Friday, October 26, 2007

Starlings of the Slipstream

A slipstream is that area behind something moving through fluid (air, water, etc.) where the pressure is reduced. It's sort like when you wave your hand through water and there's this absence of liquid in your wake. Birds, like the starling, travel in flocks that help create these slipstreams. Mostly we think of geese flying in a V formation, but some birds just fly in a tight flock for the same effect.

The absence of pressure in this slipstream is the primary focus of this Pavement song. Think of the band as the starling. Pavement came along after many bands and indie labels cut a path through the music industry to make room for more eccentric, artistic styles. Bands in the early to mid-nineties were relieved from the pressure of selling millions of records, because a market had been created that allowed many musicians to quit their day jobs, release some records on Matador, and hit the road. I, for one, am thankful for this slipstream.

Pressure tends to ruin anything that's enjoyable or stimulating, not always, but often. The fact that Pavement could make interesting, timeless music and make money doing it, is a testament to this slipstream in the music scene.

The song doesn't have to be about indie rock, but it's one example. As people break from conventionality and do for themselves, the space they create becomes their own slipstream. I look at blogging, documentary film making, half of Portland and realize people all over are creating their own slipstreams. I know it's cheesy, but sometimes just the idea that we have some agency to do and create what we like makes me feel better.

One more thing...Does anyone else conjure up an image of Revenge of the Nerds during the second verse? (I put a spy-cam in a sorority/Ah-oo darlings on the split-screen)

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