Sunday, April 26, 2020

writing reviews

I'm amazed that, now there's no money in it, how few reviews get published of interesting things. I was seized briefly by the desire to revive my old fanzine ways of the 1980s-90s and write long interesting (?) (to me anyway) rambling reviews of new books and records which might perhaps be equal parts contribution to the promotion of 'the' culture, and in and of themselves a kind of solid statement: 'this stuff is of consequence, look, I wrote a completely extensive response to it'. Probably best if I did it under a range of different names though so it looked like a coterie of interested people were involved, some sort of Algonquinesque crew, they could even argue with each other 'I was interested to see Paleo Negstrom suggest last week in these pages that the Alien Nosejob album was the Something/Anything for our times...' etc.

Like a lot of idiots my age, my first real experience of a cultural bible was the NME, which I devoured greedily between 1978 and about 1983. I have probably told you this before: I was entranced by the NME in the late 70s when it was (almost) all about punk rock, so I read all about the people, and particularly loved the magazine's graphics, but at the same time I had no idea how to access the music at all (and wasn't even sure I'd like it if I did access it). To take on punk/new wave at the age of 13 would have been very, very out there, so/and/but I experienced it at arm's length and followed the comings and goings of whoever - people generally now cast out from the canon, for better or worse - Jimmy Pursey or the Pleasers, who modelled themselves on the 1964 (or earlier) Beatles, and whose wikipedia page is so fucking bizarre I can't let it stand as it, it's appalling - and others who are consolidated within it, Elvis Costello, Nick Lowe etc. I knew a lot about these acts (not that I've retained the information) without having any idea what they sounded like (I was just inspired then to actually listen to the Pleasers. It is what it is). It was like being obsessed by Middle Earth or something, a panoply of codes and tropes understood through one multi-faceted filter. Additionally, there was a comparable (in terms of 'scene', probably better in terms of music) music scene in Melbourne itself I would have loved, but which I had no way of accessing.

My brain was trained by the NME in the ways of How to Proselytise, not that I have always wanted to do so but I have often tried to. I think on reflection it's the platform rather than the work itself that matters. The people who wrote in the NME mattered not because of anything they knew or thought but because they were writing for the NME. The NME was, by the way, a thoroughly manipulated environment - I appreciate that now, and I realised eventually (probably by the end of the 80s) it missed out a lot of amazing things because its writers actually didn't know or understand half as much as they thought they did, and they were also captive to their own biases etc. I don't even know where I'm going with this now. Probably I said it. These days I mainly prefer to write reviews of animals, anyway.

This morning Nancy woke me up crying from the other room 6/10.

No comments: