Order In the Plex Now

Can you believe the stuff that’s out there on the friggin’ Web?

Saturday, November 18th, 2006

As I speak at bookstores, companies, colleges and street corners (the obvious, desperate next step to flog my book), I get asked some questions over and over. One of them is what’s the next thing coming, the thing that excites me. That leads me to rhapsodic descriptions of the myriad “discovery” sites on the Web, ranging from collaborative filtering efforts that let you find related stuff to the stuff you like (check out, in fact, iLike, which I should probably write about on its own in a future post); to social networking based sites like MOG that help you link to people who’s tastes are like yours (or who could guide you to even better stuff than you know); to music blogs by hard-core fans who have access to unbelievable hard to find stuff. I think that as these become hooked to bigger systems (maybe with reasonable fees so that artists could get paid for their work) we could eventually have a way to automatically get amazing music into our iPods and computer.

This morning, spending a few idle minutes on my computer–a process that often leads to idle hours–I stumbled (through a hookup froom the Philadelphia Inquirer blog, done by a very clever guy) upon a site called Locust Street, and in particular an MP3 of something I’ve never heard. Here’s the link. It appears to be an open mike capturing John Lennon, playing around with an idea that turned out to be “She Said She Said” from the Revolver album. At first he’s got just one line inspired, the story goes, by a Peter Fonda comment during an acid trip (though I don’t recall whether its Fonda or Lennon or both who was supposed to be on acid at the time). Then the melody that we all know so well seeps into it. Finally, after some unclear passage of time where it’s not clear that a space of hours or days have occured, we hear Lennon, solo at the guitar, strumming and singing a draft of the song that’s not far from the full-contact Beatle version. Somewhere in there, he’d figured out that the song works better by changing “He said” to “She said.” It’s an astonishing little window into creativity by a master. Not something that I’d put on the iPod in regular rotation, but a little flash of enlightenment, rendered close by the Web.

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