The Whole Night Sky

Muddy came over to Chris’s studio apartment on Saturday afternoon. He came with his old guitar wearing his mismatched black thrift store clothes. Chris plugged his ears directly into his music system, and they both played, but since they couldn’t hear each other, it wasn’t much different from being alone. Muddy seemed to be in a meditative state, while Chris was in a state of artistic agitation, more so since the sale of his music files were slipping.

“The problem with music.” said Chris, disconnecting his cranial implant from his music system. “Is that there aren’t any big stars anymore.”

“How do you mean?” asked Muddy, rubbing his guitar pick between his fingers.

Chris scratched the blond stubble on his face. “Video killed the radio star man. Internet killed the video star. There aren’t any big music celebrities, haven’t been since the big record companies folded.”

Muddy shrugged, leaning over his acoustic guitar. “Oh, I don’t know, Visual Purple is doing pretty well.”

Chris rolled his eyes. “Visual Purple? Muddy, they’re not doing any better than you are!”

“I’m doing pretty well.”

Muddy was selling enough music to buy food and pay rent on his tiny apartment. He played an antique acoustic guitar, which was so old that part of the box had rotted off giving the instrument a sour sound. Muddy had an appeal among a certain kind of intellectual who enjoyed the unique sounds of his bitter guitar.

“That’s not what I mean.” said Chris, avoiding the topic of his friends modest success. “Sure, Visual Purple is selling music, and it’s selling well, but if you went out on the street right now, do you think that if you asked any random person that would know who Visual Purple is?”

“Probably not.” admitted Muddy.

“Back in the day, we had big stars like Elvis and Aretha Franklin and Jonathan Coulton, people who made big money, who were worshipped by their fans. Now we’ve got all these little players, barely making it by.”

Muddy looked up from his bitter guitar. “Well, we may not have big stars anymore, but now we’ve got thousands of them, constellations. Now we’ve got the whole night sky.”

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