The increasingly inaccurately-named blog of journalist and futurist Chris Taylor. Either the most sporadically brilliant amateur blog, the most brilliantly amateur sporadic blog, or the most amateur sporadic brilliance on the Web since 2001.
Oh My God, the RSS Feed Actually Works!
Daily Blah FAQ
Who are you?
I'm the newly-appointed Future editor at Business 2.0 and the former San Francisco correspondent for Time Magazine.
Wow, so does this mean everything you write reflects Time Inc's opinion? Or do you perhaps have some sort of standard disclaimer to the effect that it doesn't?
Naturally, the opinions contained in this blog are not those of my employers. In fact, some opinions may be the polar opposite of my employers. Some may be the same, for all I know. Hey, it's not like I ask my employers their opinions about everything in the news, okay? Let's just say that if this were a Venn diagram with one circle marked "my opinions" and the other one marked "my employers' opinions", there would doubtless be some overlap. But neither I nor my employers are able to pinpoint exactly where that overlap is.
What is this Daily Blah thing?
An experiment for a column I wrote about blogging back in December 2001. All these years later, I haven't been able to kick the habit.
Do you write any other blogs, by chance? Could that have something to do with the fact that Daily Blah isn't always Daily?
Yes -- the Future Boy blog for Business 2.0. And yes. If you want true, editorially-mandated daily coverage from me, that's probably the best place to look.
Mister, you talk funny. Are you one of them furrners?
Why yes I am, as it happens. I was born, raised and educated in Great Britain. I've been living in the U.S. since 1996 and identify as British.
I say, old chap, you forgot the "u" in "colour."
No I didn't. I may identify as British, but I am also an American journalist writing for an American audience about mostly American issues. These two different sides of me are a constant source of tension. Nevertheless, Daily Blah will adhere to American English grammar and spelling.
Praise for Daily Blah:
"It is fun to watch the author's navel-gazing joy." - Sunday Times (UK)
"It's really funny and informative." - Dave Eggers, author
"The Blah is becoming a daily destination for me." - Richard Marsh, Playwright
"I like it, and I don't." - Fiona Hogg, Teacher
"Better than Xanax." - Lessley Andersen, journalist
"Dude, lay off the crack pipe." - Souris Hong-Porretta, gamesmith
Friends, Bloggers, Countrymen ... lend your ears to these people. I come not to bury them, but praise them.
My TIME articles
All magazine articles (subscription required for older stories)
Online column index
Daily Blah for... Wednesday, November 09, 2005
Dead Penn (Not) Dancing
After all these years, U2 still gives good concert.
I can think of a few readers who are rolling their eyes at that statement. I'm thinking in particular of one good friend who, on the day Apple launched its U2 iPod, responded to my every reason why it was a good business move by shaking his head and repeating "U2 sucks". I would get much more cred from these readers if I talked about hanging with DJ Cheb i Sabbah, but that's for another Blah.
It's not too fashionable, in the San Francisco hipster/Burning Man artist community, to admit to liking any widely popular stadium band, let alone one that has been around long enough to constitute the soundtrack to our lives. Indeed, mine is a generation that does not like to think one band or singer can encompass a life. Previous generations had Sinatra and the Beatles. We have U2. We probably won't realize that until the band has broken up or (given its remarkable track record of stability and insatiability) all croaked on stage, simultaneously, mid-set, in another fifty years or so. But trust me. Some day we'll be nudging each other in nursing homes and smiling wistfully every time "The Fly" or "War" comes on the billion-channel streaming satellite radio. "Remember this?" we'll say, tapping our arthiritic fingers while the hired help, six generations below us, marvels that we were alive when this elevator music was written.
Last night's two-and-a-half-hour performance at the Oakland Arena was kind of a greatest hits of U2 show moments. There was the televisual assault of the Zoo TV tour (the one I most regret not seeing -- love those massively multiple screens, that Adrian Veidt-in-Watchmen stuff), the handheld floodlight twirling of Rattle and Hum, and the passionate humanitarian politicking of -- well, of practically every U2 show ever (but come on -- what would you do, given that kind of platform?). We weren't seeing much that was new, but we were seeing an extremely well-oiled machine. Bono is a past master at plucking a fan out of the audience, at sounding and looking sincere and humble, and -- a relatively new trick, this -- knowing the best moment to tell us to hold up our cellphones and "create a Milky Way." They also have a guaranteed, foolproof method of getting off stage at the end of the second encore without being forced back for a third. Simply play '40', which, as everyone who's listened to Under a Blood Red Sky fifty zillion times knows, ends with the crowd singing the main refrain over and over while the band leaves one by one. Then our Pavlovian training kicks in; we expect the crowd to slowly fade to silence, and start mentally shuffling through our LP collections.
What can I say? It worked. All of it. I sang heartily along to every word, except those of the so-so tracks on the new album I don't know yet, and gyrated as much as one can gyrate to the sound of jangly guitars. Though a natural introvert and a recovering snob, I nestled easily into the vastness of the crowd, feeling, as I so rarely feel, part of something significantly larger. There are very few bands that can do it for me.
Unfortunately they didn't seem to do the same for Sean Penn. The moody actor, clearly visible in brown suede jacket and greased-back hair in the section below our press seats, was standing stock still every time I glanced down at him. Not one tap seemed to escape his feet, nor did a single stadium-rock pump emerge from his fist. C'mon, Sean -- loved you in 21 Grams and Mystic River, but don't you ever cut loose?