Posts Tagged ‘Steel Mill’

Web ADD: From Link To Link

Tuesday, August 16th, 2011

It was sometime during the mid-1990s. I was visiting Rob in St. Francis, and we were likely playing a game of Strat-O-Matic Baseball or maybe playing a table-top basketball game when he began telling me about the teaching opportunities available through the World Wide Web.

The topic wasn’t entirely new to me. A friend of mine from Minot State had moved to St. Paul a few years earlier and he and I had talked briefly about the Web and its utility as a teaching tool. I didn’t quite get it during those earlier conversations with George. My computer at the time was an old Mac, good for writing and playing a few rudimentary games, but I’d not taken the time nor invested the money to get online and explore the new world.

But as Rob talked about the Web and the concept of links in one piece taking the reader to another piece, which itself would have links going other places, I was intrigued, noting what is now obvious: “You could end up places you never intended just through those links.”

He nodded. “That’s the thing about it, as I see it: You learn things far afield from what you intended to find out when you started.”

We’d stopped playing our game by this point, whichever one it was. “It’s like Attention Deficit Disorder when I start daydreaming,” I said. He nodded, knowing I’d been plagued by ADD my entire life (although the condition hadn’t been diagnosed until the early years of the 1990s). “I start out thinking I need to go to the kitchen and figure out what to have for dinner, and a few minutes later, I’m still sitting in my chair, wondering which ethnic groups were the primary immigrants into Le Sueur County.”

He nodded. “Where Green Giant canned the corn that’s sitting in your cupboard.”

“Exactly.”

Now, having been on the Web for more than ten years, I can say that, yes, browsing is a lot like having ADD but more fun. And the lure of the link is essentially harmless, as long as I’m on my own time. If I’m looking for a recipe for Danish red cabbage and end up reading a board discussion of how many words Shakespeare actually created (Danish cabbage to Danish castles to Elsinore Castle also known as Hamlet’s castle to how much actual history Shakespeare knew about Prince Hamlet to what words in Hamlet were Shakespeare’s own coinages to a discussion of how many words the Bard of Avon coined overall), well, it’s my time and my cabbage.

But if the Texas Gal needs a ZIP code for a suburb of Philadelphia and I end up comparing the helmets worn by the Jacksonville Sharks of the 1970s World Football League and the Jacksonville Bulls of the 1980s USFL while she’s waiting to address an envelope, well, that’s a problem.

There is a series of links that can create the line of thought in that previous paragraph although I won’t walk through it; in fact, I think there’s a series of links that can connect almost any two topics in the world. And as I think about it, I’m sure that competitions have already sprung up somewhere in the world pitting Web users against one another in contests like: Go from the Swedish war ship Vasa to the 1975 coffee harvest in Colombia in the fewest number of clicks (without using Wikipedia or similar sites). Sounds like fun to me.

I’m pondering links this morning because of links I noticed at YouTube. I was doing some chart digging, looking into the Billboard Hot 100 from August 17, 1968, and I was less than thrilled by what I was finding. I was particularly unamused by the off-key warbling of Mia Farrow in the week’s No. 111 record: “Lullaby from ‘Rosemary’s Baby’ (Part 1).”

At that page, however, I found a link to a 1998 remake of the lullaby by a group called Morte Macabre, a group made up, All-Music Guide says, “of European heavy metal musicians from the groups Anekdoten and Landberk.” The lengthy track – titled simply “Lullaby” – is found on the group’s album Symphonic Holocaust, “a series of instrumentals taken from the soundtracks of obscure, mostly European exploitation movies.”

(And I wonder as I look for the next link that catches my attention if somewhere there hasn’t been a television host for late-night horror movies with the screen name of Mort Macabre.)

Sometimes the linking logic is difficult to see. Along with links to videos of other tunes by Mort Macabre and videos in a similar vein, I find a link to a video featuring a 1972 tune called “Summer’s Child” by a British band called Steel Mill. The entry at AMG seems to indicate that Steel Mill was one of those bands about which little was known, confounding collectors and diggers in later years. I’d never heard of the group or of its single album, Green Eyed God. I quite like the gloomy and foreboding “Summer’s Child,” though, and I may have to dig further into the group.

But we’ll click another link, choosing the visually most plain of the links that appear on the same page as “Summer’s Child.” And we discover Trace, a Dutch progressive rock group from the 1970s and a video presenting the track “Memory” from the group’s 1974 self-titled album. It’s a slightly ponderous instrumental track that sounds very much like 1974. We’ve not wandered too far afield from Rosemary’s Baby, it seems, as we’ve clicked our links. As it turns out, “Memory” is a decent listen, but no more than that; the track ends abruptly, most likely because it connects seamlessly to the album’s next track, and I’d be more inclined to find the next odd link to click than to seek out the rest of Trace’s album. But I’ve linked enough for now.