Get a Life!

 

I am frequently told that technological advancements in our daily lives are of huge benefit to the human race. However, for the most part, I remain, resolutely unconvinced.

 

Television is a salutary example of the ‘advancement’ of technology that we take for granted in the 21st century. I should point out that I am referring to the dissemination of sound and images – NOT the content of the 900+ channels spewing inconsequential drivel 24 hours a day. My first experience of the joys of flickering black and white images involved an enormous box the size of a wardrobe and choose from one of the three (yes – THREE) channels available during limited periods, you had get up, walk to the box and turn a large dial. As it ‘ker-chunked’ around you could decide which trade test transmission offered the best televisual entertainment.

 

Today, I recline and make the same decisions from 20 feet away after of course, making an enormous effort to motivate myself to lean forward and retrieve the remote control from the table in front of me. Once I have recovered from this physical exertion, the channel of my choice can be selected. Or, more likely, the service freezes up, I get a message informing me that my set box is having ‘issues’ (Issues??) or any number of other messages briefly explaining that technical difficulties are prevailing. The frequency with which these things occur is quite astonishing, I long for the day when a TV technical difficulty involved smoke and possibly combustion. You knew where you were and the evidence was there to see.

 

Yep – I am a technophobe. I have these things in my life to make things easier, more convenient and mostly because I am told I need them. By the way, the irony of my telling you this via the wonders of a computer has not escaped me.

 

I am reliably informed that the PC has revolutionised our day to day lives and I am ready to admit, my working day would be far mundane than it already is without the universe of delights available to me via the internet.

 

Having witnessed the speed at which access to this technology has altered the world of drums, drumming and sharing of information, begrudgingly perhaps, I must admit, it’s an evolutionary step for the better. The abundance of online self help sites, stores and forums covering every imaginable aspect of percussion, makes you wonder how we coped, or even why we bothered 20 years ago!

The exchange of information and ideas abounds on the various forums one can choose from, new friendships that might otherwise never have happened have been forged and elusive and once thought impossible to find spares, drums and cymbals have been located. Mr. & Ms Drummer appear to have welcomed the facility wholeheartedly into their lives, but same cannot be said of the majority of manufacturers.

 

Whilst in the UK and US, many of the well established and respected custom drum builders are well represented on the drum forums, answering questions about their respective products and generally joining in will all manner of drum related banter, the larger concerns are often notable in their absence. I can only surmise their timidity can be attributed to a fear (or perhaps loathing) to become involved with the consumer, a safe distancing exercise bridged only by those retailers who run the gauntlet of online discussion.

 

Fair enough, there have been a few who have dipped their corporate toes into the murky ponds, but with the incessant quest for knowledge, answers and advice, which is usually  a direct brand enquiry, is it not questionable that more companies are not responding with a greater enthusiasm to the day to day postings from drummers worldwide? Before I get jumped upon, I know there are many of the name brands who support these drum sites and their events with boundless generosity and many enquiries will be answered if put in letter or email. But my assertion is not only will the involvement of representatives at forum level answer a specific enquiry, it may also communicate with the legions of non posting ‘lurkers’ ( amongst which I’m sure are the manufacturers!! ) who may have the same or similar questions needing an answer.

 

I realise the prospect of encouraging manufacturers to become involved runs the risk of not only turning forums into advertising threads, but also igniting a Holy War of opinion. However, I often see speculation and guesswork from well intentioned folk, instead of invaluable facts that the company responsible could provide in terms of advice, clarification and explanation.

 

Having said all that, maybe they’re all just too darned busy making drums!!

 

June 2005