Thursday, July 16, 2009

Go your own way

click photo to enlarge
After I'd given a title to today's photograph of tractor tracks wandering drunkenly across a perfectly prepared and planted field on the Lincolnshire Fens I began a Wikipedia peregrination. The words I chose - Go Your Own Way - seemed apposite, but I also knew them to be the title of a song by Fleetwood Mac.

A quick search of Wikipedia using the title revealed that it was a song about the break up of the relationship between the band's two U.S. members. A quick look at Songfacts confirmed that and added a few other details. From there I went to the Wikipedia page about the album on which the song is featured, Rumours. Here I noticed that this particular Fleetwood Mac album is the 10th best-selling album of all time, so I went to the page that showed the full list of the best-selling albums of all time. It was then that I started to get a little depressed and somewhat concerned. Now there's no good reason why I should worry about the type of music that is bought in the largest numbers: I'm happy with the music I like, and I should be happy that others have found the music that they enjoy. But when that music is by the likes of AC/DC, Meatloaf, Celine Dion, Whitney Houston, the Bee Gees, Abba, Mariah Carey, Cher, Bon Jovi, The Spice Girls, Tina Turner..., I could go on, then I'm not only depressed but concerned. I'm depressed if people who bought this stuff have listened to the best that recorded music has to offer, rejected it, and then made these choices. I'm concerned if they haven't heard any of the finest music made by mankind, but feel they've acquired it through these albums. I won't list the music that I think surpasses most of what's listed on this Wikipedia page, but I will say that it includes classics of the rock and pop canon, but also features blues, jazz, folk and classical, and it isn't confined to the output of the last fifty years.

What's obvious when you look at this list is that it reflects the artists who were most popular at the time when recordings on vinyl and CD were at their sales peak. That said, it wouldn't change dramatically, I think, if downloads were added to the mix. Increasing population and increasing sales to a predominantly younger audience who buy, in the main, recent recordings of recently written music is responsible for this ranking. But it doesn't have to be so. As my oldest son once said, "Recorded music has been around for a century yet most people buy it on the assumption that the most recent music is the best. Why on earth should it be?" I think, as far as music goes I'll continue to ignore the top selling albums and "go my own way!"

Incidentally, I don't know how or why these wiggly tracks appeared on this blemish-free patch of agricultural land, but in the early evening light they stood out like the proverbial sore thumb, and invited a photograph that gives me cause to wonder at the event(s) that might have led to them.

photograph & text (c) T. Boughen

Camera: Olympus E510
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 150mm (300mm/35mm equiv.)
F No: f8
Shutter Speed: 1/160 seconds
ISO: 100
Exposure Compensation: -0.3 EV
Image Stabilisation: On