So I finally got a Spotify account.

I’ve been spending ages asking everyone I know: where are people finding new music these days? What’s the place everyone goes to? Is it still radio – does radio mean anything anymore?

And the response has generally been: ‘well, for me it’s mostly Spotify’.

And I’ve said: yeah yeah, but apart from that. Apart from Spotify… I mean I know people use it. I know streaming is supposed to be the future of music, but is it really? Are people really using it, like they used to listen to CDs or vinyl? Is it really a substitute for actually owning the tracks? Isn’t it all messy and incoherent? Is the listening experience actually any good? Continue reading

This month’s Featured Modern Track is I Wish There Was A Pill.

A lot of time has passed since I wrote it. And, as with The Big Striptease, I occasionally wonder whether I still stand by what it says. With the latter, I feel I’ve changed. With the former, I feel perhaps the world has changed. I get the sense that in this country in the 10 years since the song was written there has been much more recognition of the importance of, and difficulty of, treating mental health issues.

I think I was frustrated with what seemed to me like a society that was only capable of dealing with depression with some form of pill. Dealing with a problem in the hardware rather than the software, so to speak. But over that decade I’ve really come to appreciate that the antidepressants that I name-check at the start of the song can literally mean the difference between life and death for millions of people who take them. For so many people it really is a hardware problem, and the purpose of the drugs is to allow those who take them to live a normal life, or something close to it, rather than some blissed out existence.

I wanted to make that point in its own blog post, because I think that the song could seem just like a glib dismissal of mental health problems far more severe than anything I’ve ever had to deal with.

Continue reading