Welcome. Thanks for dropping by.
I’m new here. This is my first attempt at blogging, after several years when I felt that the blogosphere was saturated and didn’t believe that I myself had anything worthwhile to add. Words and feelings, however, have a habit of bleeding up after a while.
In my case, although I’m new here, I’ve also… been here before. I’m guessing that many of you who have dropped by to read this are doing so because of music reviews I’ve written in the past. This started out with bits and pieces for various British fanzines and small magazines (back while the age of paper was still rolling along nicely). By 1997, however, I was publishing online via my own ‘Misfit City’ music webzine, and if you’ve heard of me it will most likely have been via that.
Or perhaps I’m being arrogant. Maybe most of you have surfed in by accident, never having heard of ‘Misfit City’. In all honesty it was never more than a minor cult site: marginal, even for music webzines. It was London-based, eclectically musical, lushly-written and soft of underbelly. It wandered and waddled around the music scene between the mid-1990s and the early 2000s looking to have its synapses fondled (I myself did much the same thing while haunting various little venues in London). Initially this was all happening before the days when everything was online. Post-‘Pitchfork’ and ‘Organ’, certainly; but before the likes of ‘Stereogum‘, ‘Gorilla vs. Bear’ and ‘Drowned in Sound’ came to prominence. (AS it happens, halfway through the original ‘Misfit City’ run, ‘DiS’ came calling and invited me to play. Sometimes I wonder what might have happened if I’d said yes.)
‘Misfit City’ also pre-dated that rash of personal music blogs which stretch across the web now, and which don’t just offer comment and pictures but full multi-media. At the time, I thought I was doing well with my painstaking homepage links and contact addresses. With everything now interlinked via Facebook and beyond, possibilities have clearly moved on…
In addition, ‘Misfit City’ was written in an attempt to be all-embracing: never a good move in an age of sharply-defined identities. At the time, the London music scene (always active but sometimes sclerotic) was a ferment of ideas from Britpop to hardcore, post-rock to jazz, acoustica to electronica, contemporary classical to strange forms of folk, and all kinds of various cross-disciplinary pursuits. I caught onto the edges of some of these and missed others entirely. I passed my weeks in a whirl of night buses, speaker stacks and long hours spent alone hacking away at the type-face. As I once wrote (sometime in the early 2000s), the zine occasionally found credibility, but usually because it had bumped into it en route to somewhere else.
Now, eight years after ‘Misfit City’ finally collapsed, went offline and vanished, I’m resurrecting it as a blog. I’m heading back out onto the pulpit with a handful of notes and impressions plus those insights I’ve gained from exploring music, and simply winging the rest. There are new pieces to be written, and perhaps a greater opportunity to bat ideas around. Even back in the old days, there was so much more to cover and consider than that which eventually made it into the zine. Beyond some vague urges of salvage and exploration, I’m still not entirely sure what I’m doing beyond re-evaluating, re-working and re-posting. So for a number of months I’ve been listening and writing, preparing for once again travelling (and posting) in hope, allowing the blog to grow from there.
Reading certain blogs, one gets the impression that the writers have dropped fully-formed into the blogosphere – they’re wellsprings of information, opinions and discursive skill with all of their functions, fittings and rhetorical excellence in place. I doubt that this blog will be like that. My own mind has always been less regulated: it’s been more like a snow-globe or a kaleidoscope, full of whirling objects and tiny lenses through which I’ve viewed the world in squints and starts. This may mean that this blog starts out vague and smeary. Sorry, but so be it. Final form takes time to evolve. (The process of getting back into the saddle isn’t immediate either.)
While this is a new blog, and new items will be covered, don’t expect all of the posts to be covering brand new items or events. Far too much interesting material has sluiced over and past me over the years for me to ignore it just because it was released in a different year. Also, there’s plenty of music and reviews from the old days which deserve resurrection and fresh attention. So expect reviews of material released at any time, according to my whim. The agenda and base rule will be that if it still interests me, and I think that it’ll interest you, it’s going in. The original ‘zine was a sprawling jam of miscellaneous coverage (much as my listening habits were) and that’s not going to change now.
I’m aware that this also means that if there’s a defining character to this blog, it’ll be “wandering through my music collection.” Oh well… see the top of the page…
As ‘Misfit City’ takes on a new shape (as cities do when new demands and new ways of doing things impinge on them) I’m sure I’ll begin to find my way again. For the moment, I’m also considering the question of “why write about music”? – to which the answer is (in spite of all of the background noise, demands on my attention, arguments and frustrated stand-offs) because it still speaks to me and I want to speak in response. It still opens me up, and I want to find out what’s there again.
See you again shortly.