I really liked that this quick history of Motown begins by describing the founder, Berry Gordy. He started out as a boxing fighter (!) and most importI really liked that this quick history of Motown begins by describing the founder, Berry Gordy. He started out as a boxing fighter (!) and most importantly as a humble worker at Ford, where he learned how the assembly line works. He then implemented the assembly line idea into Motown. Motown worked with a group of song writers, a core of "backup" musicians, and finally the stars / lead singers. Everyone was interchangeable, allowing Motown to steadily put out a ton of (great) music.
Quality was the most important thing. Songs needed to be so good that people would prefer spending their lunch money on the record rather than on food. (Which reminds me Marc Andreessen's — actually, Steve Martin's — “Be so good they can’t ignore you.”) They had reoccurring Friday meetings to decide if a song was awesome enough.
They weren’t immune of errors though. One of the songs that was initially rejected was What's Going On by Marvin Gaye... a song that Gordy reputed way too political. Only after pressure from other executives and Marvin Gaye himself was the song (and the following album) published — and then it became their best seller of all times.
Another good thing about this book is that it provides some (well, just a little bit of) context of the times. The civil rights movement, the racial tensions, the riots… good photos too. There’s an aerial photo during the 1967 riots where Detroit looks like a war-zone.
I think things started to slowly change when Gordy moved the HQ from the original house on West Grand to downtown Detroit in 1968, and then to LA in 1972. Up until that point Motown was deeply connected to the neighborhood, with kids hanging around for a job or an audition at Hitsville USA. How cool was that! Many stars started like that: Aretha Franklin, Martha Reeves, Stevie Wonder, Mary Wells…
I snubbed R&B for the longest time, I admit it. The sugar coating on top of these songs came off to me as insincere, and just turned me off. I was so wrong. The kids behind the Motown "school” (which btw included manners and choreography, beside the music) were taken from the streets just like the punk bands I grew up with: like them, they put a ton of passion into it and had a close network of other musicians to look up to. Differently from the punk-rockers, these guys also had somebody who looked after them. It’s this close-knit circuit (local roots, peers, talent, education, label) that allowed all the amazing stuff to happen....more
This is a 160+ pages book that could have been perfect as a 10 pages essay. Why do authors believe they need to cross the 100 page mark to give meaninThis is a 160+ pages book that could have been perfect as a 10 pages essay. Why do authors believe they need to cross the 100 page mark to give meaning to their work? I don't get it. 50 pages books are still books, guys. I think the long-windedness is particularly harmful to the cause of this immensely valuable practice, because it gives the false idea you need oh-so-much study to start being an effective code reviewer.
There were some good takeaways though: - code reviews are only good if they are effective at finding defects. So, studies cited here show that each code review session should be: (1) 1 hour max, (2) 400 lines max - simple strategy to avoid repeating mistakes: log every mistake you make and how many times. By just doing this, you'll soon anticipate the mistake and actually prevent it. They postulate this is true for any mistake, not just coding mistakes. Makes sense to me. - one of the big problems for code reviewers is finding what's not there. It's easy to spot a nil dereference crash, but can you spot that the developer forgot to call super in an override? Or that they called a method that's unavailable in a latest OS version? To approach this hard problem they suggest to use checklists. A reviewer would write their own list of things to check in every review, until they finally learn what to check. This is very pragmatic (not to mention pretty tedious) and I wonder if it can harmfully become the be-all-end-all of code reviewing. - look for one defect kind at a time throughout the whole code to be reviewed, then rescan the code looking for another kind of problem. This multiple pass system is kinda interesting, I should try it out.
The last chapter is a shameless plug for SmartBear code review tool. ...more
This book gave me a different view not just on Kim Gordon herself, but also on women's rights and the role of visual arts post-1960s.
I listened to theThis book gave me a different view not just on Kim Gordon herself, but also on women's rights and the role of visual arts post-1960s.
I listened to the audio book, main reason being that she is reading it herself. It was my first audiobook, so I don’t have anything to compare it to, but I have to say that her "performance" adds something to this memoir. Even if a few times her reading stutters, in my opinion this makes the experience all the more intimate. The level of intimacy here is pretty unique, in fact: warm, sometimes heartbreaking, but never obnoxious or confessional. When the book ended I felt a void, a sadness. “Oh right, I can’t listen to Kim Gordon anymore! I finished the book…”
Her break-up with Thurston Moore is discussed quite a bit: after 25+ years together, how can it not be. I found her account disarmingly honest. You can feel the pain in her words, in her voice. It’s intense. I kept asking myself, why is she telling me all these details about her relationship? But that's exactly the point: why is she telling me. The kind of intimacy that I was talking about earlier makes all the difference in the world. I think few women can be this open and honest, and certainly no man can ever even dreamto be this open and honest.
Women’s rights are also at the forefront. So much that it challenged me: do I treat women differently, without even realizing it? Am I inconsiderate, or power-hungry, especially toward women? I certainly hope not, but still, that's the kind of questions this book made me think at. It made me reconsider some old assumptions.
"The swirl of Sonic Youth music makes me forget about being a girl.”
The stories. Oh, I don't even know where to start. They’re just great: (view spoiler)[from assisting to a Black Flag performance in the kitchen of a Hermosa Beach house (how’s that for punk rock?) with Henry Rollins "in full force” (haha! man...) to the memories of sharing the van with the early Swans and a pissed off Mike Gira, to rehearsing Daydream Nation in Gira's windowless space, to touring with Neil Young, who was so into Expressway to Your Skull to state that it was the best guitar song ever written. (hide spoiler)] [ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q-E7R... ]
(view spoiler)[A surprising amount of words are dedicated to Kurt Cobain. I didn’t know they were so close. Her voice is almost broken by sadness as she remembers the year he died.
“It’s funny how often i think about Kurt. He was always so susceptible to kindness with his vulnerable, passive side. I’ll always remember too, his smallness, his thinness, the frail appearance, like an old man, with those illuminated, innocent, childish, saucer-sized eyes, like ringed planets. On stage though he was fearless, as well as something even scarier. There’s a point where fearlessness turns into self-annihilation, and he was too familiar with that space. Most people that saw Nirvana live had never before witnessed that degree of self-harm in someone."
On stage I was reminded that Kurt was the most intense performer I had ever seen. During the [Rock’n’roll Hall of Fame 2014 induction] show all I could think of was that I wanted to get the same kind of fearlessness across to the audience. I sang Aneurysm with its chorus "Beat me out of me" bringing in all my own rage [...] from the last few years […].
(hide spoiler)] I can’t separate the intensity and closeness of that performance, that i had already seen, from the validation of reading about it, confirming something unspoken that however I already knew.
The parts where she spoke about confidence almost brought me to tears. "I also had no confidence, really. [...] and without confidence it doesn't matter what you're wearing" [ch. 24] I don’t want to go into that, though.
Perhaps the most surprising part of this book is her involvement in visual arts. I didn’t know she was a visual artist first before being a musician. For example, fashion details emerge throughout the book and at first that surprised me. Mainly because of the narrow way I was thinking about her. But then it all made sense. Of course that’s interesting to a visual artist! I think her attention to visual details — in record covers, films, clothing — added layers of meaning to her work as a musician and helped define a style that’s still influential today. The way she talks about art, her own and others, (re)opened my eyes about performance, confidence and significance. It’s so easy to forget the importance of language and semiotics, but every symbol and sign is something at your disposal, and an artist knows how to utilize them. Kim Gordon certainly does.
I could go on but I’ll stop. I’ll say that Kim Gordon's voice is something that makes life worth living. It elevates you. Or at least it elevated me.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
The dialogue remains the best thing of this series. It's consistently top notch and real. Some of the best I have ever seen in the world of comics.
HigThe dialogue remains the best thing of this series. It's consistently top notch and real. Some of the best I have ever seen in the world of comics.
Highlights of this update: (view spoiler)[seeing Hazel growing up. The authors gave her some personality already, although at first I didn't realize so much time had passed. Then the return of lying cat was cool although it was way too short, dammit. The best thing was the appearance of King Robot... Man that was hilarious (and awesome) ! (hide spoiler)] ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more