AmericanPsychoThere are three great themes of life: love, death and war. But, not necessarily in that order. Death is very popular. However, there are deaths and there are deaths. The concept of death in art has a deeper and symbolic meaning than death in real life. Death in art is often an imaginative play with concepts. But, misconceptions are common. The lawsuits of Vance vs. Judas Priest, McCollum Family vs. Ozzy Osbourne and the Columbine High School Massacre and Marilyn Manson controversy are three good examples. "The music made me do it". Let it be said. No musicians in their right mind wants to be associated with any actual deaths or suicides. In fact, Judas Priest-singer Rob Halford pointed out that encouraging the death of one's own fans would be counterproductive. Not even hard-core nihilists in the Norwegian black metal genre would appreciate the association.

There are two types of association fallacies: guilt by association and honor by association. The former is bad and the latter is good. Guilt by association is defined as "guilt ascribed to someone not because of any evidence, but because of their association with an offender." Guilt by association is often used as a master suppression technique or debate trick. American Psycho is a 2000 American satire based on Bret Easton Ellis novel of the same name. The protagonist, New York investment banker Patrick Bateman is a full-blown psychopath with terrible music taste. Huey Lewis and the News is right up his alley. The protagonist performs a killing act to one of their biggest hits. It's not honourable to be associated with the music taste of a psycho killer. The guilt by association really stuck. Huey Lewis tried to turn it to his advantage. For the 30th anniversary of the album Sports, the Huey Lewis and the News frontman reenacts the classic scene from American Psycho where Bateman chops his co-worker up with an axe to the band's 1986 hit "Hip to be Square". The ironic video came too late. Huey Lewis and the News are forever associated with insipid music. Here is the twisted dialogue in its entirity:


BATEMAN: You like Huey Lewis and the News?
ALLEN: Um, they're okay.
BATEMAN: Their early work was a little too new wave for my taste. But when Sports came out in '83, I think they really came into their own, commercially and artistically. The whole album has a clear, crisp sound, and a new sheen of consummate professionalism that really gives the songs a big boost. He's been compared to Elvis Costello, but I think Huey has a far more bitter, cynical sense of humor.
ALLEN: Hey, Halberstram? [mistaken Bateman for Halberstram, my remark]
BATEMAN: Yes, Allen?
ALLEN: Why are there copies of the Style section all over the place? Do you... Do you have a dog? A little chow or something?
BATEMAN: No, Allen.
ALLEN: Is that a raincoat?
BATEMAN: Yes, it is. In '87, Huey released this; Fore!, their most accomplished album. I think their undisputed masterpiece is "Hip To Be Square". A song so catchy, most people probably don't listen to the lyrics. But they should, because it's not just about the pleasures of conformity and the importance of trends. It's also a personal statement about the band itself. Hey, Paul!
[Bateman murders Allen with an axe]
BATEMAN: Try getting a reservation at Dorsia now, you fuckin' stupid bastard!

The movie has a couple of great moments of depicting contactlessness, hollowness and shallowness, for example the morning routine scene, break up scene and the business card scene. The final scene (a monologue) is brilliant: "There are no more barriers to cross. All I have in common with the uncontrollable and the insane, the vicious and the evil, all the mayhem I have caused and my utter indifference toward it I have now surpassed. My pain is constant and sharp and I do not hope for a better world for anyone, in fact I want my pain to be inflicted on others. I want no one to escape, but even after admitting this there is no catharsis, my punishment continues to elude me and I gain no deeper knowledge of myself; no new knowledge can be extracted from my telling. This confession has meant nothing." 


     

mountainminorA connoisseur is one who understands the details, technique, or principles of an art and is competent to act as a critical judge. I'm a connoisseur of dark banjo music. However, I'm not a connoisseur of banjo tuning, but would like to become one. Standard tuning for a 5-string banjo is an open G tuning (G,D,G,B,D). If you strum the banjo without fretting any strings in this tuning you will be playing a G chord. An second tuning used very often in old time music is called Double C Tuning (G,C,G,C,D). The lowest pitched string (the 4th string) is lowered from a D to a C. This gives your banjo a hauntingly drone tone because of the two strings that are tuned to C. A third tuning is referred to as C tuning (G,C,G,B,D). Sometimes it's referred to as "Drop C" tuning because coming from the open G tuning, the D string on the 4th string is dropped down to a C. A fourth tuning is called D tuning (F#,D,F#,A,D). If you strum the banjo without fretting any strings in this tuning you will be playing a D chord. The fifth banjo tuning is my favourite. It's called the "G modal", "sawmill" or "mountain minor" tuning (G,D,G,C,D). This tuning is very close to standard G tuning but the second string (B) is tuned up to a C note. Such a little thing (from B to C in standard tuning) makes such a big difference. This step eliminates the third of the G chord and gives it a modal sound. Mountain minor is a very popular tuning for old-time tunes such as The Cuckoo, Cluck Ol' Hen, Shady Grove, Little Sadie, Pretty Polly and many others. Old-time musicians have come up with a tuning that’s perfect for capturing the special quality of these old traditional songs. Mountain minor makes the banjo playing easier, more effective and gives the songs a haunting eerie sound. The mountain refers to Appalachia and to Appalachian music. For me, mountain minor (G,D,G,C,D) is the most beautiful banjo tuning of them all. And also, the most gothic sounding. 
 
   

Barnprogram1970You have probably heard the rumour about the power ballad "Winds of Change". It was allegedly written by or connected to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) as a cultural weapon in the Cold War. I always thought that Scorpions wrote the song. It's hard to imagine security officers trying to write a ballad performed in a rock music style. After working day and night with subliminal messages they finally came up with: "The future's in the air / Can feel it everywhere / Blowing with the wind of change". The conspiracy theory isn’t implausible since CIA has a documented history of engaging in cultural wars. There were many battlegrounds: music, movies, books, television and other media, as well as sports and social beliefs and behavior. The opposite side fought back. Unanimated and animated television series for children could be used in propaganda. They characters didn't need to say obvious things like: "With shock labour we will ensure prompt delivery of the giants of the Five Year Plan". On the contrary, it could be more effective to downplay the differences between the rivaling systems. Instead, the political message could be packaged in stories of overcoming obstacles and solving different problems (working together towards a common goal is a good thing!). I grew up with a TV and radio monopoly, read more here (opens in a new window). In the 1970s Swedish Television bought many television series for children from the Eastern Bloc. Back in those days, the TV producers had an army of writers, animators and other staff to their disposition. The artistic and technical quality were outstanding (if you hover over the image the titles of the best television series will appear). However, there were some glaring contradictions. The animated figures had a notable higher standard of living compared to ordinary people in the Eastern Bloc. Moreover, the animated figures were creative and entrepreneurial, which the political system didn't promote. On the contrary. Other contradictions were provocative. Lolek and Bolek used to spin their globe and put a random finger on where to go. At the same time, the citizens in Poland and other Eastern Bloc countries couldn't go anywhere without a travel permit. And getting a permit was easier said than done. You had to be "trustworthy". Am I stretching this too far? Some people argue that it was just television series for children, nothing more. Others argue that it was sophisticated propaganda in a cultural war. I don't know. But, if there was a war then the Eastern Bloc won the battle, but lost the war.

     

7medievalDay of reckoning. I launched the website on 1st March 2014. This is seven years ago. Seven is very popular. People often pick number seven when asked to choose a number between 1 and 10. In many religions and civilisations number seven has a special position. Seven is magic. So many things count to seven. Of the first ten numbers, seven is the most prime. You cannot multiply or divide it within the group. Seven is also the number of completion. Is now a good time to complete this nonsense? The first blog entry I posted had the dramatic title "So it begins...". Since then I have posted an anniversary blog post this time every year. The second blog post (2015) had the expectantly title "So it continues...". Here, I discussed the past, present and future for the site. The third blog post (2016) had the prosaic title "And so it goes on and on and on and on and on...". Here, I did some merciless following up on ambitions and promises. The fourth blog post (2017) had the patronizing title "The necessity of content gardening". Here, I stated that a website, with proper content gardening, could live forever. The fifth blog post (2018) had the technical title "Ratchet effect through organic growth”. Here, I speculated how web indexing and algorithms drove traffic to unprecedented levels. The sixth blog post (2019) had the glorifying title "5 years and 100 000 hits". Here, I rattled off statistics lengthwise and crosswise. The seventh blog post (2020) had the dutiful title "The show must go on". Here, I concluded that the responsibilities I have towards society are too important to be calling it quits. Today, it's time again for a new blog post. The visitor counter indicates 150 601.   

Assessment

Executive summary: I have been muddling through in the time of the pandemic. The last year has been very dull due to the pandemic, but pretty good when it comes to site activity. My day job takes a lot of my time, focus and energy. Working from home isn't a good idea. At least, not for me. Work is carried out at the workplace and home is home. Fortunately, my workplace has been open almost all the time since the outbreak. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. However, I'm too tired to do anything on workday evenings. I do most of the site maintance on weekends. Your brain needs a rest now and then. It's relaxing to read and write about other things than work-related matters. I'm proud to say that the site has a strong focus on content. Content is king. No content, no visitors. The hard part of running a website is getting visitors to the site and then keeping them there.  

Visitor statistics

To go from zero to 150 000 visitors took 2 548 days, which is equal to seven years. Business was slow in the beginning. From zero to 10 000 took 264 days. After 50 000 visits something happened. The web indexing and Google algorithms began to kick in. The step from 50 000 to 60 000 visitors took only 131 days. The average number of days for another 10 000 visitors has since then been around 130-140. 

 

Hits Date Days Total
10 000 2014-11-20 264 264
20 000 2015-07-05 227 491
30 000 2016-03-05 244 735
40 000 2016-10-21 230 965
50 000 2017-04-09 170 1 135
60 000 2017-08-18 131 1 266
70 000 2018-01-09 144 1 410
80 000 2018-05-19 130 1 540
90 000 2018-10-06 140 1 680
100 000 2019-02-17 134 1 814
110 000 2019-07-16 149 1 963
120 000 2020-01-03 171 2 134
130 000 2020-05-03 141 2 275
140 000 2020-10-10 140 2 415
150 000 2021-02-20 133 2 548















Department statistics

I wrote one new article last year, listed one more artist in the table, created zero new lists and wrote 26 blog entries. I also have a list of 4-5 bands waiting to be included in my prestigious article series. 

Department 2021-03-01 2020-03-01 2019-03-01 2018-03-01 2017-03-01
Articles 67 66 65 62 62
Artists 142 141 138 135 128
Lists 42 42 42 32 27
Miscellaneous 9 9 9 9 8
Blog 184 158 129 99 84










Most visited pages

The five pages below are the most visited. The order of precedence has shifted over time. The start page (Home) is and have always been the most visited page. The second page is the list "10 essential gothic country albums", which comprises a canon of must-have gothic country albums. A newcomer on the top-five list. Review of "Fossil" (Sons of Perdition collaborative album) is placed as number five. The Articles page previously held this position for four years straight in a row. It's now placed as number seven. 
 

No Page 2021-03-01 2020-03-01 2019-03-01 2018-03-01 2017-03-01
1 Home 150 601 124 031 100 813 73 857 46 277
2 10 essential gothic country albums 24 663 19 722 14 372 7 540 3 946
3 Artists 19 410 16 228 13 312 9 983 5 513
4 Sons of Perdition 13 646 11 814 9 616 7 753 4 137
 5 Review of "Fossils" 13 390 - - - -













Flaws

The website has been up and running twenty-four seven. No incidents to report. Only Russian spam bots. I don't know how they find the time and energy. I felt compelled to disconnect the YouTube module on the site since the videos are living matter. If you stumble over any obsolete or incorrect information or any dead links don't hesitate to contact me and I will fix it. I take some pride in that the website is updated. 

Reflections

I haven't received a single e-mail from market or web solutions companies where they claim earnings from the site. The site is non-profit and free of advertisment. This is the way it has been and will always be.

Future

Seven is the number of completion. Seven is also the number following six and preceding eight. Therefore, the nonsense will go on. I will go on untiringly within the limits of family, work and other duties. 

 

R bump16 newScience is organized knowledge. I like when things are organized. I like knowledge. A perfect combination. What is the reminiscence bump? It's the tendency to have increased or enhanced recollection for events, which also appears to extend to music-related memories, that occurred during adolescence and early adulthood. Previous research has revealed a consistent reminiscence bump in autobiographical memory. A new study represents one of the largest explorations of the musical reminiscence bump across adulthood to date. The researchers found a reminiscence bump in adolescence, peaking around age 14, for both ratings of the autobiographical salience of songs featured in the charts during that period and the familiarity of these songs. At last, science explained. That's why you are a sucker for the music you grew up with. The 16 albums in the image are tattooed in my mind (if you hover over the image an explanatory text with titles and artists will appear). This is what I listened to when I was 14 years old. I played them over and over again (but not so often these days). 11 of the 16 albums are live albums. Not so surprising. The golden age of live albums was the 1970's. The next topic for research: why have some of the albums aged with dignity and others not? One brutal hypothesis could be that some of the albums you listened to when you were a kid weren't that good in the first place. Further research is needed.        

 
      

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