I met Nick Armstrong last night on twitter.  I was talking to Rachel about her ‘One of us’ piece.  Specificaly we were talking about my tag-line:

The artists, entrepreneurs and digital gunslingers of our creative culture.’  

I assume, Nick was scraping twitter for digital gunslinger. He uses this term in his presentation.  He forwarded me his video (below).  The production of the video is crappy but I loved the content.  Nick’s talking about making social networking work; he uses a great frontier metaphor. He has a fantastic hat.  His brief 6 minute presentation is affirming and positive. We have much in common:  

Nick lives just up the road.  His business helps charities with social media.

 Nick knows a great word when he hears one: Gunslinger.

I use gunslinger for a singular reason.  I am a deciple of Charles Mingus.  Mingus is the greatest of the great American composers.  He was a mad genius prone to fits of rage and violence.  Mingus knocked out trombonist Jimmy Knepper’s teeth. Knepper was smacked-out and fucking up a score transcription.  Not a good idea. (There’s also Jimmy’s side of the story.)  

 Charles Mingus was my kinda guy.

I collect his rare joints, I buy his books and I particularly like how he names his tunes:

  • "Goodbye Pork Pie Hat"

  • "Put Me In That Dungeon"

  • "Oh Lord Don’t Let Them Drop That Atomic Bomb on Me"

A true poet; the names of his tunes are little inside jokes.  The more you learn about Mingus’ life, the better you appreciate these titles.  There is of course the tune-title that soars above the rest:

"If Charlie Parker Were a Gunslinger, There’d Be a Whole Lot of Dead Copycats.”


Let that sink in.


When I was at the height of my Mingus adulation I spent weeks with this phrase in my head.  Hell, I quoted it back in ‘03 on my old band’s first record.  

When I say gunslinger - it’s real.

I’m sure Nick arrived at the term in a completely different way.  Maybe not. If we’re lucky he’ll talk about it in the comments below.  What inspired this post is how similarly he and I are using this term.  How similar our business models are.  How similar we are in age.  And were neighbors.

It’s a trip really.

Ignite FC 1: Digital Frontiers - Nick Armstrong

A

shoutout to @missreported too.  She fwd me the video I believe.

- Ryan Estes