To be honest, I’ve forgotten how many post series have been begun and abandoned after two or three articles. Sometimes the ideas have been good, but limited (Art on your Sleeve, for example). Others have driven a theme until it was out of gas (the ‘Car‘ series of album covers springs to mind).
However most series have faded because another idea bustled along, drawing the gaze of a writer with the attention span of a promiscuous bee. Give me a good-looking flower, and I’m off to sip some new pollen. Buzz buzz buzz, I wonder why he does.
Of course, sometimes time or energy simply expire. It’s outrageous how life can get in the way of music/blogging time.
The title of this piece was yet another series idea, this time to celebrate Vinyl Connection’s fourth anniversary with a series of multi-album posts. This is not a new device, of course. The Decade Diving series did much the same thing. But the twist this time was much less random than ‘What I’ve been listening to this week‘:
Each an artist’s Fourth release.
The chosen 4 coming from
Four different decades
Here’s an example:
FAIRPORT CONVENTION — LIEGE & LIEF (1969)
GENTLE GIANT — OCTOPUS (1972)
KATE BUSH — THE DREAMING (1982)
PORCUPINE TREE — SIGNIFY (1996)
But such articles take time. Lots of time.
The clock starts ticking when an idea surfaces. This artist, that year, another style of music. Choices are myriad and the ‘inspiration’ phase can be hugely enjoyable—as long as there isn’t a deadline.
Actual preparation time is a combination of listening time (usually multiple spins) plus a period of gestation and note-taking. Maybe some research or fact-checking. Then, after writing the review, there are pictures to take. The photos have to be edited and sometimes re-taken because they are rubbish. Then there’s text editing, coming up with a (hopefully) catchy title before finally uploading to the blog.
To a mathematician it might look something like this:
Tt ≈ Ic + [(∑ (Lt x 2) + NTt + Wr + F/C + (Ph x 2Ph)↯ + ∫Ed) x N] ± D + UL
Tt ≈ Total time. An approximate total, due to random variables (wine consumption, pesky family commitments, etc).
Ic = Inspiration to the power of c, where c represents ‘choice’, ie: the options available. With a large collection, it is a substantial (yet finite) number. Sometimes it feels overwhelmingly infinite.
Lt = Listening time
NTt = Note-taking time
Wr = Writing
F/C = Fact Checking
Ph = creating photos. Editing photos takes much longer than snapping, by a factor of two I reckon.
↯ = The massive range of variables operational in photography is indicated by the ‘contradictory statements’ symbol. It also represents the impossibility of taking a truly square photo of a square record cover.
Ed = integrated editing
N = Number of albums included in article
D = Distractions
UL = Uploading to WordPress
It is a wonder that anyone ever gets a post completed, really. And when you consider that millions of people are posting hundreds of millions of words and images every week, it’s a wonder that anything other than blogging gets done in the entire world. There’s an answer to all the world’s problems right there, if only I could find it.
Anyway, friends, the point is I have not written a single word of a 4×4 article. So instead of something new and perhaps interesting, I am falling back on that old anniversary stalwart, highlighting some favourite posts from the last 0.4 of a decade. In deference to the idea, however, there are two groups of four posts linked below.
The first quartet comprises favourites from the ‘Particular Platters’ category*. The second group consists of ‘Memoir with Music’ pieces.
* Does anyone actually use those categories, I wonder?
I’ve always been partial to a rock trio. These lads produced a 2004 debut of power and originality and I loved digging into it.
Originally written for a guest appearance at another blog, this expanded review of Loudon Wainwright III’s 2012 album about death and mortality remains a favourite. Entry is restricted to those of middle years and above.
For the 2015 entry it was an arm-wrestle between the 1968 Small Faces classic and Camel’s Mirage. In the end, sixties wonder just beat out seventies progressive style.
Researching the titular boxer for this piece on Miles Davis’ Jack Johnson album was fascinating. As for the music, it is so intense that multiple listens are required to even begin mining its depths. If this is jazz, it is dangerous to your health.
This second group of posts is a bit shameless, isn’t it? Anyway, I was pleased with this story at the time and am quietly proud of it still. It kind of defines the personal approach that’s the core of Vinyl Connection. And I still really enjoy Faust IV.
Writing a post trilogy (and more) around the favourite book of my twenties was perhaps a little ambitious for a music blog. Especially as the first parts had very little music in them. This third instalment was a ‘quest’ story that was enjoyable to recall (if not to read).
The record shop where I worked has figured several times in these pages. Although the business is long gone, this story bridged 1973, 1979, and the present.
Another yarn from Max Rose Electronics. It was a race between this one about a lovely customer and another about a dubious staff member. The customer came first.
Thanks for sharing the journey thus far.
Hope you find something to enjoy.