Gillmor Gang: 1971 is the title of the year and of an Apple TV+ documentary series called The Year Music Changed Everything. It is also the number of hours the former president blogged From the Desk Of. No, it’s not true. But it is satisfactory. The thesis of the movie “1971” is that music suddenly came into its life a year and a half after the date of the Beatles’ sale. In fact, the filmmakers prove this very convincingly by showing lots of studio footage with Elton John, Isaac Hayes, Andy Warhol, the Laud family and the Osmond family. I know that sounds like sarcasm. I would have been more agreeable if there had been a little less Keith Richards zombie pictures in the south of France and a little more incredible Tapestry sessions that made the earth move under our feet and the sky tumble down, but by the end of the year the music obviously survived, I bought that bit,
2021 could use some of that treatment. In “Grey’s Anatomy,” where time was set back eight or so months at the height of the pandemic, the season finale sped up time to sync with the present for the most part. The “This Is Us” series began in the present and then moved forward 4 years, to a point halfway between the present and the past, so far into the future that home appliances and haircuts seem to have stalled in innovation and new possibilities. The hidden message: forget about watching soap operas and working from home; it’s all cooler talk and cliffhangers, just to be clear. Welcome back, Cotter.
We’ve only been a few weeks into the vaccine era, and we’re already going back to the old norms much faster than the experts are predicting. Twitter is offering a professional version for $3 a month for French and Canadian journalists that allows you to save bookmarks and edit mistakes. Twitter Spaces has acquired a new tab in its mobile client to make it easier to find new gigs, and Facebook invented Bulletin as a launch pad for neutered apolitical newsletters focused on private public radio, with built-in Clubhouse rules – bypassing Apple’s 30 percent tax on the app store by creating a % subscription outside the app. Not surprisingly, the future is barely distinguishable from this Thursday. But don’t take my lack of outrage as full support for the three major plans presented so far. In fact, I think we will see the birth of real change in the creator economy, as we did in earlier times with Tom Wolfe and Ken Kesey in The Electric Acid Test and with everything Kurt Vonnegut ever wrote.
Fifty years ago we saw what happens when talent takes over the institution. In ’72 the institution strikes back, in ’73 the tapes are reproduced, in ’74 even the President of the United States has to stand naked. The basic truth is that every year there comes a time when music takes over. Revolution is still not televised, this time with the addition of interactivity. Joni Mitchell sits forever, starting the engine in his car, waiting at the top of the hill:
He makes friends easy
He’s not like me
I watch for judgement anxiously
Now where in the city can that boy be