Baggage and Luggage.

Baggage. Luggage. The shit you cart around with you – stuffed in your wallet, falling out of your backpack, shoved into drawers and cupboards. That’s bad – but I’m not talking about that now.

suitcase-full

There’s the stupid thing you once said to somebody you cared about 10 years ago, that pops into your mind at 2AM and sets you upright, thinking how different things would be if you hadn’t fucked up … bad too, I’m not talking about that either.

There’s also the baggage that we’re blithely collecting right here, right now, weighing down you and me. The encrustion of online life. Photographs and texts and fuck knows what else the machines have pieced together about you. If you were born since the Internet then there’s probably not much hope for you, you’re in your own little Truman Show and everybody is getting a good look. You might even think that’s normal, bless you, hope that job interview goes well a few years from now.

Somehow there is a rule that goes like this: the worse the photo, the more likely it will show up in online searches. It’s true isn’t it? I spend months getting fitter and happier and yet will be forever a photo The Guardian once took of me flopped and miserable, sweating with a bad flu. You might think that’s a small thing, but consider the impact on resolution, on positive feedback – do what you want, try harder, it’s not going to change a goddamn thing in “society”.

Oh and of course I can make new hi resolution videos, put heart and soul into them… but then somebody will post an old VHS on YouTube and erase everything I’ve worked on. Improvement – personal or professional – is negated by some goddamn algorithm.

Catalyst: I recently saw this band photo again –

October 1983

October 1983

on Facebook for a gig that’s happening in 2016. Like it’s a photo from 33 fucking years ago and it’s still doing the rounds. OK, so that’s tragic, but the main thing is Simon, on the right there. He’s dead. He’s been dead for years, and there he is, still staring out of the screen, freshly dug out of the grave. For pity’s sake – isn’t it time we did better than this?

Part of the culture of indigenous Australians has to do with people who have died – it is not right to display their likeness. I feel there is some justice in that for all of us. But go further. Let all the baggage evaporate, let it fade away. Some time after the event, wipe it, wipe all of it, and if it matters so much to somebody they can place it back again.

History? History is not what happened, as it happened. History is how we falsely recall from now, refurbishing the past. History is baggage. Drop it.

Saloon and Sales

This is interesting: http://www.salon.com/2012/06/20/steal_this_album_what_happens_if_no_one_pays_for_music/singleton/

Mostly because it’s being debated with a little more intelligence than the usual ‘all musicians are lazy and rich therefore FYGM’. Salon is a funny website. Sometimes you feel so damn relieved to be reading above the usual YouTube moron level. But sometimes the USA Progressive rhetoric is clumsy and shallow. I love the old socialist banter that went with the 70’s post punk bands, but I’m well aware that it didn’t get far past the first record contract. It seems that many of the Salon writers have yet to see it in practice and still have high abstract hopes. Bless them for wanting good for all, that’s a rare thing.

Back to paid music: Curiously the switch from CD to DRM-free download has gone well for me. Sevcom shop has almost reached the point where BandCamp will take a lesser cut, and this on material that has been out and about for years. But the audience are generally sticking with what they know.

It’s good to have statistics, actually it’s disillusioning – both negative and positive meanings of that combined. Biggest seller is City Slab Horror. Biggest download is Return To Barbara Island, although it had already done over 1,000 downloads from MediaFire in the old store. Free stuff will always win. But it emboldens me to make a another new thing and give it away. I have about 9000 free downloads banked up.

In the last two months looks like I’ve had a lot of new customers show up. Again, City Slab Horror, Bigot … one thing is that not everyone buys the entire Adenoids set. True, most of the tracks are in the first package. I just thought they’d be completists.

Now, where do they come from? About half direct dial BandCamp, which shows the virtue of this site. A fifth went to sevcom.com first; would be better if I was more active there. A tenth came from FaceBook; I have no presence there. ALMOST NO SALES COME FROM YOUTUBE. Having people post my music on YouTube does not assist me in any statistically valid way. So fuck that argument. Let’s have the image…

Love it.

BandCamp allows me to download everyone’s email addresses as a spreadsheet. If I was a good marketer I’d use that to push info at people, but I think I am a better friend to people by not doing that kind of thing. At some point I’ll just send them all a present.

What about iTunes? Well I don’t get too deep into those statistics but it’s basically about a thousand bucks of Dead Eyes Opened every time I get a payment. Yay… zzzzzzzzzz. iTunes is like when you buy a greasy kebab on the way home from the pub… being Dead Eyes.

This week I have to pop down to the Australian Broadcasting Corp. to talk hosting of [H.H]. I don’t think they’ll notice the hit but sensible men want to check bandwidth. I guess if you had a couple of hundred people bashing away at it on opening night and they all tried the same tape recorder it could be nasty, but shit, it’s the ABC.

Not much development on Cavalcade so far. Looks like we don’t have the Mandala systems we thought we did. Anyone got an old Amiga Live card lying around?

For Capra, I’m trying to 3D render a night time city flyover. All those little bright windows are causing the worst Moire pattern, wasted days on that.

As for Opmitter, don’t ask. I just switched over from Jitter to Derivative TouchDesigner. The desperate move of a drowning man!

YouTube can kiss my ass. UPDATE: Who the hell are IODA?

Dear TomEllard,

Your video, Dead Eyes Opened Sydney January 2010, may have content that is owned or licensed by IODA.

No action is required on your part; however, if you’re interested in learning how this affects your video, please visit the Content ID Matches section of your account for more information.

Sincerely,
– The YouTube Team

 

Dear YouTube.

The composer of the music, the recording artist, the maker of the video and the person that posted it ARE OBVIOUSLY THE SAME PERSON.

You idiots.

You have a million people uploading shit they stole from where ever. So instead, you send out a pissy insulting form letter to somebody that contributes their own work. A form letter that offers 4 tiny boxes where I am allowed to reply that hey, I have no idea who IODA is, why they should be able to do this, what it has to do with the fact I am promoting my own goddamn work on your site.

And it’s the SECOND time you’ve done this. You haven’t even dealt with my first dispute yet.

I am going to try walking and calming down, but the temptation is to go somewhere else because hey, you really are the exact opposite of everything worthwhile.

Tom Ellard, a person that makes shit that you monetize.

UPDATE:

Through my own efforts I find that IODA is a US based distributor of my music. They have a non exclusive sub-license, which is kind of like having a franchise in that territory. It doesn’t give them any exclusive rights – certainly they don’t own the synchronization rights of my music, and that’s exactly what YouTube’s automated system can’t understand. It’s twigged a match between the soundtrack of these videos and their licensed material. Being automated it starts a process which is inflexible and stupid to any nuances in the situation.

Somebody at IODA has countered my claim that they don’t own my videos: at least that’s the probable reason why the dispute robot has rejected my disputation. But no one has actually emailed another person to ask, hey is this TomEllard account ‘official’?

It is (as always) up to the artist to start fixing the mess that the companies have created ‘on their behalf’. This begins with human communication; I have started that. It involves pressure; I have damaged the videos on YouTube with an annotation and an audio swap. This may help the companies involved to feel a small amount of monetary and PR displeasure, the only sensation that they can feel. I have provided an alternative venue on Vimeo. I always wanted to do that, so this is as good a time as ever.

As soon as somebody notices that their robots have screwed up, I will be happy to put things back as they were. In the meanwhile they can ‘own’ a web page that explains just how dumb they are.

Audio Mouth Breathers

Ladies and Gentlemen, we have a new breed of idiot to celebrate.

Recently I become annoyed at people on You Tube that had my music up as soundtracks to a still image. There’s plenty of reasons to despise this:

* If they had made a video to go with the music, they would have added some small thing to the store of art. They didn’t and haven’t.

* They often see themselves as providing something that otherwise would not be heard. 10 seconds with Google would have told them otherwise. Their self promotion allows no such deviation.

* They often describe themselves as some sort of collector. A collector, the way that somebody picks up my garbage. Again they have not actually researched anything, have no idea of what it means and have no inkling that the year 1990 passed some time ago. It’s 2011. You are old and fat and so are The Bangles.

* Like all good Fascists they pretend to speak ‘on my behalf’. Particularly distressing are those academics that promote their redistribution of other people’s work as ‘a gift economy’ – the same that would condemn anyone that spoke on behalf of another person with less power – but then academia and hypocrisy are siblings.

congratulations-idiot

I could go on. But let’s get to the meat.

I was told by one that he was a connoisseur of vinyl and that he wanted people to hear what the music sounded like on that format. Now, the idea that by streaming audio over the incredibly low bandwidth of YouTube Flash format you were demonstrating the quality of analogue audio is so UTTERLY FUCKING STUPID that I regret my membership of the human race.

Perhaps it’s not clear – let me put it this way – if you said that an original oil painting was better than a print and you prove this by providing a black and white photocopy of the painting then you are as thick as two short planks. No one would for a moment believe a word you said. And yet somehow there are people out there who are commenting on the superior sound they are streaming down from YouTube.

One particular serial retard based an entire critique of my later music on what they had downloaded from YouTube. Well yes, everything I have done recently has a bandwidth of 12KHz. You’re so perceptive.

It’s worth repeating (how many more times?) that everything we recorded since 1985 was recorded digitally. The record labels would make a tape from that and press vinyl and leave me to cry at just how BAD these unnecessary modifications have made the sound. Then when some oaf tells me that the vinyl sounds superior it broadcasts their ignorance. Let alone over YouTube. Ye Gods!

congratulations-idiot

I have the original recordings. Telling me what it is supposed to sound like makes you a fool. Get it?

Now I am getting some people who complain about how loud CDs can be. It’s on the level of ‘Why is this loud-over-the-top-noise-music loud-and-over-the-top? Why are you making this thumping sound like thumping and this screeching sound like screeching? This is not how it sounds on the vinyl I bought 25 years ago!’ Well no shit Sherlock. When you cut vinyl you have to turn it down. You have remove bass. You have to compress the stereo image. You have to run it through limiters. You end up with something which is called ‘warm’, like a pie that’s been too long on a heating tray. Vinyl sucks and the really loud and crunchy CDs are free of these compromises that I have hated.

Bottom line – if you want to live in the past go ahead. But to try drag it all back to your youth is desperate. Let the rest of us go on ahead, we don’t need you.

BONUS BEATS!

And here it comes … the hate mail!

A depressing number of people of course didn’t actually read what I said and started another chorus of that tired old song about analogue, unicorns and rainbows. Good for you.

One guy decided that I was in no position to call the Bangles (and presumably him) fat. Actually that’s the point dear chap, I’m not the one injecting sonic Botox. The sweet bird of youth is dead on the bottom of the cage, so let’s all be grown ups now. Look in the mirror. I’m near 50 years old, it’s 2011, and 1982 may as well be 1882 for what it matters any more.

I particularly liked an impassioned plea that I respect ‘fans’. You have to ask what a ‘fan’ means? Let’s see:- no idea about what’s been happening for the last 20 years, never buys anything, steals my shit, never contacts me. Oh yeah, right that’s a FAN. With fans like that who needs indifference? Or maybe it’s a case of be kind to these people because they are particular delicate flower who ‘mean well’?

I have a community of people who I DO respect, and they in turn respect me and this is far healthier than the notion of a ‘fan’ – a kind of hostile dependency that should have been taken out back and shot a few decades ago.

The rant is valid, the rant calls out bullshit. I will denounce things that suck.

*Stop The Presses*

Notorious cybergoth and loss lead marketer Trent Reznor has finally realised that his online fan community is filled with jealous resentful people who are only there to try get a knife into him. (Thanks to Earthrid for this earth shattering news). Everyone here at Ellard (that’s me) is kind of proud and just a little sad that Trent has finally made the mental connection between anonymity, the Internet and death threats. Onya, big boy, always a few years behind but still doing great in the fame game.

But I’m sad that Trent seems puzzled as to what fuels this Iago-esque situation. Why are these hambeasts so MEAN about him getting a little love? Sit on grandad’s knee and I’ll explain.

You should have read the first post on this blog, because it explains what is going on, and that is YOU. You had an online community about YOU. People came to read about YOU. And for all the pretend gee golly gosh, you were trying to charm people into not noticing your arrogance. People are not interested in YOU, they are interested in THEMSELVES and you just happen to be a convenient way to define themselves as ‘fans’. The edifice must not be cracked and they will kill you to make sure of that.

fat-goth-760396

Fan is short for fanatic. Trent, do I have to tell you, this is not a good word? They want blood, and you have to keep providing it or they will make do with yours. Being a fan means you believe in the Wizard of OZ, and beat up that man behind the curtain. Truth is, they have always resented you, they only wanted to wear your skin. You can throw all the free downloads you like at people, it only inspires them to demand more free downloads and then your head on a platter.

But Trent, your post count on your own forum is 42. That’s kind of underwhelming for somebody who is bitching about their interactions with the great unwashed. I must have racked up thousands of posts over the 16 or so years we ran discussion areas and I did my damned best to make the majority of those years kick arse, because I am stupid and do things I love even when no one cool is watching.

If you are for real then I’ve got some advice for you: close down your band. Do something else. It won’t kill you, in fact you might be much happier. Sure, you ‘ll miss being Angry Cyberdude, but its all getting a little smelly now isn’t it.

Watch these films: The King of Comedy (Jerry Lewis plays ‘YOU’) and Stardust Memories by Woody Allen. Between those two, all will become clear. Seriously.

And get ready for the ones that play hardball. Trent, even when you say goodbye there’s a few that won’t give up. I’ve started forwarding messages and phone recordings to the police, hoping to get someone to leave me the hell alone or get a warrant. And I’m nobody. When you walk away, the crazies will be out baying at the moon.

Wonderful wonderful Rupert Pupkin…

…and while we are talking losers – No!

Children gather around – do you know why a PC is called a PC? It’s a Personal Computer. It means that once upon a time we used ‘dumb terminals’ connected to a server, and that’s where the applications were stored. You would ‘time share’ on the ‘mainframe’. We got rid of that shit. It was called the ‘personal computer revolution’. Children, do you hear them talking about ‘cloud computing’? Do you hear them say that some new revolution is coming, where we connect our machines to some mainframe at Google and do our work there? Do you say, but didn’t we get rid of that just 20 years ago, why are we going back to the old system again?

Because there are people that have decided they will make money by doing this, and they have convinced tools of the media that ‘old ways’ must go. And they want to dip into your private data.

But big, complicated operating systems such as Microsoft’s latest, Vista, aren’t necessary in the Web Age, where applications are delivered for free and on demand — often without users even being aware of it.

No, I do not want to write my documents on Google. No, I don’t want my health records kept by Google. No, I do not want them to have my CV, a photograph of my house, my shopping habits. I do not Google searching my photographs on my desktop or anywhere else. I do not see why my work should be sent on a round trip between the USA and my house, wasting time and resources.

I do not want any company having anything to do with me ‘without even being aware of it’.

And that’s the problem. As more and more of what Windows does moves up into the cloud-into Google’s always-on, give-’em-whatever-they-want-for-free servers-what becomes of the company that Gates built? The smartest move Gates could make right now is to get out of the way.

When a journalist uses a phrase like ‘moves up into the cloud’ to mean ‘data mined on a large corporation’s mainframe’, they should not be allowed to write on any matter of current technological culture. They are a tool, not only in their dull metallic clunk, but in their moronic enthusiasm to soft sell some matter of corporate warfare as a fluffy puppy shaped cloud.

He says ‘the Web Age’, completely mindless of how, like ‘the Space Age’, this kind of dog’s froth is the sad soiled remnant of some dead end fantasy, soon to be parodied. Try it yourself: say ‘A Space Age Product!’. Now say ‘A Web Age Product!’ and feel the mirth.

The smartest move this journalist could make right now is to get the fuck out of the way.

Cavalcade of Losers.

Joel Stein at Time.com wrote:

Skwerl, 27, is in a punk band and used to work for Universal Music. Now he works for a Web marketing company. “Among my friends, I’m the guy known for getting things no one can get,” he says. “I’m just that rabid for information.” Skwerls are the people who make the Internet useful. To everyone but record companies.

The article is about stealing an album by Axl Rose, about whom I have no warm feelings but that’s not the point. Stein downloads music from an album that has taken 14 years of drunken indecision to make. He makes much of how it only took ten minutes to download. People like Stein make a lot of numbers like years and minutes – they always get excited about storage size and bandwidth, because that’s how they measure things – I have 30,000 songs on my iPod, I have 3 cars, they cost me this much, my wife is D cup. A consumer, basically. That’s it, nothing more.We are being written at by a consumer.

But the figure I am most interested in is the mythical Skwerl, who is in a punk band and used to work for Universal. The funny thing is how, as you add details to this character, they become increasingly shallow. They have have a funny name, they think they are ‘punk’ some 30 years too late, they used to clean the kitchen at a record label, so they are ‘in the industry’ and now they send out spam about a club night, so they’re into web marketing. Perhaps this myth is Joel Stein’s idea of ‘cool’ and that’s very possible seeing as these are the kinds of things that consumers list as being ‘cool’. But I think Skwerl exists, because I have met his innumerable clones. These are the cliches that have slowly but surely dragged everything beautiful, exotic and artistic down into an animated flash banner with a hip hop loop. They are the people that ‘share’ other people’s work and think they are adding something to the world. They are the people that use words like ‘punk’ with no fucking idea of what it once meant and why. They are people that never take a dump – they ‘blog about toilet culture’.

I just want to make sure that both of these people know the utter depths of my contempt for them, their ideas, and what they stand for.