Saturday, 6 July 2013

A bit crowded

Crowd-sourcing is a big thing at the moment.

Yesterday, the Egyptians crowd-sourced a new President.  I'm not too happy about that, but hey ho, they've probably done it better than the Syrians, or the Turks come to that.

I have mixed experience of crowd-sourcing myself.

My first experience was through the American web site Kickstarter.  Essentially, you see someone's idea, cough up some money and then dadaaaa they go off and produce it.  In return you get the satisfaction of helping someone with a bright idea get off the ground, and you get something back.  It's not an investment...there's no profit to be made.  So the first thing I spent my hard-earned cash on was Revolights

They're a great idea...and I'm a great believer in cycle safety, and they seem to take it to a new level during the winter nights.  It was fun watching the project progress, and eventually after some months, my reward - a set of the lights were sent to me....they are now in full production.  If I remember rightly I put $200 in, which is quite a lot for a set of bicycle lights and a T-shirt...but I don't begrudge a single penny (cent) of it.  However, when they did arrive, I looked at the instruction book and realised that the fitting process was something that could only be done by an advanced brain surgeon.  So eighteen months later, they sit on a shelf in the garage, awaiting my retirement and medical qualification.

My second has been through the website Unbound which gives you the opportunity to support authors looking to achieve publication.  With my interest in street art, you won't be surprised that I pledged to get this book published.  Six month's later, it is still only 25% funded, so I'm beginning to think it may not come to fruition.  Shame...but feel free to be one of the 557 sponsors still needed.  It would make me happy.

I seem to be on a winning streak though now.  Also at Unbound I had the opportunity of helping out poor impoverished Jonathan Meades.  From a young age I have thought of him as a clever, witty and fascinating man, so this was of great interest to me.  Pidgin Snaps has more than met its targets, so alongside my copy, we will also go to the launch event (hope it's not in Marseille).  Perfect.

Foolishly, I missed out on crowd-funding one of my favourite musicians.  I have only been to see two artists twice in the same week.  The Foo Fighters with The Boy - once for an acoustic set in Victoria, and then in Hyde Park.  Lloyd Cole - once in Union Chapel Islington, and then in Brighton - with a somewhat surprised Cat's Mother.  Lloyd Cole may not be the force that he used to be, but musically he is as talented as ever, and for his most recent album he asked for funds to pay for the studio to record it in.  I hummed and I hahahahad, but eventually hesitated too long so didn't pay my money over.  Foolish me.  The new album, Standards, is now available, and it's a real hum dinger.  Well worth every penny.  In fact I would say one of his very finest...easily the equal of any of his Commotions albums.  My favourite track is Period Place which contains the lyric 'Concrete to the left of me, flowers to my right.  these were the best of times.'  Rightly or wrongly it sent me scurrying to check the lyrics of Stealers Wheel's 'Stuck in the Middle'...I'm sure there's a tribute there somewhere.  Anyway, enjoy the video...and then go and buy because this is brilliant stuff, and he seems a lovely man to boot.