28 April 2006


fighting for survival is such a boring battle
i want to get into my car and drive out to Seattle
where the used record stores have much better prices
but i don't have a car and i don't have a license...

well, here i am. and it's all true (except maybe the first line.)

so, i haven't mentioned this yet (here), but i'm going to this conference on pop music this weekend. (starting approximately now.)

which is part of the reason i started this here thingy, in fact. i thought that re-establishing myself as a music-type-writer, and specifically establishing a space in which do to it, might help me shore up some kind of identity from which i might approach the conference in a more useful and directed way. or something like that. also, not having any real conception of what this thing will be like, but mildly apprehensive about how i will react to encountering all of these 'serious'/'successful' academics, journalists, musicians, writers, and so forth. because, see, i could theoretially claim any one of those mantles, with some amount of validity... but none of them really feel like me. when you get down to it, what i am at this point in my music life is just a really big fan. which is not to disparage that category at all - it's a pretty essential role, after all. however, there's also room for a little dressing up. even if i'm not entirely comfortable presenting myself as a dj (more to the point, i would feel sort of lame answering the follow-up questions), i can assert myself as a record collector - a record librarian, to be more confusing/self-true - and just perhaps as a Mixtape Artist. which i something i'm intending very much to discuss on this site, and at length. just haven't really started yet. but that's okay.

why am i at this conference? because i'm tremendously intrigued by the whole concept, and i'm curious to check out what's going, in the flesh, with this burgeoning idea of pop music academia. and i'm hoping i'll be lucky enough to get some more specific ideas, or at least some more inspiration, about where i might fit in with all of this.

questions i have about the conference in general: what are the people like who are even doing this stuff? where will the prevailing attitude lie with respect to the academia/pop divide (i.e. will this really feel like an academic conference, or more like a pop/cultural celebration?) what are other people going to be there for? will they have any better idea about this than i do? will they be interested in talking to me?

[at the suggestion of rebecca, i have some things to give people in case i find myself wanting to give them things: copies of the freshly (slightly) revamped mix cd "october is eternal" with the new subtitle "continuous content" (depends how you pronounce it, see), on which i happened to have typed the url for this blog. also, alyssa made me copies of the "syllabus" (i.e. tracklist) for genrecalia - basically a mixtape-as-academic-course that may have some parallels to the goings-on this weekend. so we'll see about all that. one goal that has been suggested is to find a way to go out dancing with a group of conference-attendees.]

questions i have for this conference in particular, given the theme of "shame" and pop as guilty pleasure: for whom, exactly, is guilt a factor in pop listenership, and to what extent? will folks be presuming to speak for a wider audience, or primarily from their own experiences and sentiments? i ask because, personally, i feel like guilt plays a negligible, or possibly nonexistent role in my enjoyment of music - although to be fair i do have to deal with the spectre of it (at least the suggestion of it) when navigating how i relate my interior music-life to my external life of dealing with people. there are some panels - particularly today - which should be pretty relevant to me on a personal level (as opposed to an intelletual one - maybe), based on my recent enthusiasms for (obviously) teen-pop and (slightly more unexpected) soul music (which i also intend to discuss here but haven't really done much yet), because they deal with issues (or at least questions) for the enjoyment of those genres.

i think i've got my plan for today's panels figured out. based more than anything on sarah kelly's enthusiasm for drew daniel at last night's discussion (with stephin merritt, which i missed because i was still on the plane), i'll start out with this:

People Watching

Peter Doyle, “Living Large: The Field Recording, the Mug Shot and the Early 20th Century Mediascape”
Ronald Cohen, “Why Jews Have Been Attracted to American Folk Music”
Yuval Taylor, “Blues Tourists: Condescension and the Blues Revival”
Drew Daniel, “How to Sing Along with "Sweet Home Alabama"”

Moderator: Elijah Wald

the next time-slot was tougher to choose, (especially as they keep switching things around), but i feel obliged to check out "Black Girl in a White Boy's Body," to think about why I'm digging with the soul:

Rock & Roll Double-Consciousness

RJ Smith, “The Johnny Otis Show”
Devin McKinney, “Black Girl in a White Boy’s Body”
Nate Patrin, “I Wonder Who Taught Her How to Talk Like That: The Soul Aspirations of Mid '70s Rock”

Moderator: Daphne Brooks

next up:

Bad Subjects

Charlie Bertsch, “From Pleasure To Power: Confessing One’s Lack of Ignorance”
Michaelangelo Matos, “A Double History of the Supremes’ “Love Child””
Eric Weisbard, ““For the Love of You”: The Isley Brothers as Pop Unmentionables”
Carl Wilson, “Touch Me, Celine: A Dionyssee or, Poptimism Versus the Guilty Displeasure”

Moderator: Jody Rosen

ok, gotta run.


Dave said...

How'd it go?

Ross said...

uncredible. hang on, megamegapostpost coming up