Wednesday, December 16, 2009

So What Have We Learned in 20 Years? (Besides How to Look Good on Stage.)

Short answer: My doctor would say not much. (But he would say it with a slight Indian accent while taking my blood pressure.)

Long answer? Well, that’s a good question. I spent some time glancing over the past 19 lists, looking for patterns in my writing (and in many years, my complaining) as well as the podcasts I did this year to mark the 20th edition of the RT 20. Here’s a small sampling of what I discovered:

  • Don't write about weight loss. It never lasts.

  • 20% of what appears on these pages is out of date by the time it reaches the post office.

  • The above sentence is already off by 23.7%

  • I am by far my worst critic. It’s as if my late grandmother decided to reside in the part of my brain that says “you suck” all the time.

  • Apparently I also have some issues with my grandmother.

  • People have a strange fixation with what I consume during my numerous writing sessions.

  • The first eight years of this list are cringe-worthy at many points.

  • The following eight years weren’t so hot either.

  • Apparently this Figgs band must be halfway decent or something.

  • There was a point where I actually liked Red Hot Chili Peppers. It was called 1991.

  • Apparently in 1991 I had some sort of brain damage, because there was a Sting album on the list too. (I did spent part of that year in college; I must have been somewhat smart for at least a couple of moments that year.)

  • People like podcasts, even if it's people they don't know talking about some obscure albums and playing 17 minute tracks.

  • People like getting free CDs in the mail.

  • I do pretty well writing in bullet point form. Must be all those times I wished had bullets paying off.

  • My friends really like Matthew Sweet’s “I’ve Been Waiting.”

  • Seriously though, one thing I did learn writing this list and doing all these podcasts fall is that talking about music in an empty vacuum (as in, filling up page after page by myself during late nights and early Saturday mornings) isn’t as much fun as it is talking about music with other people. During the 20 plus podcasts I recorded this fall I learned a great deal about my friends from the music they loved. I learned a lot about the artists they picked. I learned of some bands I had never heard and truly enjoyed. I learned that it is okay to disagree with those same friends on some of their choices. Overall, I learned that the best part of this whole process is when there is give and take with others. So that’s why in this issue there are voices besides my own adding a different perspective to the music I enjoyed and discovered in 2009. I hope to continue this with the next issue and beyond.

    I also plan on continuing the RT 20 Podcasts. To quote Van Morrison, “It’s too late to stop now.” So the series will continue in 2010 here on the blog. Who knows, maybe this will relaunch my on air career?

    (Looks at screen, shoot himself between the eyes.)

    Again, thanks for hanging in there for 20 years. Here’s to 20 more.

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