This blog will be about various things because I’m interested in various things, possibly too many things, but I’ll try to avoid subjects about which I don’t have (or at any rate don’t believe I have) anything worth saying. So, although I’m interested in science and technology, I have no scientific training to speak of and know very little about science beyond what I’ve picked up as a layman, and so won’t be talking too much about it, although science informs a good bit of the way I think about art and culture. I worked in professional theatre for 15 years, initially as a technician, then as a musician, and eventually as a writer/performer/dramaturg/literary manager, so I know a fair bit about live performance and dramatic structure and theatre and film; they will figure in this, as will literature and comics. The thing I love most, and probably know the most about, is music, and music will figure heavily.
The title comes from the music industry. Factory Sunburst is a colour scheme that was originally applied to the Fender Stratocaster (the back cover of Derek and the Dominos’ album ‘Layla’ features a Factory Sunburst Strat, which was Eric Clapton’s main guitar at the time). I like the combination of human industry and natural phenomenon, so Factory Sunburst it is. It has no connection with Factory Records, whose output has consistently failed to entertain me over the years.
These are interesting times. They were interesting before most of us were born and they’ve gone on being interesting even when it looked like they weren’t, e.g. the 1980s. I am old enough to remember when vinyl was the main format for recorded music, and young enough not to be scared or saddened by the death of vinyl. Like many others, I went through a phase where the cassette tape ruled, and then I grudgingly agreed to shell out for the compact disc. The CD has turned out to be, not a bold new world in sound reproduction, but a desperate attempt by the music industry to hold onto as much profit as possible. The power of music distribution is being inexorably returned to the hands of the people from whom it shouldn’t have been taken in the first place, and that, in my view, given the history of the recording industry, is a good thing.
I aim to talk a bit about individual pieces of music, bodies of work, and habits of listening.