For two seconds I felt honoured, until I saw that he also follows 891 other contributors to Mixcloud. Then the awful realisation struck me that he 'follows' only to promote his name, not even his mixes, of which there are none. No 'Activity', zero. How he gets to chose the recipients of his name I cannot imagine. Is it random? So I looked at the first page listing those he follows and found that 11 of the 15 names have also contributed nothing to Mixcloud.
It's funny to think that I once followed Mark Stewart in that offline place we call the 'real world'. Yes, I went to many of his gigs, and still have damaged hearing to prove it. Oh, Mark, it has come to this...from the righteous scream of nihilist paranoia drenched in distorted rhythms, to fleeting virtual contact in the name of self-promotion. In a sense, I don't blame him. After all, the internet is fertile ground for self-seeding in the hope that a mighty oak of recognition will grow. Unfortunately, I'm not good at doing that. If I was, I would be following like crazy on Mixcloud just to prod strangers into looking at me. Perhaps I'll try doing that as an experiment.
Before the notification of Mark's activity I had, as it happened, been thinking about all this. I'd concluded that I would stand by the old-fashioned notion that you only like and show approval of something you actually do like. This olde-worlde idea is with me from the pre-PC era, of course. Some of you will remember it well. By showing an allegiance to an artist you made a statement about yourself. By following a band you joined others in mutual admiration, thereby cementing a bond as well as seeking reassurance that others also felt strongly about an artist like Mark Stewart. After all, he represented more than just good tunes. He stood for resistance and awareness, along with a special brand of musical avant-gardism.
But that was then. How could I have imagined that two decades later he would be following me, but not in a good way? I've decided to deal with this by pretending that he's played at least a couple of my mixes and concluded that I'm worth following. He has no agenda, but simply rates me as a virtual DJ. Yes, the legendary Mark Stewart is now a fan of mine. The tables have turned. Isn't that wonderful?
(Should you wish to hear what Mark is so excited about click on the 'Music Mixes' tab above)