Little Heroes by Norman Spinrad

The first time I saw a video of the band The Clash, I laughed out loud. “This is ‘punk’?” I said. “This is radical?” I don’t know if I thought, or said aloud, These guys wouldn’t know radical if it smashed their guitars. Give me Ornette Coleman any day.

I know the friend who was introducing their music to me was somewhat surprised, and took the time to explain to me why, in context, the band and their music was seen as radical. I still wasn’t feeling it, even after the explanation: it just made people in the 1970s look way more naive to me. Maybe after atonal jazz, nothing musical ever seems radical again — or maybe, it’s just that for me, no musical group could ever be radical unless their music was intensely radical too… and The Clash sounded like plain-vanilla rock music to me, at least then. They seemed, at least while performing, like they were trying so desperately hard to be cool and radical. It reminded me of teenagers on promenade at the mall; they were really big on convincing themselves and others of how radical they were, to me they looked kind of like every other rock band I’d ever seen. (Maybe a little more clean cut and uptight.)

Watching the video again, my impression hasn’t changed much. You can tell me I don’t get it; you can argue I’m not listening right; you can suggest that I’m not understanding the context. You can tell me I’m wrong, wrong, wrong. And I will probably say to you that it all depends not on the band, not on the music, but on the mythology of rock music, and how much you buy into it. If you think rock music is wild, you will see it there. If you don’t buy into the mythology, you’ll see working or middle class schmoes enacting a complicated game of dress-up and make-believe, one that mass numbers of people have joined in on because it entertained them.

Not that this invalidates the music, of course. It’s just that, with all the talk of authenticity, of radicalism, of wildness, well, something’s gonna give: either the mythology becomes unable to sustain itself, or it becomes a satirical piss-take of itself, or it gets enshrined to the point where what is “radical” is so predictable and done-by-rote that, well, the word loses all meaning.

Personally, I’m not one for the mythology of rock and roll… which is to say, despite the hostility I share with him against corporate power, corporate control of culture, and the greed we all see in the entertainment business, I can say pretty confidently that I just am not part of Norman Spinrad’s target audience for Little Heroes.

I don’t know much about Spinrad, beyond the controversy that exploded over his (poorly put, badly considered, and basically wrong article of a year and a half ago in Asimov’s). He was pinioned online, deservingly given some of the junk he spouted, and I hope it was a lesson to authors both young and old that, no, you don’t know everything about whatever random subject you choose for this month’s column, so do some bloody research once in a while — and think about what you’re proclaiming — before you hit Save and Send To…

I also haven’t read much of his work, though I loved his novel Greenhouse Summer when I read it many years ago. (Like, back-in-Canada-long-ago.)

But following my post the other day about the Korean music business and the industrialization of culture, I figured I’d pick up his SF book focused on the music industry and see what he’d imagined on the subject in 1987, a text called Little Heroes. I found a copy in Dharamshala in 2003, picked it up at a steal, and set it on my bookshelf… and then didn’t touch it until last Saturday. Probably one reason was the cover: while I agree one mustn’t judge a book by its cover, it’s hard not to do so with this book. As one blogger amusingly put it:

The first thing we must do is take a look at whats featured here: We have a tween boy (who looks very similar to Luke Skywalker) with some sort of oddly shaped acoustic guitar, A gold clad woman stretching seductively for no apparent reason other than to attract the Luke Skywalker impersonator (whom is much more interested in wooing the crowd with his weird guitar and Tron outfit), and a giant blue picture of David Bowie in the background. All 3 of which have lost at least 45% of their body and are flying though A space warp made out of a piano. The quote from some unknown critic and the note telling the reader that the author wrote another book called “bug jack baron” could be either good or bad…I was going to make fun of this book, but after I took the time to describe it, it actually sounds rather entertaining in a sort of “crappy sci-fi book” kind of way… (Cover rating: 7,Its pretty entertaining in loser kind of way)

There’s only one quibble I have with the description above, and that is that even in 1987, William Gibson was not “some unknown critic” but rather one of the biggest names in SF.

That aside, the blogger’s description of the awful cover is bang-on. No, really. See for yourself:

One of the worst SF book covers around. And that’s saying something.

But that says nothing of the book… or does it?

Actually, I’m sad to say the cover does kind of capture the book, in a number of ways. Not that it’s all bad. Spinrad was weirdly prescient about a few things, such as:

  • the death of rock’n’roll, and its fanbase greying: yeah, there are still rock bands, but rock music as a counterculture has morphed into rock music as corporate pseudoculture… if it ever was anything else. (See below on that last caveat.)
  • the way the music industry would work as tech developed: just like in the book, we really can take people who sing off-key and make them sound like a million dollars. Or, well, a few hundred thousand dollars.
  • the unsustainability of an upside-down pyramid economy; a society where everyone is working crap service jobs simply can’t sustain itself. No, really, it can’t. Who will pay their mortgages?
  • the triumph of the geeks: the biggest rock stars in the world in this novel end up being a fat, pimply teen girl, and the computer hacker nerd boy she is in love with.
  • the immersive “wires” everyone wears, while walking around and having sex and performing, and their effect on people’s identity and behaviour were interesting — more, to me, as a metaphor for how we interact with and enact our own media, but also as a kind of attempt to write AR technologies which are not likely to be too far away even now… and which we’re starting to glimpse on iPhones and the like. Spinrad can’t be faulted for missing the point (evident even in 1987 to those who were paying close attention — Neuromancer was published in 1984, hence the Gibson blurb on the cover) that computer networks would change everything; then again, the music industry didn’t grasp that until much later, and Spinrad’s book does come impressively close to the closest thing to P2P you could have without music distributed online — a rampant, computer-virus-loaded set of disks containing the music and the hacker software together.

That said, the book just did not work for me. I read about half of it, skimming the rest. There’s a lot of repetition, and not just of the didactocheesic song lyrics, and a number of other things that turned me off.

For one thing, Spinrad’s “transgressiveness” got on my nerves. I get it that Paco is a Puerto Rican immigrant street kid, and street kids aren’t so likely to be, you know, sensitive about racial language. But putting the word “nigger” into his mouth every time he talks to a black person just made me think that Norman Spinrad liked putting the word into a character’s mouth. Having him refer to women as “pussy,” likewise. There’s an amount of racism and misogyny I can understand in a character, but beyond that, it starts to sound like the author is reveling in it; trying to be transgressive. And you all know what Yoda said about trying.

I could probably complain more about other minor aspects of the book, but I’ll cut to the chase: I don’t buy the book’s intertwined theses about sex and drugs and rock and roll being all radical and liberative and all that.

Sex is sex, drugs are drugs (even synthetic, wire-type electronics-based drugs), and rock’n’roll is, as one of the characters puts it, just rock’n’roll. It wasn’t hard for me to suspend my disbelief about some form of rudimentary Altered Reality hardware/software being developed; it wasn’t hard for me to (sadly) imagine a world where the economy had crashed so hard that a number of women did end up having to resort to sexual barter, and where an artificial construct of a popstar could shift the national consciousness — hell, most of the pop stars we have today are to some degree artificial constructs, and they do the same.

But Spinrad asked for too much: he asked me to believe that pop music (which rock has been since I can ever remember) could become part of an anarchist uprising; he asked me to believe that all the women selling the bodies to get by in a hyper-corporatized world might actually be getting off on it (the way he seemed to be imagining such a world), but that beyond that all lay the true revolutionary power of sex, waiting to be retapped by virtual drugs and rock’n’roll.

And that was just too much for me to buy, I’m afraid. I can understand someone may arguing that in the 1970s, or the 1960s; I can get that people believed it in those days, or earlier.

But where we stand now, it comes off as about as juvenile and bizarre as the worldview of Holden Caulfield. When I hear someone praise drugs as the way to liberation, I think of that very sad postscript to Philip K. Dick’s A Scanner Darkly; when I hear someone talk about the wild liberality of “free love” in the hippie era, I think of all the accounts of coercion that women who lived in communes and hippie communities have told us about — if only we would listen — and how such radical groups very often simply reenacted all kinds of sexual coercion and unfreedom.

And as for rock’n’roll and the mythology of rock, well, I’m afraid that the parallel with SF is too tantalizing to miss; practitioners and proponents of both alike seem to exult in proclaiming the raw, radical political force of which they believe works in each genre are capable. But it seems to me that, the more self-triumphant one gets about rock, or about SF, and its radical potential, its raw, sheer political force, and so on… the more one proclaims all this, the hollower the claims echo.

If Spinrad had set out to satirize these three mythologies — to make fun of the idea that drugs and rock and casual sex were a conduit to magical creativity and political radicalism, and of course to each other — then this would have been a much more readable book. But instead, the pseudo-drugs created by technology (the wire) magically make sex amazingly better, and make amazing music something that kids and second-rate retirees can summon out of thin air and hopeless dreams; the wire creates celebrity, and celebrity (especially sexual celebrity) is all that is really necessary for a radical challenge to the system. Spinrad does send up the suits effectively, but he doesn’t send up the rockers, or at least not anywhere near as viciously as this silly mythology deserves.

The satirist took sides, believed in something silly, and that makes it impossible to take anything in the book too much to heart. I’m afraid that the mythology of rock needs puncturing as badly as the purveyors of corporate music do… if not more desperately still.

So then why did I finish it? I’m not sure. As I said, I skimmed a lot of the book. Perhaps because I wanted to know why some people loved it so much? Perhaps I was hoping Spinrad would turn around and kick the crap out of the rock mythology he was touting? If that was my hope, it was one that was never fulfilled. Sadly, I reached the end and sort of shrugged.

And yet, I have more of his books on my shelf, and I will give them a try, probably sooner than later. (Proobably starting with Deus X, which was the next book of his I found on my shelf.) I get the sense the book has aged badly, but I can also tell (and remember from Greenhouse Summer) that what he wanted to, the man could write. Little Heroes feels more like a (protracted) misstep than a keep-away sign. I just hope he wasn’t trying so hard in his other books.

16 thoughts on “Little Heroes by Norman Spinrad

  1. Remember that the word “punk” meant uneducated, unskilled, and stepping above their place. The punks weren’t trying to be Ornette Coleman, or John Cage, or even the Beatles. Their music was simplistic and it wasn’t meant to be anything else. It was their message (political or sociological) that was meant to be radical.

  2. Matt,

    Yeah, I get it that it was supposed to be radical. It’s just that when you know what they’re doing musically is so utterly and manifestly un-radical, it kind of undermines your sense of the radicalness of the message.

    (I suppose it’d be a bit like seeing people who are preaching a radical anti-authoritarian message, all the while dressing in suit-and-tie or pencil skirts and blouses. It’s a distracting enough self-contradiction to jeopardize the message.)

    Not sure how they could resolve that… but yeah, surely they weren’t trying to be Coleman, Cage, or even the Beatles. But… I wonder if there actually is a musical form that would inherently, rather than just situationally, suit the punk message inherently.

    (Situationally since they just stripped down a version of mainstream rock and played that. Had the punks appeared in a world dominated by Chinese music, I imagine they’d have been shouting out stuff in a stripped-down version of that style.)

    I dunno… I kind have trouble imagining any form of music that really fits the punk message. Maybe I don’t know the punk message well enough.

    In any case, I’m aware my own reaction is unusual. Not many people would say, “But this is patently tonal, 4/4, popular song-form stuff! It can’t be radical!”

    (And I think a lot of people find the mythology of rock music, or of sex-drugs-rock’n’roll, comforting or something.)

  3. I bought that book in hardcover when it first came out, and I remember enjoying the book quite a bit. (I was also reading through a lot of Spinrad at the time. I also thought that the book was a satire in the Sheckley vein, spoofing Heinlein-type storyline and characters (in a way that Heinlein probably would not have liked at all) (Think of Glorianna as Lazarus Long). Or maybe it was just that I read the book in my early 20s and I may have a different reaction reading it now.
    “Deus X” is OK, but check out “Bug Jack Barron” and “The Void Captain’s Tale.”

  4. Ha, funny… I’m finding Deus X much more to my liking than Little Heroes… it’s more like Greenhouse Summer, the first Spinrad book I read (and rather liked). I did wonder if he was trying for satire, but the things he failed to pinion (which I wanted him to attack) were so many that I finally shrugged and said, “I’m not the audience for this book.”

    I may just have a chip on my shoulder regarding rock-triumphalism. While there are some “rock” groups I can enjoy, overall I think of rock music generally the way I think of both the First and Second Viennese schools of composition — as fundamental wrong-turns, devastating to culture and probably impossible to recover from without centuries of time. (Regardless of how much I like Webern and certain bits of Beethoven, I think their respective cohorts and imitators did far more damage than good.)

    I will look for those other books when I’m somewhere they are likely to turn up. I have others on hand now — Russian Spring and Agent of Chaos and finally The Iron Dream — the latter one of which I’ve long planned to read. Lots of people recommend the two you mentioned, but that may also be why I never see them on any used bookstore shelves, here or elsewhere…

    1. Which sounds to me like a fanciful, celebratory way of saying they weren’t interested in becoming competent musicians. Like, oh, so they were lazy?

      Maybe I’m missing the point (that given a scene split between prog-rock and metal, they wanted some simpler, third alternative — was it really split that way, though?) but in my experience, when people try to skip the “hard work” part, their proficiency usually remains so crappy that they rarely produce anything of lasting value, whether in music, the arts, culinary work, literature, business, or whatever.

      (Note I said rarely, not never. I get some of the political and rebellious stuff; The Sex Pistols’ mockery of the British monarchy, for example, which doesn’t require chord substitutions to be effective. But in the end, it seems to me the musical equivalent of vaporware at the cultural level: a nascent something that turns out not to have been something at all. The world shrugs and moves on.)

      While a too-arcane set of barriers is not desirable, saying, “I suck because I reject competency, it’s tiresome to have to work to develop a skill,” is the kind of crap I hear from, for example, stgudents who want an A+ for showing up though they don’t do homework or revise a bloody thing they’ve written; and the popularity of this kind of attitude in North America suggests it is tied to why we Westerner are increasingly sucking at a lot of important things we need if we’re to keep our civilization (and our biosphere) afloat.

  5. To go back to an earlier comment, the message in a lot of punk rock (not the Clash specifically) was more or less “fuck off and leave us kids alone”. Or, to put it less crudely, “we don’t have to play by your rules.”

    If you want to say “I won’t respect your message if you don’t play music by my rules,” nobody can stop you having that opinion; but your p.o.v. is so cross-wise from the punk rock one that there’s really no basis for a conversation. You both want to talk (or proclaim), but neither would be willing to listen to the other.

    In the classroom, you have the authority to tell your students what they must do to receive a certain grade. But in the cultural milieu, if you refuse to communicate with a group because you disagree with their aesthetic, then you’ve become the “establishment”, trying to impose an authority you don’t really have, and you’re not going to get anywhere in a conversation with the punks.

  6. Matt,

    First: It seems from your response here that I have really annoyed you. Remember, I’m talking about my subjective viewpoint. When I said I’m not part of Spinrad’s audience, and that the mythology of rock music does nothing for me, I pretty clearly also noted that I’m in the minority.

    This is an interesting thing: when one likes unpopular things (especially difficult or challenging things), and prefers them, and dares occasionally to say so in public, one is often called things like “elitist” or “snob.”

    One needn’t even engage in comparisons (“Ornette Coleman is ten times more musical than everyone in punk rock combined”) to get called that sort of thing. I’ve been called a snob (or had it implied) plenty of times just for putting on a piece of music, or mentioning a composer or musician I liked.

    People have been leveling that sort of charge at me for ages, simply for liking things they don’t like or don’t understand, and for not liking the same things they liked. It’s kind of frustrating, but I try to remember that such reactions are as much (if not more) about the other person’s feelings as about whatever I’ve said…

    Second: in the classroom, I actually tend to work with my students in establishing the criteria for success for a given course. Yes, I have to decide on the way grading is to be carried out, but I work with them in establishing major assignments that suit their collective goals and needs, and I give them a role in evaluations. I’m not the fascist you might imagine, not even if some of the music I like was also music loved by fascistic idiots.

    Third: The “establishment”? I’m sorry, but I laughed aloud when I read that. I don’t see how I’ve become “establishment” at all. I have my own taste and opinions, and I expressed them. I have listened to punk rock, and have not been impressed. I have listened even to the lyrics and shrugged.

    You might think I “don’t get it” but I actually do: the message just doesn’t move me. I’ve even taught about punk rock in a classroom setting once or twice. With readings from Greil Marcus’ Lipstick Traces: A Secret History of the Twentieth Century and listening assignments and so on, in the context of studying pop culture, the development of popular music, and tracing the thread of anti-establishment movements in pop culture.

    But on reflection, the punk message —

    “fuck off and leave us kids alone”. Or, to put it less crudely, “we don’t have to play by your rules”…

    just isn’t particularly compelling to me. I’d say it’s much more symptomatic of social problems in Western teen life than anything. Those problems are real, of course, but the “rebellion” that is offered by pop culture as the preferred form of resistance really baffled me even as a teenager.

    I’d get into arguments with adults, and they’d perceive my questioning of assertions as rebellion, but I wasn’t rebelling. I was actually trying to communicate and understand and also to express my own viewpoint with adults who were bound and determined to see every sign of dissent as “teen rebellion.”

    (In fact, that was for the most crazy-making part of being a teenager: very irrational adults constantly characterizing everything we did as if it were teen rebellion, or following “bad examples” of “role models” or succumbing to “peer pressure” — as if adults were free from this kind of thing, and as if kids were incapable of making decisions, having opinions, and having responses to the system they were trapped in. It’s like proclaiming you’re atheist, and thereafter being called an extremist by members of the Westboro Baptist Church or something — the adult pots are as black as the young kettles, but they never seem to realize it.)

    So I find it pretty amusing to be told I’m “refusing to communicate with” people whose message is “fuck off and leave us alone.” I think there are much more constructive ways of breaking the stranglehold on the lives of young people (And the world) that adults and their institutions have established… especially since “teen rebellion” itself is used as a justification for how those institutions treat young people.

    So to me, pushing “rebellion” to its extremes and then slathering it onto mediocre music doesn’t do much for the message, nor does it support the arguments implicit in the message as far as I’m concerned.

    In other words, it’s not that I don’t understand, it’s that I do understand and am unimpressed despite a shared antipathy to a lot of the institutions, attitudes, structures, and norms that these people professed to reject or hate.

    In any case, since I cannot communicate with them directly, I assume you mean I ought to “respect” their for their views, or, rather, I ought to express pious respect for the sake of people who happen to think they’re significant artists. Why I ought to do that, I have no idea. (I happen not to care for The Wheel of Time also; should I pretend I do, for the sake of Robert Jordan fans?)

    Finally: is your website down? I tried to visit it and got an error message. Not the first one today, though, and I’m puzzled. I also couldn’t access either of the proxies I occasionally try to check these things…

    Oh, and actually finally: I’m happy to report that over halfway through Deus X, I find it a much more enjoyable book. I’m willing to consider that perhaps I missed some level of satire in Little Heroes; but I think there are reasons for that, and one of them is that the book really, seriously needed a merciless edit… or one more merciless edit than it got.

  7. Gord,

    I don’t think I called you a snob. I have Ornette Coleman in regular rotation on my mp3 player myself, though I admit that it stretches my musical skills just listening to him.

    I’m basically just trying to point out that your position (or feeling), “no musical group could ever be radical unless their music was intensely radical too” can lead you to ignore people you might actually want to listen to. And that between the punk aesthetic, and your position, there’s really no basis for communication.

    I don’t think you should be piously respectful of people you disagree with (And the punks certainly wouldn’t have wanted you to). But if you’re going to engage in a kind of cultural debate, say by writing blog posts about something, you should at least try to find enough common ground to enable communication; otherwise you may as well shout into a hole in the ground.

    In your latest comment you made it clear that

    it’s not that I don’t understand, it’s that I do understand and am unimpressed despite a shared antipathy to a lot of the institutions, attitudes, structures, and norms that these people professed to reject or hate.

    But in your initial post you dismiss their social/political message because you don’t think their music is sophisticated enough. (you said not “radical” enough, but that leads to another argument about whether it make sense to try to define what’s radical. The punks were trying to be radically simple, not radically complex — can you really say that one direction is truly radical and the other isn’t?) That dismissal might have come from a gut feeling rather than rigorous intellectual consideration, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t step back and examine whether its a fair argument. Which obviously you have, but it wasn’t expressed in your post.

    As for Norman Spinrad, I haven’t got much to say about that since the only thing of his I’ve read is Bug Jack Barron, which I thought was more an interesting cultural artifact than a really enjoyable read.

    The website is up as far as I can tell, but its not really worth visiting since I haven’t posted in 9 months or so. You can see my review of Barron here.

  8. And yes, I was intentionally pointing out the irony in your position when I connected you to the “establishment” (really the hippies’ bugaboo, not the punks’) after you’ve written so much about the frustrations of dealing with the Korean authorities.

  9. Matt,

    I’m glad you seem to have taken my words in the spirit they were intended, and not how they look as I just gave them another glance.

    You didn’t call me a snob, you’re right. (And seriously, Ornette stretches everyone’s musical skills.) I suspect I was arguing with other people from other times there. Sorry.

    I was thinking about your comment on the way home from the gym and recalling that, in fact,

    “fuck off and leave us kids alone”. Or, to put it less crudely, “we don’t have to play by your rules”

    … pretty much characterizes what young Bird and Diz, or young (and older) Miles Davis, and to some extent most other jazz musicians who were radicals in their time, also seemed to be expressing. While bebop sounds and feels classic to us now, when it was new, many (if not most) established musicians reviled it.

    Your point about different kinds of radicality is well taken; for example, Erik Satie was likewise radical, at times because of his simplicity and the implicit repudiation of (to him) turgid German-styled late Romanticism. (And Debussy was influenced by that, though I don’t think of his music as exactly “simple”.) However, as a musician I think that music that is radically simple and also memorable, powerful, etc. is also very difficult to produce.

    But it may well be that I simply don’t connect with that kind of music in such a way emotionally as to feel motivated to look for whatever people actually like about it. I try, sometimes, to listen to music or read books people really seem to like, to see what makes their love of it tick, but it seems not to work all that well for me.

    Of course, my comment about punks is one thing. My dismissal of rock music generally is something I stand by despite having some rock music in my collection. I think it’s entertaining to listen to, or sets a mood I sometimes want; but I very rarely find music in that genre that I actually care about very deeply.

    Aesthetics is such a big part of this. For example, my girlfriend’s father is put out by the fact I make beer, and not wine, as wine is classier. (Despite the fact that his own go-to beverage is beer.) He has no grasp of how a good Belgian Tripel stands up to most of the half-assed wines available in the place he lives, and he won’t ever have one, not just because he doesn’t care to understand, but also because he’s just sort of wired (by experience, circumstance, and culture) to have a certain aesthetics about that stuff.

    I see your point about trying to communicate. I will have to think about it more. Anyway…

    Thanks for the link; I finished Spinrad’s Deus X today (much better than Little Heroes) and found it much better, but as you say, the repeated slang bits gets a bit wearing… something I noticed in both Little Heroes and in Deus X. Having just started The Iron Dream, I find it less present, but then, he’s speaking in Hitlerian blather, so… I can highly recommend Spinrad’s Greenhouse Summer, a book I really enjoyed when I read it.

    Why’d you stop reviewing books? Life just got in the way? I’ve also cut way back on blogging — it’s almost all brewing posts now…

  10. Think of punk as naive/primitive/outsider music. Technical ability is irrelevant in that aesthetic.
    I actually met Norman Spinrad at a con about thirty years ago and had a conversation about (I think) the deleterious effect of synthesisers on rock music. I can’t remember which side either of us was arguing.

  11. Gord,

    There’s maybe two reasons I slowed down (I won’t say “quit” yet) the blog: First because my job hit a spot where I was in front of a screen almost all day and I didn’t want to spend any more time at the computer when I got off work; second, because F&SF, which for my tastes is probably the strongest of the magazines and the one I most enjoyed reviewing, went to all double issues all the time and a review of that mag became just too much material to cram into a blog post and still enjoy the process.

  12. William,

    Hmmm. Sure you’re not simplifying “primitive” music? I’ve heard some mind-boggling polyrhythms in that kind of music that even trained musicians who spend their lives on music would struggle to replicate.

    As for not remembering who argued what, that’s funny!


    Ah, I see. Well, I hope you do get back to it eventually… I’ve found your reviews useful in the past. :)

  13. It depends on what metric you use to measure whatever good musicianship is. There are lots of videos on youtube of shredders playing ‘flight of the bumblebee’ at insane bpm.

    I showed my late father (a jazz fan) a youtube video of Tal Wilkenfeld and Jeff Beck playing live and he immediately recognised Wilkenfeld’s ability. Of Beck he asked ‘is that guy supposed to be good?’

    I said “he’s got great tone”.

  14. I agree with your late old man. (Condolences.)

    You’re right about “shredders”… funnily enough, I don’t know of a classical music term for those types but they certainly exist. In my books, one must actually make new significant music to be significant.

    Very few manage it. Art is really hard.

    But there is a joy to local live music that isn’t just an imitation of corporate crap, even when it isn’t world class… it’s very necessary, really. It just isn’t world class.

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