How to make sense of music in the age of streaming By Ben Ratliff

It may be the most simple yet complex question you’ll be asked today: how do you listen to music? Beyond the basic decisions about headphones versus speakers, streaming versus CD, just how do you decide what to listen to?

You could follow the breadcrumb trail laid down by a streaming service’s playlist algorithms, or the recommendations of a friend or work colleague. You might, as old-fashioned as it sounds, go with something you heard on the radio, or listen to an artist’s album from start to finish. You might just press play and see where it leads you. In the age of Spotify and such services, there are myriad ways to jump into the endless, ceaseless pool of music available.

Ben Ratliff has been writing about music for the New York Times for the last 20 years and he has a well-tuned sense of how his own listening experience goes. You’ll find a taste of that in Every Song Ever: Twenty Ways to Listen to Music Now, his new book about how to access music now that all the potential barriers for listeners are gone.

Agentul secret

‘Barefaced audacity and childishness of a peculiar sort’ Has ISIS been reading Conrad’s classic novel The Secret Agent? By Mick Hume

There has been much confused and confusing breast-beating about what’s behind the series of bloody terror attacks in Europe this summer. After each outrage in France or Germany or wherever is next, the overnight Koranic scholars of the liberal media insist that it has nothing to do with the Islamic faith, while an opposing army of equally instant experts declare that is all about Islam. (Neither side is quite right of course, but that’s for another spiked article.)

It might help a bit to step back from the immediate febrile debate, and see things in another context. It occurs to me, for example, that a 109-year-old work of fiction, currently being dramatised on British television, could tell us something different about the nihilism and adolescent self-righteousness of modern terrorism-for-terror’s sake.

The Secret Agent, Joseph Conrad’s classic 1907 novel and one of my favourite books, has been brought to timely life on BBC 1 (the last of three episodes airs next Sunday, the first two are available on iplayer). Set in Victorian London and loosely based on a true episode, it is a dark tale of espionage, terrorism, intrigue and betrayal, as a farcical but deadly bombing in Greenwich Park unravels the lives of all the characters.

Comunitatea Naţională de Informaţii a PDului

Cam la asta se reduce vestita „Comunitate Nationala de informatii” din Romania, o afacere de partid.
Traian Băsescu- EvZ „Recunosc faptul că Daniel Moldoveanu a venit în administrația prezidențială pe linie de partid. De la PD.”

Adica toata comunitatea era la mana PDului.


Why all civilised people should love wasps By Simon Barnes

Dom Perignon, Pimms, Carling Black Label, Coca-Cola — one’s as good as the other, so far as they’re concerned. Even if they don’t manage to drown in the stuff, they spoil the taste for drinkers by creating panic out of all proportion to their size. They destroy the ardour of al-fresco lovers in an instant. They are the joy-killers: the destroyers of summer, determined to prove that the wild world is a plot against humanity.

Is there anything good about wasps? Is their sole purpose in life to harass humans seeking the fleeting joys of summer? Does this black-and-yellow air force exist only to ruin the few fine days reluctantly given to us?

If you garden, wasps are among your best friends. The common wasp is a top predator — capturing more than 4 million prey-loads, weighing 7.2lb per acre, every season. Their favourite prey is aphids, rose-killers and tormentors of every gardener’s favourite plants.