What’s Happening, Man?

The theme for this year’s ILMC is the psychedelic Summer Of Love and the hippie ’60s, but it all seems sort of weird, man, because it looks like there could be some really heavy shit going down.

A lot of the music industry’s most powerful dudes have gone off on this strange trip about a 360-degree model, which sort of means that some of those who’ve already blown their own stash are trying to get their hands on the single-skinner crumbs that anyone else has left.

The record companies are down to seeds and stems and so they’re up for this idea, mainly because most of their business was swallowed up by technology, while they were sitting around, spaced-out, and staring at lava lamps.

It seems a load of kids have taken that old ideal about "free music" a little too far, leaving the big record companies complaining that they’re being ripped off. Others are saying the record companies have no one to blame but themselves. They were the big pushers that got us weaned on vinyl, and then made us pay more for a bigger high by getting us hooked on CDs.

The record companies had their big rush when they got us to jack up on the same deal twice, and there are those in the community that don’t think it’s cool that they’re expecting us all to rally around them now that they’ve shot the works on a few hits and are starting to face the big comedown.

The record companies say they still want a piece of everyone else’s action, right down to that very last puff that you’d need a roach clip to suck out.

They’ve already got their colours on every tie-dye T-shirt that Robbie Williams sells, and soon an act won’t be able to buy a half of solid without having to hand over a couple of grams to the faceless, monolithic corporations.

The hippies who run the love-ins aren’t getting into this jive and wouldn’t give the record companies a passing toke from the last spliff on the planet, particularly now that everyone’s sussed out just how much big outfits like EMI have been spending on lava lamps. Now these record companies are thinking everyone is trying to bogart the joint and they’re getting paranoid because they think nobody wants to pass it to them.

That’s likely to get the hippies uptight because they’ll be saying it’s not their fault the record companies were too square to see the times they were a-changing. Others are worried because they believe the squares have taken over the whole scene and say there aren’t enough free spirits out there doing their own thing, man.

And the biggest sellout, man, is that some of the live people are getting tripped out over how many wooden beads the record companies are prepared to offer for a slice of their businesses, which is a pretty far-out notion when those same record companies are continually releasing figures that say they’re not even making enough bread to score a packet of Rizla.

There’s also likely to be a lot of hassle and confusion because some people think a discussion on a 360-degree model means that we all sit down, cross-legged in a circle, and chant our various mantras, while others are hung up because they think it means they’ve got to go through another ILMC that’s full of discussions that only go around in circles.

Those who believe in karma say the 360 model is a cosmic message telling us that whatever goes around will come around, although there may be a few promoters and agents who’d get the horrors over that.

Another bunch of dudes, mainly those who run the gigs or the pads where they’re happening, are on a real downer over the way tickets are being sold on the internet and freaking out because the system refuses to do anything about it.

What’s causing the bad vibe is that there’s a whole bunch of techno-heads who are claiming to be music-loving heads, but they’re bugging the dudes who run the happenings by buying tickets in bulk and selling them for profit.

Sometimes it seems like they’re buying all the tickets before we’re up and over the comedown from yesterday. What would happen, man, if someone bought up all the weed in the world just like that?

These creeps are making a whole pile of bread that never gets shared, man. None of it comes back to those who produce and promote the music, while a bunch of straights with a load of Internet sites are getting fat on it and grinning like the cat that got the good tab.

But what really stinks worse than a wet Afghan coat is that some of these sites are collecting money for tickets and then not delivering them, but the fuzz don’t bust them because the companies fold themselves and the people never get their money back.

Anyone can see that’s a real bummer, but the straights in the government just spout a load of cosmic debris and tell the industry that it needs to sort all this shit out for itself.

That’s a real drag because the promoters and the venues think it’s a recipe for everything going to pot, and no amount of patchouli oil will ever make it smell right.

The business has been rapping on about some of this stuff for so long that it can make you want to split or crash, but now there are some new tuned-in dudes who have these far-out ideas about how to claw some money back from the secondary market.

Some of the heavier business suits, the big heads who still think LSD has got something to do with money, are sitting in their ivory skyscrapers and aren’t too bothered about this whole scene that’s going down. They reckon it would be easier to just incorporate the secondary market into their own 360-degree business models.

There are other dudes, usually the ones with the bright kaftans and the rose-coloured shades, who are having a bad trip because it’s like everyone has had this memory lapse, and a Woodstock generation has turned into the mass-consumer that it protested it would never be.

A lot of these cats are getting by on the vision that this year’s ILMC will sort out all of their hang-ups, once and for all. I remember seeing one of those freaks go on about that stuff once, but then he had what looked like a white-out and started muttering about seeing thousands of pigs flying over in formation.

A couple of years ago the biggest promoters and ticket companies would have been really anti all that secondary shit, but pick up on this, man – and I’m talking astrologically here – we’ve all got to absorb the energies and get a buzz from the synergies that will inevitably come when planets and people continually change their positions and orbits.

You can’t ignore those planetary influences, man. And don’t underestimate the pull that they can have on you.

So, if you’re speaking on an ILMC panel and somehow you let your profoundest remark get lost in a sort of hash-haze somewhere between your brain and your mouth, don’t worry because everyone will immediately suss that it’s not your fault and most of what you’re saying is probably coming straight from Uranus.

The 20th ILMC is at The Royal Garden Hotel, Kensington, London, March 7-9.