The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

Context Is Everything …
July 25, 2014, 6:15 am
Filed under: Context

So a long time ago – before most of you were born – Mick Jagger and David Bowie got together to do a remake of the classic ‘Dancing In The Streets’.

It was massively successful.

Anyway, for some reason, some cheeky sods have taken the video and removed the music.

In an instant, they’ve made Bowie & Jagger go from global rockstars to weird old men who probably need to be arrested.

[And here’s the original if you’re interested]

The reason I think this is interesting [and I appreciate I might be the only one, probably because everyone has known this for decades and I’m just incredibly slow] is because it highlights the importance of context.

Of course you could – quite rightly – argue the example I’ve used actually highlights the importance of music … but the point I’m trying to make is that too often, we don’t take into account contextual influence, we just march forward with the blind belief our work will be so brilliant, people will flock to it and embrace it regardless of where and how it appears.

This is especially dangerous in Asia – as anyone who has read Richard Nisbet’s excellent Geography of Thought will know – because the cultural norm is to determine actions and response by associative cues and contextual frames of reference.

But there is a positive in all of this and that’s simply the fact that while great can be turned into a shit sandwich by failing to appreciate or understand contextual attributes and elements … it also means mental can be turned into something awesome, just by identifying the right context attributes and elements.

In other words, don’t write off the ‘exciting, but mad’ when you see it.

Explore and experiment with it … because you might just find a place where it turns into commercial genius.

26 Comments so far
Leave a comment

I believe some would say Bowie and Jagger have always been “weird old men” and I am rather certain they would regard it as a huge compliment.

Comment by Lee Hill

I’m not sure they would like to be referred to as old … especially given the way Jagger acts. But yes, weird would be a compliment. To be honest, it IS a compliment.

Comment by Rob

I am also honoured to be first to comment. An accolade.

Comment by Lee Hill

You must be having a really bad year Lee if being first to comment is an accolade.

Comment by DH

Good point. Come on Lee, you really must aim higher.

Comment by Rob

Are you saying that in some corner of the universe, there’s a chance this blog could actually be good?

Comment by DH


Comment by Billy Whizz

Bowie went down in my estimation when he did this. Queen was bad, this was shit.

Comment by Billy Whizz

I went down in my estimation when I started visiting this blog.

Comment by DH

I didn’t have any estimation of you to lose.

Comment by Billy Whizz

You’re so funny.

Comment by DH

Interesting way to explain an important point. Context is indeed everything which is why I like how you highlighted strange ideas could be excellent ideas if you find the right context to connect them with. Great post. Average song.

Comment by George

It just dawned on me that too many people dismiss interesting ideas because they say ‘they wouldn’t work’ when what they should be saying is, ‘where would this idea be able to work?’

[Yes, I know there are other questions, like ‘what would it take to make this work for the context we are working in’ etc etc … but you get my point. I think. Hope. Ha.]

Comment by Rob

Rob working in finance would be a mad idea. Rob working in advertising is a perfect fit. #context.

Comment by Bazza

“working” in advertising?

Comment by DH


Well, hardish.

Comment by Rob

Good point David. Of course you do Rob. Of course you do.

Comment by Bazza

I agree with George, you use a bizarre example to explain a great point. There are so many things that we now take for granted that were once seen as ridiculous.

Comment by Pete

Like happiness.

Comment by Rob

Great point.
No context can make a queen song any good
Or media arts for that matter

Comment by Northern

Errrrm, what about the context of your sisters love for her Queen loving boyfriend? But you’re right about MAL.

Comment by Rob

That only proves my point. He’s an idiot Mr Elephant

Comment by Northern

He’s your potential brother-in-law. Excellent. Only if he wears birkenstocks could I be happier.

Comment by Rob

Evil, evil man

Comment by Northern

your sister is going out with a fucking queen fan and youre still calling her your sister? no one should forgive that sort of sibling sickness except a twat or a saint and i know youre not a fucking saint.

Comment by andy@cynic

I’m assuming she still calls him her brother, so they obviously have an amazing capacity for forgiveness.

Comment by Rob

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