as in a blender

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Word’s gotten around that Blender magazine has shut down—the April issue that recently came out will be its last. I’m really going to miss writing for them. I was involved with this incarnation of Blender pretty much from the get-go—when it started up, they called me up and asked me if I could fill a chair in the office for a week, which became two weeks, then four, then six, and even after I left the office I kept writing for them right up to the end.

Blender took a certain amount of guff for its in-your-face graphics and bite-sized copy. The thing is, it had really good, densely packed, thoughtful, funny bite-sized copy—especially in the Rob Tannenbaum era. Tannenbaum’s my favorite kind of editor, the kind who has a hunting falcon’s eye for flawed or flabby writing and will do whatever it takes to make it right, or rather to make me get it right; his breakdown of what each half-star of the magazine’s five-star rating system meant has been a useful tool to me in contexts that don’t even have to do with music. I particularly liked working on the “Back Catalogue” features—overviews of particular artists’ entire catalogues, with short reviews of every album they’d ever released. Thanks to those, I now know a lot more about the Beach Boys, Elvis Costello, New Order/Joy Division, Creedence Clearwater Revival/John Fogerty, Aretha Franklin, Sonic Youth, the Clash, the Byrds, the Cure, Nirvana/the Foo Fighters, ABBA, David Bowie, and above all Bob Dylan, on whose catalogue I spent three months of unforgettable total immersion.

Blender was about music as a source of pleasure—not status or cultural power or part of a lifestyle, but limitless fascination and enjoyment, which was its editors’ attitude, too. The point of Blender’s design was to make it a pleasure to read, page-for-page, and that’s what it was for me every month. I hope I get to work on another project like it sometime.

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This page contains a single entry by Douglas published on March 29, 2009 10:49 AM.

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