Final Creativity Lecture followed by Lou Reed

Yesterday was the last lecture and seminar on the Creativity module. The student’s second essays need to be submitted imminently so we’re expecting a very low turnout. I spoke with my colleagues to see if we could amalgamate our classes to have a large end of module group. We got them to work in four separate groups and gave them 25 minutes to come up with marketing strategies and media campaigns for two current issues.

1) The General Election is approaching. Devise a media campaign to encourage 18 to 25 year olds to vote at the General election.

2) The Digital Economy Bill has just been rushed through parliament. This gives ISP’s the legal responisbility to take internet access away from individuals and households. Devise a media campaign to discourage illegal music and film downloads.

This was a great session and the presentations were very well thought through with lots of radical and inevitably reactionary ideas.

In the evening a friend of mine had managed to get two tickets to see Lou Reed perform his ‘white noise’ classic “Metal Machine Music” at the Royal Festival Hall. This was an album he recorded in the early 70s and was considered unlistenable at the time. It still is now by most people.

The first half hour was spent listening to a repetitive drone with no one on stage. I half expected him to come out and bow and then walk off as if we’d just witnessed an amazingly minimal set. When Lou and his two younger musical cohorts eventually came on stage there was a photographer frenzy at the front. They all left after about the first ten minutes. After they’d got their pictures.

Seeing him perform this album live was both bizarre and electrifying. The music was indecipherable in that it was hard to distinguish one track from another. It didn’t matter as this was a rock legend on stage.

There was a moment I found very amusing. At one point, while Lou was playing some feedback from his guitar, he summoned a stage hand to go and twiddle with some knobs on an amplifier and seemed to get a bit miffed when stage hand didn’t do it right. The stage hand frantically kept trying, eventually finding the correct knob to satisfy Lou but given the racket coming from the rest of the equipment it was hard for us, the audience, to notice any discernible difference. It was still a cacophonous, albeit fascinating, din. Great to see he’s lost none of his petulance though.

Read more about Metal Machine Music in Paul Morley on Music in the Guardian

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