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31 May, 2007

The thrill of the chase

In 1996, Steven Wilson expressed his negative reaction to the pervasiveness of the internet in Porcupine Tree's 'Every Home Is Wired'.  More recently, particularly with the release of the 'Fear of a Blank Planet' album, he's been similarly critical of the instant gratification afforded by mp3 players.

At the unofficial Porcupine Tree Forum, one writer has a slightly different, very credible, interpretation:

I don't think he was (or is) against the Internet, or indeed people who waste away their lives on it. Nor do I think he's against iPods.
It's a lament, the mourning of the loss of an experience that he (we) enjoyed - how we'd have to read obscure fanzines, seek out unusual specialist record stores and mail order dealers, scour through thousands of used albums looking for those chance rare finds, excitedly travel home clutching our new-found treasures, and listen to them and digest everything with the sort of passion that maybe weeks, months years of searching for the music results in.
Now its Google, One-Click, answer door 24 hours later, rip to iPod, skip, skip, hey cool, next.
SW is known to be an enthusiastic collector who appreciates the process of obtaining music as well as (I'm not suggesting as much as) the music itself. However, I've never understood that myself, and thoroughly welcome the 'loss of experience' described.

Apart from the last sentence, of course. Ready availability of music doesn't necessarily diminish or trivialise it, and I can enjoy a CD fom Amazon just as much as one which has been annoyingly difficult to obtain.
More so, in some cases – some music is rightfully obscure.

I think this overlaps with the urge for exclusivity: to be a fan of a band no-one else knows, or to have an album no-one else owns; to be able to self-affirm that 'I'm special, me'. Kind of childish, really.

There's also something almost religious about the 'questing' urge and the thought that anything worthwhile needs to hard-won. And I'm atheist.
Seriously; there's more to atheism than being certain there's no 'higher being'; it's a world-view, with a distinct value-system independently developed by each individual. To me, it's not about living virtuously or deserving anything, and it's about the content of an album, not the means by which it was obtained.

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