The Late Movies: How Musicians Would Fix the Music Business

The music business is a baffling vending machine. Kick it and yell, but it's not giving your dollar back. What's that squeaking noise and red blinking light? Do you smell smoke? If musicians were in charge, could they get the danged thing fixed? Let's ask them...

Remember that cute little song called "Happy Together"? Vocal duo Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman from The Turtles explain how to write a hit song, and how to be in debt for it.

We're not off to a good start. Let's ask Moby, who might tell us why "The demise of the record business is one of the best things that's ever happened to music."

Or maybe the opposite is true. Could it be that the music business actually lacks the entrepreneurial spirit? Frank Zappa thinks so.

Rick Derringer (the guy who discovered Weird Al) claims that the music business doesn't exist anymore:

Some say musicians are disposable. Why? Billy Corgan of Smashing Pumpkins suggests that it's because the "career arc" of a musician is only 3-5 years, while that of a manager, lawyer, or label executive is 30 years.

Rob Wright of the self-sustaining Nomeansno doesn't care. He says Sony, Polydor, and EMI should go back to making car parts.

Dave Grohl from Foo Fighters is frustrated because the model of radio he owns doesn't accept anything but nickels:

But what do they know? Anyone who has actually worked in the business knows it's all John's fault:


A Very Brief History of Chamber Pots

Some of the oldest chamber pots found by archeologists have been discovered in ancient Greece, but portable toilets have come a long way since then. Whether referred to as "the Jordan" (possibly a reference to the river), "Oliver's Skull" (maybe a nod to Oliver Cromwell's perambulating cranium), or "the Looking Glass" (because doctors would examine urine for diagnosis), they were an essential fact of life in houses and on the road for centuries. In this video from the Wellcome Collection, Visitor Experience Assistant Rob Bidder discusses two 19th century chamber pots in the museum while offering a brief survey of the use of chamber pots in Britain (including why they were particularly useful in wartime).

A Tour of the New York Academy of Medicine's Rare Book Room

The Rare Book Room at the New York Academy of Medicine documents the evolution of our medical knowledge. Its books and artifacts are as bizarre as they are fascinating. Read more here.


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