On an album like Sgt Pepper’s it almost seems unfair to say that one track stands out. But it’s hard to ignore the sheer scope of the album’s closing track, A Day in the Life, a track Rolling Stone said “made rock’s possibilities seem infinite.”
It’s hard to pick a track from the Beatles catalogue that better reflects the two unique songwriting talents at the heart of the group. Paul’s upbeat bridge a great foil to John’s prosaic verse. This was the two in absolute sync, separate identities fused into one song worthy of them both.
It’s not just the songwriting that shines in the track. There was much inventiveness and whimsy in the decision to include a high-frequency dog whistle on the track.
And by encoding a musical loop into the ‘inner groove’ of the record, the band acknowledged the experience of their listeners, who were tripping out even as the record was playing out.
The original four-part harmony recorded as the song’s ending was felt to not have enough impact, so they brought three grand pianos and a harmonium into the studio, and played the final E-major chord with 10 hands.
They sustained the chord by upping the recording volume as it faded out, so much so that you can hear the ambient sounds of the studio in the background. This was a band challenging themselves in the studio, and challenging their audience.
A lasting impression
When Lennon’s hand-written lyrics for A Day in the Life came up for auction 43 years after they’d been penned, they sold for $1.2 million.
Hardly surprising considering this was the final statement on the most ambitious album by the world’s greatest band at the height of their powers.
The cover version played by Jeff Beck in the video in this post is an apt tribute to this epic song. Stripped of its lyrical power, you’re left to marvel at the dual intertwined melodies.
‘Housing First’ is an approach to ending homelessness that centers on quickly providing homeless people with housing and then providing additional services as needed.
It is an approach first popularized by Sam Tsemberis and Pathways to Housing in New York in the 1990s (Padgett, 2007: 1928), though there were Housing First-like programs emerging elsewhere, including Canada (HouseLink in Toronto) prior to this time.
The basic underlying principle of Housing First is that people are better able to move forward with their lives if they are first housed. This is as true for homeless people and those with mental health and addictions issues as it is for anyone.
According to Pathways to Housing, “The Housing First model is simple: provide housing first, and then combine that housing with supportive treatment services in the areas of mental and physical health, substance abuse, education, and employment.”
At the start of the year I spoke at the kick-off event for the 2012 Vibewire fastBREAK series on the topic of Beginnings. You can watch all the five-minute talks from the event in this YouTube playlist - fastBREAK: Beginnings.
I wanted my 5-minute talk to serve as a provocation to members of the audience to nurture their creative and imaginative capabilities, and to put those capabilities to work on the problems that matter most.
It’s always interesting to watch yourself present. Lots of gesticulation, some verbal repetition and ticks, the gentle swaying from side to side - but overall I was pretty happy with the pacing and with the way I managed to connect with the audience.
I’m always grateful for opportunities to speak, as among other things they help me to improve the way I communicate.
I’ve been part of the fastBREAK series since I spoke at the inaugural event as part of the 2009 Innovation Festival. In 2012 I have been helping to source inspirational speakers for the series.
Do you know someone inspirational who would be perfect to speak at the fastBREAK series?
The world is full of order that doesn’t necessarily deserve our respect. Sometimes there is meaning, justice, and logic present in the way things are — but sometimes there just isn’t. And I think the moment that we realize this is the moment we become creative people. Because it prompts us to mess things up and do something better with the basic pieces of experience.
Designer Kelli Anderson reflecting on her practice of ‘disruptive wonder’. Worth taking the time to watch her TEDxPhoenix talk below: