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YES! YES! YES!!! This is so right on, I can barely talk about it in lower case letters.

I was an absolutely terrible employee, because I paid far too much attention to detail. I couldn't put a predetermined number of hours towards a given project, and then say "Well, that's enough. Next!" I still can't: http://344design.typepad.com/344_loves_you/2007/10/photos-from-the.html
Because I see in my head what a project COULD be. My abilities usually don't extend to that beautiful, perfect point, but that's why I keep working---to narrow the gap.

I always struggle with the fact that I'm not more active politically, so this may seem a bit lame, but hear me out:

I think that making things better than they have to be is a political statement. It seems that "strivers" are always seen as fundamentally suspect---not part of the group. (The "urban" term, I suppose, is "acting white.") I think it's important to live an example that it's OK to care about your work, OK to aim high. It's not an act of treason against the median, but an honest quest to make something as good as you can make it... just because you might be able to.

Gore and Kerry were both maligned for being policy wonks, that you wouldn't want to have a beer with them. Well... yeah! Wouldn't you want that in a president? Wouldn't you want very much for heads of state to be wonks, policy geeks who live and breathe the process, who are passionate about their job---because they want to DO the job, rather than accumulate raw power?

I've always adored ABBA, and ABC/Trevor Horn, and countless others. Because they went way, way over the top. Check out my favorite music show: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Classic_Albums That whole series is a testament to extending yourself to reach new heights. Needless to say, I also love Stephen Fry.

And Hunter Thompson, who said that you won't find reasonable men at the top of tall mountains.

Is there not a name for the 'dedicated pursuit'? It's more conscious than passion, more calculated than instinct and more ruthless than competition.

Artists rarely acknowledge their influence; their production is a result of the oscillating participation between looking and seeing (or listening and hearing).

Is it possible for anyone/everyone to find this drive, conviction and dedication when the results are less important than the interest in craft?

ABBA's transcendence of pop culture came through from the understanding of tones - physics - and how they acted as emotional functions. Their motive for this was what?

I think it has a lot to do with noise and unstable platforms. The relationships within the band were a result of the need for stability and this ultimately destroyed them. Any of the great music acts have been built upon unstable, frail, panicked relationships and I believe it's that noise within the relationship that the group tries to resolve, which results in the blissful productions.

A passion for a craft is not sustainable; it eventually consumes the producer.

Diversity ensures progression, but at the cost of the favoured populist magic.

Here's the brothers Gibb with Tragedy, complete with Karaoke lyrics.


It's a beautiful noise...

I don't think this is just about passion. Humbly concentrating on craft and experience is also the opposite of a sort of rationalism that suggests solutions that "should work" but often don't.

There is a lot in this if we stretch it a bit. It speaks to Bush in mesopotamia; Blair in the NHS; Abromovich at chelsea; and every 23 year old who thinks he knows everything after one year of full time employment. It is, perhaps, the one good thing british conservatism (the cricket without the racism) and was probably best written by Michael Oakeschott.

This is an interesting point. I hope in the future, more business will employ a craftsmanship mentality. It seems so many large corporations have forgotten why they got into business in the first place; to offer quality product to consumers. The word quality has been eliminated from the mission statement in exchange for profit, outsourcing, bonuses, stock performance, etc. etc. etc. This doesn't pertain to ALL corporations, but it does seem to be a trend among the most accessible consumer products.

For example; our iron just broke after only a year of use. It was one of the better ones available, with lots bells and whistles (given to us as a wedding present). But it only had a one year warranty, which expired only days before it broke. Twenty years ago, things like this were built to last. I would rather pay more money up front for a quality product that is guaranteed for longer than a year, than a hastily produced piece of garbage that will break after a short period of time (coincidentally adding to a growing pile of consumer waste as a result of shoddy product quality).

Learning a craft has been extremely helpful in my working habits. I learned woodworking and jewelry design in college. Spending hours sanding and polishing my projects seemed like a never ending task, but it showed me that spending good quality time on something will yield positive results.

These are all very sound points with which I agree wholeheartedly, but I'm actually going have to ask:

In the segment starting at 00:20 of that video, does Stephen Fry has his hand in his pants? Because you know, ABBA are good, but not *that* good.

(I reckon he's playing with one of his many smartphones.)

I'm firmly behind doing things well as you may have guessed.

When it comes to making things better than they need to be I think it can all be summed up with one word: committment. The songs of ABBA, The Bee Gees, and a good deal more are all governed by committing time, passion, energy, life, excellence, and soul into the work, to make it the best it can be but at the same time taking away all the extra twiddly bits and the opinions of the bean counters and nay sayers, and just bloody-well doing it for the sake of the final piece. The sogns of ABBA speak for themselves: perfect popular songs with grace, beat, and appeal. With the songs of ABBA and a good many other groups there's something in the number of beats to the bar, the number of words, the phrases that all adds on to its neighbour to create a whole: it's musical DNA in action and as a link, it's worth setting up your own mini radio stations at Pandora.com, part of the music genome project. One song can give rise to a wealth of other songs, many of which you've never heard before. I think the same is true of being exposed to great advertising, or any great creative work. Some essence rubs off and influences one's own unique view of the world. You know when something is "right" because it just clicks into place.

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