The gang or a subset did a clubhouse, which was a good third compared to a regular show. The audio-only structure lacked the visual cues that differentiate between irony and bad manners, but otherwise it felt familiar, if not intuitive. I can’t remember what we talked about, only that I seemed a little more empathetic than usual about my thoughts. We recorded the meeting, which is close to that. Not really a show, more a rallying point of a political platform without policies. Some friends joined in, many listeners moved in and out. Overall, about what I expected.
The next day, I called to know the reaction of others. About what I expected as well. That evening, someone hosted a Twitter Space event that apparently reached 22,000 listeners. The topic was crypto. I remember walking down the stage at Woodstock on the first afternoon of the festival. The fences were down; The concert was declared free, and the crowd began to build. There was a feeling of something big in the air, but I was more concerned with the storm clouds coming up the hill. At some point as soon as the rumble started, I left and headed back to the safety of the town of Woodstock, 40 miles away.
I grew up part time in my father’s apartment in Greenwich Village in Woodstock, another part of town. As I remember, the conversation around the coffee table in the kitchen was about all the issues of the day, the music and media of the time, family patterns marked by divorce, liberalism and the dominant perception of that age. Standing around the table had nothing to do with it. It always struck me deeply that I could hear and hear any theme or emotion, in a multi-generational patchwork of half-siblings, and in a steady stream of artists, musicians, and filmmakers, both in the Village and at Woodstock. . The moment of the 60s and to this day. I have to say that clubhouses and Twitter and a flattened hierarchy of intent and opinion are a constant in my life, not a new freedom or problem to be overcome. This is old normal for me.
The theme of Amazon’s sidewalk mesh network comes up in this edition of The Gang. Suffice it to say, there are security implications. What happens when a company whose scale has captured a significant percentage of the world economy in the pandemic offers an opt out service to share its customers’ broadband Internet access with other Amazon customers? The potential arrogance of providing an opt out date after which you have agreed to the plan by saying no is, well, tempting. Don’t forget that the algorithm uses a very small portion of your bandwidth cap and will be unlikely to affect your access to the network or the price of a subscription. Somehow, this grab feels even more Machiavellian than it actually is. But even more serious is the suggestion that such a mesh network provides potential access to not only bandwidth but what you and everyone else in the neighborhood do with it. Wherever you go, you really are there. Or, there goes the neighborhood.
For now, the fences are down at the new Woodstock. Washington is coming to cut its pie, and the new rules of the post-cookie and privacy versus economy are being debated. Apple is challenging the newsletter and its logic maker economy by breaking down access to the open and click rates that drive analytics. Tracking pixels will now open en masse before the viewing process begins, rather than closing as a click is generated. Substack and review tools to track these signals of user preference will need to be replaced by direct appeals to information about preferences, which to me suggests a kind of horse trade in terms of customer cost versus user-supplied data. By the way, I greatly appreciate new subscribers to the Gang newsletter feed, even though we’ve moved Substack to review and don’t know why people are subscribing to an empty stream. Come to think of it, the sound of silence might be worth it.
As Professor Corey used to say, “No, no, that’s really what I meant.” What has been said may not be the most important part of the transaction. Instead, how trust is established and maintained is a core value. The newsletter proposes to cut to the chase, whether by open messages or to avoid wasted time spent on concerns or perspectives that are already understood by the nature of the subscribed relationship. As the cost of manufacturer production approaches zero, equipment is needed to evaluate the reliability and usefulness of all these new sounds. Where magazines and publishers used to provide a screening process, the method of measuring trust has now become commercially important. How many people are watching or reading is still important, but it’s more about who those people are and how they relate to each other in a social culture like retweets/.
Something similar is going on with live audio, where conversation is a representative democratic process where listeners can evaluate not only what is said but how it is absorbed by others “on stage”. These small gestures of discovery among the speakers are amplified by the audience’s reaction and, painfully, left silently through their return from the room. You may hear moderators quickly responding to such attrition with more viable subject matter or pivots to new speakers, but overall these adjustments form a roadmap for future participation by “customers.” In this structure, membership is less about price and more about the trust the group conveys to producers and speakers.
In Woodstock, fallen fences, traffic jams, and the general chaos of building a city with a half-million population in a heartbeat created a difficult management situation where the works promoted by the organizers were unable to reach the stage. Instead, actors like John Sebastian (appearing but not performing) of Lovin’ Spoonful were thrust into the limelight for iconic performances that changed not only his career but the rhythm and drama of the film. Joni Mitchell was persuaded by her manager to skip the event in favor of an appearance on the Dick Cavett Show, but her boyfriend at the time, Graham Nash, was there as part of CSN&Y and Michelle was seated during the event. relayed his impressions of hotel room. The result was a song that he wrote, as it was recorded by CSNY, became the lead single from the band’s next record, Déj Vu, and was played over the film’s end credits.
“We are stardust…golden…have to go back to the garden.” Joni Mitchell’s Invisible Pixels captured the top of the hit parade on the massive economic disaster known as the Woodstock festival, and with it the moment we remember in history. The Nixon bombings in Altamont, Murders, Pandemic, Ohio was soon to replace the aura of Hippie Trek, but we still celebrate the idea of what we call Woodstock. The cryptos may be perfect, and the translucent pixels may be suppressed, but I’ll still have CSNY’s dazzling harmony on my morning wheat any day. I’ll take the show about nothing for 40, Bob.
From the Gilmour Gang Newsletter
The Gilmour Gang – Frank Redis, Michael Markman, Keith Teare, Dennis Pombriant, Brent Leary, and Steve Gilmour. Recorded live on Friday, June 4, 2021.
@tinagillmor Produced and directed by Tina Chase Gilmore
@fradice, @mickeleh, @denispombriant, @ktear, @brentleary, @stevegillmor, @gillmorgang
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