Wednesday, June 23, 2004

"Hey, you know what paradise is?"

I remember some of my earliest encounters with music on the radio. My father had these big fat yellow headphones with an AM radio receiver built into them. I would steal the headphones from his room, snap them on, lie back, and just listen. Unfortunately, it was in this way that my innocent pre-adolescent soul first came across that horrific anthem, "I've Never Been To Me." I couldn't believe my ears. What was this filth about being undressed by kings and making love with preacher men in the sun? How could they broadcast that smut? And had I sinned, just by hearing it? (You can tell I was raised Catholic). Perhaps that's why I shifted to cassettes, early on in my life. There was no telling what an evil DJ could inflict on you.

"The music scene: We love it, we live it, we write about it..." It does sometimes seem strange to me, after a lifetime of being a listener, to be writing about bands and gigs and albums as a full-time job. (Actually, the very fact that I have a full-time job at all seems strange to me, but that's another story). I never thought of my love for music as anything that would lead to a possible career. It was only in college that I slowly started to realize that not everybody was as into music as I was. After all, in high school, I hung out with people like Allan Tabilog, a genius guitarist who introduced me to The Smiths and listened to everything from jazz to classical to heavy metal to show tunes (I remember getting him a Megadeth cassette for his birthday). Then there was Jason Baluyut, the biggest Michael Jackson fan I knew, who composed songs on his Yamaha keyboard and dragged me to see Moonwalker. Twice. In the company of wonderful weirdos like them, it was little wonder that I felt like an amateur music appreciator. (Although I do remember reviewing The Dawn's Beyond the Bend for the school paper. I think I gave it the equivalent of 3.5 out of 5).

In college, it was a surprise for me to realize that my friends saw me as an authority of sorts. They would ask me questions like, "What was the name of that guy from Depeche Mode? No... the other guy." They also asked me for listening recommendations, and would give me blank cassettes to make mix tapes for them with. Despite my admitted admiration for the entire Pet Shop Boys oeuvre (with the possible exception of Disco 2), my opinions on music were, apparently, being taken seriously. So I guess I have my college friends to thank for my currently being underpaid, and annoyed on a monthly basis. Thanks a lot, guys.

Seriously, though, I love this job. I mean, there are times when I hate it, too, but on the whole it's a great gig, not least because of the people I work with. *makes 'driving' and 'globe-shaped' gestures* Hooo! Stir! Bola!

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