It's no real secret that I always like Myspace, and wasn't really in to Facebook. For a long, long time I avoided Facebook altogether. Myspace appealed to me from its earliest days. I first signed up shortly before it really began to boom, creating a music page for my band back in the days when it was still commonplace for bands to not have a Myspace page. Shortly afterwards though, it boomed, and every band, man and his dog had a Myspace page. I liked it. It was your own little corner of the internet, to do with as you please. I remember the time when people had their own geocities website, and to me it seemed a better version of that, all brought together in to one place. The fact it gave invaluable exposure and networking to bands was also crucial to many bands trying to get off the ground. So what changed? I'm hardly here at all anymore - once a month, if that - and I have a Facebook profile. Well, basically Myspace shot itself in the foot with the most big-ass gun it could find. The problem began when 14 year old girls… well, to be fair, ANYONE to impaired to have taste in basic design discovered HTML and animated GIFs. Pages popped up with enough flashing backgrounds and images to give an epileptic PTSD. What's worse, large sections of their profile were filled with walls of HTML text because they had failed to copy and paste the .. from the layout website and were too dumb or lazy to fix it. The inability to navigate pages in this state was the first thing to drive people away. However, it was not enough people to kill the user base so much it scared off the bots and spammers. This was the second thing to drive people away, constant spam messages and comments for entirely unrelated things. I'll freely admit to putting around comments with gig flyers where they were relevant, but if I had a dollar for every time I got a comment with a flyer for a show in California or Moscow, I would be a much wealthier man. So, inundated with spam and discotheque pages, people began to leave. The guys in charge panicked. What could they do to bring people back? Apparently their first answer was sit on their asses. I mentioned a long, long time ago that the answer they needed to clean up the site was to introduce a "template" system to profile design. The option to choose a background from a solid colour, or a .jpg image. A series of fill-in-the-blank boxes people could arrange, delete and detail how they like, but would ultimately keep some uniformity between all pages and, no matter how clueless you were, would still retain some manner of design that would be acceptable to the eye. Well, finally Myspace caught on and introduced a system just like this, their current profile set-up: years after I first came up with the idea. Unfortunately, while the public profile has been done a great service, no-one knows about it because they left long ago. Many of those that did remain fled at the sheer horror of the new user interface, which loads slower than an artilleryman in basic training, and is dominated by a large, facebook like news feed that, no matter how many times I set it to "All my Friends", reverts to "Just Me" every time the page is refreshed! I really don't need to know I just uploaded a photo or listened to a song, I remember it just fine myself, thanks. It seems like in an attempt to capture some of what people found appealing in Facebook, they basically did a direct copy-paste, stuck a bunch more ads in there, put the things you need real small down the bottom while the useless things stick out like dog's balls. Apparently, they hired one of the people with the flashing GIF pages to design the new user interface. Of course, people complained and gave feedback. However, it not only fell on deaf ears, it fell on no ears. As anyone who's ever tried contacting Myspace knows, you'll get nothing more than an automated response with an answer from an FAQ, usually to something entirely unrelated to what you were talking about. So there you go. A rather nice change to the profile page, with enough mutilation to the user interface to entirely counteract it. It was enough to send stalwart Myspacers like me to Facebook. I mostly championed Myspace due to its use as a music promotion tool, but even that has fallen by the wayside. Who are you promoting to when the entire user base has left? The problem of Facebook not being able to perform the same function of band pages no longer applies, so I'll take my news updates to where the fans will hear them, thanks. I still prefer Myspace or, at least, prefer the basic idea that it once held at its core. I still feel Facebook is kind of bland with its ceaseless blue-and-white, and some of its set-up, design and function still seems illogical to me. Let's not forget to mention I'm still not entirely fond of its "me too!"-ism basis. However, as Myspace took the misguided route of trying to beat it at its own game, given the choice between the two, I will take the one that A) doesn't load like it's 1995, and B) actually has my friends on it. A shame, but hey, they fucked themselves over and it's their money they'll be losing, 'cause I still got my product! Myspace, you really did accidentally the whole thing. Some of it seems like you were trying to do it on purpose. You were a good idea with a terrible execution. There's not even anyone left on here to read this blog.
..I've had it to the back fucking teeth with half-assed "music journalists" and people who think access to an internet connection makes their uninformed opinion gospel. These stupid fuckwits spend too much time criticizing based on their commercial and consumerist expectations and not enough time actually opening their eyes and using, what I will give them the benefit of the doubt and call, their brain. This rant is firmly planted in the recent reviews and discussion surrounding Marilyn Manson, but is equally applicable to many other bands. Throughout Marilyn Manson's current world tour, I hear a recurring theme in reviews stating that Manson is old, washed up, stale, and out of ideas. They call for a return to the days when he was "shocking" and "challenging". They clamour for shows of the past with over the top theatrics while Manson would strip down near nude on stage, bare his ass for all to see, smash everything in site and jerk Twiggy off. I find this odd, because 15 years ago those were the very activities that had the band slammed as nothing more than a cheap, filthy imitation of Alice Cooper, many saying they relied on the shock tactics to garner an audience as they were entirely untalented musically. Now, when they drop all that away, they want it back? Which is it you want? It seems that either way you just want to criticize them. Forbidden in heaven... I'm also pretty sick of the attitudes that some in the media have expressed about The High End Of Low. In their ignorance, many reviewers have called the album a number of unflattering things, while showing their lack of research in to the artist by, among other things, discussing their back catalogue and saying fans were "let down" and "disappointed" by Holy Wood. Any one who has spent any length of time at the major Manson forums on the internet will know that Holy Wood is a much loved album and, while there are always different opinions and favourites, to say that the majority were let down is grossly inaccurate. Recently, Canadian website Straight.com posted an article by John Lucas in which he described Manson's career as being in a "downhill slide into the shitter", despite the fact that The High End Of Low peaked at number 4 on the Billboard charts, while it's predecessor Eat Me, Drink Me only managed 8. This doesn't seem to be a shit-slide to me. He then goes on to critique the new video for Running To The Edge Of The World, going so far as to claim it is an obvious incitement to domestic violence, encouraging men that they "have the right to take his frustrations out on her with his fists". He then slams Manson for this crime that he has entirely fabricated within his own article, doing nothing but proving his own ignorance and inability to do some research in to what the video's theme was actually exploring. Useless in hell... Enough about Manson. It seems he's still the easy scapegoat for the media. It's a prevalent attitude elsewhere too, though. I recently read a live review for a local band who had scored a support slot for an international act. They were canned for their unoriginal approach and sound, while the same review then proceeded to talk up the main act who are certainly not masters of originality themselves. This continues to people generally attacking musicians and calling them shit when most of the people throwing the abuse couldn't play half as good anyway. It's a tough fucking job we musos do (if you're doinitrite, that is). We don't need some drunk asswipe yelling at us because he thinks he's a rock god after getting a top score on Guitar Hero. You wanna try coming up here and doing what we do? You'll fall flat on your face within seconds. You wanna try writing an album that's better than the ones you call shit? Unless you're in a live band, write songs or do anything else to give you any practical artistic knowledge, maybe you should keep your bullshit to yourself. The internet is a great and useful tool, but it is NOT a magical way of immediately validating your every thought. Just because you can publish it online, it doesn't mean it's right. Do some fucking research, know what the hell you're talking about, and maybe have a go at doing something better yourself. Then you can open your mouth and discuss things. Otherwise you're just a lonely, washed-up attention seeking B-grade celebrity, which puts you in the same category as Perez Hilton. Is that really somewhere you want to be?
EDIT: Here's a good and relevant quote from Marilyn Manson in 2002, which I thought a good way of putting things. Thanks to [god]speed at PM:UMB for posting this!
"I have always assumed that we as a community of outsiders, are against
prejudices, so the only thing that annoys me is malicious and anonymous
criticism. I think people should make their comments into eloquent
essays or crayola drawing or shit sculptures. If I take all of energy
to make my opinions of the world into songs, people should be obligated
to critique them with the same amount of effort. However, I do welcome
all interpretations good or bad, that is the point isn't it?
Many of you who bother to read this will be aware that I've just started my new uni course. When I first signed up for the course I was informed by the institute that the course would be in the hours of 10am-3pm, mon-thurs. Great! That suits me perfect.
So I started and found out that the big wigs around the place, in their infinite wisdom, decided to alter the time table for the course. Now, rather than my sensible worktime hours (remember I applied for this listed as a "daytime course") I have the following:
*On Tuesdays, I have a 10am start. I finish class at 12, and then have to sit around and twiddle my thumbs for 3 hours for the sake of an hour class from 3-4. Hardly worth the time.
*On Wednesdays, I spend a whole afternoon and best part of an evening sitting and being lectured from 1pm-9pm. Urgh.
*On Thursdays, I have to spend 2 hours traveling down there for one class. This class is for a subject I'm yet to be convinced is necessary, and it's from 7pm - 10pm. What part of that time classifies as a daytime course exactly? Then I travel home, and my daytime course will actually get me home around midnight. Fucking great.
What sort of planning is this? Do they have too many students to fit into classes during their regular hours? Or are they just setting out to inconvenience us? This timetable is a massive pain in the ass for a lot of people, when the times originally given would have made it much, much easier. I suspect they're trying to cram more students into the building, and hence money into their pockets.
On top of this, I'm getting slogged for a new laptop. The course states that all students are required to have their own laptop, and the institute will offer these at insanely low prices. I figured I didn't even need to spend that, seeing as I already have the same laptop they have on offer. But no. Turns out that the course essentially requires (it's not "official", but is basically true off the books) you to have all this uber-expensive software that comes with the laptop. This wasn't told to me at any time before hand. But still I find out I basically have to spend more money on this laptop I don't need...
Hidden costs late at night... this was not something I handed over my 20 grand for. Some one wants me to punch them in the kidneys.