Confession number 3: I get by on pretending I know what I’m doing and this blog is me blowing my own cover. Yikes.
Confession number 4: Nobody believes that I know what I’m doing anyway so we’re still at square one. WHOOPDE…oh crap.
Confession number 5: I read a book by Chuck Klosterman once called Sex, Drugs And Cocoa Puffs. I had no idea who he was but the reason I ordered it on Amazon was because I had a recommendation from a friend that it was excellent. OK that’s a lie. I was watching an episode of The OC for the third time to pick up all the details I may have missed the first two times and THANK GOD I DID (this moment changed my life and I’m not sure if for better or worse) because I paused on a scene where Seth Cohen is lying on his bed reading. I paused to see exactly what it was he was reading so that I could buy the book, read it and continue on my quest to make myself as identical to Seth, Marissa, Summer and… no on second thoughts not Ryan in his wifebeater becoming a cagefighter, not aspirational, no… as possible. I was 16. It worked. (Totally didn’t work. Though having lots of Bright Eyes and Modest Mouse on my iPod and owning a Death Cab For Cutie t-shirt definitely scored me some time with the “emo” corner in the school canteen once I got to sixth year.)
[Becoming Seth Cohen; The moment that changed my life]
Anyway. I’m telling you this because I bought the book. And then I read the book (rare). There was a chapter about how Chuck hated John Cusack because John Cusack (and Coldplay and When Harry Met Sally) had – via schmaltz and calculated manipulation – given women unrealistic expectations about “love” and, as a result, he has had terrible luck with the opposite sex. Another chapter was about how MTV’s The Real World was responsible for the anti-evolution of human beings into one-dimensional personalities. I’d never read anything like it. This music/film/sport fanboy genius making observations about life and mundanity using pop culture reference after pop culture reference - most of which I didn’t yet get but wanted to in order to understand Chuck. Chuck showed how the stuff we actually like immersing ourselves in could be more academic and insightful than any of the formulae I was having to memorise in school.
On the page, Chuck and I were friends. It didn’t matter that we weren’t friends in real life because in real life I’d find him funny but also intensely irritating. In real life, Chuck would be inescapable. But this way I could close the book when I’d had my fill. In real life I’d be petrified of him. Chuck’d think I was a chattering imbocile every time I’d open my mouth and nothing would come out of it except “D’you get what I mean about it being weird that Backstreet Boys are basically the same age as New Kids On The Block but they were the boyband for a different generation?”, “I’m not explaining this theory on why Whigfield matters well” and/or “Erm… I think, that… well… you… speak now?”. I was satisfied with the idea that Chuck lived in the reams of text; my entertaining mate who was always on form. I was more than satisfied, I was INSPIRED.
I decided when I was 21 that I was going to be the “FEMALE Chuck Klosterman”. Chick Klosterwoman, if you like (or not). I’d read music magazines since before discovering Chuck, mainly Q Magazine. The first time I bought Q, Dido was on the cover (SEE? I DON’T KNOW WTF I’M DOING). It was the combination of buying Q and reading Chuck that gave me bad ideas. Terrible ideas that came to fruition one very dark day when *FOR LAUGHS* my fellow law undergraduate friend turned to me and said: “Eve, forget this law shit… what’s your dream job?” And to the irreversible detriment of my parents’ aortas it all clicked, ”I’d like to be a music journalist at Q Magazine but like the female Chuck Klosterman of Q Magazine. Chick Klosterwoman if you like. Or not.”See, it’s all very funny until someone loses their mind and decides to go and do a very silly job because they’re infatuated with the idea.
And that is the story of my life.
Confession number 6: *Fast-forward* It’s 2012. I’m stuck with my heart in my mouth having left law behind and joined the ranks of Bauer Media. (Why didn’t I listen to my brain?! WHY?!) This meant that I wasn’t going to change the world by standing in the European Court Of Human Rights shouting at wigs. I was going to change the world by *fingers crossed* providing the odd LOL via my thoughts on Cheryl Cole’s use of a Marquis De Sade quote in her new video to people on buses with a spare 5 minutes. I was going to spend my life self-indulgently hacking away at my keyboard (while intermittently googling pictures of Josh Hartnett) because nothing would make me happier than being in that space. More importantly, nothing would make me happier than then sharing that space (not the Josh Hartnett bit though - he’s mine) with all of you.
That is not yet reality because I am an inhouse sub-editor for four magazines and I take commissions when I have time outside of that at 3AM. Commissions are restrictive… I write about what I’m told to write about, otherwise everyone has a very frustrating time, for instance, trying to coax a 140-word Avatar DVD review out of me when what I probably wrote was My First Novel on why 3D cinema is not the Mona Lisa. The only people who have the guile and ability to “go off on one” like that are established writers with reputations as old as the Mona Lisa. Of course, I could pitch something in the exact style of this blog but a) I don’t have a reputation so it’s unlikely anyone would run it and b) this sort of blog doesn’t work in print. Also, c) as I keep saying… I don’t know WTF I’m doing yet, I’m just subbing and blogging and flapping, in that order. Oh and d) I don’t often get to write about things anyone’s actually heard of.
Confession number 7: I don’t want to write about music and films because I want to do loads of drugs and meet lots of famous people. I just love tunes and stories and words. I don’t consider myself a “writer”, or a “hack”, or a “JOURNALIST” because I don’t know what that really means and I haven’t found a voice yet/Chick Klosterwoman hasn’t really… evolved. And I’ve definitely not earned the title. And I just need some bloody time to figure the world out and do my own thing for a bit. OK?
Confession number 8: I’m too honest. I will openly reveal things that show I’m not the finished article. Things that have got me in trouble recently: I have never given The Doors a chance; I don’t like pub rock or Dexys Midnight Runners because I am from the year 1986 and I don’t eat Yorkshire puddings; the first time I heard Exile On Main St. I was disappointed there was nothing on there as good as Gimme Shelter and I can’t be bothered with it (though, someone at work yesterday told me I should give that record 20 years to grow on me… *starts stopwatch*); The Who… good question; I’ve never listened to Pet Sounds… just haven’t got round to it yet; you know what? I’m gonna stop here. What I’m trying to say is, Everybody’s Gotta Learn Sometime. (And I only know this song because Paloma Faith performed it at Glastonbury in 2010 and I was reviewing her set because I was the only girl in the PortaKabin… The Korgis’ version is much better but I didn’t know about it pre-Paloma). Again, I don’t know everything* yet. (*anything) HIRE ME.
Confession number 9: I’d welcome some advice. Any advice. And I didn’t like that blog that Neil Kulkarni wrote for, well, himself this week (at 5am… Alright, Jerry Maguire). It felt like an attack on young journalists. I realise it was an attack on the entire ethos of music journalism in magazines too (nice one) but he NAMED and QUOTED actual young journalists so that he could publicly tear them apart FFS. He also said this:
“The people taking on the role these days seem massively cowed, almost apologetic about being critics, fatally and stupidly too dim to realise that EVERYONE who listens to music THINKS about it deeply.”
These NME writers were just doing what they had been commissioned to do. And before you get all Nuremberg on me hear me out; it’s hard out there, there’s a great deal of competition and few jobs and the jobs that exist are rarely safe and most young people are just trying to keep their heads above water. So when Neil starts banging on about writers being artists, language being the medium, “FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT” yadayadayada, he’s forgetting one thing: rent. We gotta pay it. And honestly, most of the time I wonder what I’m even doing in London during a time I’ve dubbed “The Cereal Years”, living off Weetabix (sometimes Shredded Wheat Bitesize when they’re on offer) and Red Stripe in a dump with no furniture in a city where people are selfish and shoes never last long enough. And that’s where the concept of “tenacity” comes in that Kulkarni took such offence at because unless you are tenacious(ly altruistic) about becoming a music writer for £ and spending many years fighting for your own voice to appear uncensored against people who want to alienate you for their own amusement/sense of empowerment, it’s a heck of a tempting to do what most of your friends are doing in the City for $$$$$ even if they’re all a bit more :-( than you. (Unfortunately, I feel like this rabbling is what I’ve been sent to Earth to do so I’m going to be stuck in Soho pawing at the windows of The Ivy with a takeaway jacket potato in my hand for as long as it takes before I make enough off this lark to eat a jacket potato inside The Ivy. But I get off on that romantic shit.)
Quite a few young music writers this week told me they were questioning their own purpose following Kulkarni’s rant. It’s not that Mr. Kulkarni didn’t have some point. It’s not that young music writers don’t want to write the sorts of pieces Kularkni urges them to write. It’s that Mr. Kulkarni’s blog was not helpful because it didn’t understand who it was slagging off.
In other news, The Quietus review he wrote of The Enemy’s latest album after his rant was supposed to indicate a blueprint for what music writing should look like… hmmkay. I couldn’t get to the end of it and I wonder how many people want to be music writers off the back of it. It made me ask if what I should be doing is splurging my immediate feelings out on a reviews page and revealing that the real reason I like Bad Romance is because it makes me want to do backflips down the M1 in a boobtube and afterwards set fire to Ke$ha’s hair. Then I realise that you follow me on Twitter for that level of inanity.
During these hardened times for the magazine industry, it would help if there was some sort of SOLIDARITY… some sort of sensibility to not kick a dog when it’s down? It would help if there was some recognition for everyone involved in the making of a magazine: the section editors, the subs, the art teams, the people who make all the words (ALL THE WORDS) better. It would help if there was a little support for people starting out their careers, too. Because they ARE the future, and as I keep saying, I DON’T KNOW WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK I’M DOING and I’m pretty sure this Chick Klosterwoman thing is a DREADFUL idea but I’m going to keep plugging away regardless because I think there might be something to me. I think.
Confession number 9 or is it 10, I’ve lost count and now my mind because:Oasis’ Stay Young came on my iPod shuffle when I was considering all this last night and it was the first (and last) time I have ever found Oasis lyrics salient. Added bonus: this particular YouTube video was the first that came up in my search and just happens to include stills from The Faculty which was a film starring Josh Hartnett. Heinous film. I like it. I know… WTF am I doing? At least I’m making rent.
This blog is dedicated to two young writers who left Q yesterday for pastures new. Keep fighting the good fight, bros.