Thursday, December 2, 2010

punch drunk

The problem with doing what I do (writing for money) is you can never be certain how something is going to be received. You do your best, look to do the story right and sometimes... fuck, who knows? You still end up pissing somebody off you didn't really intend to.

Nobody likes negative feedback. It's draining and certainly I earn a fair share when I do dumb things like screw up the spelling of a name or mistake the time of a particular show. Some of the things I've screwed up are pretty ridiculous. I accept my stripes when I'm careless. I deserve them, but I make a correction, offer an apology, try not to do the same damned thing again, and move on.

The hardest times are when I get called out on something that has nothing to do with an error. It's usually a difference of perspective. A couple of times I've had tense conversations with concert promoters over articles, usually reviews they didn't particularly like. It's always some detail that's been pointed out: a singer has a cold, the sound system seemed off... something.

This is not to say I am a hard reviewer. I'm not. I strive for fair, but forgiving. Putting yourself out there is hard, particularly when you're on the local level.

Anyway, you can't please everybody all of the time --or some of the time, even. Every now and again, regardless of the intent, the story is read completely wrong. Somebody prospects for that one shining nugget of shit out of what is a silver mine of promotion and good will. The mine it then they want to bring it to the window to be cashed for all its worth.

It feels like a gut punch. It makes me doubt my own ability. It makes me try to peel apart my own intentions like layers of onion skin to see what's at the core.

Today, for instance, I was pissed at an artist. I wrote something I took as positive and more interesting than everything else in the section --at least, the most interesting thing I wrote this week --and they hated it. They absolutely loathed it and read something between the lines I did not write.

And I did the walk through the emotions: shock, disbelief, doubt of my own skills, anger, more anger, disgust then finally... eh (shrug). Along the way, I swear I'm never going to do another one. I swear the ungrateful asshole will not be seeing any more ink from me and they can go fucking hang themselves for all I care. Who fucking needs this? I'll stick with the god damned bass players. They never bitch.

The funny thing is it doesn't matter whether they thought I did a good job or not. It doesn't matter whether I'm hurt because I feel unappreciated and rejected. I don't stay angry and I don't hold a grudge. I let it go because I live in a small town with a small arts, music and theater scene. They can say different, but each struggles to draw a crowd and find patrons.

Maybe they don't need me, but I think they do.

3 comments: said...

Sometimes all you can do is say whatever and and walk away.

primalscreamx said...

Yeah. I know, man. I know. I'm not so good at that --even after doing this for a while.

eclectic guy said...

This shows you care-something I feel some reviewers(or whatever you deem yourself)truly lack. They are out to make a name for themselves and don't care about the artists or the art they write about. There's an asshole in classical music who does this and everyone has figured out he is just ranting to draw attention to himself. It is ultimately empty. I stopped reading all music magazines because I realized that what I was reading was not in service of the music, but the writer. Empty.

I recall a someone who reviewed a local show unfavorably and seemed to be in a glow because it caused controversy. I'm sure this can be a bit heady at times.

When I talked to (yawn) Cheryl Crow, I tried to keep an objective perspective even though I'm not a real fan nor was I all that impressed with the album. I doubt anyone could find even a hint of my attitude with the final piece.

I have been interviewed and the first question the guy asked me was insulting. I kept my cool and wrote it off as youth opening mouth and inserting foot.

I suppose in the end the cliche is true: everything you do in a public forum is going to have detractors. It also sounds like this band needs to toughen up a bit.

Keep on going baby!