don’t blog for no suits

Another Monday done gone, workin’ for the man.

If you’ve been reading me for a while, you know that I talk a lot about my work without really talking about where I work or what exactly I do. That’s not gonna change, but I did want to talk about a fairly recent development at “my work” that has caused me to think. At “my work,” the corporate intranet this year added a dedicated space for employee blogging. Much like offers subsites that come preinstalled with the WordPress blogging backend – our corporate blogging area has it’s own custom backend and offers a working blog to any employee who wants to write. Everyone at “my work” can read these company-sanctioned blogs, and from what I can tell – there are no boundaries on content other than the standard stuff like no porn, etc. Meaning, these company-resource-supported blogs don’t force employee bloggers to write about company stuff. In fact, upon browsing many of the employee blogs I’ve noticed the posts are often just as banal and random as my own.

This is where I get to thinking. These blogs are hardly anonymous. Not only do they contain the employee blogger’s name, but the time and date of the posting. Every comment is also timestamped and tagged with the commenter’s name. I browsed these blogs a bit today and found ruminations on clogged gym shower drains, commentary on articles seen on Fark and BoingBoing, and all other sorts of non-workish type content. Not only that, there were employee comments on the stories, and comments and stories alike contained links to non-corporate-intranet URLs. This corporate blogging thing is definitely not for me. Not just because a lot of my content is “gauche” at best, but moreso because I’d worry these employee blogs could be used as accurate records of company time wasted. Why tell everyone you work with that, at 3:23pm on Monday, you were typing about the nice sunny weather rather than whatever the hell you’re actually being paid to do at 3:23pm on Mondays.

I’ll stick to my external blog, thank you. With full knowledge that it’s out there on the internets for anyone to read – but also a guarded tongue at work as far as publicizing it goes. I don’t need the man breathin’ down my neck trying force some “rules” on my blogging. I don’t blog for no suits…

Folks, I have to say I was worried. About what? Why, about this new Thom Yorke album. Yes, I was worried. When I downloaded it, and had run through it once on the iPod, I was worried that I’d be underwhelmed with it. My first impression what that it started and ended strong, but got all blurry and drug-out through the middle bits. Alas, a couple more casual listens didn’t do much to change that initial impression. Then, I got some focused one-on-one headphone time with the album, and things began to get clearer. Swirly keyboards and understated beats, Thom’s sing-song phrasing full of unexpected changes in timing and key… yeah this thing is good. I still think it’s strongest while opening and closing, but now the middle seems more supportive than weighing. It is worth mentioning though, that, in my opinion, this isn’t as good as what these tunes could’ve been would they have been collaborated on by Jonny, Phil, Ed, and Colin.

Anyway – I’m glad it leaked, and boy did it – nearly two months in advance. Following in the tradition of the last Radiohead albums, all of which have leaked considerably prior to street. XL, the label the album will be officially released on, had some interesting things to say about the leak at a recent Eraser listening party:

Given the nature of Radiohead’s audience, and the history of their albums leaking, it has generally happened a lot earlier. Any label at this point expects that an album is going to get leaked. It definitely happened earlier than we had anticipated. I think it [the listening party] would have had a lot more punch if it was truly the first time that anyone had listened to it, but my assumption is most people in the room last night had already heard the record.

Leaks are just a given now, I suppose. I’m not sure there’s a way anymore to not have an album leak prior to street. You can restrict access to the studio during mastering, but things will still have a tendency to fall into the janitors pocket; you can watch the mastering plant where you cut the discs, even the assembly line where you package them; you can even embed digital “fingerprints” into advance listening copies sent to journalists and media outlets – but nothing is gonna stop that thing from making it onto the ‘net before you can buy it in stores. I’d wager that, if there’s any amount of pre-sale interest in an album, that there’s close to a 100% chance a release group will beat the street.

In the midst of an abysmal “funk” at work, I begrudgingly do my work each day, suspended in some perpetual state of limbo while my project gasps and sputters the longest death rattle in recorded history. But, work is work. Lumbering, wounded project or healthy, shiny-new project… it’s what I do for a paycheck. I keep telling myself to just shut up and get done what needs to get done. That kind of tough-love motivation does work, but it doesn’t come close to replacing genuine enthusiasm.

Goodnight my friends.

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