Editorial: April 2005

Chris Abbott

Welcome to April, from the Remix64 team!

This month, I've been reflecting back on Back in Time Live, and my appearance at Retrovision (replete with little shaker), and live music in general.

Occasionally in my travels with the family, I pass a concert hall in Croydon, called the Fairfield Halls (where the last Retro Expo was held). And I always look at the live events which are showing there.

The other day, I saw Go West being advertised. Most definitely one of those bands falling into the where are they now? category. And they're probably doing quite well in selling tickets.

The pop industry is not a good place to have a future, if what you care about is chart positioning. Can you think of anyone from the 80s who's still in the charts today? Or the 90s? You can probably count them on the fingers of one hand. And yet, there are hundreds of groups who were around then. And for every single one, there's a different story about why they're not here any more. Breakups, being dropped by record labels (am I the only one who thinks that record labels should blame themselves rather than the artists for commercial failure?), people dying, etc.

And yet not being in the charts today carries the stigma of failure. Once you've been a one-hit wonder, any other job just seems like an insult, in much the same way as Geoffrey from Rainbow stacking shelves, or Gary Coleman (whatcha talkin' about Willis?) being a security guard.

But hardly anyone in the charts then is in the charts now! So the logical position is: pretty much everyone who goes into the pop industry will get chewed up, spat out and declared an ultimate failure.

Bleak, huh? Well, live music is the saviour of real music. No one's buying the recordings, because they can't get radio play or shelf space (even in these Internet enlightened times). But people sure as hell go to their concerts.

Live music, as we've all found, has a special vibe, and a special point to it that's completely missing from the sterile recorded music industry. It gives musicians a point to actually playing their instruments, and it lets musicians connect with the people who still care about them.

Does it matter that it's hundreds, rather than thousands of people? Hell, no. If it's initimate adulation you're after, hundreds is just right, preferably low hundreds. Thousands is too impersonal, and anything bigger than that:, well, you might as well be playing to a noisy empty room. Hundreds gives you a bigger boost than thousands, that's my theory. Which just happens to fit BIT Live/Retrovision. If you asked any of the currently performing live musicians, most of the fun would be knowing the audience digs you, and is here to enjoy what you do, not sneer at it, or treat it as a fad, which is the fate of most pop acts.

Live music saves. I'm glad my inability to do any more BIT Lives hasn't meant the end of it. Now, go and fill in the poll about a live C64 music concert at http://www.pressplayontape.com. Keep it real, in the funkiest possible way.

Over and out, and boy, was it a thrill to play with Mark, Ben and Jon ;-)

Oh, and watch for this person in a live setting: here he's demonstrating the angle Ben Daglish exhibits after a few spliffs...

- Chris
Boz


We are getting older!

Neil Carr
Well as you may know I’ve just turned the ripe old age of 33 (Yay! Happy birthday me!). Something that occurred to me just today was the scene length and ability to keep up the momentum that has been enjoyed for the past several years.

We are all getting older, realising certain things and in general getting married and having little things called babies. Some of us even have been married, then divorced (say no more ;) )

As we get older, certain priorities take over. Time to put away the PC, time to move onwards and upwards, and little interests such as the c64 fade, or become less interesting, or too time consuming. If we average out the age group of the average visitor/remixer, it’s soon apparent that for the majority of, shall we say, fanatics? The age level is above 30, probably averaged out at about 32/33. Although there are some 20 year olds in our midst, it’s not on the scale of us oldies.

With this in mind, it leaves to the obvious conclusion that the time scale of the scene is pretty much limited. As we all grow older we’ll leave this place or visit it less frequently. Already we see signs of established members leaving or become less active. They are replaced by and large by newcomers, but of a similar age.

Take a step back; can you imagine musicians at the age of 50 still remixing? Seems highly unlikely to me, sure there’ll always be some of us who will, but how many?

Basically, all this we see around us will vanish in time. Could I be wrong?

See ya next month

- Neil


Browse earlier editorials:

Editorials Archive