I left work today feeling blue. It was a meeting frenzy, some fun, some same. I threw on my headphones after work and selected Love Me Like A Man, a live recording by Bonnie Raitt. I came across this through the iTunes celebrity playlists thingy, after I had clicked on Jeff Bridges, mainly because I thought he was drop-dead gorgeous in Against All Odds back when he was about 20. Wearing a cropped American football top. It was red.
man i been seeing, baby
got this soul up on a shelf
know that he'll never love me
can't even love himself
but i want someone to love me
baby, i want a one who understands
won't put himself above me
who can love me like a man
It strikes me that big media companies - aka The Man - have an uphill battle before them as they try to monetize community. I mean, how is it possible to truly commune with your users/customers/bums-on-seats if you can't afford to create personality? Personality meaning 1-to-1 customer service, time to nurture and feed the people who have come to you, judicious use of auto-responses and resources to weed out bad seeds and set the tone. How can they "love me like a man"? How can they convince me that they're not going to take me for a ride instead of taking me home?
After repeating Bonnie a few times, I chose a song by Justin Timberlake next, because of its phat-ass beat, and his girly voice.
on that sunny day, didn't know i'd meet
such a beautiful girl, walking down the street
seen those bright brown eyes, with tears coming down
she deserves a crown, but where is it now
señorita, i feel for you
you deal with things that you don't have to
he doesn't love you, i can tell by his charms
but you can feel this real love, if you just lay in my arms
Everywhere I look there is cynicism and mistrust of big business: "namebrand" this, "megacorp" that. Certainly, I may only be able to see inside my own head, but then again there are growing trends towards local, initimate business, produce and craft that speak volumes about people's desire for something more real and meaningful, both in terms of feeling connected, but also in terms of where to spend hard-earned money. (This is where I should add some references and statistics, but fuck it, I'm proselytizing.)
Speaking for myself, I don't want to feel convinced of delight by any Fabulous Brand Experiences that have been carefully crafted through several focus groups and customer surveys. I don't care what a company thinks I want. I want to be left to my own devices, or perhaps even take the recommendation of friends or colleagues about what's good and what's not. The amount of crap sent to my mailbox that I simply have no interest in - Pottery Barn Kids?? - is somewhat astounding to me. Does Pottery Barn think I might just change my mind and prepare for the future with a size 0 pair of twill overalls? Do they send this to me purely on off-chance? Don't they know I don't have any children? Can you feel it?
When I decide to buy something, or even participate, I do it because I need something, it appeals to my sense of aesthetic, I'm in the mood, or because I know someone who's buying/doing it. Admittedly I sometimes buy things if I see a sale note in my inbox, but that's just because I'm cheap and can take the opportunity to stiff The Man, or so I think. I'm also aware that the path I choose to cleave through the world of media and marketing tells the world something about me - current magazine subscriptions: Harper's, Bust, Good - but I like to believe that I chose to pay for those particular things because I'm interested in them. Yes, there's a knock-on effect from businesses who choose to place ads in those publications, but it feels like they're chosen for fit, not simply profit.
I'm confident it's safe to say that most people operate on these sorts of levels. I could, of course, be wrong. Ladies and Gentlemen? The Emotions...
doesn't take much to make me happy
and make me smile with glee
never never will i feel discouraged
cause i love this mystery
demonstrating love and affection
that you give so openly
i like the way you make me feel about you baby
want the whole wide world to see
whoa-oo oh-woo, you got the best of my love
I twatted (?) on Twitter a while back, Cherry-coloured funk has me tiptoeing between smiles and tears. My friend Gayla caught the fairly obscure reference, and sent me a wonderful parcel that could only be meant for me. I don't even remember telling her about my obsession with marking things with "g" or "george", and still, she saw those George Impressions and thought I needed them.
Now that's delight.
Etta James? Eat your freakin' heart out.
at last, my love has come along
my lonely days are over
and life is like a song
at last, the skies above are blue
my heart was wrapped up in clover
the night i looked at you
i found a dream that i could speak to
a dream that i can call my own
i found a thrill to press my cheek to
a thrill that i have never known
you smiled, you smiled
and then the spell was cast
and here we are in heaven
for you are mine, at last
They don't write 'em like they used to.