Rod Easdown’s late night musical introspectives are being hi-jacked… and he blames The Wiggles.
It’s late and I’m trying to getting my head around Hildur Gudnadottir, an Icelandic cellist and composer, on Spotify. The first I heard of her was the music in the second Sicario movie, where she has replaced Johann Johannsson, a fellow Icelander who did the music for the first Sicario movie (and a heap of others) and then died at just 48. Like his stuff, Hildur’s music is dark, brooding and very good for introspective listening late at night.
Then something strange happens. Rock music, hard, driving rock, comes in over the top of Hildur’s brooding and increases in volume until it’s shaking the walls. This can’t be right. I try to turn it down. Nothing happens. Then I notice that the Bose SoundTouch is lit up. The rock music is coming from it, not the stereo it sits beside which is still loyal to Hildur. I look for the Bose remote among the 412 remotes on the side table without success, so I walk over and turn it off. What the hell?
Twice more the Bose comes to life and shakes the place silly. Twice more I turn it off. My mind is racing. Have I been hacked? Has someone broken into the house and is right now upstairs buggering around with my computer? Is someone standing at the back window with my Bose remote laughing like hell? (I think this last thought because it is something I once did many years ago while under the influence of sufficient alcohol that it seemed terribly funny at the time.)
The next day I am Skyping with my step-daughter Jess in Singapore and an idea occurs to me. I tell her about the incident and ask if she was using the Bose when last staying with us back home. She sounds sheepish. ‘That may have been me,’ she says. ‘I kept trying to play some music on Spotify and it kept directing me to ‘Bose’. I don’t even have a Bose, so I turned the volume up thinking my speaker must have been muted.’ Then she pauses. ‘But I’m in Singapore. The Bose is in Australia. Is that even possible?’
Alas, I happen to know it is. Last time my wife, Jess’s mum, was in Singapore my Spotify sessions kept being overridden by the Wiggles. The first time this happened I became furious. Spotify had obviously accepted a heap of money from the Wiggles to break into peoples’ listening at random and expose them to songs like Miss Polly had a Dolly. But after three hijackings I thought a bit more deeply and Whats Apped my wife up there. I asked if she was listening to the Wiggles on Spotify. ‘Yes. My granddaughters and I are dancing,’ she said. ‘How did you know?’
Ah, the connected age is wonderful, true. There was a time when seeing a movie, any movie, required going to a cinema. I can recall when listening to music required finding the right record and putting it on, then having to turn it over half-way through in order to listen right to the end. Sometimes the thought of this was enough to make me watch the footy instead, but at least we were doing better than, say, Louis XIV, who when he felt like listening to music had to assemble an orchestra. And those who were not Louis XIV just had to hum.
Yes, we have some truly wonderful technology these days but it has introduced all sorts of difficulties and challenges that 20 years ago we couldn’t even envisage. We have movies online. And buffering. We have shopping from home. And parcel thieves. We have text messages. And auto-correct. We have the internet. And the NBN. We have tweets. And Trump. We have cookies, malware, ransomware, spam, and on-line booking fees. We have elections and Russians. We have satnav routes that take the long way home. We have to prove we are not robots. We can only recall with pleasure when the camera didn’t lie. As Charles Dickens would have observed had he been born two centuries later; it is the best of times, it is the worst of times.
I’d be happy to pay for SBS on Demand Premium if only they had SBS on Demand Premium streaming without ads. Their ad placement within programming demonstrates all the sensitivity of Bashar al-Assad running a child-minding centre. But that’s not the worst bit. The worst bit is that it’s frequently the same bloody ad throughout the entire show. Mazda is having a sale. OK, I get that. Can we move on now?
It’s the same with their promos, but this reached a new level of the screamingly inept when we tuned into a terrific Nordic Noir from Denmark called Greyzone. Throughout the early episodes the promos were for, yep, Greyzone.
I am looking forward to the next big idea. And dreading the next set of problems that comes with it. And by the way Charles, while it took 118 years following the publication of A Tale of Two Cities for the French to cease death by guillotine, we still have lots of child exploitation. It’s just that these days it’s all electronic. Rod Easdown