Drowning in Content?

I sometimes feel that I am drowning in content.

It is not that I am overwhelmed. Rather it is that I never do not feel rushed and harried in the attempt to digest it all.

There is Theology. That started in about 1980. I began with a single volume, The E.A. Speiser “Genesis” in the Anchor Bible series. When I was studying Theology, I needed to have everything at hand. When one scholar was being contentious about something written by a peer, I needed to have the other’s work so that I could get right to it to see what he or she was writing about. So, I built up my own library, at significant expense. That library covers a complete wall. My booklist runs some 15 pages single spaced in a #10 font.

There is music. 160 gigs of music. Classical, Rock, Jazz. I have so much music I could never listen to all of it. And, I am still acquiring music, every week if not every day.

Video. Lots and lots of video. Five videos on Bob Dylan; Jazz concert videos; the Qatsi Trilogy; Rock videos; several on Leonard Bernstein, including two from the 1989 Freedom Concert in East Berlin; two Paul Simon concerts; the Ken Burns “Jazz” series for PBS, which I do not even like. A particular Sarah Brightman video, “Symphony”, made in a spectaular cathedral in Vienna; Michael Cretu’s “Enigma: MCMXC a.D.”; The Traveling Wilburys, about whom I learned from Tom Petty at “The Concert for George”, which followed George Harrison’s “Concert For Bangladesh”. Of these last three I never tire.

I have a whole bunch of really cool videos that I made from the Nova series on PBS. I have a whole bunch of Charlie Rose pieces. I do, in fact, pull some of these pieces out from time to time and visit them for a second, third, or fourth time.

Radio Series: Many many downloads of “New Sounds”, “Sound Check” and “Speaking of Faith” programs. All of Philip Blackburn’s interviews of composers and musicians for “Measure for Measure” and “Alive and Composing” from Innova.mu. The whole “American Mavericks” series, thirteen radio episodes and all of the recorded interviews. 70? 75? The MTT files; about 40 “Jazz Profiles” from NPR. Both of Steve Rowland’s radio documentary series, the “Miles Davis Radio Project” and “Tell Me How Long ‘Trane’s Been Gone”, and his documentary “Leonard Bernstein: An American Life”; The WNYC series on John Cage. All of it.

All of this is saved, copied, or ripped , the music in .mp3, the video in .mp4, It is kept on three massive hard drives. A revolving portion is synced to two 120gig Zunes.

Text: Kyle Gann’s thirteen essays and all of the text interviews from “American Mavericks”, put into one file and built into a book, complete with a Table of Contents, chapters and pagination; The Frontline productions “From Jesus to Christ” and “Apocalypse”, all of the .html texts saved out from the web sites and built into books, again, with a Table of Contents, chapters, and pagination.

I have felt that if I wanted to know that content which I valued was available to me, it was in my control. Long after this started, Minnesota Public Radio confirmed my feeling by removing certain music files from the American Mavericks web site. No problem, I had recorded them.

I want the Robert McNeil production “The Story of English”. I want the American Masters piece on Ahmet Ertegun. I want the piece on Frank Gehry. I have none of them and am constantly looking for them. When is the last time that any of them were aired on any PBS channel? A fellow at WNET told me that they no longer even have the rights to “The Story of English”. I do have the complete Joseph Campbell series “The Power of Myth”.

You get the idea? Content. Ideas. The precipitate or distillate of those aspects of our culture to which I am especially attuned. In then end, all of this stuff, or some of this stuff, television, music, text, can go missing. So, I feel the need for myself to possess it.

I see that the Philip Glass is not quite synced properly. So, I think that there are two more shots at WNET and one at WLIW. I will try to get them all and hope to get perfect copy.

So, what does this have to do with Public Radio? The serious music connection is obvious. It just puts the content available on Public Radio into a context.

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