Saturday, 3 December 2011

Imseng - Think Small

Nothing new, but a nice small summary. I think it would have been meaner and leaner without the Bogusky interview at the end.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

The Real Mad Men – Cracknell 2011

Interesting book about the creative revolution and the greatest insight is saved up for the last page: Bernabch succeeded with the creative revolution by making advertising less aspirational: Bill Benbach stopped selling dreams and started selling the truth – wrapped in wit.” (Cracknell, 2011, p.68).

“You didn’t drive a VW or a Volvo, smoke B&H 100s, holiday in Jamaica, eat Horn and Hardart or rent a car from Avis because you aspired to it or because it got you the girl or made you the envy of your neighbours. You did it because it was the clever thing to do. (…) where it (Advertising) used to flatter your status or your apparent wealth, now it flattered your intelligence. (…) DDB and PKL and Calr Ally and the many that followed removed banality and aspiration from advertising.” (Cracknell, 2011, p.219).

And a great line by Sir John Hegarty’s foreword on why history in such a short lived business like advertising is important: “’history isn’t about the past, it’s about the future’. Understanding where we came from, why we did what we did and how it could influence tomorrow was at the heart of his teaching.” (Cracknell, 2011, p.7).

Moreover, and most importantly, a reason, why we are advertising:
“’All of us who professionally use the mass media are the shapers of society. We can vulgarise that society. We can brutalise it. Or we can help lift it onto a higher level.’” (Cracknell, 2011, p.13).

Thus the greatest DDB advertising followed a similar attitude towards the consumer: “Hey, we’re all in this together; you know we’re going to try and sell you something – let’s both enjoy the process.” (Cracknell, 2011, p.13).It was about “having fun with the whole notion of buying and selling and advertising, a conspirational wink between seller and buyer.” (Cracknell, 2011, p.64).

Also the definitive answer to the client’s question to make the logo bigger: Helmuth Krone had a “belief in the indivisibility of ‘look’ and ‘message’ he would create for any client on whose account he worked a page layout that was instantly recognisable from 20 paces as uniquely theirs – even without their logo.” (Cracknell, 2011, p.88).

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Crime and punishment – Dostoevsky, 1866

What is it to be criminal and and how to deal with the guilt?

Marmeladov, a drunken guy, the main character Raskalnikov meets in a bar: “’Why am I to be pitied, you say? Yes! There’s nothing to pity me for! I ought to be crucified, crucified on a cross, not pitied! Crucify me, oh judge, crucify me but pity me! (…) Do you suppose, you that sell, that this pint of yours has been sweet to me? It was tribulation I sought at the bottom of it, tears and tribulation, and have found it, and I have tasted it; but He will pity us Who has had pity on all men.’” (Dostoevsky, 1866, p.40).

When dead the Lord will also receive the drunken ones, says Marmeladov: “’And He will say: “This is why I receive them, oh ye wise, this is why I receive them, oh ye of understanding, that not one of them believed himself to be worthy of this.”’” (Dostoevsky, 1866, p.41).

Raskonikov constantly opposes utalitarians: capitalists and socialists.
“’Hitherto, for instance, if I were told, “love thy neighbour”, what came of it?’ Pyotr Petrovitch went on, perhaps with excessive hast, ‘It came to my tearing my coat in half to share with my neighbour and we both were left half naked. As a Russian proverb has it, “Catch several hares and you won’t catch one”. Science now tells us, love yourself before all men, for everything in the world rests on self-interest.” (Dostoevsky, 1866, p.208).

“It began with the socialist doctrine. You know their doctrine; crime is a protest against the abnormality of the social organisation and nothing more, and nothing more; no other causes admitted!” (Dostoevsky, 1866, p.345). “From which it follows that, if society is normally organised, all crime will cease at once, since there will be nothing to protest against and all men will become righteous in one instant. Human nature is not taken into account, it is excluded, it’s not supposed to exist!” (Dostoevsky, 1866, p.345). “That’s why they so dislike the living process of life; they don’t want a living soul! The living soul demands life, the soul won’t obeythe rules of mechanics, the soul is an object of suspicion, the soul is retrograde.” (Dostoevsky, 1866, p.346). “The phalanstery is ready, indeed, but your human nature is not ready for the phlanstery – it wants life, it hasn’t completed its vital process, it’s too soon for the graveyard.” (Dostoevsky, 1866, p.346).

But why does he opposes utilitarians so wholeheartedly?
Raskolnikov says: “Oh, you particular gentleman! Principles! You are worked by principles, as it were by springs: you won’t venture to turn round on your own account.” (Dostoevsky, 1866, p.188).

He wants to commit the crime on his own term:
Porfiry about Raskolnikov’s article: “’In his article all men are divided into “ordinary” and “extraordinary”. Ordinary men have to live in submission, have no right to transgress the law, because, don’t you see, they are ordinary. But extraordinary men have a right to commit any crime and to transgress the law in any way, just because they are extraordinary.” (Dostoevsky, 1866, p.349).

Raskolnikov: “I don’t contend that extraordinary people are always bound to commit breaches of morals, as you call it. In fact, I doubt whether such an argument could be published. I simply hinted that an “extraordinary” man has the right … that is not an official right to decide his own conscience to overstep … certain obstacles, and only in case it is essential for the practical fulfilment of his idea (sometimes, perhaps, of benefit to the whole of humanity.)” (Dostoevsky, 1866, p.350).

“well … legislators and leader of men, such as Lycurgus, Solon, Mahoment, Napoleon, and so on, were all without exception criminals, from the very fact that, making a new law, they transgressed the ancient one.” (Dostoevsky, 1866, p.350).

“I’ve come to you, we are both accursed, let us go our way together.” (Dostoevsky, 1866, p.440).”You, too, have transgressed … had had the strength to transgress. You have laid hands on yourself, you have destroyed a life … your own (it’s all the same!). You might have lived in spirit and understanding, but you’ll end in the Hay Market … But you won’t be able to stand it, and if you remain alone you’ll go out of your mind like me.” (Dostoevsky, 1866, p.440).

But he fails to live up to his theory:
“He will suffer if he is sorry for his victim. Pain and suffering are always inevitable for a large intelligence and a deep heart. The really great men must, I think, have a great sadness on earth.” (Dostoevsky, 1866, p.356).

“I asked myself one day this question – what if Napoleon, for instance, had happened to be in my place, and if he had not had Toulon nor Egypt nor the passage of Mont Blanc to begin his career with, but instead of all those picturesque and monumental things, there had simply been some ridiculous old hag, a pawnbroker, who had to be murdered too to get money from her trunk (for his career youo understand) (…) I was fully ashamed when I guessed at last (all of a sudden somehow) that it would not have given him the least pang, that it would not even have struck him that it was not monumental.” (Dostoevsky, 1866, p.548).

“If I worried myself all rhose days, wondering whether Napoleon would have done it or not, I felft clearly of course that I wasn’t Napoleon. (…) I longed to throw it off: I wanted to murder without casuistry, to murder for my own sake, for myself alone.” (Dostoevsky, 1866, p.553).

“Did I murder the old woman? I murdered myself, not her! I crushed myself once for all, for ever … But it was the devil that killed the old woman, not I.” (Dostoevsky, 1866, p.554).

But towards the end of the book, Raskonikov finds salvation in suffering:
“’It was not because of your dishonour and your sin I said that of you, but because of your great suffering. But you are a great sinner, that’s true’, he added almost solemnly, ‘and your worst sin is that you have destroyed and betrayed yourself for nothing. Isn’t that fearful that you are living in this filth, which you loath so, and at th same time you know yourself (you’ve only to open your eyes) that you are not helping anyone by it, not saving anyone from anything” (Dostoevsky, 1866, p.431).

“How it happened he did not know. But all at once something seemed to seize him and fling him at her feet. He wept and threw his arms round her knees.” (Dostoevsky, 1866, p.719).

Afterword quoting Dostoevsky: “There is no happiness in comfort; happiness is bought with suffering” (Dostoevsky, 1866, p.737).

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Adventures in the Screen Trade - Goldman

There are three interesting streams in this book: to plan or not to plan, account planners and screenwriter, and how to behave in an industry that is built on people having opposing interests. It might have made more sense to make three posts out of it, but I like to keep it at one post, one book.

First of all there is a great short story in the book, that stroke a chord or two with me and my job: especially the increasing demand to deliver on time and don’t spend too much hours on a job. I hate and refuse to do so. And it sometimes feels like the people asking you to keep within the schedule hours do so, out of a certain jealousy that you are so passionate about a job (something they, being the timekeepers) might not be privileged to feel.

The short story is about a barber who hires a new barber, who turns out to be an excellent barber – but sooner or later more people want to go to the new barber rather than to the owner of the shop – he gets jealous:
“”What do you mean by that, Morris?” my mother repeated, a trifle mechanically.
“I mean that Mr. Bimbaum takes too goddam long cutting hair, that’s what I mean.”
“Oh, surely that is not so,” my mother said.
“Oh, but it is so,” my father replied. “Just today he took a hundred and three minutes to cut the hair of old Mr. Hathaway, who is practically bald to begin with.”
“well, well,” my mother said. “Just imagine that.”
“A hundred and three minutes!” my father exploded, talking directly to Mr.Bimbaum now. “I timed it myself. Who can make money in a hundred and three minutes, I ask? Answer: not me. I can cut three heads in that time. Maybe four.”
“That’s because you’re a butcher,” Mr. Bimbaum said. “What does a butcher need with time?”” (Goldman, 1984, p.308).

“”Shut up,” he repeated. He took a snip of haur. “The butchers. The butchers are taking over. You mark my words. By the time you grow up, the goddam butchers will own the world. You’ll see.” (Goldman, 1984, p.310).

Second, screenwriters seem like the account-planners of the film industry: heavily involved upfront and then later in the process being seen as standing in the way. So here are just a couple of examples where we can learn from screenwriters:

“If you want to be a screenwriter and you live in Des Moines, that’s a terrible curse to bear. It’s a terrible curse in Los Abgeles, too – but at least you’re not alone.” (Goldman, 1984, p.84).

“If you need the job. If you do, if you actually need it, that fact must go with you to your grave, because they sense things Out There and they will never hire you if you are desparate. Because they then know you don’t care about their project.” (Goldman, 1984, p.94).

“In a sense, a screenplay, whether a romance or a detective story, is a series of surprises. We detonate these as we go along. But for a surprise to be valid, we must first set the ground rules, indicate expectations.” (Goldman, 1984, p.116).

“Once you start writing, go like hell - - but don’t fire till you’re ready.” (Goldman, 1984, p.124).

“There is a wonderful phrase of William Faulkner’s that goes something like this: “In writing, you must kill all your darlings.”” (Goldman, 1984, p.195).

“As a screenwriter, I test very high on paranoia. I’m always convinced of any number of things: that my work is incompetent, that I’m about to get fired, that I’ve been fired but don’t know yet that half a dozen closet writers are typing away in their offices, that I should be fired because I’ve failed, on and on.” (Goldman, 1984, p.239).

“When I write, I must convince myself that it’s going to e wonderful. (There is a character in a great play by Tennessee Williams, Camino Real. She’s the Gypsy’s daughter and she’s a whore, but in here heart, each moonrise makes her a virgin.) I’m like that – each moonrise makes me a virgin, too – I’m going to write it and this time, this time, it won’t be crap. When I don’t have the confidence, I’m in big trouble.” (Goldman, 1984, p.273).

But in a movie you don’t tell people things, you show people things.” (Goldman, 1984, p.316).

“of course I’m pleased that something exists, and of course I’m frightened that it stinks. But running along with those emotions is the knowledge of my knowledge – I know so much. I’ve made so many decisions about what to save and what to pitch – I could have written a five-hundred-page screenplay if I’d wanted. I am, as I stand there, the movie. And then comes the moment of mourning. Because the relay race must go on and my lap is ending; I must oass the baton to the other technicians. And when you give it away, the loss, of course, is the end of your imagination. The movie in my head is going to leave me. Other people’s fantasies are going to take over.” (Goldman, 1984, p.401).

“Once we pass the baton, we become, and I don’t know why, this weird thing, some vestigial lump, like a baby born with a tail. Get rid of it.” (Goldman, 1984, p.402).

“And in movies, the screenwriter is the odd man out. But there is a trade off. That beginning lap we run, regardless of what happens later – that lap is ours. We have the privilege, if you will, of the initial vision. We’re the ones who first get to make the movie …” (Goldman, 1984, p.403).

Moreover, there is plenty of practical advice in how to act in meeting when multiple parties with different interest are involved (like all meeting in advertising, especially job interviews):

“the single most important fact, perhaps, of the entire movies industry: NOBODY KNOWS ANYTHING. (…) Not one person in the entire motion picture field knows for a certainty what’s going to work” (Goldman, 1984, p.39).

“The proper note to strike in the audition meeting is a mixture of shy, self-deprecating intelligence and wild, barely controllable enthusiasm.” (Goldman, 1984, p.93).

“Never speak first.” (Goldman, 1984, p.95). When they have to talk first and you give the impression prepared to write every word they say down: “I was going to take down everything. All his wisdom. Record it then and there. And, like most producers and executives, he had nothing specific to say.” (Goldman, 1984, p.96).

Friday, 4 November 2011

Shakespeare - The Winter's Tale

It is not worth to condemn anyone – it just makes you even unhappier than the condemned.
Do not listen to your jealousy, as it serves and fuels only your pride, not your happiness.

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Philipp Roth - The Counterlife

On the surface a book about being Jewish and potency and what it means – more fundamentally it raises the question of what makes us who we are. What is nature and what isn’t.

“As long as he was potent there was some give in his life between what was routine and what is taboo. But without the potence he feels condemned to an ironclad life wherein all issues are settled. “ (Roth, 2005, p.34).

“the humbling realization of what the affair with Maria had so painfully exposed: the fact that he was somehow not quite coarse enough to bow to his desires, and yet not quite fine enough to transcend them.” (Roth, 2005, p.52).

“Henry appears to have left his wife, his kids, and his mistress to come to Israel to become an authentic Jew.” (Roth, 2005, p.78).

“Then it wasn’t roots that he had unearthed (in Israel) (…) It was the opportunity to be uprooted, to depart from the path that had been posted with his ame the day he was born, and in the disguise of a Jew to cunningly defect.” (Roth, 2005, p.136).

“The treacherous imagination is everybody’s maker – we are al the invention of each other, everybody a conjuration conjuring up everyone else. We are all each other’s authors.” (Roth, 2005, p.149).

the pastoral:”at the core is the idyllic scenario of redemption through the recovery of a sanitized, confusionless life. In dead seriousness, we all create imagined worlds, often green and breastlike, where we may finally be ‘ourselves.’” (Roth, 2005, p.326).

“Well, that’s over. The pastoral stops here and it stops wth circumcision. (…) Circumcision makes it clear as can be that you are here and not there, that you are out and not in (…) Circumcision is everything that the pastoral is not and, to my mind, reinforces what the world is about, which isn’t strifeless unity. (…) To be born is to lose all that.” (Roth, 2005, p.327)

Dave Trott - Creative Mischief

A great collection of wisdon on advertising from the most outlandish sources – thus being all the more exciting.

“If it’s funny it’s not bad taste.” (Trott, 2009, p.5).

“There’s the story of two explorers walking through the jungle. Suddenly they hear a tiger roar. One explorer sits down and takes a pair of running shoes out of his back pack. “Your’re crazy, you’ll never outrun a tiger,” says the other explorer. “I don’t have to outrun the tiger,” he replies. “I just have to outrun you.” Conventional thinking is that the best man wins. That’s also lazy thinking. How do you beat someone who’s better than you? As Maurice Saatchi used to say. “I don’T have to win. I just have to make you lose.” (Trott, 2009, p.16).

“AS Chruchill said, “Never let the truth spoil a good story.” (Trott, 2009, p.28).

“On a voyage to of constant discovery. That way you squeeze every drop of your time on the planet.” (Trott, 2009, p.48).

“See he was a guy who was interested in rising inside BMP, and the only way he knew how to do that waby internal politics. I was interested in building a career in advertising. And I thought the only way to do that was through the work. So internal politics didn’t interest me.” (Trott, 2009, p.57).

“That’s why every agency has one type of briefing form. And every problem gets shoe-horned into that template. And every answer looks the same. As they say, “When the only tool you’ve got is a hammer, every problem starts to look like a nail.” (Trott, 2009, p.68).

“If the final film is the same as what’s in our heads, we accept that because we’re comfortable with it. It’s expected. But if it’s not what’s in our head, we’re disappointed. We feel let down. That’s why it’s worth remembering, we could be wrong. We have to keep an open mind.” (Trott, 2009, p.71).

“My point is, that was a pretty stupid risk I took, but I learned from it. I learned never to take a risk that can kill you. But I also learned: no risk, no reward. And, by and large, no risk that you take in advertising can kill you.” (Trott, 2009, p.75).

As professionals we can’t simply say: I like it or I don’t like it. We have to say ‘It works, because..’ or ‘It doesn’t work because…’: “ “It works because …” is right on three counts. Number one: “It”, we’re talking about the piece of work, not just someone’s opinions. Number two: “works”, we’re talking about the function it’S supposed to deliver, not how it makes us feel. Number three: “because”, we have to back up what we say, with reasoned argument.

“It was rainng as the two leading Zn masters met to debate their different styles of teaching. The first Zen master was seated drinking tea. The second master entered and sat opposite him. The first master said, “On which side of your shoes did you leave your umbrella?” The second maser paused and realised he didn’t know. He immediately gave up being a master and became a pupil of the first Zen master. By not knowing something as simple as that. He realised he had been thinking about the debate instead of actually being alive. You see, the only time you can be alive is now. (…) We worry about the future, and we regret the past. (…) So we live our lives, not out in the world, but in our minds.” (Trott, 2009, p.125).

“John (Webster) had no memory of what happened yesterday. (…) So nothing was ever boring.” (Trott, 2009, p.126).

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Tolstoj - Sämtliche Erzählungen - Dritter Band

I am simply in awe of these stories and the philosophy that is so elegantly woven into them.

“Sie war voller Glück. Sie brauchte niemanden, und deshalb fühlte ich, daß man ohne sie nicht leben konnte.” (Tolstoj, 1961, p.117).

“Und die Menschen streben im Leben nicht danach, das zu tun , was sie für gut und recht halten, sondern danach, möglichst viele Dinge ihr Eigentum zu nennen.” (Tolstoj, 1961, p.143).

“Die ganze schwere Last des Lebens war von ihm genommen. Er schloß die Augen und neigte den Kopf – niemand hielt ihn fest. Sein Hals bog sich nach unten, die Beine begannen zu zittern, der ganze Körper schwankte. Er war darüber eher erstaunt als erschrocken. Alles war ihm so neu.” (Tolstoj, 1961, p.166).

“Je mehr ihr eurem Zorn nachgebt, desto schlimmer wird es.” (Tolstoj, 1961, p.313).

“Und er begriff, daß Gott jedem Menschen eine Steuer auferlegt hat, die mit Liebe und guten Werken bezahlt wird.” (Tolstoj, 1961, p.369).

“Du willst das Böse austreiben, aber es gewinnt auch über dich Gewalt. Einen Menschen erschlagen ist nicht schwer, doch das Blut bleibt an der Seele kleben. Einen Menschen töten heißt seine Seele mit Blut beflecken. Du glaubst, du hättest einen bösen Menschen getötet; du glaubst du hast das Böse ausgetrieben, aber nein: in dir sitzt nun das Böse drin, und es ist schlimmer als das alte. (…) Man sole keine neue Sünde auf sich nehmen, sondern weiter dulden.” (Tolstoj, 1961, p.374).

“Mein Acker war Gottes weite Erde. Wo ich sie pflügte, da war mein Acker. Der Boden war frei. Von eigenem Land wußte man damals nichts. Sein eigen nannte man nur seine Arbeit.” (Tolstoj, 1961, p.412).

“Dies ist unser Glück: als wir reich waren, hatten wir nicht eine Stunde Ruhe, hatten keine Zeit miteinander zu redden, an unser Seelenheil zu denken und zu Gott zu beten. So vile Sorgen hatten wir. Bald hatten wir Gäste …. (…) So haben wir gelebt; eine Sorge folgte der andern, eine Sünde der andern. (…) Jetzt stehen wir frühmorgens auf und redden in Liebe und Eintracht miteinander; wir haben über nichts zu straiten, haben um nichts zu sorgen.” (Tolstoj, 1961, p.438).

“Ich sehe nun, daß das Böse nur durch Böses vermehrt wird. Je mehr Menschen das Böse verfolgen, desto mehr Böses schaffen sie. Man kann also das Böse nicht durch Böses vertreiben.” (Tolstoj, 1961, p.453).

“Eines Tages saß der Taufsohn da; er wollte nichts mehr, er fürchtet nichts mehr, und sein Herz war fröhlich.” (Tolstoj, 1961, p.463).

Saturday, 30 July 2011

Hegarty - Turning Intelligecy into Magic

I love every single story in this book – they all make Hegarty’s point that if we want to make something memorable we better tell it as a story – but exactly that story seems to be slightly missing from the overall book. Yet, still a great read for everyone even mildly interested in advertising. Below you’ll find some of the best stories from the book:

“We’re also in the entertainment industry. In fact, you could argue that advertising, from the moment it was born, was trying to entertain us.” (Hegarty, 2011, p.9).

“without understanding those fundamental facts of engaging, entertaining and exciting an audience, digitization isn’t going to help you, it will in fact destroy you faster. That’s the power of the net.” (Hegarty, 2011, p.10).

“’Turning intelligence into magic’. At its simplest this is what has defined BBH’s best work” (Hegarty, 2011, p.10).

“You are someone with the chance to change the world and inspire large audiences. I was excited by advertising because it gave me a platform to talk to the masses.” (Hegarty, 2011, p.22).

“And with ideas, the more you have them, the better you get at having them. That’s one of the reasons why advertising is such a stimulating environment in which to work.” (Hegarty, 2011, p.24).

“typically a great piece of thinking that gradually become compromised in an attempt to get the client to buy it instead of putting it out of its misery and starting again. There is always a belief in these situations that, somehow, the compromises won’t show when the finished work is produced. Sadly, this kind of whishful thinking affects us all.” (Hegarty, 2011, p.25).

“The unpredictability is what males what we do in advertising so exciting – you literally don’t know where you’re going to end up.” (Hegarty, 2011, p.27).

“But using irreverence for its own sale is dangerous. Do that and you risk becoming irrelevant. The function of irreverence should be to help question and, in doing so, offer a possible solution.” (Hegarty, 2011, p.34). “humour has an important role to play in advertising. We use it because it’s a way of making relax and listen. When your audience is in that state of mind they’re more likely to remember what you’re saying and act upon it.” (Hegarty, 2011, p.35).

“A brand isn’t only made by the people who buy it, but also by the people who know about it.” (Hegarty, 2011, p.43). “fame is fundamentally important to a brand’s success. Why? Because it is a form of shorthand in the decision-making process that takes place in a hugely competitive world. (…) Fame adds value and protects the brand from competitive pressure. (…) The dictionary defines fame as ‘public renown – great esteem. “(Hegarty, 2011, p.43).

“But today things are different,. For today’s audiences it’s not about status – that’s class ridden and old fashioned – it’s about staying ahead. (…) Wearing the right pair of jeans in the right finish doesn’t cost a fortune, but it does require an understanding of fasion.” (Hegarty, 2011, p.52).

“At BBH we refer to ourselves as an ‘ideas factory’ – a factory that helps to manufacture brand difference. (…) service industry.” (Hegarty, 2011, p.59).

“if you’re genuinely going to be better than your competitors, you’ve got to love what you produce above everything else.” (Hegarty, 2011, p.60).

“I’m much happier when a client talks about the business problem they are trying to solve. I always think getting them talking about their business, the things they understand is more productive than their talking about the abstract business called advertising.” (Hegarty, 2011, p.79).

“It’s amazing how many agencies never behave like a brand despite the fact they’re constantly advising their clients on brand behaviour. Great brand have a point of view – they stand for something.” (Hegarty, 2011, p.87).

“it’s essential that brands remain constantly youthful. Why? Because if you’re youthful, you have a future.” (Hegarty, 2011, p.90).

“So it’s simple really, isn’t it? You want to win more pitches? Then have a better showreel. And play it up front.” (Hegarty, 2011, p.94).

“And, of course, when employed correctly, storytelling can make things incredibly memorable, especially for brands.” (Hegarty, 2011, p.96).

“you don’t instruct people to do something – you inspire them.” (Hegarty, 2011, p.102).

“a brand is an agglomeration of stories linked together by a vision.” (Hegarty, 2011, p.102).

“He quite rightly brought me to my senses , saying that the worst thing that could happen inreality was that we could fail. If we failed with BBH it wouldn’t stop me being an award winning art director.” (Hegarty, 2011, p.150).

“brands more often than not go wrong because they lose touch with their roots and the values and qualities that made them successful. This doesn’t mean you simply talk about the past, but it does mean that connecting a brand’s audience with the positive beliefs that established the brand’s original success is important.” (Hegarty, 2011, p.155).

Coming up with solutions were the agency wants to change the product: “It saves them having to find a solution to their problem and instead it rests with the product.” (Hegarty, 2011, p.163).

“We argued that if music could be global, film could be global and art could be global, why couldn’t advertising?” (Hegarty, 2011, p.171).

“’words are a barrier to communication’. Not because I didn’t value them – I did – but all too often they were over used to explain an idea instead of enhancing it.” (Hegarty, 2011, p.187).

“It’s an obvious point to make, but I believe that if creativity is at the heart of you company and your company is not constantly evolving and expanding, then it’s dying.” (Hegarty, 2011, p.205).

“Always remember that creativity is a business tool –never be ashamed of that.” (Hegarty, 2011, p.212).

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Mr Sammler’s Planet – Saul Bellow 1969

A critique of American society and its legalization (or acceptance)of crimes as long as they make profit for the market.

“Sammler is obsessed with an understanding what causes a civilization to embrace ruthlessness as the best way to realize its ambitions and handle its fears” (Bellow, 1969, p.viii).

“The thing evidently, as Mr. Sammler was beginning to grasp, consisted of obtaining the privileges, and the free ways of barbarism, under the protection of civilized order, property rights, refined technological organization, and so on. Yes, that must be it.” (Bellow, 1969, p.4).

“Power and money of course do drive people crazy. So why shouldn’t people gain power and wealth through being crazy?” (Bellow, 1969, p.52).

“Of course he was rich, but the rich were usually mean. Not able to separate themselves form the practices that had made the money: infighting, habitual fraud, mad agility in compound deceit, the strange conversaitons of legitimate swindling.” (Bellow, 1969, p.61).

Another theme are the endless possibilities in post-war society and how they actually are restricting to people. Bellow constantly opposes these possibilities with finalities
like the death of his nephew and mankind moving to the moon.

Saint Augustine: “”The Devil hath established his cities I the North.” (…) But now Augustine’s odd statement required a new interpretation. (…) The labor of Puritanism now was ending. The dark satanic mills changing into light satanic mills. The reprobates converted into children of joy, the sexual ways of the seraglio and the Congo bush adopted by the emancipated masses of New York, Amsterdam, London.” (Bellow, 1969, p.25).

“the struggles of three revolutionalry centuries being won while the feudal bonds of Church and family weakened and the privileges of aristocracy (without any duties) spread wide, democratized, especially the libidinous privileges, the right to be uninhibited, spontaneous, urinating, defacating, belching, coupling in all positions, tripling, quadrupling, polymorphous” (Bellow, 1969, p.26).

“For what it amounted to was limitless demand – insatiability, refusal of the doomed creature (death beingsure and final) to go away from this earth unsatisfied. A full bill of demand and complaint was therefore presented by each individual. Recognizing no scarcity of supply in any human department. Enlightenment? Marvelous! But out of hand, wasn’t it?” (Bellow, 1969, p.27).

“In their revulsion from authority they would respect no persons. Not even their own persons.” (Bellow, 1969, p.29).

“Humankind could not endure futurelessness. As of now, death was the sole visible future.” (Bellow, 1969, p.60).

“Feffer could not let him go. Feffer could not be quiet. His need was to be perpetually arresting, radiant with fresh interest.” (Bellow, 1969, p.101).

“In a revolution you took away the privileges of an aristocracy and redistributed them. What did equality mean? (…) it meant that all belonged to the elite. Killing was an ancient privilege. This was why revolution plunged into blood.” (Bellow, 1969, p.118).

“This attempt to make interest was, for Mr. Sammler, one reason for the pursuit of madness. Madness makes interest.” (Bellow, 1969, p.119).

“Both the USA and the UDSSR were, for Sammler, utopian projects. There, in the East, the emphasis was on low-level goods, on shoes, caps, toilet-plungers, and tin basins for peasants and laborers. Here it fell uponcertain privileges and joys. Here wading naked into the waters of paradies, et cetera.” (Bellow, 1969, p.129).

“I think we may summarize my meaning in terms like these: that many have surged forward in modern history, after long epochs f namelessness and bitter obscurity, to claim and enjoy (as people enjoy things now) a name, a dignity of person, a life such as belonged in the past only to the gentry, nobility, the royalty or the gods of myth. And that this surge has, like all such great movemets, brought misery and despair (…). As long as there is no ethical life and everything is poured so barbarously and recklessly into personal gesture this must be endured. And there is a peculiar longing for nonbeing. Maybe it is more accurate to say that people want to visit all states of being in a diffused state of consciousness, not wishing to be any given thing but instead to become comprehensive, entering leaving at will.” (Bellow, 1969, p.194).

“Of course at the moment of launching fom this planet to another somethingwas ended, finalities were demanded, summaries. Everyone appeared to feel this need. (…) each accented more strongly his own subjective style and the pracices by which he was known. Thus Wallace, on the day of destiny for his father, roared and snored in the Cessna, snapping photographs. Thus Shula, hiding from Sammler, was undoubtedly going to hunt for treasure, for the alleged abortion dollars. Thus Angela, making more experiments in sensuality, in sexology, smearing all with her female fluids. This Eisen with his art, the Negro with his penis. And in the serie, but not finally, himself with his condensed views. Eliminating the superfluous. Identifying the necessary.” (Bellow, 1969, p.230).

“The best, I have found, is to be disinterested. Not as misanthropes dissociate themselves, by judging, but by not judging.” (Bellow, 1969, p.195).

“It is fearful! Not to be borne! Intolerable! Let us divert each other while we live.” (Bellow, 1969, p.244

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Bulgakov – The master and Margarita

The devil comes to Moscow and confuses all people – sometimes it seems that the devil is a metaphor for the secret police, because magically people disappear and suffer yet no one wants to talk about it. There is also a second story about Pilate, who wants to set Jesus free, but doesn’t manage due to various pressures from society and thus for the rest of his life (and afterlife) suffers.

Moreover it is a book about artists in a dictatorship where they are constantly under threat for what they write and what compromises they have to make and how to maintain integrity or don’t. Easy to say, to ignore the threat, but much harder to do.

Both stories unite the central theme of cowardice – or the self-accusation of cowardice

Bulgakov’s gentle irony is a warning against the mistake, more common in our time than we might think, of equating artistic mastery with a sort of saintliness, or, in Kierkegaard’s terms, of confusing the aesthetic with the ethical. (Bulgakov, 1966, p.xvii).

“’Why, actually, did I get so excited about Berlioz falling under a tram-car?’ the poet reasoned. ‘In the final analysis, let him sink! What am I, in fact, his chum or in-law? If we air the question properly, it turns out that, in essence, I really did not even know the deceased. What, indeed, did I know about him? Nothing except that he was bald and terribly eloquent. And furthermore, citizens,’ Ivan continuedhis speech, addressing someone or other, ‘let’s sort this out: why, tell me, did I get furious at this mysterious consultant, magician and professor with the black and empty eye? Why all this absurd chase after him in underpants and with a candle in my hand, and then those wild shenanigans in the restaurant?” (Bulgakov, 1966, p.117). “Well, what can be done about it? Man is mortal and, as has rightly been said, unexpectedly mortal.” (Bulgakov, 1966, p.117).

“Rimsky knew where he had gone, but he had gone and … not come back! Rimsky shrugged his shoulders and whispered to himself: ‘But what for?’” (Bulgakov, 1966, p.120).

“That is a fact. And a fact is the most stubborn thing in the world. (…) that your theory is both solid and clever. However, one theory is as good as another.” (Bulgakov, 1966, p.273).

“’Let me see it.’ Woland held out his hand, palm up.
‘Unfortunately, I cannot do that,’ replied the master, ‘because I burned it in the stove.’
Forgive me, but I don’t believe you,’ Woland replied, ‘that cannot be: manuscripts don’t burn.’” (Bulgakov, 1966, p.287).

“but good heavens, philosopher! How can you, with your intelligence, allow yourself to think that, for the sake of a man who has committed a crime against Caesar, the procurator of Judea would ruin his career?
‘Yes, yes …’ Pilate moaned and sobbed in his sleep. Of course he would. In the morning, he still would not, but now, at night, after weighing everything, he would agree to ruin it. He would do everything to save the decidedly innocent, mad dreamer and healer from execution.” (Bulgakov, 1966, p.320).

“‘He does not deserve the light, he deserves peace,’ Levi said in a sorrowful voice.” (Bulgakov, 1966, p.361).

“’Listen to the stillness,’ Margarita said to the master, and the sand rustled under her bare feet, ‘listen and enjoy what you were not given in life – peace Look, there ahead is your eternal home, which you have been given as a reward.” (Bulgakov, 1966, p.384).

“the master’s memory, the master’s anxious needled memory began to fade. Someone was setting the master free, as he himself had just set free the hero he created.” (Bulgakov, 1966, p.384).

Monday, 11 July 2011

Craigh Wright – Listening to music

Great introduction to ‘art music'. Great listening examples and explanations. Unfortuantely not a lot on the 20th century, slightly unfair about dodecaphony and an American bias.

Roth The Humbling 2010

It is Roth’s book about an actor who loses the ability to act. “Instead of the certainty that he was being wonderful, he knew he was going to fail.” (Roth, 2010, p.1). “The worst of it was that he saw through his breakdown the same way he could see through his acting.” (Roth, 2010, p.5). “He was an artificial madman too. The only role available to him was the role of someone playing a role.” (Roth, 2010, p.6).

He is desparate and engages in a relationship with girlfriend that saves him form depression.

In their relationship he buys her more and more cloths and dresses her up – as if she was was to play a role, that he cannot do any more. “Wasn’t dressing her up in costume as though a costly skirt could dispose of nearly two decades of lived experience? Wasn’t he distorting her while telling himself a lie?” (Roth, 2010, p.66). Accordingly, for every person he meets, he asks himself, sooner or later, whether he or she is acting or not? He buys her more and more expesive cloths.

Later they pick up a girl in a bar for a threesome: “she’s a cat, he thought, before the cat pounces, the falcon before it soars from the falconer’s wrist. The animal you can control – until you let it loose. He thought, I am providing her Tracy the way I give her the clothes.” (Roth, 2010, p.110). “Three children got together,” he said, “and decided to put on a play,” whereupon his performance began.” (Roth, 2010, p.114).

When she leaves him, all possibility to act – on stage and in life – are gone and thus commits suicide: but he can only do it once he develops a plan to play it as a role in a play.

“And if it’s that hard to kill someone else, someone you have every reason to want to destroy, imagine how hard it is to succeed in killing yourself.” (Roth, 2010, p.42). “until finally it occurred to him to pretend that he was committing suicide in a play. In a play by Chekov. What could be more fitting? It would constitute his returen to acting.” (Roth, 2010, p.139).

Cultural Strategy - Holt and Cameron

This book develops a very interesting alternative for developing briefs/strategy to the traditioanl approache.

It jumps right into the usual gap between ‚brand statement’ and execution. Rather than letting the execution being developed randomly based on meaningsless brand statements and empty feeling worlds (usually called tone of voice in the briefing) Douglas and Holt propose build creative work on ideology, myths and cultural codes

“in the end, even if the concept consists entirely of abstract phrases, the actual marketing offering must make use of concrete cultural content. (…) However, because such messy content has been systematically excluded from the insights and strategy stages, when cultural content is finally added back in, it happens without any sort of strategic guidance” (Holt and Cameron, 2010, p. 302).

He argues that innovation is usually based either on technological innovation or on a psychological benefit areas – yet both ways ignore cultural innovations. For Douglas and Holt it is not about better product or services but inventing a better ideology: for example Nike had all their product innovation developed early. And also its positioning on enhancing performance was in place. But it only took off once they reinvented the American dream with their ideology of “Combative solo willpower”. Similarly Ben & Jerry only took off, once the Ideological flashpoints against the Reagan free market economy and showed how this contributed to a sustainable business.
2010, p. 88). Marlboro used the cowboy for years without success – only once it developed Marlboro country against the backdrop of the ideal of the “organisation man”. They used John Wayne’s Western as source material, but changed it significantly according to the reactionary work myth: Marlboro country is a place where physically challenging work takes place in nature, where cowboys must be self-reliant and determined, no savages no guns and no violence. There are no women to rescue; cowboy is hos own boss. This is not a Western, it presents a myth about an idealized version of pre-industrial men’s work on the Western frontier (Holt and Cameron, 2010, p. 167).

In the last section of the book, Douglas and Holt argue, why brand bureaucracies don’t work: It is not unusual for a brand bureaucracy to spend only 1-2 days of developing concepts and than test them for months (Holt and Cameron, 2010, p. 298). The end result are concepts full of vague generic phrases that could mean just about anything – “the qulity of the concept is far less important than the rigor of the process used to test it.” (Holt and Cameron, 2010, p. 299).

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Digital Advertising - Fianduca and Burgoyne (eds.)

Great book of many essays – hence nmot trying to tell a coherent story but many. Here arethe points that surprised me most:

For an industry that focuses somuch on novelty advertising is very slow to adopt the internet (Fianduca and Burgoyne, 2010, p.xi).
But: the internet is a two-way medium – it is not a selling it is a buying medium (Fianduca and Burgoyne, 2010, p.xiii).

Formerly, advertising agencies made things – in the future they will devise frameworks of information exchange (Fianduca and Burgoyne, 2010, p.xvi).

“The mobile is the bridge between the virtual and the real world.” (Fianduca and Burgoyne, 2010, p.19). It knows where you are, it knows wehat ou think from twitter and it knows what’s around you.

The digital channel is so exciting because it is so many channels (Fianduca and Burgoyne, 2010, p.34).

“The most difficult thing is not creating technology that allows you to share content; it is making content that is worth sharing.” (Fianduca and Burgoyne, 2010, p.46).

“If there is one major difference between traditional and digital it is that, in digital, the consumer has to make the first move.” (Fianduca and Burgoyne, 2010, p.60).

We all can out something on the web, but: “content isn’t really content without an audience” (Fianduca and Burgoyne, 2010, p.72).

Sound is very important to advertising. But did you notice: interactivity + sound = musical instrument. (Fianduca and Burgoyne, 2010, p.79).

Behavioural Economics: “all of us are subject to a host of cognitive biases and tics that distort our view of te world and lead usnot just into temptation but into trouble time and time again, however rational our thinking and precise our calculations are.” (Fianduca and Burgoyne, 2010, p.130).

John Updike - Rabbit Angstrom. The four Novels

An incredible book about America and growing old. Similar topics to Roth, but less playful, more real and grittier.

There is a major catastropy in each book (his babykid is drowned by the mother, his young heroin-addicted girlfriend burns in his house) and each time Rabbit is caught in between urge to run-away into freedom and the security of staying. And each decade he reacts differently.

“His house slips from him. He is free.” (Updike, 1971, p.555).

The younger hippie generation: “You never see them out in the sun but the’re all tan, with flat stomach muscles. Their one flaw is, the’re still soft inside. The’re like those chocolates we used to hate, those chocolates creams. (…). That’s what I like about those kids: they’re trying to kill it.Even if they kill themselves in the process.” “Kill what?” “The softness. Sex, love; me, mine.” (Updike, 1971, p.579).

“Everybody else has a life they try to fence in with some rules. You just do what you feel like and then when it blows up or runs down you sit there and pout.” (Updike, 1971, p.587).

“When he was around the lot it was like they were all trying to fill some big skin that Springer spent all his time and energy imagining, the ideal Springer Motors. When he died that skin became Harry’s own, to stand around in loosely.” (Updike, 1981, p.625).

“It gives him pleasure, makes Rabbit feel rich, to contemplate the world’s wasting, to know that the earth is mortal too.” (Updike, 1981, p.631).

“You’re wrong about my wantng what I don’t have. I pretty much like what I have. The trouble with that is, then you get afraid somebody will take it from you.” (Updike, 1981, p.685).

“He misses Janice. With her around, paternity is diluted, something the two of them did together, convincing, half by accident, and can laugh together about. When he contemplates it by himself, bringing a person into the world seems as terrible as pushing somebody into a furnace.” (Updike, 1981, p.781).

“Janice asks him why he is his heart so hard toward Nelson. Because Nelson has swallowedup the boy that was and substituted one more pushy man in the world, hairy wrists, big prick. Not enough room in the world.” (Updike, 1981, p.825).

“He is amused by the idea of having a daughter-in-law at all, a new branch of hiswealth.” (Updike, 1981, p.882).

“Maybe I haven’t done everything right in my life. I know I haven’t. But I haven’t committed the greatest sin. I haven’t laid down and died.” “Who says that’s the greatest sin?” “Everybody says it. The church the government. It’s against Nature, to give up, you’ve got to keep moving.” (Updike, 1981, p.966).

“What you lose as you age is witnesses, the ones that watched from early on and cared, like your own little grandstand.” (Updike, 1981, p.1041).

“grace you could call it, the feeling of collaboration, of being bigger than he really is. When you stand up on the first tee it is there, it comes back from wherever it lives during the rest of your life, endless possibility of a flawless round, a round without a speck of bad in it.” (Updike, 1990, 1100).

“In a way gluttony is an athletic feat, a stretching exercise.” (Updike, 1990, 1125).

“as he signs it with their condo number he feels like a god, casually dispatching thunderbolts; the sum will appear on his monthly statement, next year, when the world has moved greatly on.” (Updike, 1990, 1125).

“perhaps that is the saddest loss time brings, the lessening of excitement about anything.” (Updike, 1990, 1153).

“she had had a face-lift, to tighten up what she called her “wattles”. Life is a hill that gets steeper the more you climb.” (Updike, 1990, 1306).

Nelson, his son: “I keep trying to love you, but you don’t really want it. You’re afraid of ot, it would tie you down. You’ve been scared all your life of being tied down.” (Updike, 1990, 1429).

His garage: “it has become a cave of deferred decisions and sentimentally cherished junk.” (Updike, 1990, 1432).

“There was a time, when he was younger, when the thought of any change, even a distaster, gladdened his heartwith the possibility of a shake-up, of his world made new.” (Updike, 1990, 1440).

“Life, it’s incredible, it’s wearing the world out.” (Updike, 1990, 1464).

““Well, Nelson,” he says, “all I can tel you is, it isn’t so bad.” Rabbit thinks he should maybe say more, the kid looks wildly expectant, but enough. Maybe. Enough” (Updike, 1990, 1052).

Friday, 10 June 2011

IPA 19 - David Golding

Finally I made it. A joy to see all the good work - as usual. I think WISPA and Sainsbury are the cases that stood out. Sainsbury's because AMV BBDO invents new products for Sainsbury's with every campaign. And WISPA becuase it is a role model how not to simply amass facebook fans, but how to make them work for you by making your brand work for them.

Saturday, 16 April 2011

William Shakespeare – The Merchant of Venice

Not quite sure what to make out of this one….

“All things that are,
Are with more spirit chased than enjoy’d” (Shakespeare, 1984, p.51).

“The quality of mercy is not strain’d
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest,
It blessenth him that gives, and him that takes” (Shakespeare, 1984, p.88).

“Though Justice be thy plea, consider this,
That in the course of Justice, none of us
Should see salvation” (Shakespeare, 1984, p.89).

William Shakespeare - Julius Caesar.

Every time I read it a great source of inspiration, because the main topic rings so true in most things I do: “Do evil that good may come, and see what does come.” It seems to be all about how consequences defeat intentions and how the protagonists realizes this – this teaches a good deal of humbleness. The second inspiring theme is that any form of tyranny is mostly caused by the suppressed and thus can be shaken of by the suppressed.
“Cassius: In awe of such a thing as I myself.
I was born free as Caesar, so were you;
We both have fed as well, and we can both
Endure the winter’s cold as well as he. “(Shakespeare, 1984, p.108).

“Cassius: The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,
But in ourselves, that we are underlings.
‘Brutus’ and ‘Caesar’, what should be in that ‘Caesar’?
Why should that name be sounded more than yours?” (Shakespeare, 1984, p.110).

“Casius: Cassius from bondage will deliver Casius (…)
If I know this, know all the world besides,
That part of tyranny that I do bear
I can shake off at pleasure. (…).” (Shakespeare, 1984, p.125).

“Brutus: We all stand up against the spirit of Caesar,
And in the spirit of men there is no blood.” (Shakespeare, 1984, p.138).

“Caesar: Cowards die many times before their deaths;
The valiant never taste death but once.” (Shakespeare, 1984, p.149).

Thursday, 31 March 2011

Inventing Desire – Inside Chiat/Day

“Lee Clow liked to say that any advertisement was a piece of communication. It was not an omnipotent, hypnotic force that somehow overpowered the populace. Its success depended on what was an oddly intimate converdation, given the public arena, between business and the consumer.” (Stabiner, 1993, p.81).

“He (Clow) just didn’t believe Chiat/Day could put money first and hop to make more. Profits followed great work. The reverse wasn’t necessarily true.” (Stabiner, 1993, p.127).

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Remember those great Volkswagen ads

By being honest and taking their reads serious these ads are more interactive than 99.99% you see in today's digital arena.

Monday, 21 March 2011

The Rest is noise – Alex Ross 2007

A book about 20th century art/classical music from a very American perspective – which is slightly odd, since most of this music is very European and non-commerical at heart. “Copland (…) once pointed out, that the job of being an American artis often consists simply in making art possible – which is to say, visible. Every generation has to do the work all over again. Composers perennially lack state support; they lack a broad audience; they lack centuries old tradition.” (Ross, 2007, p.123).

Nevertheless a very good read about the different strands of music and a very good simple introduction to beginners like me about rather complex topics like twelve-tone music.
Most interesting is the story of how more and more rules of classical music have been abandoned in order to set composers free – just to leave them struggling and moving back into very strict formats, where they almost disappear behind the music developing mechanisms (mostly serialism, but also chance music).

As usual, the most intesting quotes below:
“Musicians and listeners had long agreed that certain intervals, or pairs of notes were “clear”, and that others were “unclear”. (…) The clearest intervals were the octave, the fifth, the fourth, and the major third. (…)”. (Ross, 2007, p.42).

Why is atonality until today not accepted – in contrast to modern paintings? “But the Kandinsky is a different experience for the uninitiated. If at first you have trouble understanding it, you can walk on and return later, or step back to give it another glance, or lean in for a close look (is that a piano in the foreground?). At a performance, listenersexperience a new work collectively, at the same rate and approximately from the same distance. (…) They are a crod, and crowds tend to align themselves as one mind” (Ross, 2007, p.56).

Schoenberg: “”I strive for: complete liberation from all forms, from all symbols of cohesion and of logic.” (Ross, 2007, p.57).

“Instead of separating himself from the titans of the past, Bach, Mozart, and Beethoven he presented himself as their heir” (Ross, 2007, p.57). “The argument made a certain amount of sense. Levels of dissonance in music had been steadily risen since the last years of the nineteenth century” (Ross, 2007, p.57).

More composers used atonality at the same time as Schoenberg: Wagner, Strauss and Mahler: “Out of all of them, only Schoenberg really adopted atonality. What set him apart was tht he not only introduced new chords but eliminated, for the time being, the old ones.” (Ross, 2007, p.58).

Webern: “By clearing away all expressionistic clutter, Webern actually succeeded in making his teacher’s language easier to assimilate. He distributed his material in clear linear patterns, rather than piling it up in vertical masses. The listener can absorb each unusual sonority before the next arrives.” (Ross, 2007, p.63).

Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring: “Having assembled his folk melodies, Stravinsky proceeded to pulverize them into motivic bits, pile them up in layers, and reassemblethem in cubistic collages and montages” (Ross, 2007, p.90).“If other composers went further in revolutionizing harmony, none rivalled Stravinskly in the realm of rhythm. (…) In “The Augurs of Spring” there is no way to predict where the accents will land next” (Ross, 2007, p.91).

“I (Varese) became a sor of diabolic Parsifal, searching not only for the holy grail, but the bomb that would make the musical world explode and thereby let in all sounds, sounds which up to now – and even today – have been called noises” (Ross, 2007, p.136).

Twelve tone music
Schoenberg: “The “extreme emotionality” of atonal composition, in his own words, had exhausted him, and he needed a less fraught, more orderly way of working” (Ross, 2007, p.194).

“A particular arrangement of (any) twelve notes is called a series or row. The idea is not to consider the row a theme in itself but to employ it as a kind of fund of notes, or more precisely, of relationships among notes, or intervals. Schoenberg added someconcepts from the old art of counterpoint to maximize the possibilities of thematic play. The composer can run the row in retrograde (go backward from the last note). Or he canuse an inversion (turn it upside down). (…) The retrograde inversion goes back to front and upside down. The composer can alsotranspose the row by moving it up or down the scale. All told the chromatic scale contains a huge number of permutations – to be exact, 479,001,600, the factorial of 12.” (Ross, 2007, p.195).

“Nearly all Schoenberg’s early twelve-tone works are couched in established froms, usually from the Baroque and Classical periods. Formal rules are observed, dance rhythms replicated, ideas clearly spelled out and rigorously developed” (Ross, 2007, p.196).

“the twelve tone idea never forbids the use of tonal materials; in fact, one must manipulate the system to avoid producing them” (Ross, 2007, p.196).

After Schoenberg:
Boulez: “”The Schoenberg ‘case’ is irritating,” he wrote. The old man had revolutionized the art of harmony while leaving rhythm, structure, and form untouched.” (Ross, 2007, p.363).

“In the interest of cultivating rhythmic variety, Messiaen decided that the length of notes – sixteenth, eighth, quarter, and so forth – should be arranged n a scale parallel to the scale of the pitches. He also made rows of dynamic levels (ppp, fff, pp, ff, and so on) and of attacks (accented, staccato, legato and so on).A particular note is always assigned the same values. Thus, the high E-flat is always thirty-second note, is always played ppp, and is (almost) always slurred” (Ross, 2007, p.363).

“But Boulez went furthest, organizing Messiaen’s parameters – pitch, duration, volume, and attack – into sets of twelve, along the lines of twelve tone writing. Pitches fo not repeat until all twelve have sounded. Durations do not repeat until all twelve have been used. Dynamics and attacks vary from section to section. The result is music in a constant flux.” (Ross, 2007, p.364).

“The serialist principle, with its surfeit of everchanging musical data, has the effect of erasing at any given moment whatever impressions the listener may have formed about previous passages of the piece. The present moment is all there is” (Ross, 2007, p.364).

“The irony of the broken Cage-Boulez friendship was that certain if Cage’s chance pieces ended up sounding oddly similar to Boulez’s total-serialist pieces. (…) Boulez and other serialist composers were not fully responsible for the outcome of their works. Their method obeyed a “compulsion neurosis” that effectively randomized their musical material.” (Ross, 2007, p.371).

Stravinsky: Agon, Requiem Canticles: “This last great Stravinsky ballet, for twelve dancers, in twelve sections, mixes sounds and styles from several centuries of musical history as well as from several decades of the composer’s career.” (Ross, 2007, p.389).

Return of sensuality:
“By the earlysixties, the fascination with behind-the-scenes-process- whether twelve tones or chance produced – had given way to a new appreciations of surfaces.” (Ross, 2007, p.458).

Xenakis: ““The listener must be gripped,” he once said, “and - whether he likes it or not – drawn into the flight path of the sounds, without a special training being necessary. The sensual shock must be just as forceful as when one hears a clap of thunder or looks into a bottomless abyss” (Ross, 2007, p.397).

“since any resonating tone consists of a certain number if vibrations per second, the ratios among the notes in any given chord could be used to dictate the rhythms in any give bar. For example, a chord of G,C, and E would translate into simultaneous pulses of three against four against five (Ross, 2007, p.479).

“For him (Schoenberg), the ultimate sin was to repeat an idea unnecessarily (…), whereas the California composers were discovering the joys of insistent repetition and gradual change.” (Ross, 2007, p.482).

Feldman’s later music: “Events move so slowly that you can no longer detect the twelve-tone motion of the piece, or even the identities of the tones themselves.” (Ross, 2007, p.493).

“Terry Riley’s contribution was to add the sweet sound of triads to the long-tone process. This move completed the minimalist metamorphosis.” (Ross, 2007, p.495).

“”Repetition is a form of change,” Brian Eno once said, summing up the minimalist ethos. Repetition is inherent in the science of sound: tones move through space in periodic waves.” (Ross, 2007, p.511).

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Tolstoj - Sämtliche Erzählungen 2

Tolstoj argues for the most opposing philosophies while absolutely convincing me of each one of them. This nconstantly leaves me confused yet curious for more.

„In deinen Jahren und bei Deinen Mitteln ist der Ehrgeiz eine Tugend; er wird erst zum Fehler und Geschmacklosigkeit, wenn der Mensch nicht mhr imstande ist, diese Leidenschaft zu befriedigen“ (Tolstoj, 1961, p.12).

„>Das Glück besteht darin, für die anderen zu leben<, sagte er sich. >Das ist klar. Das Glücksbedürfnis ist in jeden Menschen hineingelegt, es ist also ein Naturgesetz. Befriedigt man dieses Bedürfnis auf egoistische Weise, durch Streben nach Reichtum, Ruhm, Annehmlichkeiten und Liebe, so kann es geschehen, dass ungünstige Umstände zur Erfüllung dieser Wünsche unöglich machen. Also entsprechen nicht jene Wünsche dem Naturgesetz, sondern unr das Bedürfnis nach Glück. Welche Wünsche kann man immer befriedigen, ohne Rücksicht auf äußere Umstände? Liebe, Selbstverleugnung!<“ (Tolstoj, 1961, p.270).

„Die Schönheit kam, und im Nu wurde die ganze harte innere Arbeit zu Staub. Und ich trauere dem jäh Verschwundenen nicht einmal nach! Selbstverleugnung ist Unsinn, dummes Zeug. Es ist nur Stolz, Flucht vor verdientem Unglück, Rettung vor Neid auf fremdes Glück. Für andere leben, Gutes tun! Wozu? Wo doch in meiner Seele nur die Liebe zu mir selbst ist und der Wunsch, sie zu lieben und mit ihr zu leben. (…) Ich lebe nicht nach eigenem Willen, es ist etwas Stärkeres, das mich leitet. Ich quäle mich, aber früher war ich tot, und jetzt lebe ich.“ (Tolstoj, 1961, p.332).

„>Und du wünschst nichts weiter?< fragte ich.
>Nichts Unmögliches.< antwortete er. (…)
>Und tut es dir nicht um das Vergangene leid?< fuhr ich fort. (…)
>Nein!< sagte er noch einmal. >Ich bin dankbar dafür, dass ich es gehabt habe, aber ich trauere ihm nicht nach.< (…)
>Ich wünsche es nicht, ebenso wie ichnicht wünsche, dass mir Flügel wüschsen<, erwiderte er. >Es ist unmöglich!<
>Und findest du keine Fehler in der Vergangenheit? Machst du dir oder mir keinen Vorwurf?<
>Durchaus nicht. Alles hat zum besten gedient.<“ (Tolstoj, 1961, p.472).

Saturday, 26 February 2011

From those wonderful folks who gave you Pearly Harbour – Jerry Della Femina,

Very interesting book that shows that nothing much has changed. The only difference that counts is still between good and bad work. The rest is just marketing rubbish.

VW lemon worked because of “an advertiser was saying that all wasn’t sweetness in life” (Della Femina, 1970, p.26).

“I know this sounds crazy, but I sometimes don’t understand why we can’t talk in commercials and ads the waywe really talk” (Della Femina, 1970, p.30).

“The hotagencies, they don’t need this. What does Doyle, Dane need with a whoremaster (an account man with a book of names)? They’re turning out terrific work” (Della Femina, 1970, p.61).

“An art director also has a portfolio. Or they’ve got reels, short presentations containing all the commercials they ever shot. But what does the account man have to show? Nothing.” (Della Femina, 1970, p.83).

“Step one (of losing an account): fear. They’re afraid to even show him work. So they show him what they consider safe. And safe is not what he came to the agency for.” (Della Femina, 1970, p.93).

“It’s not their (clients’) job to express what they need. That’s the agenciy’s job- The client simply knows where he wants his product to go in the marketplace.” (Della Femina, 1970, p.93).

“when an account executive comes in to see me I don’t even know what to ask him. (…) I have nothing to tell the guy, nothing to ask him. Should I ask him how he smiles?” (Della Femina, 1970, p.95).

“Creative revolution may be an awkward way of saying there is good advertising and then there is garbage.” (Della Femina, 1970, p.145).

An Introduction to Music Studies - Harper Scott and Samson

It does what it says on the tin:

Twelve tone music:
- the arrangement of the twelve notes into a ‘row
- generating of forty-eight versions of the row through inversion (turning it upside down), retrograde (reversing the order), retrograde inversion and multiple transpositions
- using these rows as building blocks for composition
(Harper-Scott and Samson, 2009, p.35).

Adorno describes Serialism as totalitarian, because it effectivey prescribed ‘the order in which each pitch should appear’ (Harper-Scott and Samson, 2009, p.45)..

On Critical theory (Adorno): Music and society are intertwined. Modern music always struggles between expression and convention. It aims to be absolutely unique and ignore convention but then it will not be understood by anyone: “The difficulty for music is to avoid mere convention without losing the ability to express something significant” (Harper-Scott and Samson, 2009, p.89).

Monday, 14 February 2011

Philipp Roth – I married a Communist

Another one of the Zuckerman series, i.e. it is about how to become a writer. In this case it is also about politics and how political believe influences personal life – and vice versa.

“to teach them that you don’t have to be Al Capone to transgress – you just have to think (…) Cri-ti-cal think-ing (…) --- there is the ultimate subversion” (Roth, 1998).

“I was sitting between two shirtless brothers well over six feet tall, two big, natural men exuding the sort foforceful, intelligent, manliness to which I aspired. Men who could talk about baseball and boxing talking about books. And talking about books as though something were at stake in a book. Not opening uo a book t worship it or to be elevated by it or to lose yourself to the world around you. No, boxing with the book.” (Roth, 1998, p.27).

“He has outlived dissatisfaction. This is what remains after the passing of everything, the disciplined sadness of stoicism. This is the cooling.” (Roth, 1998, p.78).

“The incompatabilities were endless. But then, that was the challenge. With Ira, the more that’s wrong, the more to correct.” (Roth, 1998, p.83).

“You can’t bring to private life the ideologythat you bring to the great world. You cannot change her.” (Roth, 1998, p.84).

“His mind moved all right, but not with clarity. It moved only with force.” (Roth, 1998, p.86).

“You look with your big eyes into the capitalist shop window, you want and you wnt, you grab and you grab, you take and you take, ou acquire and you own and you accumulate and there is the end of your convictions and the beginning of your fear. There is nothing that I have that I can’t give up.” (Roth, 1998, p.96).

“Generalizing suffering: there is Communism. Particularizing suffering: there is literature.” (Roth, 1998, p.223).

“who has no family and no relatives and no house – who is without all that stuff that was pulling Ira in twenty differen directions, without all those emotions pulling Ira in twenty directions.” (Roth, 1998, p.235).

“How drunk on metamorphosis could he get, the heroic reinvention of himself he called Iron Rinn?” (Roth, 1998, p.301).

“No one finds his life. That is life.” (Roth, 1998, p.319).

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Wilkinson and Pickett- The Spirit Level

For thousands of years we equalled progress with increasing material living standards (Wilkinson and Pickett, 2010, p.5). Yet in the developed countries we reached levels where increased income and wealth do not lead to increased happiness or even life expectancy (Wilkinson and Pickett, 2010, p.6).

“that among them (developed countries) can be almost twice as rich as otherswithout any benefit to lifeexpectancy. Yet within any of them death rates are closely and systematically related to income” (Wilkinson and Pickett, 2010, p.12).

The conclusion can only be, that it is not average income that determines happiness, but income differences and how you compare with other people (Wilkinson and Pickett, 2010, p.12).

“Growth is a substitute for equalit of income. So long as there is growth there is hope, and that makes large income differentials tolerable. But this relation holds both ways round.” (Wilkinson and Pickett, 2010, p.226).

Almost ll problems we associate with poverty are more common in unequal societies: level of trust, mental illness, mortality, obesity, children’s educational performance, homicides, social mobility (Wilkinson and Pickett, 2010, p.19). And the best solution to tackle these problems is decreasing societies income differences (Wilkinson and Pickett, 2010, p.37).

The data also show that “living in a more equal place benefited everybody, not just the poor” (Wilkinson and Pickett, 2010, p.84).

Causing all these problems, saving money on the welfare state not only safes money but causes very high costs to deal with these problems (Wilkinson and Pickett, 2010, p.246).

One great source of inequality are companies, where democracy doesn’t hold but hierarchy reigns (Wilkinson and Pickett, 2010, p.253). One solution is democratic employee ownership (Wilkinson and Pickett, 2010, p.254). “The truth is that modern inequality exists because democracy is excluded from the economic sphere.” (Wilkinson and Pickett, 2010, p.264).

Sunday, 2 January 2011

Tolsoj - Sämtliche Erzählungen Erster Band

Simply amazing in its understanding of people and impossible to summarize:
„Ein oberflächlicher Mensch, er lebt ohne Ziel. (…) Aber was muß man tun, um ein ‚vollwertiger Menschen zu sein und ein Ziel zu haben’? Man kann sich kein Ziel setzen“ (Tolstoj, 1961, p.25).

„Ich weiss, dass man einen Menschen mit nichts so tief kränken kann wie damit, dass man ihm zu verstehen gibt, dass man alles bemerkt hat, aber nicht darüber sprechen will.“ (Tolstoj, 1961, p.22).

yYt there is one theme that stood out to me during my first reading: how people are driven by what they want other to think of them. Either in everyday life:

mit dein einen wünschte er nicht zu verkehren, auf die anderen wagte er nicht zuzugehen“ (Tolstoj, 1961, p.210).

This theme is taken to the extreme in Tolstoj’s war stories, where everyone tries not to appear scared:
„Er besaß jene Art von Ehrgeiz, die das ganze Leben eines Menschen bestimmt und sich nur bei Männern und besonders in Militärkreisen entwickelt, so dass es für ihn keine andere Wahl gab, als der Erste zu sein oder nichts, und dass dieser Ehrgeiz sogar die Triebfeder seiner inneren Regungen war: er stellte sich in Gedanken gern über die Menschen, mit denen er sich verglich.“ „mit dein einen wünschte er nicht zu verkehren, auf die anderen wagte er nicht zuzugehen“ (Tolstoj, 1961, p.220).

„Als ich begriff, dass das ein auf uns gerichteter Schuss des Feindes war, nahm alles, was ich in diesem Augenblick vor Augen hatte, auf einmal einen neuen, großartigen Charakter an. (…) all das schien mir zu sagen, dass die Kugel, die schon aus dem Rohr heraus war und jetzt irgendwo im Raum flog, vielleicht auf meine Brust gerichtet war. ‚Wo haben Sie denn den Wein her?’ fragte ich Bolchow nachlässig, während tief in meinder Seele zwei Stimmen deutlich sprachen: ‚Herr, nimm meine Seele in Frieden auf’, sagte die eine, und die andere: ‚Ich hoffe, dass ich mich nicht ducken, sondern lächeln werde, wenn die Kugel vorbeifliegt.“ (Tolstoj, 1961, p.113).