I finally saw Napster. And it is good.
Big Bubbles has a theory that, whatever you want to do, however selfish, perverse, harmful, violent or shameful it is, your subconscious will always find a way to justify it later. This is most often illustrated in hypnotism (“What are you talking about? Of course I had to bark like a dog when you clapped! Are you crazy?!”), but it can be stretched to cover the most extreme acts. If you got your kicks from pushing the unconscious, drugged bodies of pensioners into garbage compactors (errr…not that we’ve tried this), you’d reason the following: * They will take up less space; * It will lubricate the compactor; * It’s art; * It can’t be as painful as rheumatism; * The eskimos, a wise and ancient people, also practised euthanasia. If you practice it too, you might become quite good at it.
Hence my surprise at finally locating an mp3 of “Carpet Crawlers (1999)” by Genesis within five minutes of logging on to Napster was only equalled by the speed with which I hit the “Download” button. After all, I reasoned: * I’ve bought all their other albums - they owe me; * I’m not going to buy the Greatest Hits for one track; * I hate record labels; * It’s only a rerecording of a 26 year old song (…that I badly, badly want); * Steve Hackett, the guitarist, slagged it off because it didn’t have enough guitar on it (no bias there then, Steve?); * I really hate record labels; * They’ve made their millions and have practically retired; * Actually, Mike Rutherford must still be raking it in with Mike & The Mechanics; * I really, really hate record labels; * They offered it for free download on their web site … in Windows Media Format (hack, spit); * Phil Collins ruined the band so badly that, when he finally left because he still wasn’t satisfied, they were incapable of improving; * I really, really, really hate record labels. Besides, I may not have actually paid for it, in the strictest sense of, y’know, coughing up dough, but it’s not like it didn’t cost me - do you have any idea how long it takes to download 6Mb on a 33.6K modem?! At least twenty minutes of my precious time, man!
So if you see the members of Genesis homeless and begging on the streets, it was me wot did it. I stole the last sheckels from their unguarded hands and then laughed in their faces. Of course, I’d cheerfully spare a few coppers for ‘em if I passed them on the pavement (except Phil Collins - after all, it’s just “another day in paradise” for you Phil, right?). If their record label execs are with them though, they’ll be lucky if I don’t just kick them into the gutter with all the other turds.
Emboldened by the instant rewards for my blatent theft, I immediately found justification for a whole series of diabolical acts. Gary Moore has never given Phil Lynott full credit for “Out In The Fields”, has he? Look, his name isn’t even in the tag of this mp3! Poor Phil may be dead now, but we can still redress the balance for him, can’t we? Zap, take that, Gazza! ELP want to release “Fanfare for the Common Man” while I’m still in nappies and unable to buy it, do they? OK, I’ll just have to take it now. And curse the SOS Band & The Temptations for releasing such darned funky tunes as “Just Be Good To Me” and “Papa Was A Rolling Stone”!
Oh, I felt bad afterwards. I mean, massively guilty. How many of these musicians would now starve or be forced to continue full shift working at the 7-11 because of my selfish, underhand crimes? Would the world soon be deprived of all recorded music, its value worthless and unappreciated, because I had helped devalue it?
Fortunately, I had some cool tunes to take my mind off my worries!
Dear Red Sports Car Owner,
Nice car, dude. Those of us waiting to cross couldn’t fail to notice it when you screeched to a halt at the lights and revved the engine to keep it warm while you waited. We admired the throaty roar from your rear end. And when you let the clutch out just as the amber filament began to glow, we thrilled to watch you zoom away in a cloud of dust, intent on setting a new record for the 200 yards between Barrington Road and Manchester Road. But that blasted, ignorant pedestrian didn’t care about your record bid, did he? How we gasped as you masterfully took avoiding action, twitching the wheel and sending your dream machine spinning over the central reservation into the other carriageway, facing the right way! Encore!! What control! What panache! And then you were gone, shooting off down a side street in a roar of disappointment before the pigs could spoil your fun.
But we enjoyed watching it…