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Green Room - Week 6 - Day 3

On the way home last night I heard Golden Smog's cover of "Starman". It was a decent cover. Pretty straight forward, with them doing an impression of Bowie that if you had it in the background at a party you might not realize that you weren't listening to the original.

Which brought up a couple old questions for me - questions that pop up whenever I hear a cover: "If you aren't going to add something 'uniquely you' to it - why are you covering the song?" and more importantly, because sometimes the answer to #1 is "I felt like it"... "why are you recording it and putting it out there"?

Because every time you put something out there into the world, you are saying "This is worth your time to check out".

Even if you don't consciously say those words, that's the implication - you think this work is worth someone else's rapidly decreasing time on this planet.

It's not just true of cover songs, but original ones - or anything you create, including LJ Idol entries. ;)

(You knew I was going to bring this thing around!!)

I've banged the "this should be uniquely YOU" gong enough, but I'll add to it that you need to be aware that you are asking for someone else's time - and make sure whatever you are putting out there into the world is worthy of that very high bar.

I think it is. Or at least it can be. After all - what is a "vote" if not a way of saying "this was worth not only my time to read, but to come back here and click a box saying 'yes, I liked this thing you did. It was worth my time - I want to see more of it.'?


This week's topic thread is: http://therealljidol.livejournal.com/884842.html where people are currently posting. Check them out as they come in!


Reminder: All team changes need to be in to me at clauderainsrm@gmail.com by 8pm EST tonight. So if you want to change up your existing group or create a new one (and I definitely am trying to encourage the latter!) send me an email with your information!


( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 21st, 2016 01:58 pm (UTC)
Jan. 21st, 2016 03:22 pm (UTC)
Jan. 21st, 2016 04:01 pm (UTC)
Just having this EXACT conversation with a friend. And yes, it's a major aspect of writing (All art really, but very immediately with the craft of writing in which the artist is asking complete attention from the reader. Of course this is applies to art in the larger conversational scope of art/viewer but is particularly apt with writing because written words cannot be appreciated or experienced in a second-hand manner.) which should be considered. And sometimes is not. Asking a reader to take the time and effort required to read your work, whether it's 500 words or 55,000 words, is a responsibility. On you, the writer. Don't waste people's time is a strong motivator for producing work that is worth the time you're requesting.

Sure, there are writers who say they only write for themselves. And that's fine. But if that's the premise, then it must follow that the work not be shared.

It could be argued that Idol is a safe place in which writers can step into the experience of sharing their work. It is a necessary step for 99% of all writers. And that is fine! But in no way negates that the writer bears the responsibility for making the reading worth the effort.
Jan. 21st, 2016 08:40 pm (UTC)
I'd *never* argue that Idol is a "safe place"- for anyone!

It's a dangerous place!
Jan. 21st, 2016 04:45 pm (UTC)
^^^Agreed on the above! Which leaves me a perfect moment to ask for a beta please? I'm sure I've abused comma's and made a muddle of punctuation as usual! (Laughing... or am I?) I'd like to place my entry before the ' big snow' hits. We're right on the coast of southern New Jersey (7 mi. N of Atlantic City) and winds are expected to reach 60mi an hour, it won't be a matter of if the power goes out- but when!
Just inbox me! Thank you...

(Leaves cookies (cough -bribe- cough) for everyone)
Jan. 21st, 2016 05:38 pm (UTC)
Well now that I'm an Idol zombie contestant, I've kicked into go big or go home mode, as my entry this week should show. Not only that, this is the most fun I've had writing one in a long time, so I guess that means something too
Jan. 21st, 2016 09:50 pm (UTC)
Off topic question! Is "all of the ignorance none of the manners" from something? my google searching yielded nothing. I am just curious if it's simply a phrase someone submitted or if it's from a movie or song or something. Thanks!
Jan. 22nd, 2016 04:02 am (UTC)
I went back to the original email with that topic and there are no clues that I could see from that or the other possible topics listed as to a specific origin.

Based on the others, it seems to be just a random phrase.
Jan. 22nd, 2016 10:08 am (UTC)
Ok cool, thanks so much for checking! Weirdly enough, the other 3 did yield some interesting search results when I stuck 'em in Google. That was the only one drawing nothing, really. But good to know I'm not missing some well-known reference of some kind. ;)
Jan. 21st, 2016 09:58 pm (UTC)
And my on topic response... :)

This is a great point about: why put something out there if not for other's consumption and are people careful with what they put out there? That's how I feel about facebook status updates. Sometimes they're complete vaguebooking, and sometimes it's complaints. And sure I want to hear about someone's day or where they're at, and of course people should post whatever they want to. (I can and do utilize the "hide" button, or "unsubscribe" or whatever it is these days if someone starts doing an epic string of these..) But I personally don't like to post unless it's somewhat meaningful, because I don't want to put something out there that will just irritate people or be uninteresting. They're reading for a few minutes, might as well be worth it. Maybe that's the writer in me - over-writing/over-thinking even fb status updates. I like the reminder of this, though, because there are times I just spew my angst into my LJ and yeah, if people are going to be taking the time to read it, it can affect their day/mood too. Not that we need to censor ourselves, it's just... interesting to ponder!

For what it's worth, I really enjoy the time I've been spending reading others' entries when it comes to this competition, so thanks to all the players for filling my time with your words, it's awesome, and a fun ride, for sure. :)
Jan. 22nd, 2016 01:25 am (UTC)
Speaking as someone who was in a cover band for a while - you might give it your own little flourishes, but honestly it's a celebration of what made the original great. And maybe an audience will pay to see you, and maybe they won't, but if they smile and nod and share in that joy, then the mission was accomplished.

I suppose, in its way, it's similar to writing fan-fiction. It wasn't your universe, no matter what sort of spin you put on it. You're running with something previously crafted. And it's right and proper to celebrate that joie d'art.

Of course, you could just do it to mess with people. (Like a certain metal band that breaks out into the Commodores or Boz Scaggs mid-song sometimes.) Why do the same thing over and over? Why not keep them guessing, and have fun while you're at it? It may not be for everyone, but a few people will smile and nod along. And maybe that's enough.

... which is, I guess, as close to a formal summary of my Idol ethos as I can manage.
Jan. 22nd, 2016 03:58 am (UTC)
"peaking as someone who was in a cover band for a while - you might give it your own little flourishes, but honestly it's a celebration of what made the original great. And maybe an audience will pay to see you, and maybe they won't, but if they smile and nod and share in that joy, then the mission was accomplished."

I definitely see that. To play at a gig.

But to record?

That takes it to a different level, and it just seems weird (to me) to not really add anything to it other than different people playing.

I definitely had a run of a "fanfic career", and while I started close to the source material, there were always twists that I threw in to upset the status quo of the shared continuity universes that I operated in. Mostly for my own enjoyment. :)
Jan. 22nd, 2016 03:07 pm (UTC)
True. I can see slipping an occasional cover in, but the cover-album is just above the Christmas album for "I'm not sure why this is happening" products. It's usually the "We need to get out of this contract" album.

But yeah, cover songs and fan fiction do seem to me like the equivalent of inking comics, some days. If you're doing them as close to original intent as possible, you're (to reference Chasing Amy) just a tracer. (It takes skill, but you're still following in someone else's footsteps.)
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )


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