Inquiries into the early years of SJI

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Moving to Saskatchewan

In a little over a week Pam and I will be cramming our belongings into a U-Haul truck and driving three thousand kilometers to a village in southern Saskatchewan. A couple of years ago I climbed to the top of a grain elevator and took the panorama of the village posted above.

We shall be spending a lot of time settling in - most of all, renovating a small house on the edge of the town, Val Marie. There will not be much time for SJI musings. I do, however, intend to eventually revise the book that this blog is an extension of - but one does need to be careful about embarking on too many projects at one time.

Common As Air - a reading recommendation

I have been away from this blog for some time, and this will be one of my last posts for some time yet. More about that later - for now, though, here is a reading recommendation.

Lewis Hyde's book Common As Air - Revolution, Art, and Ownership was released about a month ago. The book offers a stimulating discussion of copyright and ownership of "intellectual property," areas that I have found unavoidable in my researches into "St. James Infirmary" and its ilk. We know something about how a song like "St. James Infirmary" grew organically, and what happened to the song when it was suddenly transformed into an owned thing, "protected" by copyright from the very processes that gave it life.

"Common As Air " brings a fresh perspective to questions - today more important than ever - arising out of ownership of the intangible. I recommend it highly - although I doubt that Irving Mills would have given it much praise.