Do it yourself (some more)Helen Walters
I find D-I-Y such a very bewitching ethos. Punks, for instance, were completely fabulous to me (generally terrifying, too, but always looked at with wide-eyed awe). The extraordinary explosion of creativity in fashion, design and music that surged up at the end of the 1970s was both empowering and a sign of dazzling things to come. And remember, all that creativity came about with absolutely no technology whatsoever. Layouts were put together with crude collage and photocopies. Fashion was held together with safety pins. Music was thrashed out with no mind paid to whether anyone could actually play an instrument or not. It was gloriously freeform, even as the economic situation of the time was completely brutal. (Spot who just saw the brilliant Anton Corbijn film, Control, about the rise and tragic demise of the Mancunian band, Joy Division, and is feeling all nostalgic.)
These days, as numerous commentators have written for years now, the rise of mass culture and tools means that anyone with a modicum of money and the right software can do pretty much anything they want. Anyone can be a musician/film maker/fashion designer/editor/writer/publisher/job spec here. This ad (below) for PlayStation 3, created by British firm Red Design illustrates the astonishing capabilities of the machine:
Of course, having the tools doesn't mean that anything you do will be any good/worth watching/listening to/spending time on. Musicians with talent will always be more worth listening to than someone with the rhythm of a chicken. Films/ads/designs made by people who study and understand their craft will invariably be better than those made by someone experimenting for the first time. But frankly doing *anything* is better than nothing. I have just been researching the music publishing industry for a piece on EMI and it's clear that the whole record industry is in a state of freefall (see also this debate over at the Times, which has smart commentary). Johnny Rotten started a revolution... I wonder where it's heading now.