inkwell.vue.350 : Mikal Gilmore, Stories Done
permalink #51 of 69: what another day it takes: (oilers1972) Sat 11 Apr 09 23:49
    
That is a darn good lyric.  Although when it comes to Pink Floyd, I
prefer their music BEFORE _Dark Side of the Moon_.
  
inkwell.vue.350 : Mikal Gilmore, Stories Done
permalink #52 of 69: Mikal Gilmore (mikalgilmore) Sun 12 Apr 09 17:29
    
I think Wish You Were Here will remain my favorite Pink Floyd album
from the Roger Waters reign. Some of its songs are heartbreaking, even
while being cold as ice.

Regarding that explosion of creativity in the 1960s, there were just
so many factors that combined for it to happen, all across the board:
economy, war, technology, social flux, changes in education, and on and
on. I think there was plenty of great music in the 1970s, but after
Stevie Wonder and Elton John, consensus fast dwindled and meant
something else. When Peter Frampton (who certainly wasn't bad, at least
before he became huge) outsold the Beatles, it was plain that in
popular music, numbers now just added up to nothing. It was hard to get
mass agreement on somebody as wonderful as Parliament/Funkadelic, not
to mention the Ramones or Sex Pistols. 

But that's okay; just as the 1960s genie couldn't be stuffed back into
the bottle, neither could the progression of fragmentation, which
after all still gave us lots of remarkable music. And to be honest, as
wonderful as that ideal of a new social consensus emerging from and
around the music of the 1960s, obviously too much of that was a
delusion, though not one I judge harshly at all.
  
inkwell.vue.350 : Mikal Gilmore, Stories Done
permalink #53 of 69: Ed Ward (captward) Mon 13 Apr 09 01:05
    
Well, the idea that (privileged middle-class white youth's) popular
music could drive a revolution was naive at best. Also naive was how
the people making and consuming that music perceived the industry
behind it, which was certainly very invested in the status quo. (No,
not Staus Quo). 
  
inkwell.vue.350 : Mikal Gilmore, Stories Done
permalink #54 of 69: Gary Burnett (jera) Mon 13 Apr 09 06:52
    
"The man can't bust our music."
  
inkwell.vue.350 : Mikal Gilmore, Stories Done
permalink #55 of 69: Ed Ward (captward) Mon 13 Apr 09 07:26
    
Are you aware, incidentally, that that ad was for classical albums? It
was. Including Terry Riley's In C, which is having its 40th
anniversary this year.
  
inkwell.vue.350 : Mikal Gilmore, Stories Done
permalink #56 of 69: Steve Silberman (digaman) Mon 13 Apr 09 17:21
    
An audience-participation performance of In C, conducted at Davies Hall by 
MTT as few years ago, was one of the great San Francisco events of my 
life.  It was truly blissful, with MTT walking up and down the aisles 
conducting everyone from band nerds who had brought their sousaphones to 
11-year-old Suzuki kids with violins.  Great!

But for pure Minimalist THIS IS THE MIND OF GOD UNFOLDING, I still 
prefer Steve Reich's "Music for 18 Musicians."  I hope to see a few more 
live performances of that before I die.
  
inkwell.vue.350 : Mikal Gilmore, Stories Done
permalink #57 of 69: what another day it takes: (oilers1972) Mon 13 Apr 09 19:20
    
"Music For 18 Musicians" live would be cool, as would Morton
Subotnick's "Silver Apples of the Moon."  That has to be the most
rhythmic piece to come out of the 20th Century avant-garde canon, other
than another Reich album, _Drumming_.
  
inkwell.vue.350 : Mikal Gilmore, Stories Done
permalink #58 of 69: Mikal Gilmore (mikalgilmore) Tue 14 Apr 09 14:00
    
I love Music for 18 Musicians -- revelatory and mesmerizing.

I also have always loved that "The Man Can't Bust Our Music" claim,
coming from a corporation. But in truth, it was the advertising and
corporate worlds who did the fastest job at accommodating youth's
tastes at that time, turning it into a consumerism that worked against
youth's ideals. Which was already happening, and was inevitable anyway.

But I do believe that much of what happened then was genuinely
revolutionary and changed norms and what we would be arguing about for
the next forty years. 

I know that music changed my world, probably saved it, certainly
recast it, and I'm hardly alone in that.
  
inkwell.vue.350 : Mikal Gilmore, Stories Done
permalink #59 of 69: David B Dawson (dbdawson54) Wed 15 Apr 09 01:16
    
Mikal, Ed, and Everyone -- I want to add a note of appreciation for
this discussion.  I have just read the entire conference, and feel as
if many of the insights have been expressed solely to reflect my
experiences as a "child of the Sixties."  Or, better yet, to help me
clarify some of those experiences at long last.

I've begun your book, and applaud the beautiful Allen Ginsburg
profile, and am looking forward to reading onward, especially your take
on Ken Kesey, a figure who has long fascinated and befuddled me.

As an old Quaker expression would put it, your statement in the
preceding post "speaks my mind" very well: 

>> "But I do believe that much of what happened then was genuinely
revolutionary and changed norms and what we would be arguing about for
the next forty years. 

>> "I know that music changed my world, probably saved it, certainly
recast it, and I'm hardly alone in that."

I wonder if you could elaborate, in light of both "The Man Can't Bust
Our Music" slogan and a number of books that make the case that the
Sixties was in part a product of Madison Avenue.

I'm thinking specifically of Thomas Frank's "The Conquest of Cool." 
The Amazon.com blurb for Frank's book sums up this strain of thought
much better than I could:

>> "In his book-length essay The Conquest of Cool, Thomas Frank
explores the ways in which Madison Avenue co-opted the language of
youthful '60s rebellion. It is 'the story,' Frank writes, 'of the
bohemian cultural style's trajectory from adversarial to hegemonic; the
story of hip's mutation from native language of the alienated to that
of advertising.' This appropriation had wide-ranging consequences that
deeply transformed our culture--consequences that linger in the form of
'90s 'hip consumerism.' (Think of Nike using the song "Revolution" to
sell sneakers, or Coca-Cola using replicas of Ken Kesey's bus to peddle
Fruitopia.)"


Was the sense of exuberant freedom that I felt when hearing Sergeant
Pepper or going to a Doors concert really a "co-opted" illusion created
for me that by savvy advertising and marketing firms? After all, I've
read Thomas Frank, and I like a lot of what he has to say.

However -- like you, my world was changed completely, to the point of
being saved, by the music, by the sense of freedom, and by the mindful
awareness that millions of us were living through something vital and
different as we, in ways large and small, were creating it.  

But along come guys like Thomas Frank, and they trouble me by making
me question the bedrock assumptions that I still base much of my life
on.

There's a question trapped back there somewhere, screaming by the side
of the road -- I am sorry to ramble!  

I guess, simply put, what's your opinion on this?

(And thanks again for sharing with us!)
  
inkwell.vue.350 : Mikal Gilmore, Stories Done
permalink #60 of 69: (dana) Wed 15 Apr 09 12:28
    
Thanks for joining us, Mikal. We begin a new discussion today, but
you're welcome to continue here as long as you like. 
  
inkwell.vue.350 : Mikal Gilmore, Stories Done
permalink #61 of 69: David B Dawson (dbdawson54) Wed 15 Apr 09 15:02
    
Ack. Sorry to post a Tolstoy-length question right here at the end. 
I'll get my self in gear in the future.... 
  
inkwell.vue.350 : Mikal Gilmore, Stories Done
permalink #62 of 69: Ed Ward (captward) Wed 15 Apr 09 15:26
    
'Sokay, I'd kind of like to see Mikal's response to that myself...
  
inkwell.vue.350 : Mikal Gilmore, Stories Done
permalink #63 of 69: Mikal Gilmore (mikalgilmore) Thu 16 Apr 09 02:16
    
David, I'll happily come back later today and give you a reply. I've
been caught up with something else all day, and it's a little late
right now. I'll just quickly say that I admire much of Thomas Frank's
work, but I flat disagree with him regarding some of his Conquest of
Cool and Commodify Your Dissent arguments. Co-opted or not, a lot of
great stuff has come from what was co-opted. After all, authors and
publishing get co-opted to, as do political leaders. Examine and
question it all, of course -- there's tremendous value in that. But
throwing the baby out with the bath water just disregards too much
pleasure and revelation as far as I'm concerned. Again, real stuff did
happen, and not at small risk. Commodified dissent is still dissent and
can still help change things.

I'll be back later.
  
inkwell.vue.350 : Mikal Gilmore, Stories Done
permalink #64 of 69: Mikal Gilmore (mikalgilmore) Thu 16 Apr 09 18:54
    
Looking back at what I typed here last night, I realize I maybe
summarized my thoughts on the subject.

The advantage of commodified dissent is that it reaches a lot of
people. It helps change some of them, helps spread some ideas and
notions. If its aim is to subvert the ideology it's working
within--such as capitalism--well, good luck. The Beatles aimed for that
with Apple and soon opted for a hardline capitalist ethos. But that
doesn't devalue what they did to help spread some ideas and great
music.

Others--the Grateful Dead among them--were better at setting up
alternative systems. Even so, their main achievement was in
constructing closed loops of their own. Almost everybody involved still
went to the banks and made investments, though hopefully investments
in non-toxic interests.

It's true that the bohemian moves from the adversarial to the
hegemonic. That can bother me, of course, but to be honest, not really
that much. Bohemia and revolutions aren't static, and in our system
they will indeed be co-opted. Sometimes things happen in increments,
and sometimes not at all, they start then sag, but that doesn't
necessarily invalidate the impetus we felt due to them. It also doesn't
mean that the pleasures any of us felt over Sgt. Pepper or the Clash,
or any of it, were illusory (even if Pepper in fact felt illusory to
the Beatles themselves). Our responses might seem naive later, or to
others, but those epiphanies can change us in lasting and utterly valid
ways. And co-opted or not, the opposition that popular music helped
signify in the 1960s had an effect that sill pisses off a lot of
people.

The single best example of commodifying change that I've seen in my
lifetime happened last year, when Obama used some extremely smart and
effective methods to sell his campaign. And I believe we're all better
off for buying what he was selling.
  
inkwell.vue.350 : Mikal Gilmore, Stories Done
permalink #65 of 69: Mikal Gilmore (mikalgilmore) Thu 16 Apr 09 18:57
    
This is where I get to say thanks to all of you, and to the kind folks
here at the Well--and especially to Ed Ward--for inviting me in here
to have these conversations. I've enjoyed it; it's more satisfying than
a lot of the activities that surround a book's publications.

Now, let's spend time with David Gans. He is a very cool guy and he's
been a real help and inspiration to me over the years.
  
inkwell.vue.350 : Mikal Gilmore, Stories Done
permalink #66 of 69: what another day it takes: (oilers1972) Thu 16 Apr 09 19:25
    
<59>:  Well, it WAS the music and other cultural expressions, and it
was and remains real.

After all, Madison Avenue had to have something to co-opt in the first
place.
  
inkwell.vue.350 : Mikal Gilmore, Stories Done
permalink #67 of 69: David B Dawson (dbdawson54) Thu 16 Apr 09 19:26
    
Thanks for the thoughtful answer to my rambling question, Mikal.  As I
expected (and hoped), you summed up my rambling feelings very well. 
"Our responses might seem naive later, or to others, but those
epiphanies can change us in lasting and utterly valid ways."

Absolutely -- very well put.

Good luck to you.  I enjoyed this conversation a great deal, and am
likewise enjoying your book.  Again, thanks!

David in Memphis
  
inkwell.vue.350 : Mikal Gilmore, Stories Done
permalink #68 of 69: what another day it takes: (oilers1972) Sun 19 Apr 09 00:36
    
And my thanks to you as well, Mikal!
  
inkwell.vue.350 : Mikal Gilmore, Stories Done
permalink #69 of 69: Mikal Gilmore (mikalgilmore) Mon 20 Apr 09 02:14
    
I meant to add that if anybody wants to reach me directly, my e-mail
is:


mikalgilmore@me.com
  



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