Musical Commentary on Mr. H’s mHealth Conference Summary
By DJ LooptyLoop
I have to say, your synopsis of mHealth sounds a little grim indeed. Chain restaurants lacking personality? Boring. Destination developments? Depressing. Terrible weather? Bearable when inside, but energy-zapping nonetheless.
If you’ve listened to Arcade Fire’s 2010 album “The Suburbs,” you would immediately relate the above description to my favorite track on the album, Sprawl II. “Sometimes I wonder if the world’s so small that we can never get away from this sprawl,” sings frontwoman Régine Chassagne. “Living in the sprawl. Dead shopping malls rise like mountains beyond mountains, and there’s no end in sight.”
But the most disappointing of all is the abandonment of the African public health project speakers. Actually, the abandonment of all global health issues in general is pretty appalling. The mHealth slogan reads, “Where technology, business, research, and policy connect.” One would think the policy research might actually be reflected via keynote speakers who speak to global solutions at this scale. But then again, maybe they don’t exist yet.
Arcade Fire’s new jam from their 2013 Reflektor album “Here Comes the Night Time” touches on this global health issue abandonment. “And the missionaries tell us we will be left behind. We’ve been left behind a thousand times, a thousand times,” cries frontman Win Butler. “If you want to be righteous, get in line.” Well, I suppose it’s back of the line for the emerging countries at the mHealth Summit, though I did see an announcement that mHealth Alliance plans to transition its base of operations in 2014 from the UN Foundation in DC to South Africa, so let’s scratch that and bump them up to the middle of the line.
And, there’s NO MUSIC? I guess conference attendees could throw on Reflektor with just one earbud in whilst walking from speaker to speaker so as not to be completely antisocial. The album hooks listeners at the initial beat-drop with a catchy Talking Heads vibe mixed with the fearless imagination of Daft Punk. Though I’d be careful with the feedback from other conference-goers, if Win Butler’s prediction holds true. “And when they hear the beat coming from the street, they lock the door. But if there’s no music up in heaven [or in our case, the mHealth Summit], then what’s it for?”
On a separate note, I would like to think that LCD Soundsystem and Reflektor producer James Murphy would be beaming to know his music has had a far-reaching impact. He did turn down a job as a writer for Seinfeld to make music, after all. He clearly wanted to make an impact elsewhere – and that impact has reached all the way into the world of healthcare IT.