Sunday, August 30, 2009

A Salute To Marconius7 (And Some Questions)

I love the Marconium. I don't want to turn The 'Spill into something too self-referential or it'll get all Ouroborosy, but it's fantastic, isn't it? Not only does it represent a huge amount of dedicated work on Marconius7's part, which really is above and beyond, but it's so interesting to explore. I have spent so much time browsing through it. I have Dorian's Playlists book, but the Marconium is a complete archive not just of lists, blogs and columns, but of how the simple premise for the column evolved as more and more people joined in, leading to the behemoth you see before you. It's such fun to read earlier entries, to see friendships take shape and expand beyond the parameters of the initial idea. The latest addition, prompted by some really funny banter this week, mostly at steenbeck's expense, is this page:

which, if you haven't seen it yet, sorts out A-list picks so far this year by Recommender. It added a whole new dimension for me, as a means of getting a more tangible sense of RR regulars' breadth of musical tastes. I know some people, myself included, are bound to mention a particular act or genre as often as they think they can get away with it, so I know about those, but it's the surprises on this page that made it such a fascinating read. I hope I'm not embarrassing anyone by mentioning them by name, but seeing, for example, The Make-Up in amongst Abahachi's other A-Listers, Morcheeba in barbryn's, Sugababes and Britney Spears beside Public Enemy and The Clash in gremlinfc's picks, this gives me a much better idea of what you all like rather than just reading posts here or on The Mothership. Does anyone else agree?

Anyway, I just really wanted to thank Marconius7 for turning the whole RR experience into a tripod.

So, the other thing I was wondering about, also inspired by the aforementioned banter on the blog, and the obvious fact that steenbeck has a P.I. on retainer to give her the good stuff on 2009's gurus (38 A-List picks!), was regarding times you may or may not have gotten on the A-list. Was there a particular A-listing you received where you just thought 'Yes!', in terms of being proud of it? For example, I was genuinely pleased to see LCD Soundsystem's 'Losing My Edge' make it on to the Aging playlist, because, to be honest, I'm not very good at making lateral-thinking suggestions, and I felt this was a recommendation that showed a bit of imagination, hence being pleased to see it make the final list. And, conversely, was there a song you recommended where you thought the relevant Guru had screwed up in not picking it? Not because it's a personal favourite, but because you truly thought it nailed the topic? My example would be not having Magnetic Fields' 'Yeah! Oh Yeah!' picked for Cruel Songs since I thought that one set the bar for cruelty. The judge's decision is, of course, final, I just thought it might be fun to vent a little.


goneforeign said...

Well since you mention it there is one thing I've pondered these last few weeks. Suddenly it seems we're getting multiple A's and B's for individual posters in a way we never saw before and it seems to have happened quite suddenly and recently. I can't quote the figures but I seem to recall several situations of triple A's. Am I the only one who thinks that this is to say the least unusual? There are probably in excess of 2000 noms per week if you count all the multiples, what are the statistical odds that a single person could per choose 3 out of 10 chosen from a selection of of 2000? Do we have any statisticians amongst us? Since I no longer participate in RR my interest is not in any way personal and I hope that my raising these questions doesn't affect the friendships that I have with some that have had these recent successes. Does anyone else think this unusual? Perhaps Marconius could give us the stats of recent multiples. And of course I totally endorse Catcher's comments re. the valiant efforts of Marconius which are totally separate from the above.

Chris said...

I've long been of the opinion that some people get their songs picked and others don't. I'll add hastily that I don't see any kind of favouritism there, more that some can bring to mind many more songs than others and the chances of any one of them being relevant are naturally increased.
I am gratified that The Grateful Dead's The Eleven got picked by Rob (for my one 2009 A-listing), although I think the reasons are similar to TB's Caravan success: words for the column. The (confessed) blind prejudice towards the GD that Dorian showed is long gone: grateful thanks for that.

Let me add my grateful thanks, too, to Marconius7. I'm rather pleased he has finally allowed himself to call his masterwork 'The Marconium'. Maybe the Spill page could do that, too?

CaroleBristol said...

The Marconium is a work of art, really very impressive indeed.

tincanman said...

I doubt Paul or Maddy or Rob or Dave or anyone even considers who's are who's. Which is as it should be.

From my own listening, the people with the most A and B lists are the ones with a combination of taste and time. When steenbeck or eJay or some others nominate stuff, I make it a point to listen.

steenbeck said...

Interesting questions, Catcher. I was very happy to get Nina Simone's 22nd Century in the Future playlist. And Old School in the TV one.

As for multiple a's and b's...I don't think it's a new thing. According to the Marconium, one of Dorian's earlier playlists - the coke and heroin one, I think, had one person with 4 and another with 3. Personally I got 3 in twice with Dorian, 4 in once with Maddy... I think it's proof that they aren't paying attention to who nominates songs, which is a good thing. THough I suppose it is unfair, in some ways. I also think it reflects a nominator's affinity with a certain subject. I love trains and songs about trains, and I have chronic trouble sleeping, so I did well in the train list and the insomnia list.

As Tincanman suggested, I do spend too much time thinking about RR. I'm trying to scale it back, but it's very addictive, isn't it?

gremlinfc said...

Mr. Marconius7 is one of my heroes and if i ever should meet the guy i will squeeze him til he pops. The comprehensive lists are sheer heaven for stattos like me and (sorry to some folks as they won't like this) to see who's got what where and when. Just the knowledge that I have had 11 a-list-ers since joining in Oct 2008 makes me smile. Thanks Mr. M7 you are THEBIZNESS.

goneforeign said...

Steen: Yeah but!
We've got 2000+ noms all basically on the same topic, all 600-1000+ posters have the same or similar thoughts on the topics, possibly quite a few of them have affinities with that topic, OK, that gives them and you an edge but does it give them that sort of statistical edge? You say it's not a new thing, I haven't been keeping tabs on it but it does seem that in the last few weeks/months there's been more than usual, I'm just wondering if there's been a change in policy perhaps related to the massive influx of posters these days, it used to be a few hundred, now we regularly breaking a thousand, could it be someone's saying 'What the hell, let's get this thing over with, there's another due tomorrow". I've often thought, what a chore to review all those noms, not a job I'd want particularly with the time pressures involved. Not casting any aspersions on any posters, just wondering out loud if there's more than meets the eye, input from Marco would be welcome. Not sure about the nominators affinity with the subject either since supposedly every post is on topic.
Congrats on the Nina success, keep it up.

treefrogdemon said...

gf, I often think it's an age thing - I usually find I'm not familiar with a lot of the songs that are picked, because they're from a time when I wasn't able to keep up with very much of popular music. Steen and Ejaydee are among our younger friends, and the gurus are youngish too - so it's quite natural they'd know music from the same era.

It doesn't bother me - in fact, it means I'm chuffed out of all proportion when I do get one listed.

tincanman said...

Every time I start getting statistical or paranoid, I remind myself that the original premise of RR (as I understand it; I wasn't here) was to generate a unique playlist that entertains and challenges. That seems to still be the case (coupled with generating page views)

Based on that musical critieria, there is no need for the host to listen to every track; nor to pay attention to personal stats.

I personally enjoy having a couple hundred songs to browse through. I dond what I feel like, skip to the next song whenever I feel like, give up for the week if I run out of time. (I used to put pressure on myself picking out THE best and listening to everything 3 or 4 times, but that took all the fun out of it).

Born rebel me, but I like RR just the way it is at the moment.

nilpferd said...

Catcher, not criticising your post here, which is fine, but it's as good a place as any to express my general disappointment about an underlying current of resentment bubbling up as regards the RR selection process. While I'm sure none of you mean any harm- and I'm excluding those of you like Toffeeboy who are clearly just being flippant- I think it's time to take a breather and consider how Steen, Ejaydee and Beltwaybandit among others are taking these continued references to some kind of weighting of selection on RR.
For what it's worth, I don't discern any difference whatsoever- Paul obviously has different tastes to Rob, Maddy and Dorian, but I don't doubt his professional integrity, and I feel those of you who complain about some kind of bias or wilful corner-cutting are souring the game for the top ten or so nominators, who- as Tincanman says- are that because of their taste, width of knowledge and a bit of luck rather than any conspiracy or laziness on the part of the selectors.
For those genuinely irked about the current RR selection process- and I read that in the comments left by Goneforeign and Chris, among others- my advice is take it or leave it, but don't spoil it for those who happen to make the lists more than others- it's ludicrous to think that there is anything happening other than a journalist picking his fav 10 tunes to fit a particular theme each week.
Rant over.

goneforeign said...

Well sorry about your general disappointment and perception of currents resentment bubbling up but what led you to that conclusion, was it something I said? What is it that you think I resent? You seem to take this as a personal assault when in fact it's more akin to my thinking aloud about something that draws attention to itself.
OK, go back and read my initial comment plus the follow up, I don't need to be told to take it or leave it since I very specifically stated that I no longer participate, I'm viewing this as an interested observer from the sidelines. And then count how many times I stated that I cast no aspersions on any poster, so please tell me how my questions are "souring the game for the top ten or so nominators." I hate to be so continually repetitive but doesn't 3 out of 10 going to a single individual from 2000+ posts seem in the slightest way statistically odd? Is that registering? What we're talking about here is basically, math, specifically statistics.
I chose to post this question here rather than at RR because I thought it might generate some discussion, instead it seems we have a case of the three monkeys, see, hear and speak no evil.

gremlinfc said...

One of the most interesting points of Mr.M7's tables is , as Catcher observed, the overview it gives of a person's taste / musical knowledge / background - look at the breadth of the most frequent A Listers it is quite phenomenal -not restricted to one particular genre of bands /music and drawn from many eras as well as styles.
I will readily admit to not being a musician or an expert on music as such but I am proud of the fact that my tastes span a wide selection (with a few absolute exceptions...). It;s great to see how much people know , alright the lists are irrelevant , but they do add a little "je ne sais quoi"
Please Mr. M7 can we have the same for B-lIst please? Pretty please?

ToffeeBoy said...

@ nilpferd - a much appreciated rant - and I'm glad you recognise that my comments were merely flippant and intended to be good humoured.

I have to admit that I do get a bit frustrated when what I deem to be perfectly good recommendations get overlooked and (as I said in another thread) there is a slight aspect of the cartoon devil whispering evil thoughts into my ear about why it might be that I've only had one A-Lister this year (and indeed only four in my whole time with RR!) while others end up with two or three successful nominations a week!

Having said all that, I fully appreciate that Readers Recommend rightly has nothing to do with the egos of individuals and that no-one (neither the organisers nor the other participants) owes anyone else anything or has any responsibility to ensure that we're enjoying ourselves here. Although, to a degree, the writer does - but the responsibility is to the whole readership (and potential readership) and not to individuals.

Of course I am enjoying myself, otherwise I wouldn't spend so much sodding time around here. It's just that, every now and then it would be nice to see a song or two that I've recommended making the final list.

And equally, I have no argument whatsoever with the selection process. It so happens that Maddy's tastes coincided more with mine than either Paul's or Rob's appear to and three of my four successes came under Maddy's regime but the suggestion that there might be any sort of favoritism going on is clearly ludicrous.

tincanman said...

You are so right Toffee. OBVIOUSLY if songs were picked strictly on the likability of the nominator, well.....


goneforeign said...

Didn't say anything about favoritism, where do all these inferences come from?

ToffeeBoy said...

Just read goneforeign's comment after spending far too long composing my own response to nilpferd's earlier post.

I agree about the statistical unlikeliness angle but what Marconius7's work doesn't show is how many songs each poster actually recommended! I'm not suggesting for a moment that Marconius (or indeed anyone else) should embark on such a (foolish?) task but I suspect that it would reveal some interesting figures as far as a nominations/A (or B) List ratio is concerned.

I have to say that I feel a certain amount of regret that my attempt at a light-hearted, humourous attack on the steenbeck factor appears to have led to some unpleasantness. Sorry, guys.

tincanman said...

@ Toffee
Not at all m9

ToffeeBoy said...

And sorry, again, goneforeign. Favoritism (did I really spell it like that??) was an inappropriate word to use.

goneforeign said...

Toffee: I didn't intend to impose a huge chore on Marco's shoulders, I think I assumed that if he has a database it should be very simple to search for a collection that shared similar qualities.

steenbeck said...

Hello everyone. I haven't been home since work and now I'm elsewhere typing on my iPhone and I've had a glass of wine.
I just wanted to say that when I tried to pick songs for maddys list I tried very hard to pick a song by every suggester and it was a lot of work. We could ask the guru not to pick more than one song by any recommender, but that would add a lot their already probably financially unrewarding workload. Toffeeboy seems to be suggesting...okay, i'm extrapolating, but we could limit the amount of songs each person could nominate. Or some of us could just stop playing.

Chris said...

nipferd: This is what I said:
'I've long been of the opinion that some people get their songs picked and others don't. I'll add hastily that I don't see any kind of favouritism there, more that some can bring to mind many more songs than others and the chances of any one of them being relevant are naturally increased.'
Does that sound like I'm 'genuinely irked'? I'm sorry if it does but I truly don't understand why.
After the recent 'troubles' I don't want to be the cause of ill-feeling, so I'd be pleased if you would accept I have no issue whatsoever with the selection process. I nominate so few songs that to get one in is always a buzz. I'm impressed that so many of y'all out there know so much music; but I rarely know who got what in a list.
Unless, of course, I consult The Marconium, which, having been Named, is perhaps now starting to reveal its darker side, setting RRer against RRer, Spiller against Spiller.....

Catcher said...

It was never my intention to open a can of worms. My original post was meant as a commendation of Marconius7's contribution to the RR world, and maybe starting a lighthearted chat about "the one that got away".

I've reread my post, and I made three mistakes:

1. The image. It was taken from one of those demotivational posters websites, and I thought it was funny based on the Mothership banter (mentioned in the post) about some people having more success than others in making the A-List. It seems like acidic humour in the light of the comments above, whereas it was meant as self-deprecating.

2. "The obvious fact that steenbeck has a P.I. on retainer to give her the good stuff on 2009's gurus (38 A-List picks!)". This was again meant to reflect the banter on The Mothership, and was intended in the same spirit. I thought it would come across as tongue-in-cheek due to the inference that steenbeck was blackmailing the Gurus to secure A-List places, but I acknowledge that it may have come across as bitter and/or mean-spirited. This was not the intention, and I immediately, happily, and sincerely apologise to steenbeck, ejaydee, and BeltwayBandit, three of the regular contributors, as mentioned by nilpferd, whose tastes I enjoy, respect, and have learned from, and anyone else who thinks it was a dig at them.

3. "I just thought it might be fun to vent a little." This was intended to refer to 'the one that got away', and inspire thoughtfulness about that, based on The Marconium. It wasn't meant as the open season on the selection process it seems to have been interpreted as. Certainly, there are comments on this thread I would never interpret as being 'fun'. I just thought it was a possibility for an amusing chat.

If I still had the option to edit this post, it wouldn't be here. It was meant to be a fun distraction, and an encouragement to enjoy Marconius7's amazing work, not as a way to start bickering amongst ourselves.

I'm sorry.

TatankaYotanka said...

Did someone suggest that a recent top 10 came from the first few pages of the blog? If you want to look at the statistics then the time of nomination would also be of interest. Human fallibility and the scale of the thing these days might suggest that once a 'decent' top 20 has lodged itself in the Guru's mind then it will require an exceptional shout/effort to get something else noticed. I also think that tfd has a point, we all subscribe to our equal opportunities/fair access policy but have prejudices/blind spots where we'll just skim ... why would the poor hack left with the job of knocking this into an acceptable shape (in working hours) be any different? The only thing that matters here is what you put in, in terms of energy, because that will balance pretty convincingly with what you get out.

steenbeck said...

Catcher, I think it was a very good post-- marconius deserves all the praise and thanks we can give him. And your questions were Interseting and not accusative in any way. You may have stumbled on a spring of...I don't know. But it's not your fault, the questions are still interesting, and ihave more answers when I'm home. Or tomorrow. Good post, catcher, I'm glad you posted it, a

goneforeign said...

Steen: I haven't suggested nor would I support limiting, noms or limiting the guru to singles.
Chris: There's no darker side to the Marconium, it's not involved in the questions I've raised, but it might be a data source to study statistical changes.
Catcher: I didn't perceive anything you said as being a put down of anyone, what I got from your post was a total appreciation of Marcos, a feeling that's unanimous here. You don't need to apologize to anyone.
And just because I ask what apparently to some is an embarrassing question, it should not trigger this sort of bickering. Obviously I've touched a sore spot with at least one Spiller..
TatYo: I agree with most of what you say [as usual], you've offered in a more articulate way than I can a possible reason that these statistical anomalies are showing up.

nilpferd said...

Fair enough GF, though be aware that your questioning of "statistical anomaly" sounded to me like a bit of a dig at the selection process. Statistics themselves mean nothing, it's the way you interpret them which provides meaning.
Chris, sorry to drag you in as you obviously weren't having a go. I just read one too many posts this weekend- both here and on RR- having a bit of a whinge at the way tracks get picked, and, light hearted or not, I thought it was time to remind people how that might look from steen, EJ's, and BB's standpoint.

Dangerpuss said...

As a relatively new RRer and Spiller, my take on this is probably far less emotionally invested (for want of a better phrase) than some longtime contributors.

BUT for what it's worth, one of the main attractions of both blogs is the spirit of collaboration and joy taken in sharing music instead of the competitiveness and point-scoring/need to be acknowledged that blights a lot of other forums.

I know that might sound a bit dismissive and unempathic. God knows I fight really hard for entitlements elsewhere in life (like good customer service and essay marks etc) so I know how it irks to be overlooked.

But it seems to me that the RR process is a gem in itself, regardless of the end result, The List. It's just lovely to gabble about songs we love with people who love music just as much.

To that end, I know my way of engaging with each RR topic is different from a lot of people's - I never look up a topic to find songs that fit. I just mention whatever relevant song pops into my head. So it never feels like a chore or a mission or a race. It's purely fun. So I'm not bothered when the song I mentioned doesn't appear in the lists. Other people would have been reminded or told about it by my post and that's enough of a tribute to the quality of the song itself.

Cheers, Caitlin.

Chris said...

nilpferd: we cool.

gf: the bit about the 'darker side to the Marconium' was a late-night attempt at distracting humour, intended to be read with a Vincent Price laugh at the end. I don't really think that there's a portal to the netherworld in there.
[Or is there???? (da-da-doom!)]

Happy Bank Holiday Monday to all those benefitting from it!

Shoegazer said...

How to improve your chances of getting in the A-list

1. Post early. Once a song is named, it's gone for everyone else for that week.
2. Post often. Long lists are easily ignored. 30, 40, 50 or more individual posts, spread across the blog, are less easy to ignore.
3. Mix up your genres, & pick the most popular or most appropriate choice you can from several. The final 10 is probably going to be compiled from at least 7 different musical genres.

I believe you will find that the most successful pickers are following the above formula to some extent. What's wrong with that? ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!

Would probably do the same myself if I could post from the shoephone, as in the pre "upgrade" days. But I can't. So 1 & 2 are out, which is a shame as the US timezones are a huge advantage, & my own musical taste limits 3, so an A list appearance will continue to be a rare treat for me & most of us I'm afraid.

tincanman said...


What are we all doing for the bank holiday?

(Does this mean the banks take a day off from gouging customers and bankrupting the country?)

Mnemonic said...

Playing bridge

tincanman said...

A game I've always wanted to play. I was taught the basics years ago and enjoyed it, but it's that finding 3 others of similar level to play with that is hard to arrange.

Mnemonic said...

We have lunch, lots of wine, and a "no shouting" rule. It's known as kitchen bridge. I do play competitively too but still have the no shouting/inquests rule.

Shoey said...

Perhaps, Tin, they're concerned that you might post nude pictures of (alleged to be) them on the Internet?

tincanman said...

Why would anyone think that I, omg me, would post a nearly nude picture from the web and say it was someone else.

I am so, huff huff huff

steenbeck said...

I'm sorry I post so many nominations. It's not a method or a formula or anything, it's just over-eagerness on my part. I try to force myself to stop thinking about it after Friday morning, and I even got this job on weekends to take me away from RR. (joking, of course, that's not why I got the job.) Ahem. Anyway, I'll try to keep it down to fewer more well-considered ideas in the future.

Mnemonic, that sounds like a fun day, card games and lunch and wine. I'd like to learn how to play bridge, too. Is Rook a less-complicated version? I thought I heard that somewhere.

Mnemonic said...

Steen, just go on posting as much as you like. We enjoy your enthusiasm.

I don't know Rook so can't tell you the answer to that. Bridge can be played at many levels; there is no end to the learning process. The basics are relatively simple, it's learning to communicate with your partner (wthout cheating) that's the tricky bit. Hence the "no shouting" rule!

Makinavaja said...

Steenbeck - why should you cut down your number of posts? If you have an idea, a song you want to share, I think you should be able to feel free to do so. So you get more A lists than the rest of us (I've NEVER had one!) and if that upsets anyone, it's their problem, not yours. I for one would never hold back from posting something I thought others might find interesting and see no reason why you or anyone else should.

ToffeeBoy said...

@ steenbeck

Don't go changing, to try to please me,
I could not love you any better,
I love you just the way you are.

Or words to that effect ...

CaroleBristol said...

I have only ever had five 'A' listings and one 'B' listing. I'd like to get more but my musical tastes aren't particularly current, so I doubt that I'll generally be with the zeitgeist.

Also, I can't be bothered to stay up past midnight to get in with early noms. The only time I ever did though, I got zedded for Like A Rolling Stone, which mattered at lot to me, because it is my favourite song.

debbym said...

Bank Holiday, huh? That would explain why there's suddenly so many posts on here!

First of all I'd like to Definitely Dond TY's last post - although I would like to be let in on the REAL secret of steen's success: how on earth do you get your family to allow you so much Computer Time??? The Importance of RR for my general well-being just won't wash with mine...

I have only ever had one song on the A-list. That's right folks, one song, une chanson, ein Lied - not even one of my all-time favourites - but I am very proud of the fact that I made it, and that it was for that topic (I'll Never Fall In Love Again/Resolutions - as opposed to Anti-Love songs). But then again, I often only nom one song for a topic, so my chances remain slim. As opposed to the rest of me (down, tinny!)
Now I've experienced the heady rush of success, I'm not too bothered about its happening again (she says): I was possibly more delighted when Maddy thanked me in the blog for a clip I'd posted that she enjoyed.

I remember Dorian choosing a song posted just after deadline (by Papa Someone from the States, a very moving post about music his late wife had loved - I also remember Dorian saying it had moved him to tears) - so I suppose the very earliest and very last posts have more chance of catching the Guru's eye. I miss the Feeding Frenzy - it may be midnight for you, but it's getting on for 2 a.m. for me by the time the darn thing's loaded, and I have to be up again by 5 (oh please, don't remind me). I think we should do it for real one day - all together down the pub, drinks on the table, topic pulled out of a hat, GO!

The first round's on me.

tincanman said...

On the subject of whatever we were on the subject of, we've had our RR jazz experts and pop experts (ok, it's singular) reach out to us philistines ... when are the HipHopHeads going to put together an illustrated travel guide?

ToffeeBoy said...

It? It???

tincanman said...


*swiftly backpedals into a tree

Proudfoot said...

Zoinks, 41 comments and counting. Can I indulge in some little instances of how RR/ da 'Spill works for me?
1. I was away one summer when the 'Radio' theme came up. I Couldn't post but was absolutely delighted when Regina Spektor made the A-list. I would have been seriously gutted if no-one had nominated that one. Someone did and it made my day. I downloaded that week's top 10 and it's a good 'un. cf book of playlists/ archives etc.
2. Fairly recently nominated a Neil Young song that I don't really like and it made the A. It was on topic but... Marconium reveals that I didn't ctrl-f efficiently and I was not the first. To be honest I'm slightly relieved.
3. Shoey's guide to getting on the A-list is pretty sensible. I blog late so I don't expect to get in too many A-lists. If this week's topic is 'Highways to Hell' I don't expect to be the first to mention AC/DC. Dorian's brief was to make an interesting & original playlist so people can't always beef when the the no-brainers don't get in. I must say 'I'm So Tired' was a recent example of when they do. Don't want to see too much of that but sometimes you just can't leave them out.
4. Range. I'm not proud of the fact that there's very little jazz/ classical/ electronica in my musical diet. I'm not ashamed of it either. RR/'Spillers have opened my mind to everything from Sun Araw to Kiki Dee. I just LOVE it when someone gets on a bandwagon and bludgeons me into listening to Gentle Giant or re-appraising Blurt. I know what I know and I'll always stick up for certain artists despite their ludiocricy (is that a word?). FP's championing of Dollar a case in point. If I ever did get a Dollar/ Deep Purple nom in ahead of FP or Gordonimmel I'd always thank them on the podium! We don't own the music but then again we don't own our family. We can still accept the congrats when one of them scores the winner in the FA cup or wins an Oscar.

Pointscoring is weird, especially in this context. I think it's like winning a game of Trivial Pursuit: Bragging rights. Banter. Endless arguments over the reliability of the oracle.
But, like Trivial Pursuit, it's supposed to be fun. And what was the first word of that game again?

Marconius7 said...

I'm honoured that so many of you enjoy the Marconium. It is not as much work maintaining it as it was getting it to this point. But now that all the back columns have been added, it only takes about an hour a week to update. And it's fun, not work.

Some of the comments demand a response - first, I certainly hope that the Index is not divisive or causing strife.
Secondly, I don't think there is any favoritism by the writers towards any particular contributor. I got from Maddy that she didn't note who recommended what song when she put together the list. She would go back after the list was completed and see. Maddy also said that her choices were to some extent influenced by how she could weave the selections into the narrative of a column - so she liked to be able to connect the dots between songs to some extent.

One of the things I like about RR is that Dorian started it with a mandate to cover many different genres and time eras. So we get songs from the 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s and 2000s. This exposes the reader to wide range of songs and also makes it likely that there will be at least one song or two that any particular reader can identify with.

I know that I have a limited range of musical taste - grew up in the sixties and I like a lot of music from the 60s, 70s and 80s as well as some from the 50s. I like musical theatre and often recommend songs from musicals.

RR has broadened my musical horizons and exposed me to a lot of music I was not familiar with before. Spotify is brilliant in this regard - a superb resource. As is the Drop Box. There are simply too many songs to listen o them all but Spotify and Drop Box help me sample much of it.

One of the reasons steenbeck, ejaydee and BeltwayBandit get so many A Listers is because they have a broad musical repertoire and offer suggestions from many genres and eras. And as someone noted, they are younger and more likely to offer suggestions that our writer gurus know and like.

But that just makes it more special when one of the rest of us gets a nod on the A vList.

Not too many answered Catcher's third question so here's my answer:

I was particularly proud to see Albedo 0.39 by Vangelis make the A List for science, partially because it was my first A Lister but also because the song is perfect for the topic.

There have been a number of times when I thought a song I suggested should have made the list because it was so perfect for the topic but it didn't. I never think the guru screwed up though - just that his or her tastes are different.

More than anything, RR is a lot of fun. And the RRers are a wonderful bunch of people - a real community of friends.

nilpferd said...

Nice one, Marconius.
The track I'm most pleased about having suggested was Bill Evans' Lucky to be me, because I think it's a beautiful piece of music, and because Maddy worked it in to her farewell column in an extraordinarily touching and personal way, as a kind of summary of how she was feeling, leaving the blog to have a child. That was for me the essence of RR, taking in the precious fragility of this community as well as the transcendentalism of music.

barbryn said...

Just wanted to offer my t'penceworth... I recently had two songs on the Holidays A-list. It's no coincidence at all that I happened to be up for the midnight feeding frenzy that night - I'm sure both songs (10,000 Maniacs' "Verdi Cries" and Morcheeba's "The Sea") would have been mentioned by someone else within minutes. But I think we're all agreed that the sharing of great music and conversation is far important than the A-list itself, which is sort of like a highlights package for readers of the newspaper who don't join in with the blog.

That said, I'm always ridiculously proud of myself when I do get a song in the A-list. Proudest moment would have to be Arvo Part's "Cantus in memorial of Benjamin Britten" for the Songs that Make You Cry topic - because that was possibly the best playlist ever, and because I think it's the only piece of "classical" music ever to be zedded (Marconius, correct me if I'm wrong...). I get annoyed at Gurus overlooking my perfect nominations practically every week, but I think the most heinous ommission recently was not pick Jill Scott's "Watching Me" for Songs About Surveillance.

DarceysDad said...

I've been too busy since getting home to contribute much, so apols for the curtness of these thoughts:

@ barbryn - you're spot on. As a dedicated MFFer, I expected to be - and indeed for a while thought I was - first with Morcheeba's The Sea.

Re: competitiveness - The 'Spill is proof positive that we're not motivated by point-scoring on RR. If we were, donds would be only grudgingly given, and the bonhomie we're famous for would be non-existent. How about all those examples of posting noms for absent others? The dropping of hints to fellow RRers about songs they should have thought about by now eg. Mnemonic's "ownership" of Califone's Our Kitten Sees Ghosts.

Re lists - old ground. You don't like 'em? Ignore 'em. It would appear that's what PaulMac is telling us. I will continue to list if I'm short of time, because I feel it's better a nom is listed than missed altogether for a lack of justification.

Re songs that I can't believe weren't picked - Oh, F-A-R tmtm! About two per week, seriously.

Re The Marconium - fantastic site, and I too feel the need to publicly thank (& alcoholically reward) M7. But lest we forget, built on the less-visually-attractive-but-completely-essential Excel spreadsheet by the RR equiv of The Scarlet Pimpernel - fourfoot.

gordonimmel said...

Just back from a weekend away myself so I'll just add my tuppen'orth at the end.

Under Dorian's tutelage I used to average an A-Lister every couple of weeks. Now it's more like once every 3 months. There are two very obvious reasons for that

(a) I gave up on the midnight feeding frenzy because I could no longer handle the weekend fatigue it caused. Now, when I switch on on Friday morning I start to make a list of noms as soon as I know the subject and then find myself moving them to my 'Dond' list as I read through the blog and see that others have beaten me to it (I was most miffed to be beaten to 'Down Home Again' by Humble Pie this week but there you go). That leaves with just a few original noms and a severely reduced chance of an A-lister.

(b) I think I managed to connect to Dorian's taste in music better than I have done with Maddy, Rob or Paul.

BTW, Dorian did once tell me at one of the Socials that sometimes he has the final list by Friday lunchtime. He would keep checking throughout the weekend incase there was a last minute nom which should knock something else out but sometimes there were just so many good songs on Friday morning that he had his list. I don't know if any of the other gurus work like that.

Finally, my chuffest A-Lister was 'Up The Wooden Hills To Bedfordshire' by Small Faces on the 'Dreaming' playlist, which I just chucked in without thinking it would pass muster and which got no donds. I was also totally gobsmacked when Rob included 'No One Came' by Deep Purple, which I didn't foresee. And I suppose I have to mention 'Is That All There Is?', which was my first ever A-Lister back in March '06.

Oh, and I'll add to the commendations for The Marconium.

goneforeign said...

We seem to have run the course on this one and since I started all the flurry let me end my input by saying that the question I asked had nothing whatsoever to do with any posters, how many hits in 10 years, the types of noms, the genres or when posted etc. It was a simple question, the answer to which is a mathematical equation; 'what are the statistical odds of this event happening'. Or, if you prefer it, what's the probability of this happening. What triggered it for me was that it seemed to keep happening, several times in a few weeks.
Nothing I said suggested that Steen or anyone else should change the way they play. Where are these totally unrelated ideas coming from?
Dangerpuss speaks for all of us in her second paragraph, I share those views totally and my interest in RR is split two ways, I enjoy and am often surprised by the range of musical tastes but even more I enjoy the spirit of comradeship and the dialogues and the banter. I no longer read every post but I do scroll through the entire list looking for old friends and also appreciating quite a few new posters some of whom I'd like to see over here.
And my apologies to Catcher, I didn't intend to co-opt your post or to re-direct it's intent.

Edouard said...

Hi everybody, so I know I'm late on this, but I have some random thoughts. First, I think having wide ranging tastes logically enhances your chances of a Guru picking your nom. Also, I think the reason why Steenbeck has been so successful, especially in 2009 (I think you've had more A-listers than there are weeks so far) is that she's done a lot more justifying than most of us, and more power to her, I should be doing the same.
Any kind of quota doesn't make any real sense, I know we call RR a game, but it's not technically one is it? If I nominated 7 songs that fit a certain topic well, and also fit in what the guru had in mind for the column (known as the Dorian method), so be it.
Finally to answer Catcher's questions, I guess I have a "first world problem" in that it bothers me a little bit that Rob picked Pais Tropical for the nature theme, when it's much more appropriate for Songs about LAtin America, whenever that theme comes, no doubt when I'm not around. IN the ones that got away, there are quite a lot, but most of the time they are non-English songs, so ultimately I understand why the guru would overlook/not get it. The one that does stick out is Os Argonautas, but it's been more than 2 years now, so I've made my piece with it.

Edouard said...

Oh , and if there is any complaining, I feel the guru is the target rather than the "Usual Three".

Marconius7 said...

Have to echo DsD's kudos to fourfoot for his spreadsheets. Without them I'd still be catching up on back columns. His spreadsheets were more extensive than the Index is with album source, genre, and I think, song writer included. Truly amazing.

May1366 said...

Well, that wasn't the 54 occasions of people posting variations of "Yes, well done and thanks, Marconius, you're a genuine marvel" I expected to read when I saw the title! But, anyway, what I just said - the Marconium is like of one of those beautifully maintained little museums you stumble upon when you're on holiday that knocks all the big tourist places into a cocked hat.

I like Catcher's point about how the list of A-list entries gives a pleasing snapshot of the person and the music taste behind the nominations. I think the A-listings that add depth to this snapshot are ones of which I feel most proud. It feels good, for example, to know that I influenced a national newspaper to recommend the wholly experimental Anna Lockwood's Breathing Machine (machines theme) to its readers. Just for the sport of the thing, I also felt a twinge of 'special' achievement at getting the 'blue' song in the Colours Top 10 (Swamp Dogg's I Was Born Blue), considering what Maddy would have had to wade through that week on that colour alone.

As for gripes, the pang of not making a Top 10 lasts less than three seconds - in fact, it has time to do a spot of tidying up and have a quick check of the news headlines to make it to three seconds. Some weeks I feel I have eleven or more tracks that are spectacularly on-topic, or just on-topic and spectacular - so if a definitive Top 10 is beyond just one of me, mathematics tells me the whole lot of us come up with far too many great suggestions each week to make the A and B lists anything more than a highlights package of the discussion that's gone on.

Exodus said...

Just to add my appreciation of the Marconium! Also in reply to the original question I think the A listing I'm proudest of is the Au Pairs Headache For Michelle, as it's my favourite track by one of my favourite bands who, regrettably, aren't as widely known as they should be. Interestingly enough, in reference to some of the other thoughts above about hitting the A list, I came up with the nom sometime on Sunday afternoon, and got only a single dond (from Fuel, I believe).

Similar with Nico Nibelungen - popped it in late Saturday or Sunday, not a single dond, yet it hit the A-list.

There may be something in the idea that certain people's musical tastes chime more with some gurus than others. Having had about half a dozen listings under Maddy, I'd had a total duck under Rob and Paul until 'Twat' a few weeks ago (which was purely a result of being up for the MFF that week) & The Au Pairs a week or two after.

Exodus said...

Just to add my appreciation of the Marconium! Also in reply to the original question I think the A listing I'm proudest of is the Au Pairs Headache For Michelle, as it's my favourite track by one of my favourite bands who, regrettably, aren't as widely known as they should be. Interestingly enough, in reference to some of the other thoughts above about hitting the A list, I came up with the nom sometime on Sunday afternoon, and got only a single dond (from Fuel, I believe).

Similar with Nico Nibelungen - popped it in late Saturday or Sunday, not a single dond, yet it hit the A-list.

There may be something in the idea that certain people's musical tastes chime more with some gurus than others. Having had about half a dozen listings under Maddy, I'd had a total duck under Rob and Paul until 'Twat' a few weeks ago (which was purely a result of being up for the MFF that week) & The Au Pairs a week or two after.