Thursday, August 12, 2010

Post Number 400: Some Sort of a Milestone

post400Five years ago I retired my previous Theatre of Noise website and started this blog. I am not sure if I thought then that I would reach my four-hundredth article. Maybe I did. But to write 80 posts per year? Likely I did not anticipate that.

To be clear, that figure does not include various book-keeping entries (for example, the category pages), the pages on my many websites, the 66 posts at diagrammes modernes (a blog I spun off from this one, though it is rather moribund these days), nor those on temporary "project" blogs. And of course it cannot incorporate the over 6000 posts I have made in the last two years on the photography forums I frequent. Nor the thousands more on newsgroups and Yahoo Groups and other areas dedicated to specific topics of interest, ranging from audio recording to gaming to music and film. I also do not include MySpace and FaceBook and other social networking sites, some of which I was once quite active on.

So why do I do all this web stuff? At this juncture I figured a pause for self-reflection was in order. So I waited until three a.m. (the best time for introspection), put the last good Wire album on the headphones, poured myself a glass of decent red wine, and started thinking. In not too much time I had eight reasons. Here are the first seven; I'll leave the last one for next time.

8. I like writing. For me that activity arose naturally from my love of reading. I'm not sure that reading is now in decline (as naysayers are wont to believe) but I certainly think that quality writing is in abeyance, in proportion to the sea of words available to us all. You can drown in all that meaningless verbiage. And there be dragons.

7. I have an ego. This is what kept me away from blogging for a while, the constant "me, me, me" chatter of it all. (And no, I still do not Twitter -- what a horrible racket.) For a long time I avoided being part of that self-centred culture. But eventually I realised that I could blog in a way that was not so egocentric nor so fixated on minutiae. (Do you care what I had for breakfast? I hope not!) And that the other reasons here were compensation enough for those times when I might be accused of rampant ego-boo.

6. I have a point of view worth sharing. Ever since I started putting together reviews for the high-school newspaper I've enjoyed getting my viewpoint across. I lament the increasing lack of credible opinions, those that come from a source you can get to know and trust. It is by no means essential to find a writer you always agree with. Rather it is important to know enough about them that you can agree and disagree with enjoyment. This is how it used to be for me reading the music weeklies around the cusp of the eighties. I knew enough about the tastes of the reviewers in Melody Maker and New Music Express to realise which reviews I should pay attention to and which I should ignore. In that way (and through friends) I discovered the music that would soundtrack my life. If I could play any part in that process for someone else, I would be so happy.

5. I can promote my own activities. Sound art, photography, performance, etc. are important parts of who I am. This site provides a central place where I can announce events and let the world know what I am up to. I don't expect too many of you to care passionately about this (that would be weird!), but even so, it helps you build up a picture of who I am (see the previous point).

4. I am a decent researcher. Sometimes I discover an article that needs writing, some facts that are hard to come by, some synthesis of research that no-one has yet made. Perhaps I am able to write a clearer article, or one more adapted for a specific purpose or one that gets the word out further. By cleaning up for publication the work I have already done, I save others time and effort.

3. I believe in a shared cultural ecosystem. I get a lot from others and want to give something back -- that's only fair. As an anarchist, I believe in alternatives to capital culture. I am not going to spin any utopian line here about the world-wide web saving us from global economic domination, but certainly it can be a tool for positive works. Each of us who believes that must put our beliefs into action.

2. I can share my life with friends and family. For eight years I have lived an ocean apart from my immediate family and all the friends I grew up with. This blog helps me keep in touch. I must admit I would never go to the same effort in an email. If not for this site, some might think I had dropped off the edge of the world.

Next time: The Final Reason.

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