After reading The Culture Club, I was encouraged to read further and got Audio Culture, edited by Cristoph Cox and Daniel Warner, a collection of readings. One of the most potent essays in it
is Bettered by the Borrower by John Oswald. As I read it I jotted down ideas and later thought they would make good lyrics.
I'm in the process of recording the song but thought I'd share the text:
We share in ears
vibrations in air
it's more primal than blues
this form we share
I am a sound
a song that is true
this music that flows through me
can flow through you too
save condemnation for
There are more than these notes
there are more than these keys
an infinite soundscape
needs your diversity
For me the lyrics pick up on my enthusiasm for Creative Commons as much as my desire to see everyone make music. I often say that music is too much fun not to have a go. And then there's the strength that can be taken from music, not to mention its application for purposes of propaganda like advertising.
What I like about Creative Commons is the idea that every endeavour relies upon building on existing ideas. Jared Diamond has an awesome chapter in Guns, Germs and Steel (I think it's called Necessity's Mother) that discusses how much we seem to like the idea of a single creator when the truth is more often the case that progress relies on developing existing research. He gives a bunch of examples, like James Watt's improvements to the steam engine.
Anyway, I'm drifting off track. The thing with music is that, of all the possible combinations of notes, only a limited number sound good together. So, really, we have no choice but to recycle (at a fundamental level) and some of the ideas that get promoted to protect copyright are really petty. Like, can you imagine being taken to court for making a video of someone singing Happy Birthday?
Post script: I've put the song I recorded with these lyrics up for remix. Grab the parts and have a go.