Once upon a time there were books and records, the latter made of vinyl, which changed into cassette ribbon, before it was engraved digitally onto a CD-Rom. Ah, long, long ago, back in the days of nostalgia, when knights still drove cars that required horsepower, and people did not yet know how to sit next to each other on trains and buses and speak by text, but were still required to use that obsolete mechanism the mouth. Gone now, all gone now, like innocence, purity and truth (whatever they were).
On September 23rd 2014, one of my favourite singer-songwriter-poets, Leonard Cohen, celebrated his 80th birthday by releasing a new album of songs. I thought about buying it, but within 24 hours the entire record was available on YouTube, whether honestly or as an act of piracy I am unable to comment, but surely listening to it there is not a crime? I do not understand how a record company can make any money, when an audio, or even a video, can be made at home, edited to the highest level of sophistication using free-to-download software, and uploaded at no cost to the universally accessible Internet.
In September of the year before, 2013, I fulfilled my forty-year aspiration to publish my books, by establishing my own imprint, using free templates to create my galley-proofs, taking advantage of Internet publishers and distributors to gain world-wide distribution, and never spent a penny in the process. I do not understand how publishing houses can go on surviving for much longer.
The challenge of the Internet is not only for publishing houses and recording companies however; it is also a challenge for the artists and writers. We are liberated by the Internet to write and paint what we believe in, and no editor to tell us we must change it to what they require, the better (for them) to exploit it commercially. That liberation is not our challenge, but it sets a new and unexpected one - how do we create our works for the Internet? Not just, how do we use the Internet to get the work known; but how do we create for the Internet?
My three blogs are an attempt to explore this. In Private Collection I have taken an "old-fashioned" anthology of prose and poetry, with commentary; with The Book Of Days an "old-fashioned" approach to history; with this blog, "Songs and Poems", the "old-fashioned" collecting of poetry in small books and songs in groups of eight to ten on vinyl; and in each case tried to find new ways of presenting them that take optimum advantage of the Internet, but also seek to expand the parameters which the Internet has established.
Not that this should stop you buying the "old-fashioned" paper books and helping me pay my grocery bills. But what is on the blog is free. Copyrighted, but free. Feel free to add your comments, but please keep them civilised.
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