Category Archives: Worth noting

Successful branding

gbWhat music has stayed with you the longest?

The very first cassette tape I ever bought with my own money was Dire Straits, Brothers in Arms. It was 1984 and I was eight.

I can still remember sticking it in my ghetto blaster (yes, that was what we called them) for the very first time and sitting cross-legged on the grass, as Mark Knopfler demonstrated what it was to stroke a guitar.

29 years later, still listening.

How about you?

Addendum One: Here’s the reason I liked Dire Straits: the record industry told me to. This was 1984. Small-town Nebraska. Before Walmart, even, so I bought the tape in a Kmart. There was an independent record store in town, possibly two, but like my mom was going to let 8 year old me venture in amongst the stoners and metalheads to peruse Motorhead and the Doors outtakes. Also, I think I’d seen the Money For Nothing video – revolutionary at the time – at a friend’s house on MTV. I had certainly heard the song on the radio. I believe the local rock station was live with an actual DJ at the time but they still got their marching orders from corporate, and played what the people wanted to hear. Which was what the home office told them the people wanted to hear.

Talk about successful branding. Here I am, nearly three decades later, pimping the Dire Straits band on my own time, for free.

Addendum Two: I don’t care. Dire Straits are (were) a great fucking band. I prefer to think they used the music industry to get their music out. Rather than the other way round. Exhibit A,¬†as proof:

Addendum Three: In the pre-internet days, the music industry was the method by which great music was efficiently distributed to the hinterlands, i.e., where I lived. Some trucker hauled that tape 3000 miles from the tape factory to the Scottsbluff, Nebraska Kmart. So I could buy it with lawn-mowing money. Everyone wins, no?

*Historical note: Brothers in Arms, which I bought on tape, was the first CD to sell a million copies. Either the record industry is very persuasive, or that was a great record. Both?

How did we ever make it this far?

Consider the human child:

– 1 year to walk;
– 2 years to feed itself;
– 5-6 years to a modicum of self-sufficiency;
– 18 years to physical maturity;
– 25 years (a quarter century!) to full brain maturity;
– 65-80 years to emotional maturity (not guaranteed in all specimens – evidently we are not hardwired for this achievement)

Watching both my children grow, I am continually amazed that our species ever made it off the ancient African savanna, through the Ice Ages, &tc.

PICTURED: Nature making short work of a Homo sapiens with kung fu power.

Yet here we are, wreaking revenge on Mother Nature for millenna of abuse with SUVs, the Shanghai Fengpu Industrial Park powered by Wyoming coal, and babies. Lots and lots of babies.

I’m kind of interested in reading more fiction about prehistoric times, some good speculation on just how we managed to survive the caveman-and-club days. I know there are those Clan of the Cave Bear novels. Any others out there you’re aware of that take prehistory as their setting?

Hard livin’

We’re paying off a major debt this year and, as a consequence, living kind of hard. How hard, you ask? You know Great Value, WalMart’s knock-off generic brand? Well, we’ve discovered that Great Value has a knock-off generic brand: Clear Value.

Rough stuff, people, rough stuff. When you’re hoping the pancake taste drowns out the syrup, then you know you’ve entered serious territory.

Note, also, that like Keyser Soze, Clear Value has spent time in Skokie, Illinois.

Hard livin'

We’re paying off a major debt this year and, as a consequence, living kind of hard. How hard, you ask? You know Great Value, WalMart’s knock-off generic brand? Well, we’ve discovered that Great Value has a knock-off generic brand: Clear Value.

Rough stuff, people, rough stuff. When you’re hoping the pancake taste drowns out the syrup, then you know you’ve entered serious territory.

Note, also, that like Keyser Soze, Clear Value has spent time in Skokie, Illinois.