With notes this week on hippies, raconteurs, the M8 controversy, and a dead Russian.
Hippies · When you think about all the subcultures that have streamed by over the decades, mostly they come and go; but in each new young generation a certain small proportion, it seems, wants to be hippies. It’s no longer reasonable to be a beatnik or a punk of the old style, and I doubt that the goths or emos will make it much out of this decade, but the hippies seem to self-renew.
This was brought to mind when last week I visited friend & IETF colleague Paul Hoffman in his Santa Cruz digs; we went for a walk to the Farmers’ Market, which was pretty well Hippie Central. I particularly liked the T-shirt that said Keep Santa Cruz Weird. The food on sale looked scrumptious; I wanted to buy lots but I figured the Canada Customs people at the airport might have an issue. Here’s a picture of some salad pre-mix with edible flowers; all-organic of course.
The only big change over many decades since I was a hippie is that a certain proportion of them are now rastas as well, which is logical enough.
The Camera has No Clothes · For the best part of a year, the photo-geek community has been gathered in a circle gazing inward at the Leica M8; it’s insanely expensive, a rangefinder not a SLR, and acknowledged to be quirky. Oddly, serious reviews from serious publications have been thin. Suspicion is afoot that this because they don’t like saying nasty things about expensive flagship products. Well, Mike Johnston of The Online Photographer has done a medium-deep dive and wrote a two-parter Leica M8 Pro and Con: Pro and Leica M8 Pro and Con: Con. If you’re a camera geek, you probably want to read these.
My understanding of the Leica value proposition was a smallish, lightish, really fast-shooting camera with good optics. Which would suit my style just fine; none of the pictures I take that I like are planned. I’m beginning to think that one of the smaller DSLRs, equipped with a couple of the smaller lenses, like for example the teeny Pentax 40mm I just bought and perhaps its 21mm wide-ish angle companion are about the best support my photo-habit is going to get.
Raconteurs · I actually mean The Raconteurs, Jack White (of the White Stripes) collaborating with Brendan Benson and friends. I caught them playing a half-hour set on TV and was really knocked out; going to have to get their record. Well, maybe their rendition of Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down) was a little over the top; actually it was a lot over the top, but I’m not sure it 100% worked. But they played some nice ballad-y stuff and a crisply violent straight-ahead rocker and a completely deranged blues that kept veering between free jazz and Led Zep’s Since I’ve Been Loving You. Jack White makes his guitar do a lot of things and we disagree on whether some of them actually constitute music, but still, the song was really something special.