The previous edition of Lowdown on the New was the last. Hurrah you say. Hurrah I damn bloody well say too. Writing these columns has become onerous and unenjoyable. They served a purpose for a long time, to bring in interest to the site and to allow me to flex my music journalist brain muscles.
But they also served a more self-centred side. Let’s rewind back to the mid-90s when I was producing a series of fanzines that was hard work with little reward, and also writing reviews for my student newspaper. Back then, with a massive proliferation of small labels with owners willing to spend time until the wee hours packing CDs in padded envelopes, zine and student rag editors would annoy the hell out of their posties with the weight of packages to poke through the mailbox. When I became a reporter on a weekly rag I penned a popular music column which meant going into Aberdeen to see bands, interview the odd semi-famous or fading pop star and review albums. And by fuck did they come through the door, singles, EPs, albums, some with gimmicks such as matchboxes or button badges. It was the musical equivalent of endless blow jobs from leggy redheads.
While the majority of stuff sent in on-spec reeked of one-chord indie plagiarism, this was a window to bands I’d never come across otherwise and there’s an attic in my homeland weighted down with some of the ones worth saving. What I didn’t like (about 90%) I’d flog to a shop in Dundee – one massive load netting me three quarters of the price of a flight to New Zealand – or would provide handy birthday and Christmas presents. Like every other music hack, I was a champion bludger, a gold medal-winning blagger,
Needless to say those days are long gone, there’s few goodies to gain, and those that do come through the door are delivered only by shedding blood, and kissing arse. It’s a digital world, baby, and that’s good for both writers who can get the music without delay and for the labels who can dispense with interns spending the whole shift stuffing envelopes with Grade D indie bands.
That’s the history, but as I said earlier, it’s too time-consuming whatever I would be receiving with a full-time job, partner, baby and a new-found love of knitting.
That said I will continue to review certain new albums if they are deserving of a fuller review that I can afford under the limitations of the column at the moment.
Porky Prime Cuts will have more band features, and more personal diatribes. The stuff we feel we do best at.