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Blogging: a soundtrack to our lives?

Last July, musicians teamed up with UK government ministers and others to produce a 'manifesto to enhance young people's music-making'.

'Music can be magic' … and has 'a unique contribution to make to education'. The music manifesto promises over five years to give every child in England the chance of free or cut-price instrument tuition. … Its 70 signatories say they are committed to helping young people 'create the soundtrack to their lives', and have come up with various associated pledges. Aberdare Online

(Somewhere in my memory — and the memex/mind-web has failed to assist me here — I know I have read something about the romanticising of our lives, how we see our lives as films, hear our lives to a soundtrack.)

'Soundtrack to my life' is hardly a rare phrase. It came back into my head recently when I read this from Jason Kottke

I've been listening to a lot of music lately as well, and it's been taking me back into different periods of my life. I don't know how it is with you, but my life definitely has a soundtrack, songs and albums that remind me of people, places, and experiences.

… and this, from Claire Chaundy:

Soundtracks to your life: the journey is more important than the destination

The Trip by Tom Middleton will be the soundtrack to this particular era of my life.  In the future it will remind me of a time when I both rediscovered and reinvented myself - and started to find genuine internal peace.  And Take me over by McKay will remind me of the perils of trying to dance and paint the walls of my house at the same time.  :o)

Claire writes skilfully about music, the way it blends and merges influences, and how this has mirrored her life: '(Tom Middleton's) eclecticism is wonderful.  I suppose it mirrors the way I have always chosen to lead my life and is what I draw great pleasure from - the hotch potch of influences that lead you to who you are and provide you with your unique voice'.

Claire went on to write:

Mixing stuff up seems to have become a way of life.  … Now I find I have a deep fascination with the science of networks which is itself a hotch potch of physics, maths, sociology, psychology, economics, biology. … Not all of us are after being uber-bloggers and gaining mass popularity.  Some of us, like me, just use it as an extension of our crazy, patchwork quilt lives.  Like I said: organised chaos.

There's lots of food for thought here: I have found Claire's recent writing about blogging very valuable and what she has to say about it is echoed, in part, in the quotation above. I am also struck by the importance she accords inter-disciplinary thinking — something Chris Allen wrote about so well last year.

And this all leads me back to Tom Coates expressing dissatisfaction with the current nature of blogging software. There are many examples one could take to illustrate the limitations of contemporary blogging, but I'll take one that Claire herself raised recently: commenting. She wonders whether building functionality into blogging software that 'enables you to see when the blogger is online (aka instant messenger)' might not help enable commenting to become more like having a conversation — which is surely what, at its heart, commenting ought to be about. (Jyri recently had interesting things to say about commenting.)

Just one example, but the messiness of creative thinking and the life of collaborative interaction aren't well served by the still very compartmentalised, drill-like, chronologically arranged, columnar life form that currently is blogging. Blogging as we know it can't be a soundtrack to our lives.

PS: I was very sorry to learn that Claire may be quitting blogging. Her voice is very intelligent and her range of inclusiveness wide. I hope she'll return — and soon.