Contrary to the general assumption

A person that is lacking a sense, focuses on life with the other ones he/she has.
Yet, in regard to musicians another relation is often assumed: An extraordinary threshold of originality, of sensibility and sense.

The perception of blind musicians is mostly accompanied with an aura of admiration. Ray Charles, Andrea Bocelli and many other persons were blind and made great achievements in music. Yet, each of these persons has his/her own relationship with the inability to see. For one it is an inspiration, a reason for being more attentive, or simply just a destiny that doesn’t have an influence of great importance in the life or on the work. The statements of each of these blind musicians are already biographies on their own.

The New York based Neo-Soul and Jazz musician Raul Midón, whereas describes in an interview in the German newspaper Tagesspiegel, that the relationship between his blindness and his work as a musician simply is a challenge.

“I don’t think so. I really don’t…There is a notion out there, that blindness makes you a better musician. I think it is maybe only in the sense, that it limits your options. You don’t have the ability to wait tables, to do some other jobs to support your music habit. So as a blind musician if you want to do it full time you have to be good enough and committed enough to do it full time, because you don’t have other choices. Maybe in that sense, blindness helps you but not in any other sense. I don’t think it makes you better or more sensitive to music or anything like that, I really don’t.”

“[…] I think you have to work harder in life, as a blind person. Because just to get to school, just do to the basic things. It just talks longer, more work. […] Even as a blind musician, you have less options.“

Midón describes that only the extra effort to make it as a individual might be a driver for his musical work. Since being limited, forces you to find your won way wit a special commitment.

“It’s a different choice.”

Contrary to the general assumption, here we have an example that blindness not necessarily entails extraordinary music. But maybe the required ambition and commitment, the necessity and the effort that is required, which is the determining factor for individual shaping power and impressive results.

Reference (in German, podcast interview in English):

Altun, Atila: Interview mit Raul Midón “Ich wäre gern hier gewesen, als Berlin noch geteilt war”. Tagesspiegel, 07.03.2013 (abgerufen am 08.04.2013)

Blurred at the margins

From his band “Die Ärzte” well known German rock singer Farin Urlaub dedicates a song to blurring. The track called  “Unscharf” [blurred] is the second on the album “Die Wahrheit übers Lügen” [the truth about lying] of his band Farin Urlaub Racing Team from 2008. it refers to a metaphor “blurred at the margins”.

Farin Urlaub - Blurred at the margins (Youtube Screenshot)
Farin Urlaub – Blurred at the margins (Youtube Screenshot)


The instrumental music of the song itself does not appear to be an attempt to musically deal with blurring. Infact, more interesting in that regard are the song lyrics.  Urlaub describes a female unknown, whereas it is not clear whether he speaks about a person, a picture or even about something completely else. “Sie ist unscharf an den Rändern” [She is blurred at the margins] makes image affine people immediately think about vignetting in photographs; that effect where the margins of an image get darker, it makes think about wide-angle motifs that skew at the margins, or simply bad digital shots.
So does Urlaub in that regard speak about a photograph of a woman? Does he speak about a woman he does not understand, or that he does not dare to encounter? Or is it even something completely else?

Apparently, he has not given the answer to that and that’s why the inetrpretations that can be found on the internet are quite diverse. Yet, the musician succeeded in one thing very well: The meaning of the lyrics remains “blurred” – or do we ratehr have to say “unclear” in that manner?

Eyesight test in the living room

The Swedisch furniture discount store IKEA sells a wall lamp that surprises. The lamp, designed by David Wahl for IKEA of Sweden is a opaque  glass that can be accessorized with various design patterns. One of these includes letters that decrease in size to the bottom as it is known from the ophthalmologist. For decoration purposes, here a eye chart  is taken into the living room, or where else?

Screenshot: IKEA "Gyllen" lamp (2013)
Wall lamp by IKEA in the design of an eye chart

The idea itself is taken from a unique but everyday situation. Its utilization tehrefore is even more interesting.  Out of which reason a person will put this design in to his/her room? Is IKEA/the designer targeting the qualified customers like ophtomalgists? Is it a courtesy for the computer bound workaholics in order for them to be able to daily check that their seeing ability does not suffer from the constant light form the screens? Is it a reminder for the ones that have a weak sight that they only can read the first line and it never will become better? Or is it for them to be pleased that they still can read it and what they see remains constant?

The final reason can be only named by the ones who buy it in the end. Yet, it is quite interesting that the dignified chart which partially decides about “yes or no” for glasses, which partially decides  “yes or no” about being allowed to make a driving license is now sold as a gimmick at the mass market.