Things I don't like ;)
This afternoon, as I sat in a darkened theatre watching a movie I never would have chosen to watch had I known how sad this scene I was watching Amy Madigan in was, I remembered something Alexander Prior had said.
Prior is the Chief Conductor of the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra. He is young, like 24, I think, which means I have two neckties, one suit and an old Trek 750 older than he is. Anyways, there he was above us on stage a couple of weeks ago during an ESO Late Night gig at the Winspear. He was introducing Jalons, a work by Iannis Xenakis. Right. I'd never heard of him either.
I suspect Prior didn't expect the likes of me to suddenly enjoy the strange sounds. I suspect he wouldn't believe me if I said I did.
I suspect he wasn't as much trying to make me an instant fan of Xenakis as he was making a case to confront the Like Algorithmania of our times. That is, the data-based logic that tells me that because I liked the movie Stuck, starring Amy Madigan and Giancarlo Esposito, I will also like Flexx, Miss 2059, and the yet-to-be-released movie Honored.
Indeed, when do we ever willingly anymore choose to experience a song or a movie or a painting that we allow human gatekeepers to choose for us, especially when the experience is predicted to be, in parts, unlikeable? I suspect Alexander Prior was quite okay with my not liking Xenakis. Because he got me to do what I don't do, which is give much time or attention to anything but things I know, or a software program knows, I will like.
Cultural gatekeepers have a bad name. They are stuffy and elitist and superior and boring. Those labels certainly fit some of the epigone elites I worked with in what's left of the institutions they hid away in. They knew what was best for me and ensured that I knew it and knew it was their job to lead me to share their conclusions. In Prior, I wonder if there is a new kind of gatekeeper on the rise: one who is content for me to spend some valuable time, about 18 minutes if you're counting, with what I don't like, yet.
Today, in the downtown pedway, I saw Alexander Prior approaching. He walked by. I took a chance.
"Alexander!" I said. He turned around and put his parka down. I introduced myself, we talked, and I thanked him for the music I didn't completely like that night at the Winspear.
"But did you enjoy not liking it?" he asked.
"Yes, I did." 👍
|A Prior meeting|