Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Games, Games, Games

Antoñita Romero
12" x 8"
oil on wood, 2010

Jason Misik, bass player in the band Mother of Fire, commented on the odd relationship between the Top 100, the ranking and thus competitive nature of it, and the music that it represents. Indeed, the musical activity of a band like Mother of Fire, is not based on a competitive nature. Mother of Fire is what we could call a Utopian band, they represent an ideal for community, music, and what you have not. I have enormous respect for people, musicians, that have ideals and strong enough dedication and will power to live by it. In a piece called Music and Sports (April 2010) I've already looked into the competitive nature of some sorts of musical practice and with this text I intend to dwell on the competitive nature –not of the musicians but of their audience, and myself as an example of this audience. As a child music, like sports, was presented to me in the context of games, in which winning was the highest priority. Big events in our family room were the Eurovisie Songfestival contests, and the annual Top 100 (played on the radio on New Year's eve) of a given year. Everything I engaged in was molded into the form of games; when I played with miniature cars, I raced them against each other, in school it was about scoring As, and when music came along as my major interest it was no different. I started early on making lists, playing one song against another to see which one would end up as winner. In 1983 I started making Top 10s that culminated every year in this Top 100. But there were other games too, sometimes based on random chance. I played music by bands all starting with the letter A one night, the next day with the letter B. When I was a disc-jockey in the 90s I had a show that linked music thematically. Anything would go, from songs about eating, to songs which organization criteria would simply be their duration, or if somebody would cough in it. Every week had a new theme, no problem. Together with friends we would also play music games –how many songs could one note down in say 15 minutes, whose title would start with the word "You" for example– that were often played during  music listening marathons. Other games were photo-quizzes, or as the one below, a drawing quiz that I made a few years ago. If you feel like playing just click on the image to see the full scope of it and send me the answers, and yes, you can win a prize. The newest top 10 I made was also game related; out of every ten 45s I own in the international category I picked one I felt like playing. I have about 200 of such singles so I ended up playing twenty songs. From these I compiled a top 10. Number one ended up being a Spanish Flamenco tune called Bereberito by the singer Antoñita Romero. It will be in the Top 100 2010 (hence the painting above).

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