Ugly Music

If you keep doing the same thing, you will get better at it but you will not do anything new.

There are so many moments of startling worth in human history that have come about as the result of someone not actually being much good. A small list of inventions that are the result of someone’s failure, someone’s accident, or someone’s fluke would include:
  • Plastic
  • Corn Flakes
  • Microwave
  • Saccharin
  • Dry Cleaning
  • Super Glue
  • Stainless Steel
  • Teflon
  • Pacemaker
  • Velcro
  • X-Rays
And so it goes with politics, philosophy, and science. Average Joe inadvertently becomes the central hero. Often not through any merit Average Joe exhibits beforehand, but rather through amateur forays in which they develop abilities that are initially regarded as below standard.

Some dirty old fella hangs out at the gates of Athens having a yarn and spawns classical thought....

It’s the nature of change, a centripetal force that brings in the peripheral players and plants them in the centre.

When it comes to music, amateurism is a very special thing. It is the lifeblood of creativity. There are many examples of this, from classical composers reworking folk tunes to the uprising of the Blues and Rock and Roll from slave music.

Music, well- new music at least, belongs to the poor, to the disenfranchised, to the very people that can’t afford a Stratocaster let alone a half-session with a full-orchestra. It belongs to the tinkerers. Those prone to accident. Those that can’t read music. Even sometimes those that can’t sing.

Correct me if I am wrong, but didn't the Beatles mime their first concerts because they didn't know how to play their guitars yet?

We should heed failure, inability, and amateurism.
  • Lennon puts a tape on the wrong way and discovers back tracking.
  • Lennon and his team attempt to make a soul album but instead create the trend setting Rubber Soul.
  • The Davies brothers accidentally tear the diaphragm of an amp and create Heavy Metal.
  • Les Paul fiddles with some wires and invents the solid-body electric guitar.
  • A truck driver who records a song for his mother’s birthday and becomes the King of Rock and Roll
  • A couple of bored classmates who are unhappy with a do-it-yourself electronics project end up creating a digital music workstation.
When everything these days in perfect measure, perfect pitch, and perfectly packaged, I am drawn to music that lacks the polish but lives in the moment, warts and all.

Ugliness is fresh.

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