Collected Unconscious

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One of my favourite quotes I like to think back to when I realise I’m wasting my time writing poems no one will ever read was said by Sigmund Freud: “Everywhere I go I find a poet has been there before me”. What he means by this (I suppose) is that any discovery he makes he will find examples of it in literature from previous times. His preoccupation with Hamlet and Shakespeare is well documented. The fact most poetry is continually reassessed is evidence of the truth of his statement. A curious thing is why this might be the case.

An oft repeated phrase from me regarding poetry, when asked, is that Poetry itself is a method of failure. By this I mean poetry continually tries to give voice and form through language to the ineffable. Ultimately a successful poem will always fail to achieve this but come very close. Poetry is always at the avant garde of language, most of the great neologists were poets and phrases we quote and aphorisms we spout are often written by poets of yesteryear (Shakespeare mostly). Poetry is also a method of compression. William Goldman in his book “Which Lie Did I Tell” speaks insightfully, especially for a non-Poet, about poetry being a method of compression; Meaning that a poem’s narrative and meaning should not be able to be expressed to the same extent in less words, i.e. you cannot condense a poem. Yet despite all this and the fact that on initial reading a poem can be indecipherable, we will still revel in it and take something away from it. Well, those who like poetry do anyway… TS Eliot after reading Dante’s Inferno in its original Italian claimed “it communicated before it was understood”. This is tricky to believe but I do feel that poetry is more often than not part of an innate human gene that poets tap into and that we can all feel even if we don’t immediately understand it.

The reason I have come to this rather wild and unfounded conclusion is because I have recently got into a poet called Louis MacNeice. I say “got into”, I mean he has fast become my favourite poet of the 20th century. He is the only poet I have bought the collected works of and it was largely for this post. Reading basically all of the man’s output I noticed something rather interesting that I agree is nothing more than wild speculation and ghost connections but that may be of interest the bored nonetheless.

I posit that Louis MacNeice in his poetic output predicted the internet before his death in 1963.

I’ll let you gather up your socks that have just BLOWN OFF after that statement and then elucidate:

Whether or not you believe in a collective unconscious within the human race its pretty obvious that humanity does certain things at the same time that become a trend and there are definite societal “moods”. Traditionally at a time of great societal stress too. Say A World War for instance. MacNeice’s Autumn Journal is a poetic tour-de-force that is a magical and biting appraisal of Britain about to move in to the throes of World War II. He captures the zeitgeist brilliantly and you can practically smell the tension in the air as Europe begins to crumple. In his poems, particularly his last collection The Burning Perch written in the early 60’s, he shows an aptitude for understanding the cultural sways throughout the country (and in many ways, the world). He was also a television producer for the BBC and understanding your audience is undoubtedly a key component to that job. So having a finger on the pulse and being able to express this at a close and personal level to his reader and adding texture by being intensely specific in his imagery, MacNeice is clearly pressing forward using poetry.

He can clearly see the need society has for a closer communication, seeing the arrival of telephones in most houses as he did and living through a war that was essentially all about communication. The inception and development of computers was also no doubt apparent in his mind, what with Bletchley Park being a hub of technological development and our needs for better decryption and encryption equipment. Predictions of the future were also a constant throughout the 20th century, since Jules Verne and HG Wells began their adventures into science fiction there have been predictions of video phones and powerful computer brains until they became a reality. But it is MacNeice’s specificity that astounds with regards to the internet. Peculiar turns of phrase in some poems could now be viewed as everyday day speech despite using (at the time) very alien imagery. What do I mean? Examples:

I cannot reproduce whole poems unfortunately but I heartily recommend picking up any of MacNeice’s work and most of his collections are available online. I am referencing the collected poems for this article.

One of the theories of societal changes brought about by the internet is one of ‘Plurality’, which means the fact or state of being plural i.e. among a large number. Looking at mainly Facebook and Twitter we can see this idea in its basic form: Many existing as a hive. All knowledge, history and information about one another shared. Opinions, hopes and fears all broadcast moment to moment through 140 characters or less. In this realm of 1s and 0s we traffic in personalities and indentities at the blink of an eye the whole of human life as a plural, a group, rather than as individual. The societies and civilisations of various social networking sites have developed in very quick time and with them have brought their ‘Discontents’ as, again, Freud put it. MacNeice was already on this theory with his poem ‘Plurality’ way back in 1941. MacNeice is already resisting our urge to combine into a homogeneous collective that we seem to have arrived at in Facebook et al: “The smug philosophers lie who say the world is one” he begins, going on “postulating a dumb static identity/ of essence and existence which could not fuse without/ banishing to a distance belief with doubt/ action along with error, growth along with gaps”. He condemns the constant need for a “history” or perhaps as we would have it now a “Feed”: “a man is what it is because/ it is something that began and not what it was,/ yet is itself throughout, fluttering and unfurled,/ … the row of noughts where time is done”. The whole poem reads like an angry poet being published in the Guardian today railing against the tidal wave of modern social media. Its quite long sadly or I would type it up here but I recommend you read it in its entirety.

Another interesting piece of prediction is in his collection Springboard from 1941 in his poems The Trolls and Troll’s Courtship: “they don’t know what they are doing,/ all they can do is stutter and lurch, riding their hobby, grinding/ their hobnails into our bodies, into our brains,” or “a wrong – in the end – assumption.” Troll’s Courtship is even funnier: “I have knocked down houses and stamped my feet on people’s heart,” or  “my curses and my boasts are merely a waste of breath,/ my lusts and loneliness grunt and heave/ and blunder round among ruins that I leave” and my personal favourite “Utter negation in positive form,/ … Of dissolution and the constant pyre/ of all desirable things – that is what I desire”. I think, all in all, that is what most people define as an online ‘Troll’, isn’t it?

Or how about his poem Budgie from his last collection The Burning Perch published in 1963 which contains the alarmingly prescient line: “I Twitter Am – and peeps like a television/ actor admiring himself in the monitor.” Not to mention the hilarious mention of “A barrage of Angry Birds” in Autumn Journal XIV. But most profound perhaps his line in Autumn Journal XXIII “Humanity being more than a mechanism”.

This is a small selection, I could go on a lot longer. Reading MacNeice is like reading a poet who has written most of this today or is still writing. The very definition of being ahead of your time is that your work remains current in the future. Every form of art has this. The great painters, thinkers, artists, filmmakers, photographers, architects, writers, musicians all are referred to as ‘Poets’ if they are felt to have hit a nail on the head or are clearly portraying something not yet understood. MacNeice seems to accomplish this on a page by page basis while still referring directly to current events at the time of his writing them. All of the above quotes are taken out of context and bent to fit my means. Plurality is about Theorists and Newspapers, the Troll poems are about a bombing raid he lived through, Budgie is about preening celebrity (that one’s pretty dead on actually) and Autumn Journal is an up to the minute commentary of life in Britain during the settlement in Munich and the slow defeat in Spain but nonetheless the similarities ARE there. In an admittedly abstract form, I confess. What this could show is how language is updated to suit our times and our needs in the way TS Elliot speaks of history aligning with current art and culture as opposed to us aligning with history, but I prefer to subscribe to the idea that perhaps humans plot a course for ourselves. A course that the more attentive can perceive.

MacNeice wrote a poem called Babel referring to the Tower of Babel and the scattering of the populace by speaking in tongues. Its another classic and contains the refrain: “Can’t we ever, my love, speak the same language?” The fact seems to be: We all still do. The world has never been so connected. You are reading this very post in our own newly formed Tower of Babel but unlike an outdated and supposedly saintly scripture would have it I don’t see this as a bad thing. And apparently neither did MacNeice. We are a society of people, a mob of individuals that struggles to find common aims or enough space, we are justly saddened when this power is abused or misused but when suddenly a good cause goes “viral” within the close confines of this tower we are amazed at the results. A friend was seeking a Kidney through Vine and due to the mass communication it created she was able to gain the possibility of helping her husband where once little hope had been.

The internet is merely an extension of Humanity’s recognition of ourselves in others and our desire to communicate these individual expressions to others through a variety of mediums as we have always done, most notably and, in my opinion most successfully, in poetry.

“Have we no aims in common?”

P.S. If you liked this post please checkout my own sonnet sequence available for free over at theanatomy.co.uk

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The Field is England

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Ben Wheatley and his wife Amy Jump are my current favourite people in the British film industry. For one they have an encyclopaedic knowledge of British Cinema, for two they maintain an independent budget/ethos despite clear signs of public awareness and probable desire to expand and for three they are some of the only handful of filmmakers who actually believe in a progression of the medium. Of their films, Down Terrace was a no-budget, mob film/family drama hybrid, Kill List was a kitchen sink Hitman Horror and A Field in England is a 70’s hammer horror period drama. You begin to see why I like them…

I will leave aside the strides, leaps and bounds the first two took and the fact Kill List is pretty high up my own list of favourite films ever and focus on the freshly released A Field in England:

Before having even seen a frame it has broken new ground. It is the first ever UK film to be released cross format. DVD, Cinema, TV and On Demand all showed AFIE on the same day, this was ideal for me as I was nowhere near a cinema showing it and I could not afford the DVD or the On Demand download either so I recorded it on Film Four and watched it that way. Twice. This style of release is a long way from going mainstream as it does not suit the studio system and its desire to make fuck loads of money over an extended period of time. But I think that will change. Maybe not soon but eventually. The current model is no longer structurally sound and definitely not future proof, so I think in maybe ten years this will be becoming more the norm for a lot of films, certainly smaller independent films such as this. These points aside, innovation is on display throughout this film.

First and foremost the film is Black and White. The singularly brilliant Director of Photography Laurie Rose whose excellent work I lauded to all and sundry after seeing Kill List, is on the top of toppest form from the first frame of this movie. Shot largely on a RED Epic camera with the odd Canon SLR shots this is fully digital and at no point felt it. A lot of this film could have felt like an extended BBC Play for Today but largely down to its aesthetic choices it far surpasses any expectations someone may have of a TV movie/TV Drama. With botched together lenses and a handheld approach, Rose has a cinematic eye tht is as at home with the sweeping field and surrounding landscapes as it is with the landscapes of human features it continually locks into. Use of digital slo-mo is also the best I have seen in its format (no digital blur or speckling). The palate of B&W is much more engaging also. The eye, being lazy, is drawn to white space within a frame and so much is normally done (in colour) to keep the colours bright but equally quite uniform (how often do you see orange and blue on poster/screen these days?), black and white forces darkness onto the screen and is therefore much more visually arresting. It also means your eye is drawn to shadow creating more dramatic possibilities within the frame. By extension this raises the immersion significantly. For a more visually complex film this would be very very tricky and off putting, for a single location film with a cast of six this makes it infinitely more involving than the constant distraction of the shifting British skies and the possibly altering British landscape. In short, far from being a gimmick, this is a functional and tonally significant first blow.

Much is made of the so called “Trip” sequence at the end which for me is the least ‘weird’ part of the film but certainly the most arresting. The frame splicing, match cutting to faces, cross-cutting, reverses and slow downs/speed ups are all pretty demanding on the eye but not actually as innovative as has perhaps been made out. Similar has been done before (they loved weird, ‘trippy’ shit like this in the 70s) but never to this extent and it is pleasing to see modern digital editing actually being used to its full potential in modern cinema. I’ve said this in analysis before but for all the abilities we now have in cinema there still seems to be a distinctly shallow tool set filmmakers draw from. With a nearly total lack of computer imaging AFIE is still stretching the bounds of technology and audience acceptance thereof with it all being on screen yet without the “a real actor interacting with digital one” bollocks so often touted as being innovation which really isn’t because we perfected it in the 60s with Mary Fucking Poppins. Needless to say whilst the techniques have been there they have never been used to this extent and, in my opinion, to this level of success.

Now to the knottiest question. The criticism continually aimed at the film: “I don’t get it”.

My biggest problem with this argument is it propogates the myth of the ‘Passive Viewer’, i.e. that a film should wash over you to be later dissected (if at all). This is nonsense. No matter how facile the material it will actively engage the viewer even if it is to express contempt. AFIE requires, nay demands, attention to detail and similarly rewards repeated watching. The dialogue is knotty and classical, the editing gets harder and harder to absorb, the plot is incredibly simple, the context is alien to modern audiences, imagery is used in place of explanatory dialogue (due to no explanation being necessary) and, most significantly, narrative is not treated as linear. This, understandably, is confusing but by no means illegible. Its deconstruction for assessment requires an attentiveness and probably a repeated viewing or two. Many films that had similarly hard to follow structures that are now the norm suffered with the same problem. AFIE requires you have information from all points in the film to piece together its (and I’m not being a hipster prick who claims to know better than you) YES simple narrative. We are used to a standard arc and plot progression yet the plot is so simple its almost unnecessary: Deserters from the field of battle are led to a Magician who thinks there is treasure in the field. They dig for it. They find it. Most die. One leaves. End. That’s the plot. The real thing that has thrown so many off is what the IT is. Further compounded by the editing and so on. To be fair it is such an alien landscape it is hard to decipher at first but after another viewing the narrative becomes much clearer, it is the imagery and the subtext that is confrontational and tricky. But I’m going to give it a go.

The Field is England.

Many see the Civil War in England as being the initial birth of modern British society and (I’ll be blunt) the world’s. Constant reference (through imagery and occasional poetical allusion through dialogue) is made to the ideology that Britain is dying and a new one forming in its stead. Whitehead, talking of his prophetic ‘master’ even says of Hell: “We have it”. Characters are riddled with sicknesses, there are class struggles, racial struggles and metaphysical/scientific questions raised by the film through its various imagery. Time loses its straight trajectory as Whitehead is ‘birthed’ through the briar patch at the films opening (first exposure to oxygen as a new born is often described hypothetically as like being stabbed all over with little knives), Whitehead is later seen being ‘birthed’ still attached to the umbilical of an old world magician from a tent. Tableauxs (much vaunted as being the “maddest” part of the film) are used to signify structural imagery at significant points THE WAY THEY DID IT IN THEATRE AT THE TIME OF THE CIVIL WAR (why was that so hard to grasp?). Cinematic tropes appear referencing the future, the camera work of war and western films, modern and traditional folk music is used to further muddy the water. Everything is happening at once.

Look at the black scrying glass. It is explained that using this you can see into the past, present and the future, it is also dropped and cracked thus blurring the three. As when dreaming, everything happens in a rush it is only after we wake we try to piece it together as a narrative. Wounds sustained at the beginning of a dream will often be sustained again later whereas in the dream the likelihood is they happened as part of the same mental process but this is not how we perceive time so we separate them. By the ‘end’ of AFIE old beliefs and ideologies are dead, the future of England/Britain is personified in those three striking figures stood in the field at the very end. There is no real mystery to this plot or its intended message its just the method of delivery has changed and Wheatley and Jump are trying to push out old narrative conventions. In doing so telling a very contemporary modern parable of our times that will hopefully be seen by future viewers as a corner stone of experimental and art-house meeting a mass consumer audience.

In poetry, the form of the poem and its metre should reflect the goings on of the poem itself. AFIE does the same. Its form reflects its message and like poetry it requires more than one reading to really unlock. Also like poetry this meaning comes later, it communicates before it is understood. The initial telling is strange and off putting but like most things worth having, if you can be bothered to persevere and take an active role in the storytelling it is much more rewarding and a much more immersive and expressive method of telling the story and that is A Field in England’s truest innovation and something I hope will catch on.

The Field is England.

The Man of Tomorrow

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Last year I did a post appraising my love for Bond prior to seeing Skyfall. Now another blockbuster has just come based on another hero of mine so thought I might indulge in the same thing. I have tickets for an IMAX showing on Thursday so have not seen it yet and would like it to remain unspoiled so please don’t comment/tweet anything about the plot to me. Thanks!

First thing’s first, Background: I’ve always been a DC man more than Marvel. DC are not doing very well at the moment however and Marvel are steam rolling over the whole of the comic book industry at the moment so this is a poor place to sit really. I am also a big Nolan fan and loved the Dark Knight trilogy. I also grew up (and I mean ‘grew-up’ I watched them as a toddler) on the Richard Donner/Richard Lester movies. Superman 1 & 2 are immovable favourites that I love dearly, and I even have a soft spot for 3 due to the Clark vs Superman-in-a-tip duel. Superman’s comics I run hot and cold with, Curt Swan’s depiction is my touchstone for his image and I prefer the early comics but there are several of the slightly more esoteric and more recent stories I do rather like. Brian Azzarello and Jim Lee’s ‘For Tomorrow’ is a favourite and the Super Star tag team of Loeb and Sale’s ‘A Superman for All Seasons’ is an absolute classic of any comic book. I never read any of the Grant Morrison thread which leaves me at a disadvantage as this is apparently Goyer and Nolan’s source material. I have nothing but undisguised contempt for Superman Returns however, which was the last attempted cinematic ‘reboot’. I got incredibly excited about that film and was utterly crushed by it in a similar way to when I saw that pile of … whatever it was they had the audacity to call Indiana Jones 4. Returns ‘should’ work – Routh, Beckinsale and Spacey are great casting, it had John Williams’ theme, that title sequence, etc but it was its god-awful script that ruined it for me. The screenplay golden rule should forever and ever be “DO NOT INTRODUCE A CHILD”.

As such my relationship to this current film is already pretty complex.

Make no mistake I love Superman – I went to school dressed as him as a 6 year old – but due to the tidal wave of confusion that has greeted Man of Steel on opening day I am initially reticent. I am keeping an open mind and being very careful about whose opinion I look too. Many, many, many people are out for this film’s blood. There are those people (like my brother and a few nameless friends) who are classicists who will not have a modern retelling of their tried and trusted favourites, who fear change and attack rabidly all that comes to ‘reboot’ – see Star Wars, Batman, Indiana Jones, etc. By and large I can understand. I love Burton’s Batman, but equally love Nolan’s, Star Wars is a knottier one but I tackled that elsewhere, Indy 4 was just a plain badly made film. As such I can understand people’s pre-judging of this film. Other people are of the ‘Fanboy’ nature, something I describe as the Vacuum of Reasoned Debate where they hate it because ITS SUPERMAN, HOW STUPID?! or MARVEL IS WAY BETTERZ! etc. Be careful this bias will come very well disguised by mountains of convincing looking ‘evidence’ and technical stats and data. It does just boil down to prejudice ultimately. My prejudice is, I want to like this film. Snyder isn’t a favourite director but Nolan and Goyer’s Batman is and I want to be excited by a man flying around in a cape and pounding superhero bad guys again. So what’s my problem?

Superman is a God. The word continually being dropped around this film is ‘Jesus’. A lot of preliminary criticisms that seem worth a damn and aren’t from those prejudiced parties mentioned are bemoaning something of a christian rhetoric within the film (some have voiced Scientology could be in the mix as well but I’m very sceptical about that POV) so it seems like this maybe a genuine concern. In the trailer Clark is dragged into a pile of skulls, I have no context for that shot but it seems heavily laden in imagery (perhaps deliberately), someone also commented he holds a christ-on-the-cross pose at one point, not to mention the fairly overwhelming parallells of the Superman’s story anyway: son of a carpenter, coming to terms with his gifts, saviour of mankind, blah blah blah.

There is also the criticism of a lack of humour. Apparently laughs are few on the ground and the, ironically rather pompous, criticism that it takes itself to seriously. Both sighted as problems with recent Batman and Bond films. So the evidence against it begins to mount.

I have a problem with all these criticisms and the people who make them however and this is without having seen the film, might I add. Change and experimentation does not seem to be valued by any of them. This does not dismiss  christian imagery or a dour tone which are decidedly negative points against a film if true but it does dismiss people criticising on past merits. I find it amusing that no one criticised Iron Man 3 for its INCREDIBLY heavy handed political themes yet ripped the Dark Knight films to shreds for its own deliberately disparate ones. Whether you loved or loathed them Nolan’s Batman films were Art House films with a blockbuster budget. Many would say a man in tights and a cape has no place in that genre. You might be right. Doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be tried and I think it takes a very backwards mind to say they weren’t at least technically successful films (they’re structurally cohesive – just -, entertaining and made a lot of money). Same with the Star Wars prequels. Agreed they weren’t as good as the originals, they were certainly different. My problems with Indy 4 and Superman Returns is fundamentally that they were too reverential of their source material. The Marvel Universe on screen as it has become, is very adherent to its canon (obviously) and the comics (particularly Hawkeye) are making a great investment in a sort of retro chic in their design and execution. Man of Steel, from what I hear and the clips I have caught seems very much an experiment. It seems a long and elegiac tale of a hero trying to find a place in a world suddenly swamped by alien technology and where, in an age of social media and the internetz, identity is mandatory yet he is unable to acquire one. Seems like a pertinent little parable to me. An alien appraising our bizarre little race is always a fun thing to consider whether its done with a tongue in its cheek or not, so to my mind Man of Steel holds all the promise of the comics and the original films I loved so much. They are set in the moment with themes that carry across more than one nation. Superman will always be divisive, particularly to foreign audiences due to the near jingoism of his iconography, but the prospect of something actually challenging from such an innocuous and belittled genre is why I like comics in the first place. Computer games and comic books have been making bold and strong commentary on our modern world easily comparable to much lauded (and over hyped) output from cinema and literature.

In this way you are damned if you do, damned if you don’t. You make a slavishly reverential remake and people will hate it, make a massive departure in tone and appearance people will hate it. Superman comes burdened with three quarters of a century of baggage that it cannot escape. Throwing that history at it to weaken it is a sad and unnecessary gesture. What this should say is that maybe now is the time to put a bolt gun through the heads of the sacred cows and move on. Wipe out all the current superheros and comics and start new ones, give up on computer game and movie franchises, endless sequels, rip offs and wank and actually stretch ourselves into new and innovative areas where creators are not weighed down by our Bibliographic society of trial by comparison and maybe, just maybe the audience will rise to the challenge and accept and adore and mature with such interesting and original developments in culture and the arts.

And while I’m dreaming I’d like 10 million pounds and a girlfriend that works for Cadburys please…

Whatever. I for one shall hold my breath. I am incredibly intrigued by the prospect of an honestly challenging film utilising modern myth – modern myth that can easily be pressed together with classical myth incedentally to all the “ITS CHRISTIAN!” naysayers. I am also prepared for it to suck out loud, naturally, but there’s always the possibility it could be good which for some people seems REALLY hard to consider. In our post modern world in which we live where EVERYTHING has twenty meanings and is only ever judged on its comparison to a previous incarnation, it delights me that something so high profile and mainstream seems to have really quite confused people. I am trying to maintain an open mind for now and look forward to my seat in the cinema in a week’s time. But what do I know, I’m a DC/Nolan fanboy with his head in the sand, right?

Give me strength.

Incidentally, Man of Steel can never be as good as Donner’s epoch-making, superhero franchise progenitor because it doesn’t have this:

#metalols

Welcome to the Future

I was watching this recently and it really made me think. We really are living in the ‘Future’. What we deemed the future since about 1900 till the 90s did not change massively but today, thanks mostly to the internet but also to technological integration, we are effectively living in it. If you discount the more preposterous aspects of the stories set in this fictional view of the future (flying cars, memory removal, precogs, androids) that are namely in the story to serve a plot purpose, most of the other technologies and even some of the ideals and style is very much part of now.

What we consider old or ‘Retro’ or even that now awful and misused adjective ‘Vintage’, is not that old. Yet we try to nostalgically capture these ideas, visuals, sounds of a bygone era that isn’t that bygone. See the current God awful 80s revival we are hopefully limping to the end of at the moment. Even the Futurist movement, until relatively recently seen as avant-garde and unpalatable, is now used for poetry book sleeves, album art and a photoshop plug-in.

The reason I bring this up is because I recently joined the teeming masses and bought an iPhone. First and foremost I was frankly disgusted by the abuse I got, from some people who should frankly know better, about having “sold my soul to Apple”. I won’t go into my feelings on this insipid and childish trend for brand worship (another sci-fi trait) as I have already spat my contempt at people for this particular sin on this blog already that you can read here. Most of all however I discovered how freeing owning a smartphone (of ANY BRAND, you sheep) can be and the multitude of pleasing and enjoyable activities it creates. The main one for me was the discovery of the App: Instagram.

A little background. I am a photographer and own only film cameras, including a Hasselblad 500c from the 70s and a Pentax. I also work in a pro film and photographic development lab. I don’t wish to sound immodest but I know my shit in this regard. I have only ever heard disparaging comments regarding the current trend for Photography Apps among people in the industry. I have now had the chance to use Instagram and a few other similar apps and I bloody love them! The effects they create would take hours to replicate in a real darkroom and equally would require considerable training in Photoshop to get it right on that too. The techniques used by some of my favourite photographers of the last 100 years is suddenly available at the push of a button and can make any photo look great. Like all technology it has made the previously  inaccessible (or accessible to a select few) available to all.

And this is what got me to thinking…

People who call themselves the professionals are scared. They see the distribution of the long-held secrets and techniques to all and sundry as a threat to their work and they are RIGHT. More people than ever are discovering how easy things are to create nowadays in whatever field of work you’re in: Entrepreneur, Painter, Writer, Poet, Photographer, Translator, Fishmonger, Web Designers, Architects, Musicians, Butchers Bakers and Candlestick Makers are all suddenly confronted with being on EXACTLY the same playing field as the general public or their target audience/demographic. Every single business model has come crashing down around our ears and the biggest wigs in every industry have absolutely no idea where they or their chosen industry will be in 2 years let alone 5.

I personally find this thrilling. This means, for once, people who want to ‘make it’ and I think particularly the creative fields are actually really going to have to work for a living and really have to think about what will be new and what we can change to move things forward. So we will have to use these technologies in ways the general public aren’t and that is really going to separate the great from the good. When anyone can now produce a hi-res 1080p film that can be broadcast quality on their phone cinema is going to have to really up its game and no that does not mean 3D. It is (thankfully) already suffering a backlash so hopefully that will die a death too. I am about to release a new album myself and what I can do to publicise this and sell it has doubled since my last album. I was also able to record with such clarity and fidelity it is actually causing problems with distribution as the quality is almost too high.

This all means old ways are becoming irrelevant and most businesses use nostalgia and the ‘Vintage’ model in their marketing so as not only to quell the fear of the average punter but also to cling desperately to an older way of selling/producing things. I find this encouraging. I like that the businesses, and in a lot of cases Governments, are scared. It means power is returning to the people. The riots of last year made an odd point. Previously it was the police who had the upper hand as they could communicate and organise better than a disorganised mob. With Twitter and BBM the mob was in constant communication and had the ability to organise strategically against the police. Whatever your feelings are on that it is a telling sign of the shift of balance.

What I think will make the leaders in the field is what has always done so: Ideas.

We live in exciting, even overwhelming times where pretty much anything is possible now. It can be crippling and saturation is high in any market but as usual it is the truly great and new IDEAS that will flourish and lead the way for whatever is coming next. I myself am thinking of new things I can do to use this new-found freedom I have. Starting with my album I can market and sell that in a different way, even by not having a readily available physical copy but also my writing. Epublishing is booming but I don’t think has even scratched the surface of its potential. A whodunnit that lets you solve the mystery from clues via hyperlinks? The possibilities are endless. I, for one, am in the process of writing a longer, more ambitious poem that I want to release digitally that will hopefully use more multimedia to better express and enhance the poem. And then there’s the photos. Instagram has meant I can achieve a better looking image at the press of a button so taking more photos with better content that are more visually arresting should now be the focus. The advent of tumblrs and Pinterest have created online galleries to walk through, we are our own curators in a purpose-built gallery. Isn’t that cool!? Isn’t it exciting?!

People talk about the ‘Hipsters’ or the ‘Dickheads‘ ruining all this and I think I know why. It’s because they are buying into it, not actually using any of it. Buying an iPhone doesn’t make you a fool or a hipster, saying you bought it because you’re alternative does. Dressing in Tweed doesn’t make you a hipster, saying you’re doing it to get away from modern fashion whilst simultaneously buying it from Topman does. These ‘Hipsters’ are fighting the tide of progress deliberately to appear cool but ironically in doing so are buying into exactly what the bigger companies want. Even the ones that are following the future don’t really take the time or make the investment in whatever they’re doing and merely parrot another artist or form. Again, a lack of Ideas. I say buy the newest of the new, learn what makes it tick inside out and use it subversively. There will always be a place for older products and culture but why deliberately ignore this fantastic modern world in which we live when there is so much still to be done with it?

The Future is indeed bright. Largely due to the resolution.