Friday, March 21, 2008

Feeling Old ...

Two reasons for posting this particular blog:

First - to celebrate our latest venture - Jellybeats is 'an online play in the social networking/musical self expression space' - or, as I like to think of it - some cute jellyfish designed in the fashion of different musical genres.

We [Aardman] have teamed up with our friends at Digital Outlook to produce and launch Jellybeats - and we have partnered with Bebo to to give the launch at bit of ... umph.

The second reason for the post is that part of the 'offering' is a Jellybeats widget. All through the planning of the site I could sense that the widget was a great idea ... without ever truly understanding what it was. Now I get to use it, right here, right now, and perhaps in doing so its mysteries will be revealed to me.

There. A widget. Now I know. Actually it's quite cool.

The press interest in Jellybeats has been fairly intense, partly because we teamed up with Bebo as a media partner in the week that they got bought by aol for $850m and partly because of the Aardman factor. After all, in one way it's just another website to add to the billions that are already out there. The hope is that it's so well done that it will stand out and flourish.

While I am really proud of the whole thing I have to confess to it making me feel very old.

For a start Bebo is for tweens and teenagers. When the idea first came up to partner with them I created a Bebo profile for myself and nosed around for about 10 minutes.

It's total anarchy; kids mucking about, showing off, sharing their barely formed thoughts, using a vocabulary that I don't understand and pushing their sexuality out there like puppies on heat. It wasn't long before I started feeling distinctly pervy - like I was spying on kids making out - I deleted my account immediately.

My daughter (11) has an account - she keeps me up to date with Bebo news and what she and all her friends are up to on there. Every now and again I make her tell me who all her Bebo friends are to check that she knows them all in the real world. For now she seems happy to oblige.

That will all change when she goes to secondary school and when my concern for her safety becomes an embarrassment.

As I hurtle towards my 50th Birthday the Jellybeats conundrum bites hard. The website asks 'Which 1 R U?'. My cursor hovers over the Acid House Jellyfish because I like my dance music and it keeps me down with the kids. But is that really 'my beat'?

Bebo is fad that will wane in popularity but will probably persist as it seems to tap into something fundamental in the way girls in particular relate to each other. House Music will always be around and will soon be looked back on fondly but it's not really my music - I didn't grow up with it, I've never been to Turnmills or Ibiza and I never will.

I'm a Jazzer - I've travelled the world to see some of the greats and it doesn't matter what new sound interrupts my listening habits - I always come back to Jazz. Dammit - I even have a a Jazz name.

My vote for the next feature on the widget will be the option to send a friend your top five tracks of the moment.

Here are my top 5 Jazz tracks (for this week anyway):

Bear Town - Polar Bear - Held on the Tips of Fingers (Babel)
Ramblin' - Ornette Coleman - Change of the Century (Atlantic)
Una Muy Bonita - Ornette Coleman - Change of the Century (Atlantic)
So What - Miles Davis - Kind of Blue (Columbia)
Devil Woman - Charles Mingus - Oh Yeah (Atlantic)

I'm 50 and proud and these tracks will still be cool in another 50 years time when I am long gone.

Jazz it is. I wonder how many other have selected Jazz on their Bebo widget? Is it legal to count that sort of thing?