Oof. Well, that's been a bit of a while, hasn't it? Sorry. I've spent most of this weekend doing more mop-up on the Album Guide pieces (today was Fugazi day, tonight is Autechre night but actually right now I'm cheating and listening to the Nonesuch Explorer Africa series). Oh, and induced by Amy P., I've put together a post-punk dance primer CD-R, and co-opted the fantastic design Lisa did for her Burning Man mix for it. Girls At Our Best!, Gang of 4, PiL, ESG, Homosexuals, Joy Division, Red Crayola, Pylon, Contortions, Delta 5, etc.

Have also gotten invited to do a Very Cool Thing for a few weeks after the NAJP ends next June. Details when they're confirmed, but I'll just say it's a piece of writing I've always wanted to do. And confirmed the first three releases from the Dark Beloved Cloud Singles Club--I'm just trying to figure out what order they'll go in.

Also, I just bleached most of my hair, in two stages (thank you, Lisa). I now look sort of like Limahl.

Finally saw Donnie Darko last night, after several months of people saying things ranging from "you'd probably really enjoy it" to "I can't believe you actually haven't seen it." It's an incoherent mess, but a really clever, original incoherent mess. I also understand now why people have said "the less you know about it going in, the more you'll get out of it"--partly to cover for the fact that it's nearly impossible to summarize without sounding like one's brain is totally fried. Mostly, though, it seems to me to belong to the same category as, say, Magnolia and Rushmore--movies that have something approaching a formally conventional narrative (thing A happens, thing B follows) but don't actually belong to any genre at all, in the sense that there's no way of knowing what's going to happen next or even what's supposed to happen next, or how the story might be resolved.

Another advice question (really, I am good for things besides music-journalism questions...!):

What do you tell publicists who email/call you about their records, when a) you have no venue in which to cover them, b) you don't even WANT to cover them because they're pretty wretched, or c) you haven't listened to said album and probably won't get around to it for a few weeks, if ever, and d) the idea they're pitching for their artist is so totally ludicrous that it's laughable--except that they're serious?

"Not my thing." Or, if I like them, "Not my thing, I'm afraid. Sorry." Or, in the case of a), "I don't really have an appropriate venue to cover it."

Publicists need you much more than you need them--and if you call one up and say "I need an advance copy of [X] for [a specific assignment]," they'll always say yes. (They also generally appreciate an honest no-thank-you more than silence.) You're not obligated to show interest in anything they send you that doesn't actually interest you. Save your enthusiasm for the stuff that deserves it.



previously ask for advice