Go to content Go to navigation Go to search

How to destroy P2P.

Let’s say when you were younger than you are now that you went to your girlfriend’s senior-year prom and when she was occupied elsewhere (this would be after the thing with the fountain outside, so maybe she’s in the bathroom with her best friend, laughing as she peels off her damp stockings), you screw your courage to the sticking point and sidle up to the band between songs and say hey, you know, could you maybe play, you know, that song? The one by that band, Modern English? “I’ll Stop the World and Melt With You”? You know? And he laughs and says sure, in a couple of songs. And in a couple of songs they do and the way her face lights up when they do and you grin and hold out your hand is something to see.

Even if there’s a dozen other people at least lighting up all across the dance floor for the very same reason.

So you go online years later because, you remember that TV commercial Michael Palin did for that decent radio station in Chicago? Where he’s holding the pizza the whole time, going on about how on W-whatever, we don’t play songs over and over and over again until they lose all meaning and become a mockery of themselves like every other radio station in town, and then he looks down at the pizza and looks mournfully up at the camera and says, to think this was once “Stairway to Heaven”? I mean, yeah, “I’ll Melt With You” is total pizza, but her face lit up. You know? And when you were in high school everybody bought that Modern English album for that song but they all bought it on cassette and who has cassettes nowadays? And who can find the 4AD retrospective in their local record shop? So you go online and you fire up your favorite P2P filesharing software and you plug in Modern English and sure enough, presto! There’s a whole slew of copies of “I’ll Melt With You.”

Only just about every single one of them is that ghastly early ’90s remake they did as “the 80s Modern English” or some such shit after that goddamn Burger King commercial.

(Then again, Gilmore Girls used the La’s original version of “There She Goes” on its soundtrack or something, apparently, so hey, the filesharing thing wasn’t a total loss.)

  1. Lisa    Mar 17, 05:06 AM    #
    For .99 you can buy Modern English's "I'll Melt With You" (from the eighties) from the Apple iTunes store.

  2. --k.    Mar 17, 05:44 AM    #
    Indeed, and I do have my copy. I'm less concerned for myself than I am for the fact that the remake is so much more widely spread. —Is it a music industry poison pill? I don't think so; they aren't that savvy. But stranger things have happened, and the alternate explanation—that so many people out there don't know the difference, or just don't care—is too disheartening to credit.

    (Of course, that's just one alternative. I'm sure one could think of others.)

  3. bethanne    Mar 17, 08:03 AM    #
    Kip, right now- in all your nostalgic yet practical glory, complete with the gestures that so many would never admit to making- I love you. Unless, of course, you made it all up- in which case I may never be able to speak to you again.

  4. Lisa    Mar 18, 05:24 AM    #
    I suspect the reason the remake is more available is the quite practical one--it's on a CD. Heck of a lot easier to rip than vinyl. And after intense research on my part (I asked my students), I think that many if not most of the people who "share" files are less than thoughtful--they simply rip everything they have, without worrying about niceties like sound quality, completeness, file names, and, of course, ethics and the law.

  5. --k.    Mar 18, 11:52 AM    #
    I'd lay dollars to donuts you're right, Lisa--but it wrecks my lovely theory as to the decline and fall of the larger culture. Piffle!

    (And if they worry not as to niceties, what of those of us who have the nerve to complain about the low quality of the grazing in these commons? Parasites on parasites!)

  Textile Help