The middle of June marks a peculiar season in the mind of me. Not only does it get incredibly busy with Stuff, but there’s also a childish excitement around The Summer, bringing with it festivals, exciting shows, recording and "sunshine". Also, do we like the new site? It's a rather fetching level of pink, and just enough information to keep you here but with enough links to other places to let you flee the nest. I hope you enjoy it. Yesterday, I was at The Sage Gateshead for the ECHO Digital conference. ECHO (European Concert Hall Org.) is an incredible group of venues, and muggins here was playing at the start of the day then talking about The Work I Do With Digital Things and fielding questions.
After my little bit, I took a seat in the hall and as the day went on, I became increasingly aware that nobody was introducing their organisation in a useful way. We were straight in there with their position in the market, not their position on the world. It was all about how many Facebook fans they had, not how many children they'd turned on to creative expression; it was how to seamlessly sell to someone else's friends and interrupting their lives rather than creating something remarkable and relevant. Ultimately, our lives revolve around life, not around music: if we're striving to be an interruption, we're not heading in the right direction. I'd far rather have a small audience who care and choose to listen to what I have to say, than a large group of people having to hear it as busy noise.
I mean, we all know that any self-respecting symphony orchestra will describe itself as an orchestra, right? I don't think anyone in that room needed to hear another concert hall say they present concerts. I want to know why they do it; why they get excited - that's the stuff that translates and transfers across to audiences and it creates a relationship. Better yet, it's Facebook/
Bebo/Friendster/Twitter /LiveJournal-whatever-proof, because you're giving people something to talk about if they want to. Easier still, it's a behavior that doesn't need to be taught - it's something people have done all along.
The issue here isn't that it's not useful as an introduction to other orchestras and Inside Industry People (aside: I was always under the impression that you shouldn't define something with the word itself) but it also makes me wonder how The People We Need To Be Reaching understand our descriptions? What if you don't know what an orchestra is? What if you don't know that the Coliseum in Covent Garden doesn't present gladiatorial battles between Christians and Lions? Let's get into telling people about our work, not our job titles... but all that said, it was a really interesting day - some take away highlights included some astonishingly powerful library assets being developed in Paris and, yet again, general excitement around haptic interfaces from yours truly. I'm sorry to miss Day Two, lots of incredible people there, including Tod Machover and some chaps from Google etc. Unfortunately, London Duties beckon.
Sitting on this train, 'luxuriously' in First Class, I'm tapping away, taking phone calls, answering emails and listening to Katy Perry on Spotify. So far, so good - a pretty standard Tuesday morning to be honest. Except the WiFi here is, as usual, intermittent at best. I'd actually pay for it, but they're so confident in it that they give it away! Error - they could profit further from me, and better manage my grumpiness. This is a solid company policy for any public carriage provider, so long as every other customer is as motivated by decent connectivity as this passenger.
It does make for a pretty enjoyable game though: all you need is "WiFi", Spotify and a pair of headphones. The tastiest thing with Katy Perry's music is all the incredible gate stuff and sudden crop offs at the end of phrases - I'm sort of addicted to that sound at the moment - but with this WhyFi, it is genuinely hard to tell whether it's an audio stop or a WiFi glitch. It's genuinely difficult when it only drops for under a second and it could actually be either way - anyway, maybe this is a level of detail too far.
On a far more musical note, we're all going Nico's opera, right? It opens on Friday 24th at ENO, and from what I've seen/heard/smelt, it's going to be fabulous, and I'm going twice including opening night! Also, across Bedford St, ROH2 are winding up Cocteau Voices - a new ballet with score by Scott Walker with me scraping cello all over the OST. I'm yet to see it, so am scrambling my diary to make closing night, Saturday, work. It's basically an ideal square half mile this month, you'd be well advised to check all their combined offerings.
After the Apple Store event t'other week, some really exciting things are appearing to be on the horizon - more anon, but some exciting news for now is that the shiny new Gabriel Prokofiev cello suite (which I premiered at LSO St Luke's last month) is going to be released! Well, it's going to be recorded, then released, so that'll be the rest of August spent in the studio...!
July looks fun: including TEDx York, Latitude, a thing-in-a-shed-in-Stratford and then a trip back to New York to do a crazy exciting show which I'll explain very soon.
Best be off, there are luggages to requisition from The Guard's Cabin; apparently my handsome and well travelled Rimowa suitcase simply isn't suitable for train containment.