Thinking about food and music and climate change

I think about food. A lot. In fact I’m perennially hungry, have been that way ever since I can remember. So it should come as no surprise that every now and then, I try and view things from the perspective of food.

Take music for example. Recorded music. Music that has been bottled or canned or preserved.


The ability to preserve music in this form is fairly recent in human history. And without this ability, the whole argument about downloads and ripping and  format transformation rights and I don’t know what else falls by the wayside.

So when I look at this diagram, and read this report, I begin to wonder. Incidentally, there’s a worthwhile series of posts on the subject here and here, dealing, for example, with the winner-takes-all bias in some of this.


I know how I feel about preserved food. About preservatives in food. About additives and e-numbers and what-have-you. I know how I insist on using fresh herbs and spices when I cook, even though it takes longer and it’s more expensive.  I know how I dislike frozen food, how much I dislike frozen food. I will not knowingly eat something that has been microwaved if I can avoid it. These things I know.

There was a time when there was no such thing as frozen food. In the history of food the ability to freeze food and reheat later is fairly recent.

There is a cost to freezing and transporting and heating frozen food. That cost will soon become more apparent to people, as awareness of carbon footprint in the food transportation and processing business grows. And more people will start eating local produce again.

And maybe we’re going to see something similar about music and film and sport. If this whole DRM and downloads and intellectual property rights debate continues to get out of hand, criminalising entire generations and seeking to corrupt and destroy the value of the internet, then we’re going to see a revolution.

We will see a renaissance of live music, of live performances, of live sport. Local teams supported. Local farmers supported. Local playwrights and poets and authors supported.

We will see a renaissance of travelling bands, of authors and poets on roadshows reading their own works.

We will see a renaissance of people paying to see artists perform, rather than paying for the right to perhaps maybe one day hear something recorded, canned and preserved, something they have to climb DRM Everest to hear, and even then it may not be possible.

DRMers and dreamers. Which one are you?

9 thoughts on “Thinking about food and music and climate change”

  1. A couple of things:

    1. I’m quite certain Ferran Adria and Heston Blumenthal use microwaves for specific purposes. Equally, I’m fairly sure they don’t use them for reheating pre-packed meals from the supermarket. A microwave is just a way of imparting energy to something wet or fatty – it’s not to be blamed for the things that often come out of it.

    2. Peas frozen within a couple of hours of harvesting retain more of their nutrients than fresh peas that have been sat in your greengrocer’s display for a week then in your vegetable basket for a few days more. Frozen peas are good. Frozen ready meals not. Again, don’t blame the frozen pea for the crimes of Tesco.

    3. Preservatives in food? I like kippers. And bacon. And jam. And chutney. Preservatives like salt, sugar and vinegar are the reason they exist.

    4. Personally, I’m less and less convinced about anthropogenic global warming. Yes, it’s getting hotter but is atmospheric carbon dioxide the root cause? Let’s not go into that here. However, using less of a finite resource like fossil fuels is a good thing for other reasons. Like the fact that it’s finite for a start. I have children.

    Fully agree with the conclusions though. Local is good.

  2. I certainly share your sentiment. It would be great to see a revival of live music.

    Unfortunately the government managed to mess up the live music scene (in small venues). The 2005 licensing act required pub landlords to get a license for any small performance, see:

    There has been a concerted campaign to make exceptions for small bands etc, but 4 years after the act the government is still stalling:

    This stupid law puts a break on all sorts of live music: school musicals, folk clubs, small bands playing in pubs, choirs etc.

  3. Agree in principle, but it depends where you live… both the local food and local music where I live aren’t great.

  4. The Grateful Dead knew the inherent market value of open source before it was open source — allowing their live shows to be openly recorded and collectively shared without royalties. A smart catalyst for everything else The Dead merchandised. Processed will never come close to distinctively fresh rich texture, be it in music or food.

  5. Global Warming and Climate Change is the biggest environmental issue that we face these days. the long term effects of these environmental changes to a nations economy is quite damaging. there would be a shortage in food supply as well as on water supply too.

  6. Growing Tomatoes in Pots
    Although it’s common knowledge that industry, factory farms, government agencies (especially the military), and municipalities are polluting our drinking water supply, this awareness has led to a widespread phobia of tap water that is ironically exacerbating the water pollution problem. It takes five times as much water to make the plastic bottle than the amount of water the bottle actually holds.Last year, Americans consumed 1.5 million barrels of oil to make disposable water bottles. That’s enough to take 100,000 cars off the road and 1 billion pounds of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. The average American adult spends nearly $200 each year on bottled water. And of course recent scientific studies indicate that hormone disrupting chemicals are steadily leaching out of those billions of non-recycled plastic water bottles that Coke and Pepsi are selling us, slowly and poisoning us.

Let me know what you think

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