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One For the Road - De File
Does Collecting Make You Feel Dirty?
cbertsch
cbertsch
One For the Road
I hadn't written for Tikkun since my friend Joel left his post there as Managing Editor. But then a publicist sent me an excellent record that was a perfect fit for the magazine's readership. I decided that, although my future probably lies elsewhere, I should at least do what I could to give the record some of the press it deserves.

I have also concluded, on a related note, that I am going to have blow my own ____ a bit more than I have in the past, both here and elsewhere, so that I may one day get some of the press I -- oh, what the hell, I'll use the word -- deserve. Please be patient with me, though, as I find self-promotion painfully awkward. I'm going to try to leaven the process by revisiting things I've already published, not just for the sake of declaring, "I did this," but with an eye towards reflecting critically on their composition and, where applicable, the differences between what I was thinking then and what I am thinking now.

I ended up doing an absurd amount of work prior to writing the review for Tikkun, most of it invisible to anyone but me. I'm not complaining, though, since there are worse things in life than reading Romanticism in German. Then, once I'd actually finished the piece, it got lost in the shuffle at Tikkun, delaying its publication. But now it's out, finally, in the March/April issue. Here are the first two paragraphs:
Interestingly, although the record doesn't exactly scream out "Review me!" to the sort of people likely to receive it in the mail, Gene Armstrong of the Tucson Weekly made it one of the paper's three reviews of the week a while back. He did a good job, too. Tikkun isn't making my review available online, but you can download it here.

Oh, and if any of you would like to catch up on the work I did for the magazine back when I was a regular contributor, you should go check out this page, which features everything I did except the current review. And you should do so with haste, since I don't think this page will make it through their next site redesign.

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Current Location: 85704
Muse: Shibboleth - Dan Kaufman - Force of Light

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Comments
jstgerma From: jstgerma Date: March 25th, 2008 10:18 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
That's a compelling lead-in. It made me want to read the rest. I especially like that second graf, both conceptually -- that is exactly what I do when I hear bands I've never heard of, and I often feel weird and scenestery about doing it -- and formally. Lately I've been using and liking the "The thing is ..." construction a lot.

The thing I really like about your music writing is that you do such a good job of treading a couple of difficult edges, between erudition / accessibility and fairness / fawning / snark, and I usually come away with both a shortlist of artists you mentioned that I need to listen to (or books I need to read), and a clear comprehension of your listening experience and critical perspective on the music in question. I read very little music writing that does either one of those things as well, and almost none that does both.
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: March 26th, 2008 12:37 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Oh, man, this comment couldn't have come at a better time. I'm having such a rough go of it lately on the music writing front. So many opportunities that I'd been building my second career towards have dried up over the past few years, right before I could get in the door. Anyway, you made my week with your kind words, which are all the better for being pretty neatly aligned with my self-conception as a critic. The thing is, I really am trying to do what you said that I'm doing!

(You can download the rest from the link, BTW, if that was unclear)
jstgerma From: jstgerma Date: March 26th, 2008 02:24 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
I'm awash in rejection form letters the last couple of weeks, myself, so I can sort of relate. I don't know anything about the publishing side of music criticism, but it seems like yours deserves a prominent outlet.

I did misunderstand the link, so I'm glad you pointed that out. It's funny that I read that review just now, because a couple of hours ago I e-mailed to see if I could audit a translation seminar next quarter with John Felstiner, and I think his translation of Celan's selected works is on the reading list. Hopefully he lets me. Lit classes are like my academic Tucson; as much as I used to complain when I was in those environments, now I find myself missing them!
johnny9fingers From: johnny9fingers Date: March 25th, 2008 10:43 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
We're chaps, m'dear. We don't blow our own trumpets or anything like that. We're not Girls, who can be needy and insecure, esp. when it comes to praise.
We do it and write it accurately, and if another chap says 'pretty damn good' we know what that means: it means it's pretty damn good.
Chaps 'big up' their deficiencies at the expense of their manifest good points because otherwise would be bragging....but we can retreat to extreme accuracy as long as it has a somewhat self-deprecating slant. Ergo, I might say I'm accomplished as a guitarist, but... then I might mention that I'll never make a first rank flamenco player.
It's what chaps are like. If you want extreme accuracy it's what gentlemen are like.

I think you're a gentleman. And a pretty damn good one at that.
From: babyiwasshot Date: March 26th, 2008 01:37 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
that I am going to have blow my own ____ a bit more

What's the blank supposed to represent? Muted post horn....actually, come to think of it, that's the horn that I've been know to blow.

I ended up doing an absurd amount of work prior to writing the review for Tikkun, most of it invisible to anyone but me. I'm not complaining, though, since there are worse things in life than reading Romanticism in German.

My question is "how" do you do that?? I'm aware that legal stimulants such as coffee help, but ingesting them augments my OCD


From: babyiwasshot Date: March 26th, 2008 02:05 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)

PS (link)

Oh, also:

In case one of my entries yesterday didn't lead you to it, there's an incredibly insignificant website that I've been know to check intermittently because it unearths obscure pop cultural artifacts (pop/rock songs) that fell through the cracks years ago. "Peep" that shit.
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