 11years old my Mum tried to get me to play an instrument and I tried clarinet. I had zero idea it could sound like this. My efforts sounded more like a strangled ibis making an escape from the torture chamber…..But this man…..The control, the wary tension of the small group surrounding him. The sharp tone, a vigorous vibrato. This is an absolute master and I had NEVER heard of him until today. More fool me. Have a listen, just beautiful.
That’s it for this week. Happy Monday chimps!
I have a sort of long-running experiment with the internet. It plays out in real time. It is not clear to me, nor was it ever taught to me, what to publish on the net and why. And when I do post something on there (on here?), how much of it is really a part of my life? My work? My community? My identity? What exactly is the impact?
The calculation baffles me to be honest (I am an over-thinker!) but I can see people who have it under control. They harness the power of the net to their advantage. They are comfortable with the online self versus the offline self.
When I first created a Facebook account it was all a bit of a joke – in my eyes it wasn’t really me. But now i’m not so sure. The internet is a powerful sandbox, where we must draw our own lines. Limitations are our friends. Intention is our friend.
Some lines and decisions to consider for the internet:
- Are you on Apple devices, or Android?
- Do you read or write? Consume or create?
- Is it free or are you paying?
- Are you using a pseudonym or your real name?
That last point is topical for me. I tried to create something with the chimpwithcans.com domain but it never really took. I love and identify with the image of the chimp (ha!) but I couldn’t figure out what to do with the domain name. I felt pressurised to build something other than my own thoughts and identity. A business or a following perhaps – but I didn’t have anything clear in my head. That lack of authenticity and pandering to others is for the birds.
All of this is to say I have changed the name and address of this blog. No more hiding behind a chimpanzee.
http://www.randrews.blog is the new site and it is just me and my musings. My practice of writing as often as i can.
Happy Saturday, chimps/people.
My friend has improved at playing the guitar. Particularly during lockdown this year he has spent time learning, recording and sharing songs online. His repertoire has grown. An investment in his own musical skills which will pay off many times over.
His efforts got me thinking about investment in music. The result is a scattering of options in the form of a blog post. Here are a few random thoughts and discoveries from looking at investment options in music.
There’s a company called Hipgnosis which recently listed on the London Stock Exchange. It buys up music catalogues from artists or other owners with the view that the IP will retain its value and pay back the investment over time as the songs continue to sell. You can buy their shares on the LSE today.
In March 2008, Anchorage Capital Partners announced The Guitar Fund, a $100M fund investing in the rare and vintage guitar market, citing an average annual return of over 31%, according the ’42 Guitars’ tracking index. I would find these sorts of guitars impossible to let go of, and very stressful to keep with toddlers running around my house wielding weapons and generally destroying everything in their wake.
Music Memorabilia can also be a source of alternative investment income or growth if you have the time and the inclination. There is a market for almost anything touched by a rock star. Proof of the rock n roll connection is often the hard part. I have some signed pics of Clapton, Beach Boys, BB King and Aerosmith. Hopefully the signatures are all real. How would I ever find out?
How do you invest in music?
As a teenager I used to think I would listen to my walkman for the rest of my life. It was so essential to me – the cassette tapes I had painstakingly curated, the stock of fresh AA-size batteries, the headphones I found in an airport in England. The ritual of plugging it all in and pushing play. It just didn’t get any better.
One day in my early 20s I found my dad’s LP collection and an old hifi setup. I heard classics like Otis Redding and Springsteen in such clarity and power. Besides the fidelity, there was the long beautiful process of choosing the record, cleaning it, playing one side through and flipping it over, reading the liner notes, poring over the album covers, adjusting the needle and the audio settings. A new ritual was born. My life changed.
Now in my 30s I have my iPhone and an Apple watch. New tech, new ritual. I can call up any song I want no matter where I am. The digital liner notes are getting better every day and the sheer convenience of Bluetooth and music on the go is changing my life again. Don’t even get me started on Spotify’s daily mix and discover weekly playlists. That revolution in curation is a topic for another post.
Older forms of technology can all still be used of course. And often they retain their original power even though the convenience factor is low. Vinyl has made a come back. Audiophiles also tout the benefits of CDs and cassettes. For me this means I now have an arsenal of ways to access the Music drug. The music is the constant, Platonic form while the tech revolves and morphs around it in a clumsy, circular dance.
Perhaps one day the headphones will be nothing more than chips in our brains. A neuralink device Elon Musk sells for a fee. What might a music listening ritual look like for this scenario?
I get comfort from the fact that the music never changes. Taste and quality may vary, but a song is a song no matter what. The catalogue keeps on growing, but the essential form and function of a song is set. It is information in the form of a sound wave being received by the brain. Only the tech for delivery varies.
It is often the big events which give new impetus to a project or a lagging goal.
I was busy before the pandemic and now I have a very busy life. So far COVID 19 related lockdown has been a blur of work, babysitting, house cleaning, logistics. I know I am not alone and many people have even more to do than me. I also know some people are going through this lockdown with no work and no children to worry over. I wonder what that’s like??…..But I digress.
Impetus itself is a mid 17th century word from Latin. It comes from impetere ‘assail’, from in- ‘towards’ + petere ‘seek’. This suggests a searching and overcoming of obstacles. Impetus is often an externally generated thing in my life. I wish it was more internally driven.
Start of a new streak. Here’s hoping I have the impetus to keep it going for at least 30 days.
Keep well and happy Monday chimps.