On The Record

Yeah, I know it's been more than a month. Sorry.

After getting back into reading my favorite music blogs and a few snide remarks that this hadn't been updated in a while, I decided to take the early part of my Friday night to word-vomit into this little box (that's a good mental image, huh?).

I haven't posted since before the beginning of the semester. There's a good reason: this semester is the busiest of my college career. I'm taking three writing classes, one philosophy class, and an ethics class for journalism. That means that on any given week I have an assignment/article for my magazine writing class due Monday, an editorial due Tuesday, an article due Thursday and usually something for the magazine class due Friday. I know I should get used to it since it looks like I'll be spending a few years writing articles on a daily basis once I leave college, but I guess I'm just not ready for that.

Speaking of writing articles, I've become disenchanted with being a journalist. This reporting class I'm taking has drained all the desire that I may have had to work at a newspaper right out of me. I don't care about the Orange Water and Sewer Authority (yes, that is my beat for the class), and I'm tired of calling people and asking them questions just to get a quote out of them. It's fake, stupid and seemingly unnecessary. I know that the news needs to be reported, but I don't want to be the one to do it. I'm tired of churning out formulaic articles about the drought: I want to write something that really matters to people, something that will be remembered for what is written, not for the event it was written about.

I'm going to quote the late Hunter S. Thompson, a writer who has greatly influenced the way I look at journalism and writing: "Journalism is not a profession or a trade. It is a cheap catch-all for fuckoffs and misfits--a false doorway to the backside of life, a filthy piss-ridden little hole nailed off by the building inspector, but just deep enough for a wino to curl up from the sidewalk and masturbate like a chimp in a zoo-cage."

A bit graphic, but I believe every word of it. It's a dirty thing. It's not artistic or meaningful: it's a bunch of hacks who get their jollies by annoying public figures, blowing insignificant events out of proportion, and being first to break the latest "scandal." I don't want to be a part of it. Unfortunately I'll have to play the game, at least for a little bit.

I would rather write for a magazine. At least then I have the time and resources to get close to my subject, to really get to know my sources and dive head first into a story. I'm not just talking to people to get flash quotes for a story that I will churn out in 15 minutes. I'm trying really get into what is going on, how it feels, and how people react to it. That's why I respect Hunter S. so much. His book "Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72" follows the 1972 presidential election from the first primary to election day. He becomes so involved with the campaign and wears himself out so much physically and mentally that he can't even write a few of the chapters. At one point they just publish his notes, and in another part they have him dictate to another writer.

In the book I'm reading by him now, "Hell's Angels," Thompson follows the Hell's Angels in California during the 1960s, talking to many of the members, going with them on "runs," and many times getting involved with the cops for being around the "outlaws." He has a passion for storytelling (or truthtelling) that I envy. His books are crazy, drug-ridden and evocative, but at the same time they are honest.

I think I've rambled long enough for now. I'll leave with a list of bands/artists that I've really been into recently: that anyone who reads this should check out if they haven't already. Also, for my editorial writing class I have to create a blog about something local. I've decided to cover the local music scene, which is what I've been wanting to get started for a while. Hopefully this will give me the motivation to keep a music blog going for the Chapel Hill area. I will probably create a new website for it (in addition to this one) so look out for it. I'll probably post about it later. Its tentative title: "If Jesus had a stereo."

Here's the list:
Ryan Adams (NC boy)
The Avett Brothers (NC boys)
Broken Social Scene
Lupe Fiasco
Eddie Vedder (the soundtrack for "Into the Wild")
Traveling Wilburys (greatest super-group ever)