John Walker's Electronic House

Rum Doings: Episode Five

by on Sep.23, 2009, under Rum Doings, The Rest

In Episode 5 of Rum Doings not under discussion is whether we should bring back conscription for unruly teens. More discussed are matters of repetition, the changing face of the cinemas, and we respond to a complaint regarding our being rude to Phil Collins. There’s chat about how a splendid friend of ours changed his mind about the ownership of music, and thoughts on the potential for democratising paying for media. We bring up another rule to join those from Episode Four, the No False Modesty Rule. Which leads naturally to the moral implications of teleporting clones. And the likelihood of coincidence. And of course cream teas. It’s probably safe to say that this is the first of the Rum Doings where the doings of rum played their part by the end.

The name of the film I couldn’t remember the name of is RIP, and you can get it here (so long as you’re in the right region!).

To subscribe to the podcast click here, or you can find it in iTunes here. To download it directly, right-click and save as here.

For a podcast put out there without any promotion we’re delighted by how many people are listening. However, we’d be more delighted if it were more. We’ve levelled off in numbers in the last couple, and we want to see it climbing each time – or at least, we reject false modesty and believe that’s what it merits. To help that happen, please let people know it exists. Please blog, tweet, IM, telephone, write and paint on cave walls about it. Spread the word and make us happy. Oh, and to aid that, by next week we should have a website for the podcast outside of my blog.


20 Comments for this entry

  • ChaosSmurf

    Oh God you sat through x seasons of Kes and weren’t even rewarded with the boobs of 7 of 9 by the end? I pity you John.

  • Matt

    If you had a box that said “I really like this, please make more” then I would tick it.

  • Ashish

    I completely agree with you about your anti false modesty stance. It is cloying and irritating to dismiss compliments in order to seem more humble or amateur at what you do. I’m interested as to whether Nick M has encountered this in other countries, because it appears to me to be culturally a very ‘English’ behaviour.

    Also, John mentioned in the last podcast that he was a fan of Busdriver, which makes me happy (I really enjoyed Roadkillovercoat). I was wondering whether you had tried Subtle. They incorporated elements of hip hop and ‘indie’ music to create something strange and unique. If you haven’t encountered them before I would start with their sci-fi organ donation single ‘The Mercury Craze’ on Spotify.

    I look forward to many future episodes of Rum Doings.


  • Mike Arthur

    I yet again feel the need to defend Phil Collins. You claim he gives confectionery to paedophiles. Quite the opposite, if you will recall he joined the “Nonce-sense” campaign against paedophiles.

    I feel it isn’t my fault I love his music. Blame my father who played his solo and Genesis stuff constantly in the car when I was growing up, meaning it hits the “pleasant nostalgia” part of my brain.

    In regards to musicians who are fairly groundbreaking, my bass teacher when I lived in London, Steve Lawson, has some really interesting stuff to say about this stuff. He’s at

  • John Walker

    Even if his music didn’t make me want to slit my own throat, sadly there are larger reasons to find him a repulsive human being. He is one of the major proponents of perpetual copyright, and demonstrates deeply unpleasant greed. He has been at the forefront of vile copyright campaigns, demolishing its very purpose and helping mutate it into the self-serving evil it has now become.

  • Pace

    Without trying to turn this into anything all shouty-like, I’d be interested to hear more about your indignation towards copyright. You guys both seem to agree on the matter and so nothing particularly informative nor persuasive was said. (and I’m not sure what I was supposed to get from that article you linked to John. (and it didn’t have much to say about Phil Collins either.))

    I tend to fall on the what I guess you could call pro-copyright side of these things. Not that I don’t think there should be limits to copyright, but it seems to me when people complain it usually seems rather baseless. But, I don’t know exactly what you guys were referring to. I’m not trying to be argumentative, but it’d be nice to hear some sort of discussion of this sort of thing outside of the wilderness of RPS piracy comment threads. (and no one’s been able to give me a decent argument in real life.)

    (and yeah that whole false modesty thing sounded rather foreign to me, it may just be an English thing.)

    (and I agree voyager was much better in later seasons, even Jerry Ryan leotard aside.)

  • John Walker

    We will do a whole episode of Rum Doings about copyright, explaining its history and original intentions (the opposite of what it now serves to do) and the demonstrable and effective alternatives. It will be excellent.

  • Mike Arthur

    @John: Eeek, that copyright stuff is a bit much. They don’t seem to really get the whole fact that stuff is _meant_ to go into the public domain eventually.

    There was a “sarcasm tag” that got lost on my comment unfortunately.

  • Ashish

    While I generally support the claim that recording companies have been greedy luddites about piracy; I think I agree with John Darnielle’s postition. That when you pay for an album, you aren’t just paying for the band’s effort, or a record exec’s drug habit. In fact you are also paying the wages of plenty of hardworking people involved with production, distribution, packaging and promotion. All these people, in my opinion, deserve a decent wage. I doubt at the present time, they recieve it, but at least paying for music funds them to some extent. Simply gifting an artist money does not reward all the people involved in making music. However, the people involved in setting the inflated, discouraging prices of modern chart music are greedy and backward and will die out eventually.I just don’t think the other hardworking people involved in your favourite music should be punished for other’s greed. So I think it’s a more complicated question than simply gifting artist’s a sum for their effort.

  • Ashish

    Re Pace: Definitely think the false modesty thing is a Victorian hangover/English Tradition. From what I’ve heard it doesn’t sit well with Americans, and rightly so.

  • Pace

    John; As in, it will be the “topic for discussion” next time? (there’s a certain amount of genius in this little scheme of yours..)

    Ashish; I’m trying, and failing, to imagine Kanye West expressing modesty.

  • Jambe

    I disagree with Nick about “HD vs film”. Are either of you aware of the HD remastering of John Fricke’s non-narrative film “Baraka”? If by chance you haven’t seen it, SERIOUSLY — I extra-mega super-special strongly recommend you do. Here’s the wiki article (the tech they used to scan & post-process the negatives is pretty damned neat):

    If you categorize that experience as “soulless” or suggest that it’d be just as affecting in standard def, well… I’ll slap you with a Luddite-whacking stick.

    Also, stuff like grain, reel speed shift, dust, etc can be present on HD material transferred from film; check out the Godfather Blu-ray restoration, for example! The marvelous film grain is preserved intact. The Blu-ray version is much more enjoyable on my home theater than the DVD version — and when I get my projector, I’m pretty confident it’ll rival a theater experience (and I won’t have to overpay for soda and popcorn).

    But really it’s just a nitpick. The very term “HD” is just marketing nonsense. It doesn’t mean anything specific. In terms of sheer resolution, PC enthusiasts had been using “HD” resolutions for a decade or so before they became the vogue in television screens. You have two flavors of HD, of course — 720p which is 1280×720 and 1080p which is 1920×1080… and how long have 30″ monitors with 2560×1600 resolutions been around now? Or 24″ units that run at 1920×1200?

    I agree that the level of detail HD provides can be off-putting in some situations… but in the same token, the film grain or flicker of reel-based film can be circumstantially off-putting as well! Grain and ultra-crisp-realism are now merely tools which cinematographers will use to set the mood in their works. Given that all the aspects of reel film can be reproduced exactly on digital format I daresay you won’t be able to tell the difference, too. It’s just that from now on, when you see an effect you can be sure it was intentional and not just a product of the medium.

  • NM

    Hi Jambe,

    I am talking about digital cinema, really: in other words, everything from 2k to the latest magic that RED produces. The simple thing is that the chemical process of film creates a very different artistic experience in production and projection. It is one I happen to prefer, both aesthetically and existentially.

  • NM

    Oh, and I’ve seen Baraka in a projected 70mm print. I don’t feel I need to see it turned into pixels, no matter how tiny they are.

  • MrsTrellis

    I don’t understand why anyone would not object to a Cub Scout packing one’s bags in the supermarket. It makes a mockery of M&S’s bag reduction programme, for one thing, as they simply grab a new bag for every single item. I have a *system*, dammit.

  • Jambe

    I understood your point; I’m simply of a different opinion (this is ultimately a matter of taste, as you pointed out). I’m just not very nostalgic. Regards cinema, I’m really more concerned with the light processed by my brain than with the technology shooting it at me. I don’t romanticize technologies as they simply come and go as our whims and needs dictate.

    Also, as I drove at, the character of film can be convincingly simulated. There are entire companies specializing in this field. Failing that, though, folk can simply shoot on film and transfer, adding distortion and randomized flicker in post. And again, the technology good enough that we couldn’t tell the difference, especially when everything’s smeared out across a giant screen twenty-odd feet away.

    Actually, given the clarity of recently-developed film projectors, it’s not inconceivable that a digital recording could be gussied up to look more convincingly “filmy” than a genuine film product.

  • Steve W

    “… when you pay for an album, you aren’t just paying for the band’s effort, or a record exec’s drug habit. In fact you are also paying the wages of plenty of hardworking people involved with production, distribution, packaging and promotion. All these people, in my opinion, deserve a decent wage … Simply gifting an artist money does not reward all the people involved in making music.”

    It does reward all those genuinely involved in producing a record and delivering it to you (by whatever means) if the artist wants to continue making records. But what is he saying? That someone deserves to be paid whether or not there’s a demand for their labour? That when the job becomes redundant as the technology and the market changes, it should it be subsidised regardless, at the expense of the public? That doesn’t make any sense. There’s nothing stopping the band from employing a producer or tasking someone with distribution if that’s what they want to do—that’s entirely workable within the patronage scheme that NM proposes—but if they don’t want to do that, why should that job have any more “right” to exist than that of the scribe after the advent of the printing press?

  • NM

    “Why should that job have any more “right” to exist than that of the scribe after the advent of the printing press?”

    Exactly. Whenever talks to me about what people “deserve”, I become suspicious – as if the Lord has decided that certain people in certain professions have an indemnity from change that, say, scribes and coal-miners did not.

  • NM

    “I don’t romanticize technologies”. To an extent, I do. Not to do so is not to appreciate the inherent aesthetic individuality of your environment. It seems strange to me that I should be allowed to be moved by only what emerges from the gate than what emerges before the gate.

    The whole method of shooting and projecting film is so significantly and necessarily unique that I cannot allow it to be “just one of those things”. I for one am very happy that I started recently shooting super-8, for example, as it has made me a substantially better shooter of HD video.

    As for putting grain and flicker in post – that is kitsch nonsense. One should respect one’s medium for that which is innate. I would no more wish to add grain to digital footage than add screen-door pixellation to film, but can appreciate the aesthetic coherence of both in the ontology of their appropriate medium.

  • Jambe

    Appreciating != romanticizing. I’m only stating my opinion, not telling you what you should or shouldn’t be moved by. Personally, if I’m absorbed in a film I don’t care about the display tech. I am fascinated by projection in and of itself and as it relates to production and screening, but I’m not really concerned with that when movie-going.

    I don’t see why simulation of film qualities is inherently kitschy or nonsensical. We agree that the visual aesthetic of film projection engenders a certain mood or tone — I simply further suggest that this aesthetic can itself be a tool. Why not? From the consumer end, given technology good enough to fool the eyes, it doesn’t matter if screen effects are “genuine” products of light passing through plastic or “simulated” renderings passing through luminescent crystals.

    Film is great — it’s good at certain things and bad at others just like any tech. I don’t work with video often, but I happen to shoot 35mm photos as a hobby (I shoot digital for the studio). There are certain situations where grain adds perfect character to a photo, such as this (forgive the horrid scan):

    And there are some instances where the crispness of a flat 18-megapixel RAW with perhaps just a pinch of sharpening in post would make a much more powerful photo, as in the case this goofy shot (again, bad scan):

    I think we probably agree more than not — we just have different tastes. I really don’t have any use for theater-nostalgia. I simply don’t lean one way or the other regards the inherent goodness of film vs digital projection.