Noise from the Underground/Columbia University/March 29, 2005
Amy and I were supposed to a do a blazing IM recount of last night’s throwdown*, but the girl is M.I.A. (and not in a galang way, either). Perhaps she’s too shy to recount her brief time on a stage filled with music journalism luminaries. Or maybe she’s been immediately whisked away to a containment center deep in the Rockies lest she reveal any more highly confidential blogging secrets.
But they didn’t get me. Here’s a list of not so secret secrets revealed.
1) Sasha Frere-Jones is a master moderator. Ha-ha-inducing, squabble-ready, hat-wearing and always with his hand on the control panel, he is a good argument for the rock critic as performer model. If you’ve been in a band, you’re cool with sitting on a stage in a packed, overly heated room serving up the banter. If you’ve hidden yourself away with your laptop and vinyl since age 12, well, you might not be so good at this kind of thing.
2) That guy Knox from the Fader is a trip. This is probably a litigious statement, but he seemed as though he baked and staked that night. A big brouhaha erupted when he claimed that professionalism in journalism serves to marginalize under represented groups. I actually think that he was misunderstood. I may be wrong, but I think that what he was trying to say is that the inverted pyramid traditional music crit style (this is what I think he meant by the term “professionalism”) blocks out things because of what it has to include in order to keep the professional style intact. So, a piece on Band A will have to include who, what, where, when, why in favor of some other fringe info and feel. Knox, you out there? Help us out, man.
3) Anthony DeCurtis was a brave fellow for volunteering to be the stand-in for The Man. He got pummeled repeatedly for being part of the establishment. You know what? He didn’t apologize. I have to respect that in a way.
4) I kept making thought bubbles appear over Tunde’s head. I wish that he had spoken more. It was interesting when he talked about getting stacks of clips about his band and how reading them one after another makes it abundantly clear how much biting goes on in the world of journalism. Cut-n-paste journalism = scourge of a nation.
5) I wish that there had been some representation by the Mp3 bloggers.
6) Amy yet again shamelessly promoted her mother. Amy’s mom has got it going on, but c’mon already. Uh, hi Mrs. Phillips. Amy was talking about when she writes for the Philly Inquirer, she imagines that she’s writing for her mother. I only imagine that I’m writing for my mother when I create my special poetry that I keep in my special place that helps me release my special feelings as advised by my Freudian analyst. Uh, hi Dr. Hammerichen.
7) I can almost completely visualize what Michael Azerrad was like in the 80s/90s, surrounded by stacks of seven inches and zines. Which is to say that he is cool. I mean, his name includes the word “rad.” I liked how he brought up the social climbing elements of links on blogs (not that there’s anything wrong with them, cough, cough…) as I don’t think people really discuss this kind of delicate old boy’s network nicking.
8) Mad props to Brandon Wall for keeping a day job in the j-biz and curating a professional looking music site. Not easy to do.
*In the spirit of full-disclosure (ain't that professional) I must mention that I am affiliated with the National Arts Journalism Program, the generous organization that put on this event. I was a NAJP fellow last year.