How I roll - choosing the epigraph for 5.15.8

Thinking about the epigraph of my Perl release started about 10 days before the release. Certainly, I had been unconsciously mulling back and forth about killer quotes from books or other media for longer than that. About 10 days ago, I made the short list of two books that could give interesting quotes.

One was "Friday" by R.A. Heinlein. I've always liked the book, and it opens with the introduction of the protagonist as she kills a pursuer and stuffs him into a cabinet, reacting only on a hunch. Heinleins way of laconic writing should have made for an interesting quote from that scene.

The second book was "The Manual" by the DJ combo The KLF. It is an unromantic look at the music business and follows a Faustian theme. It purports to be a manual for achieving a Number One in the UK in the late 1980s. It taught me interesting concepts, like for example the idea of diving head-first into a venture and the importance of the bass line in pop music. While following the manual certainly was a way to get a Number One hit in the UK, it also makes clear the other half of the faustian pact - getting the Number One is the only thing you will get, immediately in its two opening paragraphs:

Be ready to ride the big dipper of the mixed metaphor. Be ready to dip your hands in the lucky bag of life, gather the storm clouds of fantasy and anoint your own genius. Because it is only by following the clear and concise instructions contained in this book that you can realise your childish fantasies of having a Number One hit single in the official U.K. Top 40 thus guaranteeing you a place forever in the sacred annals of Pop History.

Other than achieving a Number One hit single we offer you nothing else. There will be no endless wealth. Fame will flicker and fade and sex will still be a problem. What was once yours for a few days will now enter the public domain.

Originally I had thought to use these two paragraphs as the epigraph. Especially the prophecy of short-lived fame seemed to ring well with being the release manager of the latest development release of Perl until next month. But once I had started re-reading the book, the chapter on "Chorus And Title" is about how these are the central piece of the song. The authors state that the chorus is the main emotional pull the prospective Number One will need. And as the "Doctor Who" chorus reminds at least me of soccer fans chanting in a stadium, this chorus and the following paragraph explaining the deeper relevance behind the lyrics struck a chord. The segue of the text into showing examples of real masters of producing number one hits serially, and the culmination in the Rick Astley quote sealed the deal for me. Who could resist citing a meme before it was cool?

After rereading the book, it is interesting how much the music business has changed in the sense of publicity. It is also interesting how aware the authors were at this point in time that there was a change coming in the sense of accessibility of the means of music production. Of course, much of the advice about studios has been obsoleted by the technical advances of the past 20 years. The music market is not as centralized anymore, and channels like MTV and later Youtube have eroded the influence of Top of the Pops, so marketing strategies today would have to be different. Also, the music distribution does not happen in stores much anymore.

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About Max Maischein

user-pic I'm the author of various CPAN modules. I'm also one of the admins of perlmonks.org.