Van Morrison’s folly

The show of course has been over for days, but the issues here will probably persist for some time.

A recent post to the Houston Press Rocks Off blog details Van Morrison’s rather unusually conditioned visit to the greater Houston area (Mitchell Pavillion in The Woodlands). While it is Van’s right to attach as much fine print to his performances as his heart allows, I feel it equally my right (if not my duty) to expose the flaws in his logic.

Point number one:

Rocks Off was informed earlier today that “The Man” is not allowing reviewers or photographers at his shows unless he is in an especially good mood, and let’s just say we’re less than hopeful about that.

This is just crazy. A performer with any confidence in his or her talent should take no issue of this sort with either reviewers or photographers. Are they going to run every ticket holder’s name through the major Web search engines and have everyone sign declarations under penalty of perjury that they will not blog about the show?

Point number two:

A couple of hours ago now, one Van Morrison ticketholder forwarded Rocks Off an email she and other subscribers got in an email blast from the Pavilion with a list of dos and don’ts for Saturday night’s show. Then she posted it on the Internet, releasing it into the public domain.

Besides the stuff that we already knew, like that Morrison will go on at 8 p.m. sharp with no opener, among the other “unique items” the Pavilion informed ticketholders about Saturday’s show is that no “alcohol-related beverages” will be served during Morrison’s performance. The Pavilion will suspend alcohol sales at 7:50 p.m., the same time that Morrison has “requested” that all ticketholders be in their seats.

Translation: “Thank you, Mitchell Pavillion, for letting me, the Great Overlord Van Morrison, perform here. I plan to start my world dom-, er, performance, at 8 o’clock post meridien by official Great Overlord local time, and nobody should be buying beer while I take over the w-, I mean, perform, as that’s a luxury reserved only for Great Overlords like myself. And you mortals need to be in your seats 10 minutes early, because that’s how Great Overlords like myself roll.”

Sheesh. I mean, I admit it, I have a bit of an ego. Humility never came naturally to me and I have always felt like being truly humble was not being myself. But there’s having an ego, and then there’s REALLY HAVING AN EGO. And from the looks of these requests, Van Morrison REALLY HAS AN EGO. Honestly, this is not only needless egotism, but this turns me off to Van Morrison as a fan. It’s enough of an ego to make stars like Madonna look humble, and that’s a lot. I’m not easily offended by ego, but this egregious display of ego does offend me a bit.

So, my dear readers, I ask you: Did anyone go to this show? Does anyone know why he made these bizarre, egotistical requests? Is this something he did only for Houston/The Woodlands? Because the offensiveness of this is eclipsed only by its mysteriousness.

The RIAA: the true pirates

It totally amazes me what the RIAA is doing in attempts to retain a clearly outdated business model.

Electronista reports on one of the RIAA’s infamous lawsuits. The interesting thing about this lawsuit? The defendant did not even have a computer!

Combined with the absolutely absurd verdict against Jammie Thomas-Rasset, it makes me wonder what we have come to. And yet the RIAA, like the rest of the copyright lobby, still uses the loaded word “piracy” to describe sharing. And in light of what the RIAA is doing, the hypocrisy is glaring.

Robbing someone for $1.92 million for sharing music? That’s the kind of money pirates take home after boarding and looting a ship. Fleecing the musicians who work their tails off by paying them pocket change for a $15-20 album sale? The RIAA executives should don the eye-patch and a parrot, and fly the skull and crossbones in front of their offices.

The RIAA has a lot more in common with crimes on the high seas than anyone sharing music with friends, or even with random people. This is why the FSF recommends avoiding use of the term “piracy” to describe copyright infringement, and rightfully so.

I think it is unfortunate that those who are against the current copyright establishment have chosen to associate themselves with criminals of the high seas, even glamorizing them.

(Yes, it’s robbery even if one uses the courts to do it.)