You Have No Exit Strategy

23:05, Jan 21 2016

You have no exit-strategy. You got into this as a young, dumb idealist. You wanted to write. You listened to music. You wanted to write about music. You built up a bit of a portfolio of reviews and other journalism - those cat-stuck-up-a-tree, old-person-turns-100, triumphant-local-sports-team 300-worders. There was a time at Journalism School. And a longer time not at journalism school. Stories for the student rag, stories for the community paper. Stories, increasingly, about music.

And then reviews.

And then interviews.

And then some spots on the radio and the telly, and this blog...

It's never been about p***ing people off - let bygones be bygones/by-products exist outside of your main goal or focus.

You've seen an incredible amount of music - watched and heard bands for years, and many living legends. Some now departed too of course. But so many of your heroes and then brand new bands you see by fluke, by mistake, by accident...or those word-of-mouthers, you get to them because somebody in the know told you so.

Sam Hunt told you to go see Throwing Muses. And you did. And it was life-changing. And when you say Sam Hunt said so, you mean he told his audience...and you were part of it, your first day at university. Throwing Muses were there later that week, handily touring their "University" album.

Someone else suggested you see TransAm. Magnificent. Amazing.

You take a chance on this, you go see that because you read about it, or wrote about it, or both.

The albums used to pile up in the letterbox. Now, not so much. But sometimes kind people send a link through to something new. They want only the nice things said, of course. They are not interested in any "dialogue". They take it as some weird, crushing blow if you don't say the record they had no real hand in was not the very best thing to happen to music since the last time that same person sent you a sheet full of adjectives and a link to tired, boring old music.

Sometimes, somehow, in some way, through all of that, you find something magical. A piece of music that makes you feel better than you could ever describe. The blessing being you've received it to hear and now you can't imagine your life without it. The curse: you have to think up some words to describe it. Or try.

Every day that you try to think of a blog topic or sit down to punch out a review you wonder why you're doing it, who you're doing it for and what it might mean if you didn't turn up, didn't do it at all.

You know most people wouldn't care - even the ones that might tell you that they would. They'd find anything else to read. And besides, these days, music reviews are so old hat...

It's all at everyone's fingertips now. They don't need anyone else telling them what to love nor warning them to stay away. There's no pocket money being saved, no fan-worship slaving, savouring cuttings and slobbering over hard-earned band gossip. It's all there and you're either the first to know or the last and there's no in between. And people are now sure what has always (really) been the case: they can jolly well make their own minds up.

But you have no exit strategy.

So here is today's blog-post.

And though there's not much in it you want to tell people that a really fun album of modern-day surf-rock guitar music came your way recently. And that you made up a playlist that might work for the weekend. And that the band Low is playing a couple of shows in New Zealand again - first time in a half-dozen years. And that buying Sonic Youth's Washing Machine on vinyl had you all nostalgic for the time when you slept on a friend's floor in an empty flat after seeing the gig where a just-new Foo Fighters were the opening act. And that there's this wonderful wee book on the market about Bobbie Gentry and her Ode To Billie Joe album. And that, though you figured you were never likely to ever want to hear Pink Floyd's The Wall ever again you did find - surprisingly - that Roger Waters' new concert DVD/doco of his own Wall tour was not only good it was occassionally profoundly moving.

So you do.

But no one asked. And they could have found all that anyway. And who cares what you think...they only wanted to hear what they already think.

Some days you think a real job, scary and always way beyond your reach, wouldn't be such a bad idea.

Actually you just wish this was a real job. You keep hoping...

You keep trying.

You keep typing.

You have no exit strategy.

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