Dear Sony

June, 2012

Dear Sony.

I know what you’re thinking but, Sony, I’m not some kid that plays his songs to Ma and Pa in the ad break of So You Think You Can Dance – sitting there all nervy in my pyjama pants and wondering whether I’ll miss a Facebook message before I get to the bridge about how no one will ever understand me and my tide. I’ve drawn a picture of myself on the CD cover, just so you can be sure.

I bet you get these all the time, hey? Kids writing in like – “I wanna be singger like Madonna.” I wonder if your studio’s been hijacked, Sony, like in Airheads? I used to be a journalist and everyone always told me to watch that journalism movie, just because I was a journalist – so I’m sorry if everyone always recommends Airheads – it just seems so perfect, like you should watch it at Sony initiation or something. Brendan Fraser’s in it, plus Steve Buscemi, Adam Sandler, Michael Richards and even Chris Farley. Brendan Fraser’s not even that bad in it – these days everyone’s trying to help him out, like, “hey Brendan Fraser – this one could help everyone forget about those desert movies you did” and he’s rapping like: “yea, but, I can be picking up a bagel and still be thinking I’m fighting the Mummy, yo.” It seems there all rallying for Brendan Fraser like they do for charities or something. Maybe he’ll even get a Christmas all-star singalong like “Santa, bring Fraser a life-saver, this desert trick is drying quick and he might just get better later” and they can hold hands for the betterment of Brendan Fraser. Poor guy.

Why Sony BMG? It’s like Shatner redoing Common People – “I didn’t know where else to start, so I started there”. I mean, I have reason to dislike you, since buying your headphones, but we can overlook that now. When I was a kid my Mum always said “only buy Sony” and even when I was collecting stereoheads at Council Collection time, I only went for Sony.

There was an addict in Newtown that sprayed “I Hate Optus” all over the street and it made me think of you and how disappointed I was with your headphones, but Sony – you’d totally be cool about it, I just know it. If Newtown was sprayed in disapproval of Sony, you’d be all over it like – “yea, sorry guys – how about some free downloads for being douches with those headphones? Remember us for our 80s stereoheads, please!”

But Optus totally fucked it – everyone’s walking around in Newtown suddenly realising: hey, I DO hate Optus, now I think of it! Maybe it’s that shitty “bonus-round” they play when you buy credit and then they give you a “secret prize” of 1mb data. I mean, what the hell are you going to do with 1mb data on a Blokia? (That’s an old, block Nokia) You see, half of Newtown are the poor-rich kids that have iPhones, their daddy’s cash and his old jeans so that they can still get into Oxford Arts – the other half are just as rich but keep their old phones because it’s more fitting to the image. You know the kind – they wear big shades and talk about the death of Polaroids like it’s worse than Japanese whaling. I ate Whale in Japan and it was actually really delicious. But Sony, you’d totally woo them and have them walking round in your new, improved, headphones – you’d win them over, i know it. But Optus – ha! They may as well end coverage in that part – Newtown is signing up to Virgin!

I’m a web designer by trade, and I’m pretty good I reckon. Here’s my typical process, and maybe we can do it the same way. It’s been working OK…

1. Pitch and portfolio.

This is where I pick a business with a shitty website and email them telling them that it could be harming their business – that it’s a 1995-er (because that’s when it was made, and that’s about what I’ll charge them to fix it). Then I show them the killer code I’ve been doing. This is kind of that stage – I’m telling you: your artists aren’t so bad, but listen to my bad-arse tunes and let’s do some damage, sister.

2. Mockup.

After they’ve forgotten their pride for my mocking the site they made while their kids were playing Commander Keen from floppy drives, it’s mockup time. This is when I show them what they could have: it’s the desire part, and I have to make it look as shiny as possible. They need to bite my golden egg, first. In our relationship, Sony, I could write you a song with an artist in mind. See, you could ask me for a song and I’d give you something back that’d be real fucking good.

3. Proposal.

I’m a money-man. The kids that want to change the system can keep reading Info Wars and playing Zeppelin records backwards to hear secret messages, because I’ve already learnt the big secret. This stage is where I tell the webmasters how much it’s going to cost, how quickly I can do it, and all the bonuses they’ll get. In their case, that’s interactive galleries, flash headers, top Google listings and technical stuff that they don’t understand but will want anyway. If we make it this far, Sony, this is where you tell me what you will pay me to write songs.

4. Contract.

This part’s plain – it’s where we sign for 50% more than what you offered me at stage 3. I’ve played this game before, Sony, I’m no Charlie on a pony. I’m like Clint Eastwood in Unforgiven: riding fast with some Mexican sidekicks and ready to do some damage…

5. Business time.

Songwriting is like coding websites, Sony: no one understands or respects what you’re doing until you’re done. I mean – you can’t have friends over for Friday night drinks-n-coding. You could say songwriters collaborate, but honestly, Sony, name a good collaboration? Sure, The Beatles were pretty good: but I’m talking more about your Leonard Cohen type songwriting here. While you have to endure RSI (repetitive strain injury) and whinging clients to get through a few websites, you also need to be ready to endure and or destroy a relationship, of some kind, to write anything worthy. Luckily for you, Sony, I’ve got relationships just ready to dissolve or evolve at your desire – I’ve got this production line running so well that you can have heartbreak, remorse or love literally within a week – and I don’t even outsource…

See, that’s another thing to hate about Optus – they outsource everything! Even their call centres are in Perth. I mean, they’re seriously harming the Western Australian image. Optus are out there all like “keep India, we’ve found a perfect new third-world to answer our calls – Perth!” See, Sony, you guys are great – you probably don’t outsource your phones, because you just don’t give out your number. You’re like a bitchy girl at a party that thinks she’s too cool.

I dig that – that’s the the kind of girl I’d like to be if I was a girl at a party. Right now I’m think of myself as kind of saboteur party-goer: Sparrokei of the undergrowth, mocking in short whips of brilliance and stupidity. One time I lit up all these post-it notes in a bathroom at a party, then had to stand there in the dark for five minutes while the smoke cleared. They were all like: “Sink: follow protocol.” and “Light: necessary?” I mean, come on, Sony – who’s going to follow a sink protocol? I bet they don’t even have sink protocol in the army, they just respect the sink and allow it to be a sort of free-for-all excursion: an exercise in self-restraint and communal-respect. If I was in the army and they had sink protocol – that’d be the end of it for me. I mean, they can tell me to do sit ups and when to paint by face and run mad like a WoW star playing paintball, but, Sony, they won’t dare tell me how to wash my hands.

I hope you’ve got this far – I’d feel good if you do. If you have, you’re probably on the second song by now – it’s my favourite and I hope you like it too. I’m a real skimmer, so I’d probably still be putting the CD in the player and reaching for the headphones (the killer, recording-level headphones – because you surely couldn’t use the where you’re sitting – I mean they’re noise-reducing, but what does it matter when they don’t even cover your ears?). I’m such a skimmer that I totally would have missed all the best bits. But you, friend, you’re obviously good at what you do because you didn’t miss it. If you had have, and somehow I knew, or if you had have missed it all completely and just sat there drawing pictures on the back of all your business cards to make a flip-book, well, I would have impersonated you to my friends: playing like “what you think I got this job to read? I got it coz I like music.” And it’d be funny, because, well, everyone likes music don’t they?

I’m the mystic-autistic, Sony. The vagabond vigilante in worn-out shoes. Let’s dance.

Art Sparrokei.

by Sparrokei