FilKONtario 22 – April 20 – 22 2012

FilKONtario, Ontario’s Filk Music Convention is only two weeks away. This year the con is April 20 – 22, 2012.

There are still some rooms available in the convention room block as of today, but not many. For more information on the convention, please visit the website.

Filk is the music of science fiction and fantasy, but also includes songs about cats, computers, and um, other things. One definition of filk is that it is what Filkers do. Instruments are usually portable. It is hard to lug a grand piano onto an airplane …

Come on out, and have some fun.

Regards

Wayne Borean

Thursday April 5, 2012

The Sky Is Falling – Ticket Prices Go Up, Ticket Sales Go Down

Photograph taken by Mattia Luigi Nappi
Photograph taken by Mattia Luigi Nappi

One of the latest bits of excitement is an article at Atlantic Wire titled Ticket Sales Plunge for Struggling Music Industry, which has caused a lot of excitement, and screams that once again the sky is falling. The only problem is that the numbers don’t add up. Continue reading “The Sky Is Falling – Ticket Prices Go Up, Ticket Sales Go Down”

Apple – The Competent Danger to Free Software – Part Two

A while back I wrote an article titled Apple – The Competent Danger to Free Software. It got a lot of hits. It also caused a few people to send me emails, one of which called me a traitor to Free Software.

The problem that everyone ignores, is that if you are a musician, you haven’t really got a lot of choice. Apple’s products are the best available for musicians. Sure, there’s some software available for the Windows platform, but really it’s not all that good. There’s some software available for Linux too, but it’s limited.

Continue reading “Apple – The Competent Danger to Free Software – Part Two”

Unknown Canadian Soldier – Performed For Rememberance Day

My wife, the singer/songwriter/quilter asked our son, the videographer to video her performing her song Unknown Canadian Soldier. Heather wrote the song after visiting the John McRae house, which is now a museum. John McRae is the author of the poem In Flanders Fields. Heather’s song is a thank you to all of the brave Canadians who have fought, so that Canada would remain free.

Regards

Wayne Borean

Thursday November 11, 2010

Why The Recording Industry Is A Bad Investment

Real Musicians Have Day Jobs

Not something that the recording industry wants you to hear, but talk to musicians. Most of them do have day jobs. In fact they regard people like Celine Dion as fakers. And of course there’s all of the jokes.

Q. How do you get the guitarist off your front porch?

A. Pay for the Pizza.

Q. How do you streamline a musician’s car?

A. Take the Pizza delivery sign off the roof.

Q. What do you call a guitarist who just split up with his girlfriend?

A. Homeless.

There’s a ton more. All of them point to one thing. Musicians aren’t in it for the money, because they could make far better money doing honest work.

So if musicians are paid so badly, why is the Canadian Recording Industry Association screaming so loudly about how Bill C-32 will help musicians? Simple. If they screamed about how much it would help the recording industry, no one would care. That Bill C-32 won’t help musicians doesn’t bother the CRIA member companies. Lying doesn’t bother them either. All that matters is that they make money.

Here’s the funny bit. Bill C-32 won’t help the industry either.

Now that everyone has finished having heart failure, I’ll explain. The details are really very simple, and rather widely known by people in the industry. They just don’t talk about them to the general public, because if the public knew that they were being lied to, they’d revolt.

OK, let’s talk about a generic recording company. What is it’s business? Simple, it manufactures and delivers plastic discs to stores. At one time it did do most of recording, but recording equipment has fallen in price, to the point where my portable recording studio cost me less than $10,000.00 Canadian, and it does a pretty good job. So economically it’s no longer worth the time and effort involved for our generic recording company to do any recording. Instead they act as a manufacturing and distribution system.

The problem is that manufacturing has also dropped in price. Discmakers has some fantastic deals on duplication equipment. I’ve been considering buying a machine from them, they even have Blu-Ray duplication systems. And if you need high volume production, instead of doing it yourself, you can contract with them to do it, their pricing is very reasonable.

But do you really need to manufacture discs any more?

I have an ITunes account. I haven’t uploaded anything using it yet. But I can, any time I want. I know a lot of artists who are using ITunes. Thanks to ITunes, I have a complete collection of Tom Smith’s newest music. No worries about loosing the compact discs either. For that matter if my computer dies, Apple has the music backed up for me. Who really needs Compact Discs? Tom Smith is a perfect illustration of the first joke. Tom used to have a day job. He worked in a bank. The internet, and digital distribution gave Tom the opportunity to go full time. Want a special song for your wedding? Tom will write, and record it for you. If you can afford it, he’ll even show up in person to perform it.

Or how about Dawnya? Dawnya Thill is a new artist, she has just released her first compact disc. It may be her last compact disc, like many other artists she may go fully electronic. Or more likely she’ll decide to do limited runs with added value, say hand signed copies of the lyrics? Right now she’s hoping to make enough sales to be able to set up a website. I missed her performance at Ohio Valley Filk Fest because my daughter was in the hospital, but several people I’ve talked to said she was pretty good.

The Recording Industry is in the same position that the horse drawn carriage manufacturers, in the early 20th century. With less need for their services, their sales are going down. They’ve attempted, and to a certain extent sold the government on the idea of introducing more restrictive copyright laws, but the laws that they are getting, aren’t what they need.

What they really need is a law that states that the only distribution system that can legally be used is theirs. Anything less won’t allow them to survive.

The same applies to The Canadian Motion Picture Distributors Association. Video distribution is about ten years behind music distribution in moving to digital downloads, but it is moving. In Canada ITunes carries a lot of BBC stuff that we’d never see on broadcast TV, including classics like Fawlty Towers.

So whatever you do, don’t buy stock in any of those companies. Short term, you might make some money, but long term, you’ll loose.

Regards

Wayne Borean

November 1, 2010

Building Your Own Axe – A Guitar Player's Dream – Or Nightmare

I have to admit, I’m not even sure how many guitars I have owned any more. Not that I’m the world’s greatest guitarest, the need to switch from playing right to playing left caused a few problem. The amount of pain I’ve been in, has caused other problems. But I love music, and guitars. The problem is of course, that there aren’t a hell of a lot of left handed instruments available. Let’s face it, the guitar manufacturers mostly don’t give a damn about us southpaws.

Last night I was catching up on the posts over at the Lefty Guitar Trader Forum (my thanks to Jesse for providing a valuable service to the community), and I caught one that had a link to the online site of the Guardian newspaper. The Guardian had run an article about building your own guitar, mentioning people like Brian May, who had done it. I’ve read the article three times so far. The idea of trying to build your own, perfect guitar, is totally intriguing.

Now I’ll admit that I’m not sure how well I will do at it. But it’s something that worth trying, if only to learn something!

The article has a lot of links to other articles. For instance this one on building a solid body electric. And of course people video just about everything these days, including lessons on how to make a guitar.

Isn’t that beautiful?

I am seriously contemplating trying this. Hey, I might learn something. Actually I will learn something, even it I fail. And maybe I’ll have some fun doing it.

Regards

Wayne Borean

Friday September 3, 2010

FilKONtario 20 – April 9 – 11, 2010

FKO Image

Yes, this is an ad. And yes, I will be there.

FilKONtario 20

FilKONtario is one of the major Filk music conventions. Filk is the Folk Music of Science Fiction and Fantasy Fandom. Song topics may include Cats, Babylon 5, Star Trek, Cats, Lord of the Rings, Dungeons and Dragons, Cats, Cartoons, Computers, Cats, The Society for Creative Anachronisms, General Insanity, and Cats. No one knows why, but it’s impossible to get rid of the cats, they are almost as bad as the penguins… Yes, penguins. Somehow in the first year we ended up with a penguin for the convention mascot. I know who is to blame, but I’m not telling 🙂

Tux with Guitar

It was just over twenty years ago, that my wife had a great idea. She’s a musician, she loves Filk, and there really wasn’t a lot of Filk happening locally, so she decided to run a convention. She roped several of us into the madness, and we soon had a convention committee up and running. It was a lot of work, but everyone had a great time, and wanted us to do it again!

So this is the 20th FilKONtario. I’m no longer on the organizing committee (health issues) but I have a vested interest in advertising it – after all, if you come, I’ll get to hear your music. So come on out, and bring your instruments! If you don’t play, that’s fine. Music isn’t music without listeners.

Guest List:

You can download the Convention Progress Report here (PDF Warning).

Hall of Fame Inductees

Frank Hayes and Erica Neely were inducted into the Filk Hall of Fame last year. This year’s inductees will be announced at the Hall of Fame Banquet Saturday evening. Come and find out who is being honoured for their contributions to filk! You can check out the Filk Hall of Fame links on the left.

Special Events:

The Interfilk Auction is on Saturday night. Interfilk is a charity which pays for filkers to travel to conventions across the world. The items that are auctioned off pay for the travel expenses involved.

I don’t know what will be in the auction, it’s different every year. One year Tanya Huff offered a Tuckerization. Ingrid made the winning bid, and gave it to Cathleen. And that’s why a character in her novel Heart of Valor loves catalogues… I don’t know if Tanya intends to do that this year, but there’s always special things at the auction

New Convention

Toronto will have a new general science fiction convention in the fall of 2010. SFContario is going to be held downtown, close to all the amenities Toronto has to offer, and it is going to be very filk-friendly, since some of FKO’s concom are helping out with the planning.  Please visit their website at www.sfcontario.ca!

FYI

All of the attendees are here to sing and play with their friends. No one associated with the convention in any way is paid for their services (except that our guests of hounour are refunded their travel costs, and we pay their hotel bill during the convention.)

Concerts:

Friday April 9/2010:

  • Sally Headford
  • Randy Hoffman
  • Earth to the Moon space concert/slide show (a variation on the highly acclaimed Anticipation concert)

Saturday April 10/2010:

  • Jeff and Maya Bohnhoff
  • Erica Neely
  • Mark Simmons
  • Brooke Lunderville
  • Song Contest

Sunday April 11/2010:

  • Filk Hall of Fame Concert
  • Dead Penguin Filk

Workshops

Saturday morning

  • Jeff:       Guitar gathering
  • Mark:   “Death Sucks” or “Fangs for the Memories” – integrating modern vampires into songs and stories

Sunday morning:

  • Erica:   Performance tips aimed at people moving from filk circles to one-shots and from one-shots to concert sets.
  • Maya:  Cosmic Quarters and Bubble Gum Balls: Generating Ideas for Story and Song

Come and celebrate spring with song, at FilKONtario.

Wayne Borean

Wednesday March 17, 2010

Filking Styles

There was a local house filk yesterday, and as usual I skipped it. While talking with Heather in bed this morning, my avoidance of house filks for most of the last 10 years came up, and I realized I’d never really told anyone what is going on.

First off – our local filks tend to be done in the Chaos style. I hate Chaos. I have good reason to hate Chaos. It tends to be (locally at least) about the mood, and I’m a mild spectrum autistic. I can’t sense mood very well, and even when I do I get it wrong pretty often. So I hate playing in a Chaos circle because nothing that’s happening makes any sense.

My personal preference is Bardic. Bardic came out of west coast fandom. West Coast fandom tends to run heavily towards computer programmers, and computer programmers tend to have a higher than average level of autism spectrum disorders…

So West Coast fandom evolved a method that allows those who can’t sense a mood to play, while locally if you can’t sense a mood you end up upsetting people. Of course I also never did tell anyone what the problem is, so it’s partly my fault as Heather pointed out. In future I’ll do that.