Ran Prieur http://ranprieur.com/#9a417fe513f58988c3b5b1e84cfc57397194a79b 2023-04-07T19:30:35Z Ran Prieur http://ranprieur.com/ ranprieur@gmail.com April 7. http://ranprieur.com/#cda25b8dfc5fed8dda8a96f20918ee1a952f830d 2023-04-07T19:30:35Z April 7. Thanks Matt for another good article about stuff looking the same, largely focusing on Airbnb, Welcome to AirSpace.

For now I have nothing more to say on physical design. I want to write about music. I believe there was a golden age of popular music from around 1965-1985. Some people say, you're just forgetting all the bad music, like Captain & Tennille. Well, there has not been a top 40 hit in this century that I like as much as Captain & Tennille's "Love Will Keep Us Together". I can assemble about five hours of hit songs from the 1970s that I really like. From the 2010s, not one song.

At the same time, there's still great music being made. It's just that the music industry has developed a formula, and a set of filters, such that the best stuff will be excluded as too weird for the mass market. It's the same thing that's happened with interior design. The world of money, and the world of creativity, have given up on each other and gone their own way.

So if the best music of the 1970s was popular, and the best music of the 2010s was obscure, at what time was quality evenly balanced between popular and obscure? I think it was the late 80s or early 90s. This week I posted my 1990s playlist on Spotify. It's not as tightly chronological as my 70s and 80s playlists, but it's still lumped by year, and the hits are mostly in the first half.

The best thing about listening to music is when you find a great song that you never knew existed. Most people know Concrete Blonde's 1990 hit Joey. It was written by Johnette Napolitano about Marc Moreland, best known as the guitar player for Wall of Voodoo. Moreland died of liver failure in 2002, probably inspiring Napolitano's 2003 song Suicide Note.

In 1995, they collaborated on a one-shot album called Pretty & Twisted. It's not on Spotify, and has only 3500 views on YouTube, but it's quite good, and it contains my new favorite song of the decade. Musically, it suffers from a hurried fade-out, but thematically, that's just what the song is about: "I don't want to see you fade away." And there's no way another take would have matched this: Pretty & Twisted - Souvenir

April 5. http://ranprieur.com/#2f38350248111ec249a8f23c3c0e1e3d87e3d89f 2023-04-05T17:10:27Z April 5. On the subreddit, an interesting take on Monday's link, The age of average VS Fragmentation. While some things are getting more similar, other things are getting more varied, as you can see in the Aesthetics Wiki. What are we to make of this?

I don't want to get into political fragmentation, but if we're just talking about style, this subject reminds me of an old page about the L-curve of US income distribution.

The tall part of the L-curve is ruled by money. Whether it's McDonalds (thanks Greg for the link) or the music industry, it pays to make things predictable, and stamp out weirdness.

The long part of the L-curve is ruled by love -- more precisely, by what particular people enjoy doing, if they don't have to make money from it. If something made for love accidentally makes money, then the money people buy it, polish it, and use it to keep people from getting bored, until it becomes the new boring.

New subject: Tim sends another AI art project, Shadows of Sesamia: A Dystopian Sci-Fi Cult Classic Based on Sesame Street. How long until AI can make the whole movie?

April 3. http://ranprieur.com/#8374f702769a226c84ce8390c31a195f2dc560c6 2023-04-03T15:50:00Z April 3. Probably just posting links this week. From 2021, Why Germany is building risk into its playgrounds. "Lofty climbing towers are part of trend away from total safety and towards teaching children to navigate difficult situations."

A Reddit transcription of a paywalled article, You Don't Need to Disinfect So Much. "Crucially, the experts we spoke to for this story said that simple soap and water is sufficient for regular cleaning."

The age of average has a lot of good photos illustrating this conclusion:

The interiors of our homes, coffee shops and restaurants all look the same. The buildings where we live and work all look the same. The cars we drive, their colours and their logos all look the same. The way we look and the way we dress all looks the same. Our movies, books and video games all look the same. And the brands we buy, their adverts, identities and taglines all look the same.
So, this is your call to arms. Whether you're in film or fashion, media or marketing, architecture, automotive or advertising, it doesn’t matter. Our visual culture is flatlining and the only cure is creativity.