I have long been fascinated by the Crusades, the Crusader states, and the military orders. Piers Paul Read’s The Templars is a magisterial book that fits in well with the newer generation of Crusade historians (good-bye, “ambitious younger sons”, hello “pious armed pilgrims”). The Templars, of course, met their brutal end before the Middle Ages were over, but the Knights Hospitaller survived, first on Rhodes, then on Malta, where they became the great anti-Turk sea-lords of the Mediterranean. They survive today as the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, a charitable organization with knightly flavor.
That history and a few viewings of Hellboy has inspired a piece of fiction, perhaps the stepping stone of a larger work:
On a related note, the claim of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant to the Caliphate of all Islam let me down the rabbit hole to learn one or two things about what went down in the Mid-East in the 20th Century. Most interestingly, I learned that the House of Saud has been ruling in the Arabian Penninsula for a long time. Check out the rest at my new svbtle.com blog, Histeria. A relevant quote:
The Caliphate is imperial by nature: it’s godly goal is to expand the ummah. Every Caliphate has stagnated and collapsed when it hit its military limits. That was true of the Umayyad Caliphate, the Abassid Caliphate, and the Ottoman Empire; it will be true of ISIL.
Where exactly those limits are is the question of the hour.
So I mentioned that I was re-vamping my Tumblr from having a no real purpose to having a purpose. In the past 2 days I’ve gained nearly 500 followers.
Granted, it’s Tumblr, so following is easy and doesn’t necessarily lead to connection or interaction with contact. It’s like Twitter that way. Of all those followers, there are only a handful of likes, and I think one reblog. But I only have 654 Twitter followers, and I’ve been tweeting for years.
To what do I owe this success, such as it is? I think the following:
People get what my Tumblr’s about, and are interested. People like talking about music, and my posts are short and to the point.
Bro, Do You Even Tag? In doing music reviews, it always helps to tag the band name, the song name, the album name. Then people who check the tags see the content, and decide to follow if they like what they see.
YouTube is the New MTV. After (which is to say, above) every review, I do a separate video post which has either a favored deep track or a live version or something else that I think noteworthy. YouTube is great at giving you options, and people like to hear music when they’re done reading about music.
So, Focus, Reach Out, and Consistent Content. Hopefully this continues.
I have a Tumblr for reasons that I never understood. It was just a thing to get, and a direct violation of my actual purpose in having a single blog with my name on it. But there’s a problem that’s never quite been satisfied.
I had, at one of my old dead blogs, a music writing project that I tried to import here and never fully did. I never fully did because my life got twist-turned upside down when I became a dad, and summoning the eloquence to write about R.E.M. and the Rolling Stones felt like work. And when you’re a blogger, work doesn’t feel right.
So I’m going to re-charge the project. I’m going to rate and review all of my CD’s. In the following order:
Within Genre, alphabetically by Artist Name
Within Artist, chronologically by release date.
It’s called Every.Damn. CD. and what’s going to make it change is I’m not going to try for eloquence or knock myself out for insight. Every disc gets a paragraph, a grade, and a youtube link if I happen to feel like it. I’ll go for knocking them out once or twice a week or so.
I’ve got a diverse music collection and I used to care about it. Let’s see if anything interesting falls therefrom.
This interviewer kept trying to get him to embrace the orthodox, bien-pensant progressive viewpoint on the music industry, and he kept refusing to. And it’s not like he didn’t have fair warning:
Is your sense of the music industry these days fairly apocalyptic, or is it mellowing, or…? You seemed fairly skeptical/ cynical about it a few years ago, for instance, quoting Hunter S. Thompson on the music business [actually a misquote, apparently] on the Ubu Projex website and saying you were going to give up singing and become a DJ, to beat an absurd tax that was being levied in Europe…
My attitude to the music biz is no different now than it has ever been. It’s a business. It’s up to each musician to decide on how he/she is going to deal with it. Record companies are not philanthropic organizations. They mean to sell records. That said, many, maybe most, people in the business have some sort of passion for music. It’s perfectly possible to navigate a course that gets you what you want. Depends on what you want – if it’s pop stardom and lots of money then don’t blame the record company if it all gets nasty and cheap.
Ideas have consequences. If they don’t, then they’re merely feelings.