A story I heard long ago goes something like this:
Back in the 50s, radio stations in Florida began broadcasting the latest music coming out of the US. Much of this music had a danceable rhythm and catching lyrics overflowing with young love. As this music floated out across the air and into the stratosphere it fell soft and static-y on a few radio towers in Jamaica.
This island, already well know for its musical talent, seemed perfect for this new form of music which arrived from across the sea. DJs on the island loved the sound, they recorded what they could and began importing records. The music flooded in but couldn't keep up with the demand from the music-loving party scene.
So what happened?
The lack of supply mixed with political and economic strife urged young musicians across the island to together and create their own versions of this music. Songs of "rude boys" and "Judge Dread" mixed with doowop-styled rhythms. This was the birth of Ska, Roots, Reggae and more.
Decades later this music trickled out, back to the US. Here again, the supply could not keep up with demand and the disgruntled youth that flocked to this music began creating their own versions. Connecting with the "Rude Boy" message of persecution in much of the music and speeding up the rhythm, they created the Ska movement of the East Coast which became an integral part of the creation of American Punk.
Whether the story is true or not I'm still reminded of those moments in my youth when a discovery of a new music or magazine or film was immediately followed by the woeful feeling that there wasn't any more to be found.
For many of us, this is how we started out in our careers. Trying, desperately, to find more of something, we took up the torch ourselves. We found video cameras and made films, picked up guitars and started playing, found old cameras and started photographing.
So often this is how new movements are founded.
So often a style is created by a small group and tossed out into the world. It floats around the stratosphere before finally settling down, like pollen, on waiting minds of listless youth. Music is the best example of this. The original music, that original idea becomes lost like the doowop of the 50s. Only to return again, years later in the form of Reggae and Ska.
I wonder how this pattern of release, forgetting and rebirth will take shape on the Internet.
But what I do know is that if you can't get enough of something, just make more of it. Keep tweaking it, keep reinventing it. That's how real change happens.
No work of art is suddenly born from nothing. We build from what's already there but rare.