Thursday, December 31, 2009

I have spent a fair bit of my holidays playing ice hockey with kids. This is nothing unusual for me as I have two boys who love hockey and I too love the game. This year I have noticed something that got me thinking.

Every kid in a hockey game has a personality on the ice. They stand differently, move differently and pass and shoot the puck in their own unique way.

It reminds me of musicians and how we as listeners love to discover a fresh sounding, unique new artist. It doesn’t matter the style or instrument; whether it was Neil Young, Steve Coleman, Henry Threadgill, Chris Thile or Bela Fleck. All of these great artists had something special to offer the world.

There was a time (pre 1975?) where all you needed was a unique sound, a little talent and a little luck and voila; you had a career in music.

Those days are gone forever. There are so many people playing music, writing songs and trying to change the face of music that we are in a big fog. Only a select few, lucky (probably fairly rich) people will get their music heard by a large group of people nationally or internationally. Talent, or individuality in music is no longer enough.

Sadly, the same thing is true for hockey. All these kids that have dreams of playing in the NHL will have their dreams shattered when they find out that every city, big or small has thousands of kids that play hockey well. Even though they have that special move or amazing shot; “making it” is only a dream.

The good news is that our future still includes lots of great local café or house concerts and shinny hockey games with nothing more at stake than some good old fashioned fun.

Happy New Years

Sunday, December 27, 2009

So far the only really emotional Christmas moment I had was because of radio. Sure, I loved watching my kids open their presents and sing songs with us etc. but it was the Pogues on the CBC that made my eyes a little leaky.

I don’t even know the name of that Christmas song they sing but it certainly made me feel like I was fifteen again was in the kitchen chatting with my Mom. It seems like radio is everywhere this Christmas. My kids gave me a wind up radio that works without batteries. (Thanks guys, I always wanted one!) Even my son’s new ipod Nano has a radio built in to it. The Mac people finally figured out that we need radio. (as well as the new audio and video recording feature!)

As technology continues to change faster and faster the radio is something that stays constant. I have had some interesting email conversations with my friend Don lately about what is wrong with the CBC. (neither of us can understand why they have chosen a general sound or style to cover the majority of the airwaves) I am lucky to live in Toronto where we have a twenty four hour jazz radio station called Jazz FM and I still listen to the Leaf game on AM radio when they are not on my TV.

I have a number of friends who have radio shows and I know others that work behind the scenes. The thing that technology can’t replace that radio has like crazy is personality. Radio is all about people. Emotions are what make us people, and radio is a reflection of ourselves reminding us we are human.

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