A new year is supposed to bring changes, isn’t it? That’s the way of the world, plenty of resolutions to keep or break. Turns out I have my own changes to ring for 2013, although they were quite unintended.
For more than a dozen years I’ve been writing for a music website that I’ll leave nameless, contributing reviews and biographies of artists. They’ve been good to work for, even after they obtained new corporate masters. I pitched stuff I wanted to cover, they said yes to some, I uploaded and they paid very promptly (and as any freelancer can tell you, that last one is very important).
Then, a month ago, I received an email telling me that as of the end of December they would no longer be requiring my services. Nothing to do with my writing at all; they needed to cut back on the freelancers they used. In this economy that happens, although I do suspect that the marginal areas of music that I mined – world, folk and weird – probably contributed. When things are tough, you focus on the core.
Time and money has taken its toll of the outlets that exist for the music I love. Even the wonderful Sing Out! looks as if it won’t exist much longer, so another one will bite the dust. The newspapers have their reviewers already, as do the mainstream music magazines.
So what’s a man to do? He starts a blog, of course. I already have two, one for random things and another covering Danish music. But the Fortnightly-ish review (http://fortnightlyish.blogspot.co.uk) will just be music. Every couple of weeks or so, one review of a new, or at least fairly new, album that’s grabbed me. Because I love writing about music, in case you wondered.
What not more often? Time, for one. And also I’m a lot harder to impress these days. That’s one advantage – or possibly disadvantage – of age. I began listening to music seriously in 1967, and I’ve learned a great deal in all those years since. It doesn’t mean I know everything, of course – I still don’t understand quite how Monk manages to do all that on the piano, for instance, or why Robert Wyatt’s voice could make a stone cry – but I’ve a reasonable knowledge.
Back when I began reviewing world music, as opposed to just rock/electronic/post rock/whatever, I wanted to write about it in terms that didn’t make it seem foreign to people, so it was just as accessible as rock. I think I wandered away from that path. It’s probably time to get back to it, but also to broaden my church. After all, like most people, my tastes are eclectic. I can find joy in some of Johnny Dowd’s work, next to Charley Patton or Nick Cave. They’re all saying something similar, and it’s all art, just as much as a Bach prelude, Spem In Alium or John Coltrane.
I want to communicate that, and probably include some ramblings, too. It’s a blog, you can do that. Whether anyone will care or not, I’ve no idea. Time will tell. But I’m going to be selective about the music in it. It’ll mean something, if only to me. You’re welcome along for the ride, if you like.