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De File
Does Collecting Make You Feel Dirty?
Every End Is a Beginning
I was going through some old computer files from the 1990s today and came across one of my favorite "fan mail" messages:
When I received this message, I was surprised to be getting a response to a three-year-old piece, particularly on a topic that had made such a rapid retreat into the past. But now, twelve years after getting this e-mail, I feel closer, in some ways, to the heyday of grunge than I did in 1996. It has been said by many, far better than I can say it, but the perception of history is a long, strange trip.

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Current Location: 85704
Muse: memories of The Lonesome Crowded West

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From: babyiwasshot Date: February 9th, 2008 02:31 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Being a HUGE Nirvana fan in high school (a member of the "Kurt cult," let us say), I'd recommend Michael Azerrad's book as a good jumping-off point. Within, there's acutally an account of how Kurt debated signing with K records RATHER than geffen, which would've likely been a better move, in retrospect, given that his celebrity is often cited as a "cause" of his suicide/disintegration. Further, the book does what your article does in fully establishing the roots of Nirvana's sound in 80's college rock (kurt was a HUGE raincoats fan, for instance).

I'd also make a distinction between "alternative" and "indie," re-naming them "first wave" (all the bands you cite in the article) and "second wave" (neutral milk hotel--also from athens--; MODEST MOUSE; etc.) alternative, respectively.

The DC scene is also significant (FUGAZI, bad brains, nation of ulysses, etc.) as the nominal "birthplace" of hardcore and emo (rites of spring).
From: babyiwasshot Date: February 9th, 2008 02:45 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Also, how do you get .jpg screen captures on a mac? I use the grab utility, but it always saves the pics as either .pdf or .tiff files, which I can't upload to photobucket.
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: February 9th, 2008 07:18 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
I just use the built-in OS X one, with --<4>. I know it saves as PDFs at work. But on this computer it saves as PNGs -- portable network graphics -- which can be viewed by Web browsers without trouble. I think there are better free/share ware utilities out there.
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: February 9th, 2008 07:22 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Great points. Of course, when I wrote the piece, which hasn't been changed since it was published, the "second wave" you describe -- an especially apt term -- hadn't happened yet.

I considered writing about D.C. back at the time. But, being from that area, at least for grades 6-12, I was aware of the ways in which the D.C. scene wasn't a geographically proud manifestation of regionalism as the scenes in Seattle, Chapel Hill, Athens etc. were. Even Chicago, a much bigger city, had more of that regionalist self-understanding than D.C. I think it's because D.C. is a place where much of the middle-class is in temporary residence.
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