Stream the “Complete” John Coltrane Playlist: A 94-Hour Journey Through 700+ Transformative Tracks

In a contrarian take on the legacy of John Coltrane on the 50th anniversary of his death last year, Zack Graham at GQ did not recommend Giant Steps nor A Love Supreme nor Blue Train nor My Favorite Things as the most important album in the artist’s career, but a record most casual jazz fans may never encounter, and which even the hardest-core Coltrane fans never heard in his lifetime. Recorded in the year of his death, Interstellar Space—a frenetic suite of free jazz duets with drummer Rashied Ali—didn’t appear until 1974. The album has since received widespread critical acclaim, and stands, Graham argues, as “Coltrane’s most influential record, its echoes still heard today in everything from electronic music to some of the world’s biggest hip hop acts.”

Graham makes a compelling case. Hardly an accessible album, discerning listeners will nonetheless hear the sound of now in Ali’s stuttering, rapid fire beats and Coltrane’s modal bleats. Looking back, it can almost seem like he knew he was running out of time, and rushed to leave behind a blueprint for the music of the future.




“In his last months,” writes Stephen Davis at Rolling Stone, “Coltrane had changed everything about his music,” and, perhaps, everything about music in general, jazz and otherwise. His evolution as a musician and explorer of the mystical potentialities of artistic expression was so radical that from a certain point of view we are forced to work backward when approaching his catalog, as we might do with biographies of saints.

Should we pursue this line of thinking, however, we might have to grant that the posthumous Interstellar Space and its follow-up Stellar Regions—compiled from tapes Alice Coltrane discovered in 1994—are the result of Coltrane’s final musical apotheosis and thus can sound nigh-incomprehensible to most mere mortals. Interstellar Space “is a musicians’ album, for sure,” Graham admits, and an album for those fully open to the unknown: “the dissonance and enharmonic experimentation… is otherworldly.”

Working backward, we see Coltrane’s transfiguration into an avant-garde pioneer in 1966’s Ascension, an album that “still manages to confound as many listeners as it convinces,” Derek Taylor writes at All About Jazz. A Love Supreme is Coltrane’s gospel, a spiritual classic that draws everyone in with its message of transcendence and oneness. Earlier milestones My Favorite Things, Giant Steps, and Blue Train are each miraculous feats of musicianship that drew huge crowds of admirers and imitators, and then there are the years of apprenticeship, when the young Coltrane studied under masters like Miles Davis and Dizzy Gillespie, and practiced the dharma of Charlie Parker.

A narrative of Coltrane as a kind of musical messiah explains the literal veneration of his work by the Church of Saint John Coltrane, but it is only one convenient means of Coltrane appreciation. In truth, his oeuvre is too vast and varied in scope to neatly sum up in any fully satisfying way. We might just as well start at the beginning, when Coltrane was a mostly unknown, but very hip, sideman, playing with the greats throughout the fifties. “From his Bird-emulating beginnings to his flights into the unknown in his last years,” writes Fernando Ortiz, compiler of the “Complete” John Coltrane playlist above, “the standard of his music and his passion are always at the top or very close to it.”

Comprising over 700 tracks, “or four straight days of listening,” this playlist list is still “far from perfect,” Ortiz admits, “since it is subject to availability and to the non-systematic approach to data on Spotify, but it's not that far this time.”

…no studio recording he made between 1955 and 1965 is missing (his previous years are well represented, starting with his 1946 recordings while in the Navy), which includes all his studio work as a leader during those years, as well as all his recordings as a sideman with Miles and Monk.

The weighting toward live recordings, “both from official and bootleg sources,” provides a very multifaceted view of the artist’s onstage development, and the inclusion of box sets like Heavyweight Champion: The Complete Atlantic Recordings offer panoramic surveys of his studio work. While we don’t get everything here, and some of the omissions are key, you will, if you spend quality time delving into this treasure house, understand why the name Coltrane conjures such intensity of awe, praise, and devotion.

Related Content:

Organized Religion Got You Down? Discover The Church Of Saint John Coltrane

John Coltrane Draws a Mysterious Diagram Illustrating the Mathematical & Mystical Qualities of Music

John Coltrane’s Handwritten Outline for His Masterpiece A Love Supreme (1964)

The History of Spiritual Jazz: Hear a Transcendent 12-Hour Mix Featuring John Coltrane, Sun Ra, Herbie Hancock & More

Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness

Amanda Palmer Sings a Heartfelt Musical Tribute to YA Author Judy Blume on Her 80th Birthday

Art saves lives, and so does author Judy Blume. While some of her novels are intended for adult readers, and others for the elementary school set, her best known books are the ones that speak to the experience of being a teenage girl.

For many of us coming of age in the ‘70s and ‘80s, Blume was our best—sometimes only—source when it came to sex, menstruation, masturbation, and other topics too taboo to discuss. She answered the questions we were too shy to ask. Her characters’ interior monologues mirrored our own.

The honesty of her writing earned her millions of grateful young fans, and plenty of attention from those who still seek to keep her titles out of libraries and schools.

While her stories are not autobiographical, her compassion is born of experience.

Here she is on Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret, a tattered paperback copy of which made the rounds of my 6th grade class, like the precious contraband it was:

When I was in sixth grade, I longed to develop physically like my classmates. I tried doing exercises, resorted to stuffing my bra, and lied about getting my period. And like Margaret, I had a very personal relationship with God that had little to do with organized religion. God was my friend and confidant. But Margaret's family is very different from mine, and her story grew from my imagination.

On It's Not the End of the World:

…in the early seventies I lived in suburban New Jersey with my husband and two children, who were both in elementary school. I could see their concern and fear each time a family in our neighborhood divorced. What do you say to your friends when you find out their parents are splitting up? If it could happen to them, could it happen to us?

At the time, my own marriage was in trouble but I wasn't ready or able to admit it to myself, let alone anyone else. In the hope that it would get better I dedicated this book to my husband. But a few years later, we, too, divorced. It was hard on all of us, more painful than I could have imagined, but somehow we muddled through and it wasn't the end of any of our worlds, though on some days it might have felt like it.

And on Forever, which won an A.L.A. Margaret A. Edwards Award for Outstanding Literature for Young Adults, 20 years after its original publication:

My daughter Randy asked for a story about two nice kids who have sex without either of them having to die. She had read several novels about teenagers in love. If they had sex the girl was always punished—an unplanned pregnancy, a hasty trip to a relative in another state, a grisly abortion (illegal in the U.S. until the 1970's), sometimes even death. Lies. Secrets. At least one life ruined. Girls in these books had no sexual feelings and boys had no feelings other than sexual. Neither took responsibility for their actions. I wanted to present another kind of story—one in which two seniors in high school fall in love, decide together to have sex, and act responsibly.

The heartfelt lyrics of Amanda Palmer’s recent paean to Blume, who turned 80 this week, confirm that the singer-songwriter was among the legions of young girls for whom this author made a difference.

In her essay, "Why Judy Blume Matters," Palmer recalls coming up with a list of influences to satisfy the sort of question a rising indie musician is frequently asked in interviews. It was a “carefully curated” assortment of rock and roll pedigree and obscurities, and she later realized, almost exclusively male.

This song, which name checks so many beloved characters, is a passionate attempt to correct this oversight:

Perhaps the biggest compliment you could give a writer ― or a writer of youth fiction ― is that they’re so indelible they vanish into memory, the way a dream slips away upon waking because it’s so deeply knitted into the fabric of your subconscious. The experiences of her teenage characters ― Deenie, Davey, Tony, Jill, Margaret ― are so thoroughly enmeshed with my own memories that the line between fact and fiction is deliciously thin. My memories of these characters, though I’d prefer to call them “people” ― of Deenie getting felt up in the dark locker room during the school dance; of Davey listlessly making and stirring a cup of tea that she has no intention of drinking; of Jill watching Linda, the fat girl in her class, being tormented by giggling bullies ― are all as vivid, if not more so, as my own memories…

Palmer’s husband, Neil Gaiman, puts in a cameo in the video’s final moments as one of many readers immersed in Blume’s oeuvre.

Readers, did a special book cover from your adolescence put in an appearance?

For more on Judy Blume’s approach to character and story, consider signing up for her $90 online Master Class.

Name your own price to download Judy Blume by Amanda Palmer here.

Related Content:

Judy Blume Now Teaching an Online Course on Writing

Hear Amanda Palmer’s Cover of “Purple Rain,” a Gorgeous Stringfelt Send-Off to Prince

Amanda Palmer Animates & Narrates Husband Neil Gaiman’s Unconscious Musings

Ayun Halliday is an author, illustrator, theater maker and Chief Primatologist of the East Village Inky zine.  Follow her @AyunHalliday.

A One-Man Pink Floyd Band Creates Note-Perfect Covers of “Echoes,” “Comfortably Numb,” “Mother” & Other Classics: Watch 19-Year-Old Wunderkind Ewan Cunningham in Action

If you’re a 19-year-old wunderkind like Ewan Cunningham, who can play any number of instruments, it’s a great time to be alive. Recording is cheap, video is just as cheap, and YouTube provides a venue to share a slew of his homemade covers of rock classics.

Above is one of his most ambitious ventures: a full note-for-note cover of Pink Floyd’s “Echoes,” all 20 minutes, that uses video trickery to have four Ewans side-by-side playing at Dobbie Hall. (From what we can tell, Dobbie Hall is located in Larbert, Scotland, a town about equidistant between Glasgow and Edinburgh.)

Diving down into all six years of Ewan’s videos and we find, at first, not a 13-year-old Ewan, but his dad, playing and singing an acoustic cover of Coldplay’s “Paradise”. So we know where Ewan got the music bug.




In fact, he tells us “I started playing drums at the age of 4 and continued to only play drums until I started branching out into other instruments such as guitar, bass, keyboards and vocals. I've been teaching myself to mix, record and film music since I was 10 years old and this is my passion.”

Ewan started uploading drum covers at 14, playing along to everyone from Evanescence to Foo Fighters. At 16 he uploaded his first Floyd drum cover (“Brain Damage/Eclipse”) and, like many a teen before him, fell hard for the band.

Then the covers begin in earnest, with him sharing duties with his dad (“Wot’s...Uh the Deal” and “Brain Damage”) and then on to “Grantchester Meadows” (from Pink Floyd’s Ummagumma) and finally on January 1, 2017, when Ewan premiered his three song set from Dobbie Hall, featuring “A Saucerful of Secrets,” “Careful with that Axe, Eugene,” and the aforementioned “Echoes.”

After a successful Indiegogo campaign, he returned later in 2017 to Dobbie Hall for three covers from “The Wall,” which cheekily included a papier-mache airplane crashing into the stage at the end of “In the Flesh?”.

The question this raises is obvious: does Ewan record anything original? Indeed, a few months ago he started a new YouTube channel of his own songs. It’s up to you, dear reader, to check them out.

Related Content:

Watch Scenes from the “Pink Floyd Ballet:” When the Experimental Rock Band Collaborated with Ballet Choreographer Roland Petit (1972)

Hear Lost Recording of Pink Floyd Playing with Jazz Violinist Stéphane Grappelli on “Wish You Were Here”

Pink Floyd Plays in Venice on a Massive Floating Stage in 1989; Forces the Mayor & City Council to Resign

Ted Mills is a freelance writer on the arts who currently hosts the artist interview-based FunkZone Podcast and is the producer of KCRW's Curious Coast. You can also follow him on Twitter at @tedmills, read his other arts writing at tedmills.com and/or watch his films here.

When the Sex Pistols Played at the Chelmsford Top Security Prison: Hear Vintage Tracks from the 1976 Gig

Serious fans of live recordings well know that such productions are usually doctored before they reach the masses, with effects added to sweeten the mix, recording errors corrected, instruments and crowd noise overdubbed, tracks rearranged, and performances from different nights combined. It’s a common practice and shouldn’t alarm anyone expecting absolute documentary fidelity. If you couldn’t make the show to experience the band firsthand, they’d at least like you to hear them at their best. (Who could resist the opportunity to revise, say, a public speaking gig after the fact?)

When record companies are involved, every effort can go into making a saleable product, but heavy editing usually doesn’t happen to taped bootlegs. One notable exception happens to come from an exceptional gig, when the Sex Pistols followed Johnny Cash's example and played the Chelmsford Top Security Prison during their first major tour of England in 1976 for an audience of 500 prisoners. Partly due to a serious recording issue—the near total failure to capture original bassist Glen Matlock—and partly to a “confused idea of what would make for a worthy release,” writes Ned Raggett at Allmusic, the band’s soundman Dave Goodman decided to make several alterations to the recording.




These changes, in turn, gave rise to a mythology surrounding the show, raising its reputation to the levels of chaos for which the Pistols are renowned. That reputation itself largely revolves around Sid Vicious’ later onstage antics, and is at times inflated. The Pistols could be a great live band—Steve Jones, Paul Cook, and Matlock were all more than capable musicians, and Johnny Rotten was a perfect punk spectacle all his own. But the elements didn’t always come together amidst the band's unrehearsed disorder.

The audience at Chelmsford were, please excuse the pun, a captive one, and therefore, unable to display the same unbridled enthusiasm as the band’s usual crowds of rubberneckers and scenesters. To play up the gig, then, Goodman dubbed in the sounds of “random crowd and violence noise” and sirens. He didn’t only see fit to overdub Matlock’s missing bass, but also added in “an incredibly poor Rotten imitator goading the ‘prisoners’ on between songs,” Ragett notes, “as well as often singing on top of the real Rotten himself!” That first 1990 release of Live at Chelmsford does not so much gild the band’s musical strengths as it “plays on the revolutionary/anarchy side of the punk image to no avail.”

Luckily, the original recordings remained, and were released later on the Sex Pistols Alive compilation, in their original order, and, rearranged, on a second Live at Chelmsford Prison CD. It is the originals, with minimal treatment, that you can hear here. At the top is “Anarchy in the UK,” below it “Submission,” and a sneering cover of The Who’s “Substitute” further down.  The giant hole in the middle of the mix where Matlock’s bass should be is hard to ignore, but overall, these are some occasionally great performances, particularly from Cook and Jones, whose pounding drums and blistering guitar come through loud and clear, often burying Rotten’s voice, which is muddied throughout.

But a good recording of half the band hardly sells the legend of the Sex Pistols, especially the Sex Pistols in prison. “By all accounts,” writes Raggett, “it was a bit of a harrowing experience.” But you’d have to have been there to know it, and you probably wouldn’t want to be. So it’s no wonder Goodman saw the need to spruce things up with what Discogs’ notes describe as “a canned audio track of a riot (complete with shouting, scuffles, breaking glass, etc.)” A lot of people hated it, but if you’re really curious, you can grab a copy of the overdubbed version and hear for yourself. Or listen to the full, undoctored, recording on YouTube.

Related Content:

The Sex Pistols Make a Scandalous Appearance on the Bill Grundy Show & Introduce Punk Rock to the Startled Masses (1976)

Watch the Sex Pistols’ Christmas Party for Children–Which Happened to Be Their Final Gig in the UK (1977)

Watch the Sex Pistols’ Very Last Concert (San Francisco, 1978)

Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness

Watch Scenes from the “Pink Floyd Ballet:” When the Experimental Rock Band Collaborated with Ballet Choreographer Roland Petit (1972)

We all know that rock opera isn’t actually opera. It borrows some of the classical form’s affects—theatrical bombast and loud costuming, which seem a natural fit—but it doesn’t attempt the extreme formal rigor. Rock and roll is loose, intuitive, expressionistic, best played by or to libidinous kids or kids-at-heart; opera is tightly controlled and performed by trained vocal gymnasts to audiences of sophisticates. Both of these forms excel at emotive storytelling, but beyond that, with some rare exceptions, their similarities are mostly cosmetic.

Now imagine not rock opera, but a rock ballet. What could athletic European classical dance contribute to songs about sex and drugs? What could electric guitars, drums, and keyboards do for pirouettes, arabesques, or grand jetés? Part of the problem with such a mashup comes—as noted above—from the intrinsic formal differences between the two. Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour put it well when he noted in 1973 that his band found ballet “too restricting for us. I mean, I can’t play and count bars at the same time.”




Yes, there was once a Pink Floyd ballet, or, well, almost. For reasons that may or may not be obvious, the attempt was not popular, and it has not gone down in either rock or ballet history as a memorable event. But it was an interesting experiment, perhaps both more compelling and more incoherent than one might think. An unusual collaboration between the prog-rock superstars and French choreographer Roland Petit, the show first began to take shape in 1970 over a series of lunches and dinner and drinks—as a high-concept adaptation of Proust.

But the composition did not come easily. For one thing, the band couldn’t get through the source material. “David did the worst,” remembers Nick Mason, “he only read the first 18 pages.” Roger Waters reported that he finished “the second volume of Swann’s Way and when I got to the end of it I thought, ‘Fuck this, I’m not reading anymore. I can’t handle it.’ It just went too slowly for me.” A common complaint from attempted readers of Proust. Petit then floated the idea of adapting A Thousand and One Arabian Nights, then Frankenstein. At one point, Roman Polanski and Rudolph Nureyev were attached as director and star. There was talk of a film.

All of these schemes were abandoned, including the plan for original music. “Nureyev, Polanski, and the 108-piece orchestra,” writes Nicholas Schaffner, “were conspicuous in their absence.” In Petit’s eventual piece, performed in Marseilles and Paris in 1972-73, the band “gamely appeared… to provide live renditions of ‘Careful with That Axe Eugene’ and three newer works in which the Syd-less Floyd had at last discovered its raison d'être: ‘Echoes,’ ‘One of These Days,’ and ‘Obscured by Clouds,’” among other existing songs. The whole endeavor was consistent with the band's other extra-curricular forays, into film and musique concrete for example, but the rote recycling of material was not.

The ballet, notes Dangerous Minds, “wasn’t shot live, but an in studio version was produced in 1977.” (You can see a clip from that rather slick artifact at the top of the post.) The other videos you see here come from rehearsals for the live 1973 shows (the clip second from top features interviews with Petit and a shy, French-speaking Gilmour). It's an odd affair: male dancers who all vaguely resemble Bruce Lee—and pull off some Lee-like punches; inexplicable synchronized line dances; dancers forming pairs to the harrowing screams of “Careful with That Axe, Eugene”; and a very contemporary 70s feel overall mark these performances as the kind of thing likely to feel deeply unsatisfying to connoisseurs of either Pink Floyd or the ballet.

Who, exactly, one wonders, was the audience for this? Maybe you'll get some sense of the appeal in the brief interviews and commentary from the French journalists in this rehearsal footage. Or perhaps a program from one of the Marseille performances sheds more light on the intentions behind this production. Petit did supposedly say, “It all began in the late ‘60s. One day my daughter… gave me an album by Pink Floyd and said, 'Dad, you have to make a ballet with this music.'” After some initial skepticism, “when I heard the music,” he remembers, “I agreed with my daughter.” Perhaps he simply couldn’t refuse her a request.

Those who did attend these shows may have been delighted, confused, bored, enraged, or some combination of any of these emotions and more besides. As for the band’s struggles, Gilmour admits, “we had to have someone sitting on stage with us with a piece of paper telling us what bar we were playing.” (Before you make a joke about how rock musicians can’t count, bear in mind most classical players can’t improvise.) At the end, however, audiences wouldn’t have been left wanting. “The ballet climaxed,” Schaffner writes, “with a typically Floydian flourish: ten cans of oil exploding like fireballs from the front of the stage.”

Related Content:

Hear Lost Recording of Pink Floyd Playing with Jazz Violinist Stéphane Grappelli on “Wish You Were Here”

When Pink Floyd Tried to Make an Album with Household Objects: Hear Two Surviving Tracks Made with Wine Glasses & Rubber Bands

The “Lost” Pink Floyd Soundtrack for Michelangelo Antonioni’s Only American Film, Zabriskie Point (1970)

Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness

Watch David Bowie Perform “Imagine”: A Touching Tribute to His Friend John Lennon (1983)

John Lennon's “Imagine” is one of the most covered songs in rock history. Its simple message is evergreen, its sentiments not hard to get across, but few renditions are as moving as David Bowie's one-night-only performance when his 1983 Serious Moonlight tour wrapped at the Hong Kong Coliseum.

It was especially fitting given that this, the final night of the tour, coincided with the 3rd anniversary of Lennon’s murder.




While legions feel a deep personal connection to that song, Bowie and Lennon were “as close as family,” according to Lennon’s widow, Yoko Ono.

Lennon cowrote Bowie’s 1975 hit, "Fame," joining him in the studio with his guitar and a memorable falsetto. As Bowie recalls below, he also provided some much-appreciated counsel regarding managers.

As the anniversary loomed, Serious Moonlight guitarist Earl Slick, who played on several Lennon albums, suggested that a tribute was in order. He suggested "Across the Universe,” which Bowie had covered in the same session that yielded “Fame.”

Bowie reportedly responded, "Well if we're going to do it, we might as well do 'Imagine.'"

It was the final song played that night, Bowie setting the stage with some personal anecdotes, including one that had taken place at a nearby vendor’s stall, where Bowie spied a knock-off Beatles jacket and convinced Lennon to pose in it. (What we wouldn’t give to be able to share that photo with readers…)

Frequent Bowie collaborator back up singer George Simms told Voyeur, the fanzine of the international David Bowie Fanclub:

If I remember well, we didn’t rehearse that song. The night David did the ‘Imagine’ song, none of us in the band had any idea how that song was going to come off. David told us before, at a certain point, he would cue the band to start the song instrumentally. We didn’t know what he was going to do in the beginning but he had it very carefully worked out with the lighting people. We were on stage and it was dark. David was sitting on the stage at one particular place and, all of a sudden, a single spotlight went on David and hit him exactly where he was sitting. David started to tell something about John Lennon. During this, it went dark a few times again, but then when the spots went on again David was sitting somewhere else on the stage. David cued the band and we started the song. It was the third anniversary of Lennon’s death; it was December 8. We all grew up listening to The Beatles and John Lennon. After we did “Imagine,” we all went off the stage and back into the holding area. Normally we’d be slap-happy, talking and laughing, but that night there was absolute silence because of all the emotion of doing a tribute to John Lennon—especially knowing that David was a friend of his and that David was speaking from his heart. We didn’t know how dramatic the lights’ impact was going to be. Nobody wanted to break the silence; it was like a sledgehammer into your chest.

Lennon’s admiration mirrored the respect Bowie had for him. He may have busted Bowie’s chops a bit by reducing the glam-rocker's approach as "rock n’ roll with lipstick," but he also described his own Double Fantasy album as an attempt to “do something as good as (Bowie's) Heroes.

Related Content:

Get a Fly-on-the-Wall View of John Lennon Recording & Arranging His Classic Song, “Imagine” (1971)

Watch John Lennon’s Last Live Performance (1975): “Imagine,” “Stand By Me” & More

The Making of Queen and David Bowie’s 1981 Hit “Under Pressure”: Demos, Studio Sessions & More

Ayun Halliday is an author, illustrator, theater maker and Chief Primatologist of the East Village Inky zine.  Follow her @AyunHalliday.

The 25 Principles for Adult Behavior: John Perry Barlow (R.I.P.) Creates a List of Wise Rules to Live By

Image by the European Graduate School, via Wikimedia Commons

The most successful outlaws live by a code, and in many ways John Perry Barlow, founder of the Electronic Freedom Foundation, Wyoming rancher, and erstwhile songwriter for the Grateful Dead—who died on Wednesday at the age of 70—was an archetypal American outlaw all of his life. He might have worn a white hat, so to speak, but he had no use for the government telling him what to do. And his charismatic defense of unfettered internet liberty inspired a new generation of hackers and activists, including a 12-year-old Aaron Swartz, who saw Barlow speak at his middle school and left the classroom changed.

Few people get to leave as lasting a legacy as Barlow, even had he not pioneered early cyberculture, penning the “Declaration of Independence of the Internet,” a techo-utopian document that continues to influence proponents of open access and free information. He introduced the Grateful Dead to Dr. Timothy Leary, under whose guidance Barlow began experimenting with LSD in college. His creative and personal relationship with the Dead’s Bob Weir stretches back to their high school days in Colorado, and he became an unofficial member of the band and its "junior lyricist," as he put it (after Robert Hunter).




“John had a way of taking life’s most difficult things and framing them as challenges, therefore adventures,” wrote Weir in a succinctly poignant Twitter eulogy for his friend. We might think of Barlow's code, which he laid out in a list he called the “25 Principles of Adult Behavior,” as a series of instructions for turning life’s difficulties into challenges, an adventurous reframing of what it means to grow up. For Barlow, that meant defying authority when it imposed arbitrary barriers and proprietary rules on the once-wild-open spaces of the internet.

But being a grown-up also meant accepting full responsibility for one’s behavior, life’s purpose, and the ethical treatment of oneself and others. See his list below, notable not so much for its originality but for its plainspoken reminder of the simple, shared wisdom that gets drowned in the assaultive noise of modern life. Such uncomplicated idealism was at the center of Perry’s life and work.

1. Be patient. No matter what.
2. Don’t badmouth: Assign responsibility, not blame. Say nothing of another you wouldn’t say to him.
3. Never assume the motives of others are, to them, less noble than yours are to you.
4. Expand your sense of the possible.
5. Don’t trouble yourself with matters you truly cannot change.
6. Expect no more of anyone than you can deliver yourself.
7. Tolerate ambiguity.
8. Laugh at yourself frequently.
9. Concern yourself with what is right rather than who is right.
10. Never forget that, no matter how certain, you might be wrong.
11. Give up blood sports.
12. Remember that your life belongs to others as well. Don’t risk it frivolously.
13. Never lie to anyone for any reason. (Lies of omission are sometimes exempt.)
14. Learn the needs of those around you and respect them.
15. Avoid the pursuit of happiness. Seek to define your mission and pursue that.
16. Reduce your use of the first personal pronoun.
17. Praise at least as often as you disparage.
18. Admit your errors freely and soon.
19. Become less suspicious of joy.
20. Understand humility.
21. Remember that love forgives everything.
22. Foster dignity.
23. Live memorably.
24. Love yourself.
25. Endure.

Barlow the “cowboy, poet, romantic, family man, philosopher, and ultimately, the bard of the digital revolution”—as Stephen Levy describes him at Wired—“became a great explainer” of the possibilities inherent in new media. He watched the internet become a far darker place than it had ever been in the 90s, a place where governments conduct cyberwars and impose censorship and barriers to access; where bad actors of all kinds manipulate, threaten, and intimidate.

But Barlow stood by his vision, of “a world that all may enter without privilege or prejudice accorded by race, economic power, military force, or station of birth… a world where anyone, anywhere may express his or her beliefs, no matter how singular, without fear of being coerced into silence or conformity.”

This may sound naïve, yet as Cindy Cohn writes in EFF’s obituary for its founder, Barlow “knew that new technology could create and empower evil as much as it could create and empower good. He made a conscious decision to move toward the latter.” His 25-point code urges us to do the same.

via Kottke/Hacker News

Related Content:

Alejandro Jodorowsky’s 82 Commandments For Living

Lou Reed and Laurie Anderson’s Three Rules for Living Well: A Short and Succinct Life Philosophy

Milton Glaser’s 10 Rules for Life & Work: The Celebrated Designer Dispenses Wisdom Gained Over His Long Life & Career

The Hobo Ethical Code of 1889: 15 Rules for Living a Self-Reliant, Honest & Compassionate Life

Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness

« Go BackMore in this category... »
Quantcast