Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Yet Again Cage Is Paid To Do Nothing

John Cage seemed to have developed a knack for getting paid to do nothing. I went to the indeterminacy website to get a random story and the story I got (this was the third one) had to do with a concert that he and David Tudor put on. This is it:
“During that Greensboro concert,
David Tudor and
got a little mixed up.

He began to
play one piece
and I began
to play a completely different

I stopped,
since he is
the pianist he
and I just
sat there,


It seems that only Cage could pull that off. He was probably the only musician/performer that could just sit there and join the audience without feeling incredibly nervous or at least trying to get back into the song. However, Cage was just so care-free that he didn’t seem to mind . I would guess this was because he was already used to any amount of criticism thrown at him due to his radical ideas, and most people were probably sick of actually trying to say something to him that the critical aspect no longer bothered him, and I would imagine that he wasn’t worried about getting paid being that he had his mushroom money. So he could, in a sense, afford to just enjoy himself and stop to listen right in the middle of one of his concerts. Not many performers could do that, but then again if Cage needed money, we probably wouldn’t have all of these new and wonderful ideas right now, nor would we be taking this FYS. His care-free attitude probably also enhanced his creativity because he didn’t have to worry about following any guidelines or about his music being popular. He could just let it be what it was which is what he constantly suggests other musicians to do, and even regular people are given this advice about their daily lives which I think is what Cage was trying to get at. He wanted them to be who they are, or to be themselves. We take this advice for granted, but Cage spent the majority of his adulthood during the Cold War, in a culture where parents were more worried about their children’s popularity than their grades. He lived in a culture where people we’re thrown in jail or black listed simply because the guy down the street didn’t like them and decided to accuse them of being a communist. It would seem that he was trying to get his message out in a more subtle way. So his care-free attitude, not only affected our music, but has a serious impact on our perception. It also allowed for him to do these amusing things such as stop playing at a concert and simply listen.

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