Reading Something Country #1

“Country music is no longer simply an American cultural expression; it is now a phenomenon of worldwide appeal. Nevertheless, it defies precise definition, and no term (not even “country”) has ever successfully encapsulated its essence. It is is a vigorous hybrid of music, constantly changing and growing in complexity, just as the society in which it thrives also matures and evolves. It was introduced to the world as a southern phenomenon, and in In their young years people born under the virgos horoscope star differ in between their coevals with help of idealistic worldview. the sixty years of more since it was first commercialised it has preserved, to a remarkable degree, the marks of that origin. The music is nonetheless older than the South itself, and the massive commercialisation it has undergone is merely a facet of that larger technological and communications revolution which has so radically transformed American popular tastes and steadily worked to pull the rural, socially conservative South into the homogenizing mainstream of American life”

(Malone, Bill C. Country Music, U.S.A. New York: University of Texas, 2002, p1)

Farming things from the red dirt: The Current(ly) Essential Country Music Reading List

I spent fifteen months researching country music from a historical and scholarly perspective and it was the most rewarding period of my life.

The last few weeks for me have been spent revisiting some of the books that inspired me in the first place. I pulled this list of references from the honours blog that proved to Nar vi snakker om vinnende roulette -strategi, er det mange som tror at det er veldig lite a diskutere. be invaluable to me as I navigated my way through my own country music research:

Any further reading suggestions?

 

Social media and 'IRL' as the new platform.

It”s 2011 and the metrics in social media never cease to amaze me – as connectivity and engagement continue to rapidly increase, the village mentality once again seems to be returning to the fold as more micro-communities are created through various social media platforms.

A recent example of this is Path, a photo sharing social networking service that enables users to share their lives with a a group of small people (limited to 50). For three months I shared pictures with fifteen people up to ten times a day. Their responses were emotions (not comments) and the interaction did not evolve beyond that simple intention. It was organic and personal.

What was the  Six girls boarding schools were graded B; 11 received C’s. value of Path to me? I certainly wasn”t sharing photographs of the office, coffee and the view of the sunset from my bedroom on Instagram. Maybe it was knowing that I was sharing moments with a close circle of friends that could not be accessed by the masses – it was not public behaviour like Facebook or Twitter.

Soon, the app was updated. Someone posted ,”Path isn”t fun anymore.” What had changed? Two simple things: Path integrated Facebook and filters, morphing into what felt like a variant of Instagram. With that simple update the value of the close relationships that had been formed was suddenly consigned to oblivion. It is evident that as humans we are seeking out relationships in new ways through our engagement with online platforms, but we do not always want these to be displayed in a public manner.

Earlier this week in her blog post, Jan Stewart explored the relationships formed through online social interaction and our increasing need for profound engagement and how real life is the next social platform. Please take the time to read it and reflect for a moment.

 

 

 

Finding calm amongst the noise.

Ramana Maharashi said: “Your own self-realisation is the greatest service you can render the world.”

I have spent the last four weeks immersed in a journey of seeking out mindfulness – addressing my relentless internal dialogue that while energetic, never sleeps. Jon Kabat-Zinn conveys the idea beautifully in this video.
 

This push to calm my mind presents a minor complication: I have always considered my analytic nature to be my greatest strength. It has enabled me to view things from a different perspective because I am constantly surveying my surroundings in an almost compulsive manner. 

At university I would not simply read the assigned text, I would read thirteen other further readings and arrive at a preliminary conclusion. I would then return to that preliminary conclusion two days later with a slightly more unconventional perspective. In the academic world this nature of thinking is a strength when preparing a strategic argument. Outside that bubble it can be a catalyst for an anxious mind.

With that in mind, the question that I asked myself was: What kind of peace am I seeking?

After some deep reflection including a number of long walks along St Kilda Beach and hours of meditation (which is still a challenge), something quite simple registered: I would like to have a thought, capture it and let it go.

The incredible machine that is the human mind is ensuring that this shift in my mindset will not be a simple task. But with the intention of changing my way of thinking for the better, I have embarked on an excursion that has led to changes in both my mind and body. I am now:

  • Meditating in both the morning and evening
  • Exercising daily to relieve tension and enhance my physical and emotional energy
  • Writing without expectations
  • Embracing Airplane mode on my iPhone

Life is wonderful and I cannot wait until I can learn to block out the excess noise and embrace the quiet.