wild and woolly semi-automatic truck bombing
Spent this past weekend in Seattle at the Experience Music Project pop conference, giving my talk about Clydie King and seeing lots of other people's presentations. I always think, though, that the most fun and most interesting/useful parts of the conference happen in its interstices: not just the formal ones, like the Q&A discussions after presentations, but hanging out in the hallways of EMP with other people whose professional interests dovetail with my own, seeing old friends and meeting new ones (like the awesome Devon Powers), drinking at the Edgewater Hotel bar with the GirlGroup types, singing karaoke with half-drunk music critics (Rickey Wright did "Tumbling Dice" and I chimed in with a couple of the Clydie King lines), and so on. Okay, that last might not be professionally useful. Although it might.
I've started writing some reviews for Pitchfork--the first three, in reverse order, are the new Joanna Newsom, three Dolly Parton albums, and a Red Crayola reissue. Gotta say: two really nice things about reviewing for Pitchfork are that 1) I get to write without hypercompression of the kind some other venues require--as much as I enjoy writing super-tight, it's nice to uncramp my limbs sometimes--and 2) it feels really immediate, in a "part of the conversation" way. Too bad the farmer's market doesn't accept cultural capital.
My hair is now the least new wave it's been in years. Which is fine as a certain kind of thought experiment--do I project a more professional air, or is it just that my thought processes churn faster without the overheating problems caused by too much hair?--but I'll bet you a nickel I'll be scrabbling at the Clairol lightener box inside of a month.
In the Dept. of Things Douglas Wrote That Are in Print But Not Online: the 40th-anniversary issue of Rolling Stone includes a feature on "40 Songs that Changed the World" that I wrote (although it was the RS editors who picked 'em).
Several readers have been asking me what I've been listening to lately. The answer is "disturbingly little, aside from the above": I spent two weeks last month with my hearing significantly impaired (fortunately, those were weeks I was working on the book), and I'm still catching up on the stack of pleasure-listening that's been coming in. And I keep going back to that Gwigwi Mrwebi album that came out last year--a reissue on Honest Jon's of a perfect, frictionless late-'60s South African jazz-soul instrumental record that takes zero effort to nestle into and groove. More when I've got more to report.