Thursday, June 18, 2009

5 things about the non-musical aspects of writing about music

  1. Publicists' emails are going to be overexcited by nature, but I get enough of them to notice the short time differential between when they arrive in my inbox and when they get mildly re-shuffled (sometimes) and re-posted on four or five blogs to which I subscribe. I don't really mind this, but the least these blogs can do is try to shade the message with a thin critical layer rather than transparently display it. Or be funny about it, or something. It's not that hard unless, of course, you are reporting on music about which nothing all that meaningful can be said, or so much of it that you don't really get to know anything.
  2. The excited retelling of lineages of bands about which you might not care (yet, if ever) that is a tiresome yet helpful part of bloated PR copy but tends to clogs up the message on the public side makes me glaze over, and I just figured out why. It reminds me of when sports fans go in deep about players in college football; the game gets eclipsed by tales of where players to high school and what coaches they played under and what deals they are about to sign. I recognize that as a sports non-fan I am missing the gold to mined out of this particular stream, but er, wouldn't y'all rather watch the game?
  3. I'm not so sure I would that ardently lament the disintegration of a holistically shared musical landscape that the Internet has the potential of bringing, allowing the rise of micro-niches and regionalism, making cultural experiences seem a little more exotic when explored. It would be like if off every exit, there was the chance of their being a Dutch windmill or the worlds largest shoe store or an Armenian flea market instead of another Bed, Bath and Beyond.
  4. I used to treasure my collection 3000+ albums, countless tapes, 800 8-track's and a burgeoning collection of reel-to-reel tapes and now my CD's are in bags in a closet and I have 3 actual vinyl records, one of which is in a frame because it was signed by John Cage. I don't miss vinyl a bit, and CD's seem almost as cumbersome. In fact the whole "putting music on my iPhone via iTunes" seems quaint compared to Rhapsody and lala and what someone recently described as "the browser as iPod." Granted, services like these create uncomfortable dependencies that will no doubt be one day exploited, but for now, using them feels as freeing as eschewing a house full of books in trade for judicious library practices did years ago. Having everything at my disposal has made my listening habits a little more flighty and fickle, but then, that was also the main point of my having 3000 albums way back then. The other point was to gaze at them lovingly like a snowglobe collector might gaze drowsily over their crowded fireplace mantle, and that I don't miss a bit either.
  5. I don't get too worked up about writing gigs not paying what they used to, or that the critical field is being infiltrated by self-appointed authorities, being one myself. The creative aspects of my life never struck me as monetary goldmines, rather as things that were borne of the privilege of making enough money elsewhere. I'd rather work for my art than make my art pay for me, I suppose. That is not saying I don't appreciate those freelance checks and the perks of being a semi-recognized music writer when I can get them, but I would still most likely be writing about music even if they dried up.

No comments:

Post a Comment