Scene: an editorial office in The Age. A young minion is being hauled over the coals by a slightly older editor.
Editor: I have to say that when I saw this article I was very, very disappointed. Very disappointed indeed.
Young minion: I...
Editor: We all want to break new ground, and we all want to be ‘out there’. We all think we can take arts journalism a little bit further. But I’ve been round the block.
Editor: Now, I asked you for an article based around Leonard Cohen’s support bands. It’s a hot topic. Leonard Cohen is, basically - I'd never heard of him - but he's more or less Canada's answer to Nick Cave. So it’s probably the single most important question of 2009, at least until (sotto voce; the Editor turns and genuflects to a large framed poster of Nick Cave) he comes again... or... (he turns to a large poster of Tim Rogers) he farts, opens an envelope or blinks. (Here the editor goes off into a reverie, sitting back in his chair and chuckling with amazement that he should live through these times). What will they do next? What on earth will they do next? More films for Nick? More forays into theatre for Tim? Another... another album? From either of them, this year? (A small drop of saliva drops from his lip at the tasty prospect).
Editor: (snaps back to the present). So, the Cohen supports. Yes, yes, Paul Kelly. I mean, we should have talked to Kelly, that was a good move, he’s kind of... well, he’s in that Tim Rogers vein of being a man playing a guitar, in fact, you should have said that; the readers might get a little confused being told about some man playing a guitar, except his name is not Tim Rogers or Angus Young. And I was of course gratified – very correct – to see you mention You Am I in the first column. But how many of our readers do you think were alienated by your complete lack of any mention of Nick Cave until... (his voice becomes both scandalised and uncomprehending) the final column?
Editor: This is a music story. Nick Cave and Tim Rogers are music. How many albums were released last year? I mean, really, how many?
Editor: Two!? Two! Two! You idiot. You scum sucking, foetid, emanation...
YM: Dig Lazarus Dig and Dilettantes... oh, Tex Perkins’ Ladyboys?
Editor: (Closes his eyes and points straight ahead from his desk to the large shrine to Brian Johnson across the room). Black Ice, you fool. Black Ice, the single most... the most perfect... the... Why am I wasting my time with you? Why?
Editor: You march in here, jumped up and absurd, demanding I run a so-called pop music story about ‘Leonard Cohen’, with only the barest mention of Nick Cave... I suppose you’re one of those outlandish beatniks who think one day the EG might feature a cover story that is not about Tim Rogers or Nick Cave?! I suppose you think there is some crazy little utopia somewhere, some kind of ‘alternative scene’ or whatever you call it, where some so-called ‘musician’ is not Nick Cave, or Tim Rogers, or Angus Young... I suppose you’d like to see some kind of fascistic regime where a quality newspaper such as The Age, Australia’s greatest broadsheet, ignores its single most important duty – by which I mean, of course, in-depth reportage of the activities, attitudes, widespread importance and of course extraordinarily high quality output of Tim Rogers and Nick Cave.
YM: And AC/DC.
Editor: What will they do next? What will they do next!? Yes... yes! I see it! It’s next week’s EG cover story!
YM: ‘Tim Rogers and Nick Cave... what will they do next’?
Editor: Now you’re learning. Brilliant idea! A new year, a new set of challenges... A couple of hot new talents, Nick Cave and Tim Rogers. Nick ‘n’ Tim, Tim ‘n’ Nick. What will they do next! What does Leonard Cohen think they'll do next? What do AC/DC think they'll do next!? What does Tex Perkins think they'll do next? What does... what does Tim Rogers think they'll do next!
Crossposted at Sarsaparilla