DateFriday 2 June 2006

Hello, this is Mediadisk. To change your contact details, press fingers to temples, shut eyes and concentrate hard

Bringgg! It is the telephone. My mobile, in fact. (Mental note: must change that default ringtone to something more pleasant.)

“Hello? Is that Charles Arthur?”
It is.
“Are you still technology editor of The Independent?”

I’m so stunned by the question that I have to count back to work out how long ago it was I left. “No, not for the past 18 months. Who says I am?”

Equally stunned silence from the other end. “Oh – it says here you are. This is one of the newer versions of Mediadisk we’ve got it off. Nice to know what we’re paying for,” she says, in an accusing tone clearly aimed at the CD-ROM in front of her, which surely is even now cowering in its case.

“Who does it say edits the technology section of the Guardian?” I ask, intrigued. Unfortunately she can’t answer this question. Possibly she’s already torn the MediaDisk CD-ROM limb from digital limb in her teeth.

Gotta love those guys. Possibly they sent me a piece of paper (paper – I ask you) to correct my details a while back. I’ve honestly no idea – in our house, paper rapidly gets collected into piles which unless they’re cheques, contracts or say FINAL DEMAND are then either (a) turned over and used for drawing or (b) skimmed and binned.

Poor MediaDisk. They try, but keeping track of journalists by expecting them to fill out bits of paper is about as effective as a pedal-powered tractor.

Muse releases new song. It gets mashed up with Britney. It disappears. Forever?

The artists formerly known as Muse have released a new single – Supermassive Black Hole – which seems to have mortally offended many fans who regard themselves as the sacred keepers of which songs Muse ought to write, because it’s got a pop-py beat, and sounds a bit like something Prince or Beck might have written (around Funkology and Midnite Vultures time respectively). This process by which fans become the appointed monitors of which strings you pluck and tubs you thump and how is easily explained: it’s like the Da Vinci code, but without the code. Or Da Vinci. Because artists, and particularly musicians, must never move on from the point where they wrote the songs that whichever fan is at the (computer) keyboard liked at some stage. That’s obvious, innit.

Anyhow, someone did what is described as a smart mashup of Supermassive… with Britney Spears’s Do Something. But all the links (in forums like this one and onwards and outwards) are dead.

Record company got narky? Anyone point me to a working link, or tell me what name the mashup goes under on *cough*file-sharing networks*cough*.

Actually, the “take that down!” attitude is so antidiluvian. Remember, it gave Suzanne Vega an entirely new lease of life (and cash) when Tom’s Diner got remixed. Plus, a mashup isn’t going to turn into a commercial song: who’s going to distribute it? (Oh, wait, those file-sharing networks. OK, then, who’s going to pay for it? Umm..) Double-plus, it can expose you to a whole new group. I treasure my mashup – acquired I think from – of Weezer’s “Hash Pipe” with Gwen Sefani’s “What You Waiting For”. Pure gold.