A true miscellany here: letterpress to Gil Scott-Heron with a lot of meat sandwiched in between… This is quite possibly why I blog…
Ditoria — An amazing video about showing the letterpress printing process by Roberto Bolado.
[W]e need to once again think about what the balance should be between free access to culture and metered access to culture, because both extremes are mistakes, either the extreme that says everything is free because then lots of people won’t create because they can’t cover their cost of creating, or the regime that says everything needs to be licensed, because in that world there’s a whole range of creativity… that can’t begin to happen because the cost of negotiating and clearing those rights is just so extreme.
Worry more about being good because you probably aren’t. If your organization struggles to make half-decent products, has the morale of a prison, and nothing ever changes much less improves, why are you obsessing about innovation? You need to learn the basics of how to make something good, that solves real problems, works reliably, is affordable, and is built by a happy, passionate well rewarded staff that believes good ideas have a chance. If you can make the changes necessary for these basic but all too rare attributes to be true, then innovation, in all its forms, will be much easier to achieve, and it might just happen all on its own.
And thinking of New York… The NY Times is planning to spin off its Book Review as a separate e-reader product.
A Wry Return — Sean O’Hagan profiles musician Gil Scott-Heron in The Observer, revealing an somewhat unexpected connection to Jamie Byng, director of Canongate Books. I say “somewhat” unexpected because having lived in Edinburgh just before Byng wrapped up his funk and soul club Chocolate City, it seems entirely reasonable to me now I stop and think about it:
The story of how Gil Scott-Heron’s new album came to be made is a long and convoluted one. It is, among other things, a testament to the abiding power of great music outside the mainstream to spread like a virus across cultures, across decades. It begins back in 1987 in a rented house in Edinburgh when a young student is mesmerised by his friend’s collection of soul and funk music from the halcyon days of the early 70s… “I was just taken aback by the voice, the words, the poetry,” remembers Jamie Byng who, 22 years on, is the director of Canongate Books and still a fervent soul fan… “Discovering those songs was an epiphanic moment for me…” So taken was Byng by those songs that, having bought and rebranded Canongate, he tracked down his hero and, in 1996, republished his two long-out-of-print novels, The Vulture and The Nigger Factory.
And here’s Gil Scott-Heron’s painfully appropriate cover version of Robert Johnson’s Me and the Devil: