Thursday, December 31, 2015


There's a red moon again tonight.

I know all the hype already happened about the main lunar eclipse, a week ago, but there it is. Hanging low, almost at the city skyline, a red-tinged oblong. When a whiff of cloud sweeps past, it looks like a gothic painting of modernity.

But the world has moved on. In the twenty-four hour news cycle, stories get churned and burned quickly. Nothing lasts, not even something cosmic or beautiful.

It's bizarre then, in this world where simultaneously everything and nothing is important, that there is so much coverage of the same events. So much repetition.

A simple Google 'News' search for 'lunar eclipse news stories October 2014' brings up 141,000 results. If you drop the 'News' requirement of the search, it records 27,300,000 results; and fifteen pages deep the search results are still about the 'blood red moon'.

I am sure there were small moments of nuance in each of these reports, but was there any perspective on the lunar event so radical that it differed markedly from the other 140,999?

Moon. Red. Eclipse. Rare event.

That's about it.

So why so much coverage of the same thing? How, in this world where we can all read the same news story instantly, from the same single source, do so many offshoots exist?

Because they're localised.

Where is the best place in Sydney, Mexico, Azerbaijan, view the lunar eclipse?

What is the cultural perspective of Spain, Qatar, Japan, etc...of a 'blood red moon'?

Each one, while essentially touching on the same thing, speaks to the audience in that region.

Yes, I know it's counter-intuitive, at first, but in a slowly homogenising world the local perspective is suddenly relevant again. It is the unexpected by-product of a world becoming more beige: there are huge, faceless, mass stories and stories that occur in the street outside your window.

Niche and mass. Tent-pole blockbuster films, and small films that are suited to you and people like you.

This was not planned. This was not strategic. The reinvention of local is part of a humanistic wave that few expected. It was a predictable return, we are still just people living in communities after all, and yet it has crept into the consciousness; like social media once did.

And there is some zealotry behind a movement like this. That underlying fear of being made 'expendable' by the globalised machine means any supposed panacea is heralded as a savior.

But it is not the messiah.

If your work is generic and derives no value from what you, personally, bring to it, then you will always be in the shadow of someone willing to replace you for pennies less.

The real question is, why would you subject yourself to doing that work in the first place?

No, your work needs to be LOCAL, LIVE, or GREAT.

That is the work that endures. The work that defines you. The work that is needed in this rapidly changing world.

Local, in that your work meets the needs of someone within a certain niche or locality. That locality can be as big or small as you like, a whole country or one town, but it will ultimately exclude a group much larger than itself; and in doing so will always be relevant to those within.


Live, in that your work can only be really experienced properly in a way you define as the creator. Of critical importance is that you are not using the delivery format to hold your work hostage, creating a false scarcity to raise the price, but that experiencing it the way you prescribe makes it the best it can be.


Great, in that your work is so unique, transcendent, and so absolutely incredible, that it rises above the cacophony of content and publicity in the system (usually via word of mouth) and reaches a huge audience. Of all three, this is the hardest to achieve by far.

There is a fourth option, of course.


Simply be the cheapest provider of your kind of work for as long as you can be.

But in a globalising world, where production and jobs can so quickly be moved to the lowest rung, how long can you stay in that free-fall before you hit bottom?

Who wants to live with the threat of being replaced looming, like a red moon hanging low in the sky, over your shoulder?

Local, live, great, or cheap.

What are you going to aim for?

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