Author Archives: john hardin

About john hardin

sometimes I'm joking. Sometimes I'm half-joking. Sometimes I'm serious. Sometimes it's hard to tell the difference

The Crackle by Totter on The Adventurous Ear #3

the crackle by totter cov

Really, thus isn’t a music blog, but I can’t say too much about music. Music probably precedes language in human evolution, and I would say that music exceeds language in shaping human culture. We live in a peculiar culture, from that perspective, in that we exalt the more primitive forms of intelligence, that is, language and reason, more than the higher forms like music, art and humor.

intelligences gardners eight types

In other cultures, we would expect our leaders to sing, dance, and play musical instruments. We would expect them to tell jokes and stories. In fact, their duties would include such things, and they would have become leaders by doing those things well. Their passion would speak to us through music. Their truth would resonate in their stories and they would demonstrate their powers of observation, sharp intellect and quick wit though the jokes they told.

tribal leaders dance

Our culture worships the rational mind, the lowest form of intelligence. The rational mind has its place. It helps us secure food. It helps us design traps. The rational mind helps us capture prey. Don’t ever forget that. The rational mind is there to help us turn other beings into lunch. The rational mind is not uniquely human. Chimps have it. Dogs have it. What makes humans exceptional, with regard to the rational mind, is that humans are the most doggedly rational creatures on Earth. Symbolism, abstraction and language became natural extensions of this tactical form of intelligence.

leakey quote

Still, the rational mind is all about stalking and setting traps. We decide legal cases through the adversarial system. Two lawyers argue opposite sides of a case. We assume they are both equally competent at stalking and setting traps, but, we also assume, the truth will favor one side or the other. Political campaigns work the same way. Each side makes an argument, each side attacks the others argument and the people decide at the polls, who they thought was more convincing. We spend our days trapping each other and being trapped, and we call it “the economy.” The rational mind is constantly setting traps, and constantly falling into traps. That’s why you should never trust reason when it comes to making big decisions.

ViolentPoliticalRhetoric

When it comes to making big decisions, you need to know what you love, because the closer you are to what you love, the happier you are going to be. I love music. I know a lot of people do. It doesn’t make any sense. There’s no rational explanation for it, but I feel very strongly about music, and not just music in general, although I like music in general. Some music I like a LOT more than other music.

music-time quote frank-zappa

Some music takes some getting used to, and all music takes a few listens to appreciate, but it’s worth the effort, because the more you know about what you love, the more you know about who you are, and what you are doing here. This Thursday I have the rare opportunity to share with KMUD’s listening audience a new album that I really love. I realize that listening is something of a lost art, but it is such a rewarding exercise. I do hope you’ll listen.

lost-art-of-listening

On Thursday May 28th at 5pm KMUD will air the third installment of my new radio series called The Adventurous Ear.

the adventurous ear

This time The Adventurous Ear listens to The Crackle, the latest album from Totter.

totter the crackle-horz

I met Totter at a Summer Solstice gathering at Heartwood a couple of years ago. I played didgeridoo at the opening of the event and Totter played sax and flute with the headline act whose name escapes me. I think he was the only guy at the event with a beard longer than mine. We exchanged CDs. It was a weekend of New Age, spiritual, vegan bliss. When I got home, I put on The Crackle. Wow!

Totter Todd at House of Blues, Chicago

Totter Todd at House of Blues, Chicago

There is not one bit of New Age vegan bliss in The Crackle at all. The Crackle is dark and bloody and hard. It was like watching a horror movie after church. Definitely not what I was expecting, but it blew me out of the water. Great playing, terrific lyrics, astounding vocals and gripping music that doesn’t let up. An hour later, I’m shaking off a cold sweat, hoping this album doesn’t give me nightmares.

totter white face

This isn’t music to liven up your party, though a few cuts could work that way. This is an album to listen to from start to finish. Totter has taken the pains to weave a rich tapestry of musical artistry that is well worth your precious time. Take the time to appreciate Totter’s dark portrait of Gothic Americana, and celebrate it for the masterful work of art that it is.

totter2

You can hear a 28 minute preview of The Crackle, along with snippets of an interview I did with Totter about the album, last month at KMUD’s studios in Redway. Totter is a local SoHum guy, at least part of the time. His music keeps him traveling, but I see him around town from time to time, and he was gracious with his time for the interview. I think the show came out great, and I’m really excited to present it. I hope you’ll tune in. That’s Thursday May 28th at 5pm on KMUD, Redwood Community Radio for The Adventurous Ear, featuring The Crackle by Totter.

Click this link to hear an mp3 of the show right now.

and visit www.tottertodd.com for more about Totter and his music


A Springy Bass and the Humboldt Horn

big horn

People seemed to like the Harp Project last week, so I thought I’d lay a couple of my other new homemade instruments on you.

homemade creations

I built this electric bass from a hunk of 2×4 I extracted from a shipping pallet, and the cast-aluminum housing from a long-dead car-stereo amplifier.

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This bass uses vibrating springs, salvaged from expandable curtain rods, instead of strings, and additional sympathetic springs, concealed within the body, increase the instrument’s resonance.  More springs attached to the outside of the body increase the instruments sonic potential.

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This bass has two piezoelectric pickups, one designed to pick up vibrations from the long springs stretched over the neck of the instrument, and a second that allows the body of the instrument to be played like a drum. A single potentiometer allows the player to balance between the two.

DSC_0025

It’s really a very crude device. I had a lot of trouble getting decent sound to video, and I’m just beginning to explore what this instrument can do, but compared to, say a washtub bass, I think this instrument has a lot of musical potential.

I feel strongly about working with salvaged junk. I hate to see the natural world sacrificed to produce disposable consumer crap, but one distinguishing characteristic of our time is this abundance of exotic materials that would have been unbelievably rare, or completely non-existent only 100 years ago.

junk

We live in an age rich in garbage. All of the earth’s natural beauty, and life-sustaining abundance, has been ravaged, transformed, consumed, abandoned, and discarded. There it is, our stolen future, on the curb, in the rain, free for a generation of dumpster-divers.

dumpster-dive

Here in Humboldt County, this black poly-pipe waterline grows wild in the woods. I find it everywhere, along with chicken-wire, buckets, flower pots, tarps, water tanks, soil bags and worse.

pot grow garbage 1

These woods are strewn with the detritus of thirty years of guerrilla growing, including enough abandoned poly-pipe waterline to reach a grow on Mars. Talk about an embarrassment of riches. Prohibition may soon end, but the miles of black poly-pipe in our forests will last forever.

black poly pipe

“Let it sing.” I say.

singer

I made the Humboldt Horn out of waterline and a flowerpot.

DSC_0044

I cut the mouthpiece off of a cracked and discarded vuvuzela I found while cleaning up a property in Ettersburg. I reinforced it with a bit of electrical tape, and adapted it to fit the horn.  vuvuzela

I can vary the range of the instrument by substituting longer or shorter lengths of waterline. The flowerpot acts as a resonance chamber, and has an omnidirectional microphone mounted inside.

DSC_0047

Because the flowerpot is turned upside down and rests on the ground, the instrument is very quiet, but the microphone inside the flowerpot provides a strong signal to drive amplifiers, effects and/or recording equipment. While not particularly attractive, I find the Humboldt horn both expressive and versatile as a musical instrument. Give it a listen.


The HARP Project

haarp-facility

Many Americans, as well as millions of people around the globe have expressed their outrage at the top-secret experiments taking place at a US military base in Alaska. This nefarious program, code-named “The HARP Project,” builds on the groundbreaking work of Nicola Tesla, and seeks nothing less than complete control of global weather patterns through the use of high-frequency electromagnetic fields.

tesla

The HARP Project utilizes an enormous antenna array, and transmitters capable of pumping millions of watts of radio-frequency energy into the stratosphere. These transmissions create changes in the Earth’s ionosphere that extend around the globe, and the amplitude of these signals distort the shape of the atmosphere, and effect the Earth’s magnetic field.

haarp Strange_Clouds

The HARP Project remains shrouded in secrecy,

haarp_1a warning

…but this week, the LYGSBTD Center for Investigative Reporting acquired exclusive, TOP-SECRET video footage that reveals, for the first time, exactly how it really works. This video reveals the exact frequencies of operation, resonance gradients, harmonic characteristics, and radiation patterns of the energy field transmissions. This video allows viewers to see, and hear for themselves, the effect these energy fields have on the atmosphere. WARNING: This two-and-a-half minute video will change your life FOREVER!!!!!!

See, you are now two-and-a-half minutes older, and you’ve seen the newest addition to my growing collection of crude musical instruments made out of junk: The HARP Project. Technically, a musicologist would remind us, this instrument is a lyre, but I’ve called this instrument “the HARP Project” from the moment I conceived of this contraption, and I’ve only subsequently learned of the subtle difference between the two. For the record, a harp has only three sides, while a lyre has four.

harp_to_lyre

The voice of this instrument emanates from an aluminum bundt cake pan I found lying in the mud while cleaning up a property in Ettersburg. I knocked the mud out of it and tapped it a couple of times to listen to its ring. I thought it had a pleasant ring, and considered using it as a resonator on the guitar I recently built, but the geometry of the guitar just didn’t work that way.

DSC_0037

Still, I thought this bundt cake pan had a nice ring to it, and realized it would be easy to attach a piezoelectric pickup to it as well, so I started to look at it, and think about how I could best harness its acoustic properties. I checked a few books out of the library, and I looked up some stuff on-line. At some point, I found a picture of a harp made out of a roasting pan. I took note of how it was constructed.

roasting pot harp-559x419

created by Bart Hopkins to see more of Bart’s amazing instruments click this pic

Zither pins. Until this point, my collection of homemade string instruments has been limited by the availability of tuning mechanisms. I once got a music store to sell me a few old guitar tuning machines for a dollar each, but I haven’t come across a deal like that since. Zither pins sell for about a dollar each, new. With zither pins, I could build an instrument with 20 tuned strings, and stay within my budget of $30.

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I built the frame of the instrument from an old shipping pallet, and I found a piece of copper pipe just the right length for the bridge.

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You already know about the bundt cake pan.

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I made the strings out of a spool of stainless steel wire I’ve been carrying around for over a decade.

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The piezoelectric pickup came out of my Bratz brand toy drum machine that worked long enough that you can hear it on my last album, Um… Uh… Gum Eh?, but died shortly thereafter.

bratz drum fingers

I got eight great sounding piezoelectric pickups out of that toy, including this one, and the one in my record breaking guitar.

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I paid one dollar for it. A quarter-inch phone jack and a volume pot with a brushed aluminum knob complete the Harp Project, and make it convenient to amplify or record.

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I really like the way it sounds. Now I have to learn to play it.


A Species in Adolescence

adolescence

In separate interactions with two different liberal lawyers, recently, I heard the same phrase uttered as an excuse for human caused environmental devastation. It sounded all too familiar. It’s a deceptively simple phrase, but it conceals one of the fundamental myths of this new science-based religion called “Secular Humanism.” Both of these gentlemen expressed this phrase as a personal belief. “I just think that we are a species in the midst of adolescence.” or “I believe that we are a species in adolescence,” was more or less how they put it. That’s a strange thing to believe.

strange beliefs

Secular humanists have adopted this strange belief in the adolescence of the human species because of their strange belief in science. Believing in science is pretty weird too, if you ask me. Not that anyone did, but still, it’s one thing to learn about the world using the scientific method, and it’s something else altogether to “believe in” science.

believe in science

Secular humanists think that our objective, scientific understanding of the universe is the greatest thing since sliced bread. They see the emergence of science as a guiding light that will see us through this difficult phase of our evolution, our adolescence, if you will. We must be doing something right, they reason, if we can put a nuclear powered car on Mars, calculate the moment of the Big Bang to the millisecond and find the goddamn Higgs boson, and they assume there is a point to it all. They see the scientific viewpoint as superior. Our best hope for survival, as a species, they will tell you, is more science and technology. That’s what I mean when I say that Secular Humanists “believe in science.”

believe in science nacho

Unfortunately, the facts on the ground tell us that most of today’s really pressing crises originated with some new scientific development, and the technology it inspired. For instance we face Global Warming because of certain developments in chemistry, a few mechanical inventions, and a hell of a lot of marketing. The knowledge that science gives us, has led to horrific disasters and environmental devastation around the globe. From the spectre of nuclear warfare to global climate change, to overpopulation, every new scientific discovery leads to new technology, which creates a new crisis.

crisis_-what-crisis_

We tell ourselves that all of this destruction is part of our “education” as a species. We tell ourselves that we are a good species, and we are on the right track, but we just need a little more time to reach our maturity. If we think about human beings as an “adolescent species” does that also mean that we should also think of the genocide of the American Indians as a college “panty raid,” slavery as a sort of fraternity hazing, and the whole environmental crisis as just a nasty hangover from doing too many Jagger-bombs at that kegger last night? Perhaps we should just say: “boys will be boys.” about these dark chapters in in our history, because these were just the youthful indiscretions of an adolescent species, and someday, we’ll grow out of it, get a job, and settle down.

boys will be boys prank

Of course, if we actually applied what we know about science to this new myth, we’d realize that adolescence happens to individuals, not species. Individuals reach a stage where they no longer need the direct care and supervision of their parents, but have very little experience to draw from in their encounters in the real world. Adolescence never happens to a whole species at once. Every species is fully mature at the moment it evolves into existence. There are no “Not Ready for Prime Time Players” in nature.

not ready for prime time

Species evolve in response to the pressures and limitations placed on them by their environment. If the species survives, it is only because it’s particular adaptations are suited to the challenges of the environment they face at that moment. Species don’t evolve with adaptations suited to some future world, or with adaptations that take a few millennium to refine. The idea of a species in adolescence has no basis in science at all.

creationists

Every generation of every species comes with a fully mature set of time-tested adaptations that prepare it for survival within the limits set by its environment. That’s why you will never hear a biologist say, of an invasive species, for instance: “Well, Zebra mussels are an adolescent species. They want to get out and see the world, but we think that eventually they will return to their home range and settle down as the species matures.”

zebra mussels

…or of an endangered species: “We think that the declining numbers of Northern spotted owls in Northern California forests is the result of the owls engaging in risky behavior. We think the owls are ‘acting out’ in reaction to losing so much of their habitat to logging. Spotted owls are an adolescent species, and we think this is just a temporary phase. We just need to give the owls some space, and let nature take its course.” Nor will you find any such nonsense in biology textbooks.

teenage owl

Why then, do you suppose, has this idea of an adolescent species, homo adolescence, if you will, has become such a widespread belief among Secular Humanists, who, because of their high regard for science, should know better?

stand up for science 1

It might be because Secular Humanists, like most people, prefer literary metaphor to real science. It might be because most Secular Humanists just haven’t examined that aspect of their belief system very closely, or it could be because Secular Humanists simply cannot face the fact that we are not looking at the youthful indiscretion of a species nearing maturity, but instead, we are witnessing the collapse of a suicidal culture, that is taking science, democracy, all of our beloved technology, and everything that makes us feel superior to the rest of nature, with it. The real answer, of course, is “all of the above.”

all of the above wtf

In truth, we’re a great species! We’re a mature, time tested species, that has achieved global distribution. There’s nothing wrong with us as a species. As a species, we’ve developed thousands of cultures, suited to life in the place they originated. We just happened to be born into one particularly destructive culture, that has already destroyed an alarming amount of the world’s biologic, as well as human, cultural diversity. There’s nothing wrong with us as people, but the way we live, the way we think, and the way we see ourselves in relationship to the rest of nature couldn’t be more wrong. If we hope to survive, as a species, our culture has got to change.

culture change game changer2


Humboldt “Farmers” Go to Sacramento

dope yuppies go to sac crop

Recently, a group of area dope yuppies visited the State Legislature in Sacramento to lobby lawmakers on behalf of local marijuana growers.

HCCC b

While addressing their representatives at the State House, these cannabis cultivators wore green T-shirts emblazoned with the words, “I am a Farmer,” which I suppose, served as their excuse for wearing T-shirts.

what am I a farmer

Surrounded by business suits and power ties, these alleged “farmers” explained how important prohibition-era profits have become, not just to them personally, but to the numerous BMW and Harley Davidson dealerships around the state, not to mention ski resorts, gun dealers and real estate agents in Costa Rica, to name a few. “Who else pays $200 a yard for dirt?” They asked, adding that “California’s cannabis cultivators are the ‘suckers of last resort’ who have kept the state’s economy moving forward by buying enormous amounts of stupid crap while the rest of the state just tightened their belts and suffered through the recession.”

buy more crap

They reminded lawmakers that local businesses in Humboldt County rely heavily on black market cannabis profits. First, a lot of Humboldt County “businesses” operate as “fronts.” These “fronts” allow cannabis cultivators to launder large sums of cash without actually serving anyone’s needs. The remainder of Humboldt County’s businesses pay exorbitant rent prices, because of the high demand for commercial space for indoor marijuana cultivation, and have trouble finding help, because people can’t afford a decent place to live because of the high demand for residential space for indoor marijuana cultivation. As a result, most Humboldt County businesses cater to drug dealers who can easily afford the ridiculously high prices, while they ignore the needs of the rest of the community. Despite the poor job they do of serving the community’s needs, these businesses all pay taxes.

pay taxes

Of course, meeting people’s needs is the last thing anyone at the State House cares about. At the CA State Legislature, it doesn’t matter if you are a lawmaker or a lobbyist, a department head or a dope yuppie dressed as a farmer, everyone wants something, and everything costs money. The State Legislature essentially acts as the pimp for the state of California. Anyone who wants to fuck the people or rape the environment, legally, in the State of California has to pay them for the privilege. The State House is where they negotiate the price and terms.

pimp-and-a-prostitute

Marijuana prohibition was just such a deal, struck between powerful corporate interests and corrupt government officials, and they’ve screwed the American people with it for almost 80 years.  Today, the American people have had enough, and they demand change. Right now, state legislatures all over the country are wrestling with this one question: How can they preserve an economic system forged by the War on Drugs, while phasing out the criminal penalties for drug possession and sales.

War-on-Drugs

It’s like the transition between the Vietnam War and Reagan’s Cold War. The public demanded an end to the Vietnam War, and the draft, but not an end to military spending. No one liked spending billions of dollars on nuclear weapons, but people weren’t rioting in the streets about it. The Cold War preserved the profits of military contractors who would have otherwise had to find productive work in a peacetime economy. The people still got fucked, but at least they stopped screaming and squirming so much.

arms race

That’s what’s going on in Sacramento right now. It makes sense that Humboldt County’s Drug War profiteers should join the negotiations. Cops, prison-guards, lawyers, and drug dealers all want to continue fucking us over, and now Wall St. investors want a piece of the action too. It’s a feeding frenzy for social parasites.

social-parasites

They all know that without a multi-billion dollar eradication  effort, the price of marijuana will drop to $0, as this hearty weed quickly colonizes every vacant lot, ditch and roadside in America.

marijuana-leaves-

Wouldn’t that be great? The time has come to make it happen. All we need are seeds. That’s why it is so important for everyone who cares about cannabis, and wants to see it free and legal, to grow seedy pot. To hell with the State House, and to hell with greedy dope yuppies.  We’ve waited for them long enough already. Now it is time to free the weed, and spread the seed, because we’re sick of the greed.

grow seedy pot FTW


4/20, a CIA Plot Involving the Grateful Dead

steal_your_pot

It’s 4/20 again, Oh boy! I’m not big on celebrating 4/20 as a holiday. I mean, if somebody hands me a joint, any day of the year, I’ll happily smoke it, but as a holiday, 4/20 comes up a day late and a dollar short, if you ask me.

a day late

April 19th is the day to celebrate. Think about it. The psychedelic revolution was born on April 19 1943. April 19 is “Bicycle Day,” the day Albert Hoffman first discovered the psychoactive properties of LSD, and took his famous bike ride home from the Sandoz lab in Switzerland. Also, the Battle of Lexington and Concord took place on April 19, the first major battle in the American Revolution. April 19th is a day to remember that sometimes revolution is a good thing, and some things are worth fighting for. That’s something to celebrate.

bicycle-day

What happened on April 20th that has anything at all to do with marijuana? Nothing. Nothing at all.

nothing

What did happen on April 20th? What is the most significant thing to happen, in the whole history of civilization, on April 20? Adolf Hitler was born. Remember him? What a guy. He cast his shadow over the entire 20th Century, and remains an iconic symbol of pure evil to this day. That’s not something I want to celebrate.

hitlers birthday cake

Hitler’s birthday should be marked by a somber day to remember the horrible things the Nazis did, and to remember that people did those things. April 20 is a day to remember that at one time, Hitler was a baby, just like millions of other babies, and his mother loved him and took care of him and sent him to school, and he grew up to become Der Fuhrer of the Third Reich, and to instigate the most ghoulish bloodbath of a blood-soaked century. April 20th is a day to remember that any little baby can grow up to become another Hitler someday, and that’s something every perspective parent should think about.

hitlers birthday guidelines

Anyway, the fact that Adolf Hitler was born on on April 20th hangs like a pall over the entire day, making it unfit to celebrate. Unless, of course, you are a fascist. Fascists love to celebrate Hitler’s Birthday. If you ask me, fascists are behind the whole business of celebrating April 20th as some kind of pot holiday. I think the whole 420 phenomena is part of a CIA CoIntelPro disinformation campaign designed to derail the revolutionary elements of the cannabis counter-culture.

CIA cointelpro

The whole 420 back-story seems pretty dubious. Supposedly, some Bay Area high-school kids concocted 420 as a code word for getting high, because it took exactly 4:20 seconds for them to walk to their favorite place to smoke herb. That doesn’t make sense because: A, Some kids are faster than others. B, Who times their walks like that? And C, Kids would compete to see who could get there faster, so 420 would eventually become 418, 415, or even 412. Within a few years, some particularly fast stoners would have whittled it down to 3:58.

fast times

Also, consider this: All over the country, people constantly coin new code-words for marijuana, ranging from “bass strings” to “turf.” all of these terms must enjoy a certain amount of popularity to be effective, but all of them lose their “cool” once you hear them on TV. Code-words, after all, have to be changed once the enemy has broken the code. 420 on the other hand just seems to get more popular the more banal it becomes. Speaking of things that get more popular the more banal they sound…

bland calm

Look at where this story comes from. Apparently, some of these apocryphal 420 kids were friends of Phil Lesh, the bass player for the Grateful Dead. Supposedly, 420, as a code-word for marijuana, arose within the Grateful Dead subculture. That story doesn’t check-out either. If you saw the Dead back in the ’70s, you never heard the term 420, at least I don’t recall hearing it when I saw them back in ’78, when I saw them at Music Hall in Cleveland, a great venue that only seats 3,000 people, and the show didn’t sell out.

gd cleveland nov 20 78-horz

But a few years later, the Grateful Dead sure did. At the height of Reagan’s War on Drugs, suddenly, this washed-up Woodstock era band of drug-addled geezers had a smash hit on MTV. Next thing you know, the Grateful Dead were the biggest tour on the planet, selling-out stadiums and arenas all over the country, and all over the country, millions of drugged-up, hippied-out, middle-class white kids started calling marijuana, 420. Coincidence? I don’t think so.

coincidence-I-think-not

I’ve never trusted the Grateful Dead since then, and I assumed they were a front for the CIA. Here’s why: First, they were the least revolutionary of the psychedelic rock bands. The Grateful Dead didn’t drop LSD in Nixon’s coffee machine, like Grace Slick did,

grace slick

…and they didn’t set things on fire, like Jimi Hendrix did.

jimi hendrix

They just took drugs and played music. That made the Dead safe for consumption, in the eyes of the CIA. That’s why the CIA used the Grateful Dead to derail, demotivate and lobotomize the psychedelic revolution.

CIA Psychedelic_Intelligence

By combining pitifully low doses of LSD with excessive amounts of stoned-out bluegrass Americana music, the Grateful Dead turned America’s disaffected youth into mindless party animals incapable of original thought, let alone revolutionary action. The Grateful Dead offer nothing remotely revolutionary, original, or even interesting in their music. Instead, with the CIA’s help, they threw a huge wet blanket of blandness over the imagination of a whole generation.

cia lsd

The whole point of the Grateful Dead was to stop people from experimenting with music and drugs, and instead, make sure that whenever people found drugs, the CIA could drown them in a murky sea of rehashed country-western, bluegrass, folk-rock pap. The Grateful Dead Disneyfied the psychedelic experience, and Jerry Garcia was a stooge who, wittingly or unwittingly, helped the CIA control the minds of America’s youth.

garcia devil

Today, people all over America are celebrating Adolf Hitler’s Birthday by smoking a joint while they listen to dumb redneck music. That’s how effectively the CIA used the Grateful Dead to subdue and incapacitate the psychedelic revolution. You may think this theory sounds like delusional paranoia, but do you have a better explanation?

gd white community

I didn’t think so.

i didnt think so


That’s Entertainment

thats entertainment big

Awhile ago, I agreed to help a friend fix his washing machine. I’ve never fixed a washing machine before, but I was happy to lend a hand. As it turns out, a washing machine is a rather complicated mechanical contraption, and we found ourselves stumped by an inaccessible fastener. As we stood there scratching our heads, trying to solve this problem, my friend had a brilliant idea. “Hey,” he said, “Let’s go smoke a joint and watch a video.”

smoke a joint

That sounded like a great idea to me. As we filled the air with great frothy clouds of sweet cannabis smoke, my friend input the make and model of his washing machine into the search engine at Youtube, looking for a “how-to” video that would show us how to replace the agitator dogs on his Kenmore. That’s how I discovered this:

I don’t blame you for not watching it all the way through, but **SPOILER ALERT** there is no surprise ending. That video is a one-camera, 29 minute close-up of an open washing machine, going through one complete cycle. That’s it. No music. No special effects. No narration. I can’t even imagine what you would say to narrate a video like that: “Will you look at that! Someone has turned the knob on that ’86 Kenmore and water has begun spraying into the agitator drum. Get ready for a great show because it looks like someone is going to do some laundry.”

sportscasters

I would have never imagined that doing laundry could become a spectator sport. I mean, I would rather watch someone do laundry, than do laundry myself, but I’d rather not watch, or do, laundry, unless I had to, because I find it dull and tedious. Until the moment I saw that video, I thought that most people agreed with me about that. Apparently, I have no idea what constitutes entertainment these days, because Youtube tells me that that video has been watched more than 60,000 times.  62,290 views to be precise, at the time of this post.

thanks for 62000 views

I don’t know whether 60,000 people watched this video once, or 10,000 people watched it six times each.  Either way, I find this statistic very disturbing.

Lack_Of_Cats_Disturbing

What kind of drugs do you have to take to stare at an open washing machine for a half-hour? Where can I get some? I’ll try them, whatever they are, because I just don’t get it.

i dont get it at all

I mean, I’ve seen some stupid TV shows, but this makes Duck Dynasty look like Masterpiece Theater by comparison, and it’s not just this one video. I’ve since discovered that this isn’t even the most popular open washing machine video on Youtube.

(over 190,000 views)

In fact, you can watch open washing machine videos all day, day after day, and never have to see the same washing machine video twice. The Kenmore Washing Machine Youtube Channel has 23 different videos to watch. The SpeedQueen Channel has 54 videos, and the Whirlpool Channel tops them all with 133 different videos of open washing machines, going through their wash and rinse cycle.

whirlpool channel2

Who watches these things? Autistic children? Nostalgic old ladies in nursing homes? Laundry fetishists? Please tell me. What is the appeal?

laundry fetishist

Look, I’m a musician. I’ve been making music for more than 30 years. I’ve made movies and TV shows, and I currently produce three radio shows, not to mention this blog. I pour my life into my work, because I respect my audience, and I believe in the transformative power of art. Meanwhile, people watch this.

That is a nine-hour video of washing machine noise, that has been watched over 360,000 times!  What does that do to people? Is this brain-washing? It can’t be healthy, but this is what people want. What are you going to do? I don’t know about you, but I’m going out to shoot some long videos of paint drying.


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