in the Age of Shopping
A Project from Jon Rose
As revealed in the seminal book The Pink Violin (ISBN 0 646 080032) the Australian composer, theorist and violinist Dr. Johannes Rosenberg predicted that after the demise of Communism and Capitalism would come The Age of Shopping. He also identified two important characteristics that the culture industry of this period would develop - firstly an obsession with technical process for its own sake and secondly, a contemporary art and music world largely empty of any creative content. A culture where the constituent parts have been removed from their context (meaning) and all voices, authentic, original or otherwise, continue to exist only as easily identifiable, sellable product. Content as a recognizable idea has ceased to exist because all 'the content' has become interchangeable - it doesn't matter what is going on providing there is evidence that something is going on - a merely quantative world of massed copies and fakes. All music whatever its origin, status or supposed function would now exist in a digital dream time that the originators of 'muzak' could never have imagined. Rosenberg envisaged the music supermarket of today - a place where the tins on the shelf are interchangeable; the labels maybe looking different but the content (once bought) identical.
Placing the violin in a global shopping context does seem to be the next logical step in Jon Rose's Gesamtkunstwerk approach to music. Histories, functions, imagery and meanings are all up for sale in this current culture-vulture project. Shopping is of necessity a satirical piece with political intent. Sonic, visual, and written material has been collected and collated over the past few years in digital format. From this pool of information have come over 60 concert performances, a book (of the same title), 2 videos, 4 radio broadcasts in Australia & Europe, an exhibition (in Tokyo) and 4 CD productions.
Since November 1993, the following musicians and artists have contributed to the various manifestations of the Shopping project... as concerts of truely terrible shopping songs & audio shopping lists; performances (requiems) in Shopping Cities; interactive radio events (including shopping soap operas); television (budget horror) in 10 countries (most of western Europe, Canada, Australia, & China), and a book. Texts used in the Shopping book (Violin Music in The Age of Shopping ISBN 0 646 18105 X ) have been translated into German, Italian, French, Portuguese, and Japanese from the original English.
Jon Rose decided to shut up shop on this particular project ('it's all gotta go') in 1996 by which time, despite the benefits of a good purge, he had begun to feel decidedly sick of it all. The situation (the cultural decline) continues to get worse with the internet helping to speed up the demise. There is no evidence as yet for a cultural renaissance.
The following artists have taken part in the SHOPPING PROJECT. (The check out queue is not in any particular order):
Welcome to Shopping World
Where you can buy anything
from a laxative to a ring
a prayer, a rhyme
a wish and a chime
A final check out time
Oh my God
what's that smell!
don't feel well
What's that bell that I'm hearing
it's heaven but it feels like Hell (and I can tell) -
that I'm in Shopping World
they put the 'ping'
back into my 'shopping'
That is why
I wanna die
with a sigh
don't know why, like a fly, bye bye bye (swat & out).
TV shopping makes me smile
all that credit all the while
In this world where I live
it's just bargain happiness
all the cute things I can buy
invest for my tomorrow.
Keep me happy through the years
never bring me any tears
make your words be as true as the sunshine up above
TV fun, TV shopping, TV love.
TV shopping in my brain
see those goodies without the rain
I'm so bored with my live
to have anything but fun
I forget about thinking
when I buy those little sunbeams.
Stuff my face full all day long
keep on humming happy songs
TV words be as true as the sun from up above
TV fun, TV shopping, TV love.
Let me sell you a smile
Smile though your legs are aching
smile though your brain is bursting
when there's a queue
you'll get through
punching black and blue
Smile as you kick the old lady
smile saying 'sorry honey'!
We'll keep the bargains coming through for you.
Fight for the faith with gladness
Buy all our crap & madness
shedding no tear
although it's only fear
you and me just keep on buying
buying because we're dying
you'll find that shopping's so worthwhile
let me sell you a smile.
Waltz of the soap powders
Dippy Soffas Popla Klok
Page Plus Kleenex Trojan Doc
Lorex Biotex Ariel All
Robijn Dash Regina SAL
Omo Fleuril Prodent Witte Rens
Persil Woolite O.B. Bio-sense
Doppelman Dixan Cato Dreft
Colgate Aquaperk Palmolive Heft
Nivea Luxus Tempo Sun
Neutral Jiffi Pearldrops Fun
Dubro Ajax Steradent Easy
Supertamp Libresse Broxomatic...
Calgon Spidi Alles Rein
Dora Glassex Spray'n shine
Glorix Handy Kristal Durex
Top Safe Happy Mums and Tampax
Fi-fax Fi-fo Mojo Blow n'Go
Aeria Ultra Pads White as snow
Freedom Always Brylcream Kla
Colgate Dentifrice Oral B, Ah!
You came, I was alone
I should have know, you was temptation.
You smiled luring me on
my heart was gone, you was temptation.
It's just so thrilling, I know I'm willing
can it ever be, you and me?
You were born to be missed
I can't resist, you are temptation.
I am yours, here is my heart
and take it, say we'll never part.
I'm just a slave, only a slave
to you my temptation.
When I want it in my arms
when I want it and all its charms
whenever I want it all I gotta do
is dream etc.
I can make it mine
makes me feel so fine
any time night or day.
Only trouble is, Gee wiz
I'm dreaming my life away.
I need it so that I could die
I love it so and that is why
whenever I want it all I gotta do
is dream etc.
ANZ 24 hour cash card dispenser
(called the NIGHT & DAY Card, sung to the tune Night & Day)
Night and Day, you are the one
The greatest credit card under the moon and under the sun.
Whether near to me or far
we can get what we want, where ever we are
you're open Night & Day, Day & Night.
Night & Day, you're always there
giving instant gratification to whatever we dare (to buy)
and the plastic card seems to fit
so perfectly into any open slit
Night & Day, Day & Night
Night and Day, you bought the soul in me
the user friendly wall job, that won't let me be
and torment goes right through
I find myself getting fucked over and over and over (etc) by you
Night & Day, Day & Night.
All the things you are
(said to the tune of the above)
You are the business thrill at Springtime
that makes investment winter seem less long.
You are the stench of market forces
destroying every option 'cept the popular song.
You are the one, a global disease
The reductive virus, you aim to please.
Some day your happy hands will fondle
nothing more than the bones of dead culture
when all the things you WERE are gone
(When all the things you are are mine, mine, mine, mine, etc)
'Violin music in the Age of Shopping'
at The VICTO Festival, Canada (22/5/94)
Welcome to Violin World!
Thank you for choosing VW (Violin World.)
We'se here for yer public (convenience) and
it'll only take a few minutes (hours) of yer time
Yer needs (lack of credentials), fears (lack of credibility) and sincere feelings (lack of credit) are our deep, deep concern?
We'se talking serious V (value) here and not just MS (market strategy).
If you'se got any Obos (objections) to our perversion? (product)
Please nod (indicate in the affirmative) by pressing the relevant nipple (red button.)
Please choose from the following handshake (selling) techniques.
The Foreplay (forestalling method.)
The Big Yorn (sequence for induced boredom.)
The Lawyer (Defered Approach)
The Boomerang Attack (just kidding)!
The Hole (The Digging Technique)
The ID (Indirect Denial.)
The SPO (Superior Point Offensive).
and not forgetting, The I I (Interactive Illusion.)
Thanks for your head scratch (attention) and lack of necessary Kraft (will power)to turn this thing off.
song: "T.V. shopping"
Hello there, Shopping Adventurers!
VW (Violin World) is gonna do it right (er...) for you!
On the first floor, you'll find the span (relaxation zone), free from yer daily wobblies (problems) and S (stress). Straight over from yer scanners (opposite) is the personal entertainments centre. Hey, Make a space for it in yer Granulars (Brain) will yer, and she'll be right. Get out yer tin openers
(cash cards).Everything you'se nodding today is going at half the loot (half price). And for any you'se Geeks what's caught ADD (Attention deficit disorder or shoppers who can't concentrate on anything for longer than 3 minutes), it's a freebie (we're can't give it away fast enough).
song: "Shopping world"
Calling all Hunters & Gatherers (shoppers). Gee, isn't evolution exciting!
(It's great to find ourselves right back where we started out).
On the second floor we've just introduced our new Fiddle (special offer department). For this week only is a tin opener special difficult to refuse. When you buy a complete set of Salt & Peppers (Table violins,) you gonna get a free pair of Flyers (Violin Angels) . We talking top qual on these perversions (products). They're loaded with grab factor (retail desire), sound like the real thing, stay always clean and fresh. They'll bring a touch of class, culture cred and quality to your potato patch (living room.) Some thing to talk about when the rels are on their next door (family visit).
And now, Ladies & Gentlemen... possibly the worst song in the whole world.
song: "Dream" (packaging chaos)
Hi there Bargain Sniffers!
You've just reached the third floor. Underwear, plumbing and plastic garden Gnome department... and you'se peeking out on E, right? (It's exciting, isn't it?). O.K. It's whistle time for our philosophical question of the month ; is God dead or just sold out? We say, Come unto us all Ye who are heavy layden and We'll refresh youse.
Yea folks, on the fourth floor at our VW theme cafe, it's Hanging Jaw time (happy hour), 2 drinks for the price of one and you can put yer scanners on (check out) and click (instant buy) your dream partner. Win a virtual waste out (holiday) for two, even though the Hotel's not built yet, no worries, it comes with an ensuite (absolutely of no use what so ever) violin player.
Lonely Hearts / play back jazz
Calling all Shopping Junkies and Market Voyeurs!
If you're not satisfied with our running water (amenities) then we suggest GB and GL (Goodbye and get lost).Try the other charlies(shops) on the InfoBahn. We own all the chips anyway.
Waltz (of the soap powders)
Attention Shoplifters on the fifth floor. You're all probably pretty fucked (tired) by now but don't forget to door (visit) our complaints, advice and research department. To be elligable for our long term parasite (investment offer), please fill out the freds (forms) provided. If you can't read and write, then just insert your tin opener (cash card) Er... any tin opener will do. Here are the frames (questions)
Frame 1. When we'se gonna to get a new opium (religion)? Violin World says, it's already in play mode (happening).
Frame 2. Where's you gonna scan it ( find it)? We say, here in Violin World of course.
Frame 3. Who's gonna hand over the necesary (pay for it)?. We say, eh... (you guys!).
Computer voice piece / Violin Angel Orchestra
Calling all American teenager lookalikes with a sixth floor address! So you gotta frame it (ask yourself)why do you always buy a violin. You don't even stroke (play) the thing. But I seen yer made a space for it in yer granulars (brain). Next you'll be breaking out in globules (sweat), it'll no longer be the case of a big D (desire), it'll be an AN (absolute necessity). I can see it gives you the SH (serious Hots) already, you want it so bad.
O.K. All you shopping sharks on the Seventh.
It's munching time (bargain hunt). Like as you go from Charlie to Charlie (shop to shop) try to realise that shopping is only a metaphorical space in yer granulars (brain) signifying an EGF (emotional Grab factor). Like as you get your jaws munching through the price tags we hope you'll get this feeling of spiritual fundamentality ay. Remember you're not scanning (looking for) for FF (function factor), you're only interested in one thing really and that's reaching Coda (going through with the sale)
Rock Shop Rock Shop
Then suddenly I felt AA (all alone) even though the Charlie (shop) was still full of charlies (shoppers), I couldn't hear them, like a movie with the sound turned down. I started to break out in globules (sweat), it was the D&S (desire and possession) thing - only I couldn't reach Coda (go through with it). Then I saw this escalator reaching up into the sky, there were these spinning lights and kind of spiral shapes - always ascending and the music was beautiful MOR and before I knew it I was following this violin player heading up to the furniture department on the eight floor. And right in the centre of the space was this huge throbbing green shape like a grey'n (brain) or something, Then I realised it was an inflatable swimming pool with a water agitator - I must have been on the 9th floor by mistake. So I got out me tin opener (cash card) and bought one.
The shopping guide
Shop, shop, shop, shopping.
What shall we buy.
I don't know.
Once I knew, now I don't know.
I don't know what to buy.
I have enough money so that is not a problem.
But what shall we buy?
I have enough time so that is also not a problem!
I have access to the super highway
I have access to the Infobahn.
But what what shall we buy?
Credit is not a problem and the shop is always open.
I don't think I am stupid, well at least I wasn't when I last looked in the mirror this morning.
I have to buy something really soon.
But what to buy?
I see Megabites of information.
I see Megabites of product.
I will have to buy something very soon, but what shall I buy?
Am I getting the correct information?
Am I seeing the right product for me?
Cyberspace is the place.
It must be.
I have access.
It says so.
But what shall we buy?
I have tried channel surfing without success.
I have tried random access without success.
I have tried the shopping guide to cyberspace but he got lost.
I feel lonely, I am in a panic, can you help me please!
Is there anything to buy?
We have hyper abundancy.
I rang to ask you but the line was busy!
Is it me?
(The existentialist problem)
If I put on this dress, will you tell me it's Me.
Do you think it's Me!
Yes I think it's you.
But is it really me?!
Yes I think it is you.
Yes it is really you.
Well maybe it would be more you if you were to smile!
So you don't think it is Me, do you?
Yes it is quite like you.
Are you being honest with me?
I think it is more you than me.
More me than you?!
Yes, I think it is more you than me.
But is it really me?!