Loose Strife

An MP3 blog

Thursday, April 28, 2005

First post

Today is my 33rd birthday, and this is mainly a gift to myself ---although I certainly hope anyone reading/ listening will catch a buzz from it, too. I don’t think I’ve ever given myself a gift before. I’m not too good with birthdays in general.

The idea---as much of an idea as exists at the moment---is this: To blog for one year, until my next birthday, posting songs (obscure and not) that have meaning to me, and trying to explain why.

I assume I’m driven by the same record-collecting obsession that afflicts my MP3-posting peers. I gave up counting titles a while ago, at some point after the 10K mark. Now, between vinyl LPs, 45s, CDs, cassettes, 8-tracks, reel-to-reel tapes, and mp3 files, I’d guess I have close to 120,000 titles. My collection is my pride, joy, etc., but it often scares me. It lines my living-room walls floor to ceiling; my bedroom walls as well. If an earthquake of sufficient Richter magnitude were to hit this part of the country, my records would crush me; I’d be buried in a tomb of vinyl, cardboard, paper, polycarbonate, aluminum, acrylic, and other plastics. This is unlikely (although records do show serious earthquakes have occurred in the New York City area, and specifically in Queens; see February 5, 1878, a seizure which broke windows in Flushing, and August 10, 1884, one which cracked walls in Jamaica). But it’s something I’ve frequently seen in dreams.

There’s something about sending this music out into the world---as opposed to simply letting it gather dust around me in my basement apartment---that helps exorcize this fear.

This blog also represents an alternative to college radio, which I did a long time ago and never seem to have gotten over. In any case, talking about songs and what they meant to me didn’t always make for an appealing program. Callers to my radio shows generally suggested I “shut the fuck up and play more music.” Friends were gentler, at least when I wasn’t talking specifically about them. Still, the message was clear.

Further, this blog also represents an alternative to cassette and CD mixes, which I’ve made an awful lot of, and which I’ve decided are, for various reasons which I will get into later, unhealthy for me. On a mix, the music must do all the talking; there’s no convenient space for explanations or footnoting or suggestions that certain persons ignore certain verses or whatever. And that can generate misunderstandings.

So here is my blog. If you’d prefer me to shut up, that’s fine; beginning with the next post, you can just listen to the music. If you’d like to read along, that’s fine too. What’s important is that I’m doing this, that I’m making the commitment. My yoga teacher---also, incidentally, my cannabis dealer (if you’re reading, dude, don’t worry; I won’t use your real name)---told me “making a commitment takes strength. Keeping a commitment builds strength.” We’ll see.


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