Saturday, April 18, 2009

Talk about Pop Music

The EMP Pop Conference was this weekend--technically, it continues through tomorrow--and I was able to spend the WHOLE day attending various panel discussions, today; wish I could have done so on Friday, too.  But I did get to hear the key note speaker, Nona Hendryx, on Thursday night.  Tomorrow, well, tomorrow I just can't make it.

Last year was the first year I had the pleasure to attend--also for only one day.  As long as I am living in Seattle, and the Pop Conference happens and it's free (yes, it is FREE!!!), I'll be getting my music egg-head fix.  Admittedly, I don't understand a lot of what is being referred to, or the inside jokes among the music scholars, critics and various members of academia who attend.  But I don't care.  I love it.  I jot down names of writers that I will look into, musicians, songs, albums... My head buzzes with new ideas and excitement about music.  I got to speak to Charles Cross for a brief moment to gush about how helpful his book, Cobain Unseen has been as I write a final paper for my Archives Admin. class on Cobain's published journals, If You Read This You Will Judge.  I'd had some questions about dates and truth, etc. while reading the journals (which are really about an nth of what he actually wrote) and Cross' book was incredibly helpful in clearing up a lot of those questions.  So, I thanked him.  He was very nice and confirmed some of the other suspicions that I had surrounding the publishing of this bit of his journals.  I plan on reading his biography on Cobain this summer to round out my Cobain focus.  Which, when I think about it, is kind of funny for me to have.  I mean, I like Nirvana.  I have liked them more as the years have progressed and I've listened more closely; but they are not my end all be all favorite.  And Cobain's sad, frustrating and destructive life (what I know of it, which is as much as anyone who didn't know him does--that is to say, what the media has given us and what Kurt, himself, wanted us to believe about him) is painful to contemplate.  Not because I feel so personally hurt by his decision to end his life, not because I feel sorry for him, but because wasted lives are really, really, really sad.  Sorry.  Can't come up with anything well-crafted for that.  It's just sad.  Ian Curtis.  Sad.  Elliot Smith.  Sad.  And they were all sad, in their own ways, and self-destructive, in their own ways, and supremely talented.  So I, like many, shake my head and think, "what a waste" while at the same time thinking, "how could they be so dumb?"  I know it is not that simple.  But I don't know them.  Didn't know them.  Won't ever.  Not really.

But I digress, as I am wont to do... By the end of today, I was having a hard time keeping my eyes open, which had something to do with the dim lighting of the space where the last panel was presenting mixed with my usual 6 hours of sleep (that many?) the night before and a healthy dose of an interesting, yet lacking in vocal variety/energy speaker.  It's a good thing the Seattle grey, cool and damp that I know and love was waiting for me outside to wake me up a bit.  

Today was also national record store day.  Did you visit your local shop?  I hopped on over to the nearest Easy Street (not my local store, but it would be if I lived on Queen Anne) purchased Nevermind because my version is scratched and rendering it unlistenable--it wouldn't do to write this paper without my Nirvana catalogue in tip top form--as well as a Smith's single on 45.  Re-issued, I believe, by Rhino.  ("The Headmaster's Ritual" and "Oscilliate Wildly").