The site currently known as Otherstream made its debut 23 years ago today.
And it’s still online.
Strange work dream:
Mel Blanc was mad at us because we wouldn’t include something he donated in a digital collection. I observed that I was pretty sure it had to be Mel Blanc‘s son who made the complaint, because Mel Blanc himself was dead.
Just as I was about to look it up and see when he died, I woke up. Of course, I immediately went for my phone and looked it up anyway.
Mel Blanc died in 1989.
All these magazines and internet platforms should be supporting new music and help new musicians to find an audience, instead of dwelling on the old crap all the time. It’s like there is nothing new and exciting out there any more, when in fact there is. So stop living in the past. Open your ears and your eyes. It’s not that difficult, is it?
This. Precisely. And really not just about bands.
Don’t get me wrong. I like the past; in fact, my whole career is pretty much based on preserving and studying the past, and making it easier for others to do so. But for me, the past is a place to visit and to use to build context about the present and the future. It is most decidedly not a place that I consider to be a permanent abode. While I may want to take a little vacation in noir-era Los Angeles (preferably with a digital camera with a lot of storage), it’s not somewhere I’d actually want to live out my days.
Music is actually a good example here. I think this whole notion that “all good music stopped being created the day I turned 25” is an idea that largely began with the boomer generation. It subjected us for decades to a proliferation of dismal “classic rock” radio formats–which I call “music for white people who refuse to move on (and by the way, get off my lawn, you millennial trash).” Now, I’m seeing it happen to younger people who should know better but still think that all “good music” ended in the 1980s. Or 1990s. (Hint: It didn’t.)
I get it. It’s easy to look back on certain music and memories and convince yourself that the past was a simpler and more idyllic place. But was it, really? You couldn’t pay me enough to make me relive high school or my first years in college in the 1980s. I was miserable most of the time, though I started many lifelong friendships (at least in college) as well. I lived my own past; I don’t feel the need to do so again. Granted, I do want to preserve my memories of it, both for context and on the very remote chance that someone else might care, but an obsessive focus on one’s own past seems like a symptom of depression. I’m comfortable with my past. As I often say, I have no regrets because everything I did up to the present contributed to who I am today, and I pretty much like who I am today.
Interestingly enough, I’m now much more interested in “alternative pasts” in places and times that I didn’t really experience firsthand, be it Los Angeles in 1949 or the Lower East Side in 1910 or Montréal in 1966. I’m at a point in my life where I need adventure and new things, even if some of them are new old things. And again, I really only want to visit.
And yes, there’s a lot of music from my past that I still really like, but it’s not the only fucking thing I ever listen to. While I can no longer stomach some of the most grating new wave synthpop from 1982, I do get excited when I catch a 1979 episode of American Top 40 on Sirius or a good 1990s alt-rock set. Most of the time, though, my radio (or alternative means of music delivery) is pushing out new indie bands, or francophone chanteuses, or old punk and jazz and standards I missed the first time around. There’s way too much interesting stuff out there to limit myself to listening the two hundred or so songs that “define” my teens and twenties over and over again.
I do not want to live in the past. I still have too much present and too much future.
Lest anyone misinterpret, the fact that I’m really into getting rid of things right now is not a sign of underlying depression. It actually stems from the fact that I’ve finally recovered from the last move and have found the motivation to do the next round. I hope to remove the equivalent of a room full of crap by the end of winter. I started tonight with magazines and newspapers than have been in boxes more or less untouched for more than ten years (plus some things I got custody of in the divorce).
The motivational part is that (as I also had to do when I merged three houses into one) I have decided that I don’t really give a flying fuck how much most of this stuff might possibly be worth in some perfect world. I’m on a cleaning kick. I just want it fucking gone.
I am keeping the essentials, though, like all my TV Guides (no…I really have a lot of them and they’re actually organized), and my “Best of the Bay” issue of the Guardian, and the first porn magazine I ever bought as a 16-year-old in 1980.
But those old Interviews and Advocates are history.
Just an excuse to post a pretty picture I took when I was over there for a conference earlier this week. The colors are nicer when you look at it full-size.
It’s been over five years since I really lived there, and more than three since I sold the house. Time flies when you’re — um — old.