August 2016 – No Review this Month – Music Videos Instead

August 2016 – No Review this Month – Music Videos Instead

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No Monthly Review for August - Music Videos Instead

This month was consumed by work and a proper vacation for a welcome change. Instead of a surfactants review, therefore, I am going to pull a selection of music videos that represent, for me some themes of the summer that just passed. Allow some time for this whole post to load..

First for those who worked all summer, who better than Bananarama from the early 80's: Some classic NYC scenes, including from Jersey City..

If you are still feeling regretful about working instead of the basting on the beach, consider this classic from Madness. Going one step beyond in your work is OK. Don't be ashamed of it. Just make sure you do it in all your walks of life, not just work..

As I trawled the internet looking for songs this summer, I got to thinking just how many songs feature, in a very glamorous light, towns and cities in the USA, some very small. For example, even my little adopted home-town, Freehold, NJ has its own paean written and sung by Bruce Springsteen here..

I distinctly remember coming to the US in 1984 and going on my first business trip to Minneapolis and being actually excited by the prospect of the plane making an emergency landing in Detroit of all places. Surely a town with such  a huge collection of songs written about it, would be a great place to spend an unscheduled night. Here's Kiss with one such classic. Check out the guitar break at 2:50..

But what about other countries? How come American towns have such a rich musical repertoire devoted to them, but there is, for example, no anthem celebrating Birmingham, the UK's Detroit? Sure there are mentions of Tokyo and Paris and Munich, the occasional Rio reference in popular music, but you have to dig deep. So I dug deep for some songs about British and other non-US towns that I know. Going back again to the cultural treasure trove of the early 80's here's an easy one from the Clash:

And from the Jam, a few years earlier. OK they don't specifically mention London, but where else are you going to go down into a tube station? This is a really great song with some poetic lyrics.

Of course the song with a significant connection to the surfactants industry is this one by Deep Purple. If you don't know why, listen from 1:00 and just after one of the greatest bass riffs of all time, the answer should become clear.

Back to the UK. Now, I can't say I'm a fan of Billy Bragg but I have to admit that this is one of the greatest songs ever written and it's sung incredibly well by Bragg. It's about a "Northern Industrial Town" Anyone who has ever lived in or near one, will realize he absolutely nails it. But there's more. The specific town itself remains un-named for the entire song until around 2:10 he tells you the towns which it isn't. Then goes on to say which one it is. There's a guaranteed lump in your throat at that point. Take a listen.

Coming closer to home. This next song again does not reference a specific town but rather the fog on a river that runs through a number of towns in the Northeast of England. It is distinguished by, among other things, its superbly alliterative lyrics.

Let's finish up with some Rush, because, well, Rush. As usual they take a nuanced and multilayered approach to the matter. In this next piece, the subject is not so much a town as an airport and the opening notes take their cue from the callsign of that airport, YYZ.

One more song to go and still with our "towns outside the US" theme, I can hear some of you ask - "yeah but what's this got to do with surfactants?". To me, this last song has everything to do with surfactants and with any other business that happens to occupy most of your waking hours; indeed with any avocation that you pursue. It's Middletown Dreams by Rush (1985) and its about any and all anonymous, ordinary towns throughout the world and the dreams of the people in them. But being a Rush song, it's about so much more. We could spend hours and volumes analyzing this song (don't worry we won't) but let me draw your attention to just one lyric "Dreams transport desires, drive you when you're down. Dreams transport the ones who need to get out of town.."

Whatever your job, avocation or past-time involves, it is driven by dreams. It could be the dream of building the biggest and best specialty chemicals company in the world. It could be getting your 10,000 days of operations without a lost time accident. It could be making that sale to the most difficult account you've ever come across. It could be to develop a unique and powerful fragrance compound. It could be then selling that compound in high volume to all the fragrance houses. It could be developing and commercializing a breakthrough chemical process technology.  It could even just be getting through one more year before retirement to the gold coast. To be clear, this is not some more "pursue your dreams, kids" nonsense. My advice to my kids is to pursue a good living first. Feed yourself and your family, but by all means be driven by dreams. Coming back to surfactants, I've always (humbly) said that our aim with the surfactants conferences and courses is to make attendees better managers. Well you're also going to be a better manager if what you do is driven by your dreams. When you come to our events, I want you to know that my personal goal is to help you achieve your dreams in our industry. It could be that one connection you make or that one snippet of information or inspiration you pick up. These events are part of my dreams, realized. I want them to help you realize your dreams. We're going to do this in Berlin next week and I hope to see you there. We'll be sharing at least two pieces of music, by the way, neither of which are above.

All the best,

Neil

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