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the RIAA's past and future, in one collectible package
I hate the RIAA, and I feel I'm doing my part to help evolution along every time I download a track, rather than give one penny to those evil litigious fossils. But this caught my eye the other day:

It's called Light on the South Side and at first it looked like just any other coffee table book when I spotted it at Quimby's. But it's not just that --it's a double album of blues rarities, accompanied by a 132-page glossy hardcover photobook documenting the denizens (that is, the patrons, not the musicians) of hardcore south side Chicago blues joints ca. the 1970's, with a bonus 45 RPM single and a trading card thrown in for good measure. Listening to the equivalent mp3's and viewing the .jpg's just wouldn't be the same. I bought it, and would definitely buy more well-executed book/records (or book/CD's) in the same vein. I didn't even own a turntable at the time of purchase, so after work today I stopped by Transistor and picked up a Numark PT-01 USB turntable. Actually have a lot of vinyl, mostly 7"'s I'd pick up at shows, figuring someday I'd get a turntable and archive them as mp3's. Gonna set it up now, smoke a big joint, put on some big-ass headphones and relax 70's style.

In other news, along with Light on the South Side, I also picked up the latest issues of 2600 and Gothic Beauty. Haven't cracked the former yet, but GB, which I'm not very familiar with, was pretty interesting. Articles on goth gardening, and a feature on the top U.S. cities in which to be goth (after surveying the Top 100 metro areas in the country, the top 25 is pretty much what you'd expect, with some isn't-it-too-hot-to-be-goth-there surprises thrown in like Tampa at #16 (up three places from last year), along with Phoenix, Miami and Dallas. There was also a full-page ad for a goth cruise on Carnival Cruise Lines.

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Sooooooo are you going to upload that bad boy so we can download it?

Sure will; but after posting the above, I found out the included s/w requires that iTunes be installed on your machine, and me and iTunes don't play well together at all. Figuring that out presently, but will have lots of stuff to upload once I do.

That looks like an awesome book & record combo. Good find. The samples on the website are pretty great. Always interesting to find a collection of photos of the scene, rather than just the muscians. A few years ago, I ran across a similar collection for the Nashville country scene, coincidentally about about the same time period at Light on the South Side.

And, dang -- I'm not goth in any way, but I'd pick up that magazine too if I saw that redhead on the cover.

I would definitely pick that Honky Tonk book up if I saw it somewhere. Photo documentations of music and other subcultures are always fun, especially pre-digital camera. The author of Light on the Southside talks about how back in the 70's, he was inspired by a guy named Brassai who took photos of Paris nightlife in the 20's. Coming across stuff like that just feels like being let in on a secret or stumbling across some rare treasure, as opposed to more recent scenes, which are 10000 times more exhaustively documented because everyone has a digital camera or at least a cell phone on them at all possible times, and everything they shoot can be (and is) instantly shared with the world. That's awesome, and modern scene documents like and are great, but there's definitely something special about documents of scenes where you know there's just not that much of a photographic record of it left; ephemera's an aspect of beauty.

I wonder what the impact on new movements is from the modern instant exposure. In the past, new scenes that developed, particularly in music, had some "underground" incubation period. They were known to only a few, performed in out of the way places, under the radar of most. Blues, jazz, punk, rap, etc. Books like these are a testament to that period of a scene. I suspect they benefited from that early isolation, allowing speciation to occur, for the scene's culture to figure itself out.

With the instant exposure provided by modern technology, I don't think that growth period exists anymore. I suspect it's harder for something truly distinct to develop because everything is absorbed into the larger culture very quickly. On the other hand, because everyone's audience is the entire world, critical mass for a scene can maybe be achieved more easily. Curiously, it divests the city/urban core of some of its cachet -- people of like minds no longer need to be physically co-located. For example, those goths in Tampa are surely connected to a larger goth scene online and don't have to move to Chicago or NYC or wherever to keep up.

Light on the South Side is fucking fantastic.

Indeed it is! Are you back fro Amsterdam? If so, there's some U of C riot grrl action going down this Monday night in Hyde Park.

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