Now Playing: Fear of Pop -
Topic: OTV1999-01 (Jan,)
As of late, my actual blogging has fallen off considerably. Posts go up when there's a new podcast episode; otherwise quick bits of text and video are scattered through my Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook pages. However, it feels like nostalgia has given me a reason to post regularly again.
Nostalgia's a funny thing. It can cause you to remember things as more rosy than they actually were. More often than not, there is safety to be found in nostalgia. My wife does this with music: she could care less about new stuff. Instead, she continues to return to what she listened to 15 or 20 years ago, sometimes further back than that. I've been experiencing that practice myself lately, but with TV shows in my case. I've been alternating between my Electric Company box sets and Rocky and Bullwinkle on Hulu, with the occasional Peanuts special on YouTube. All of these things take my mind back to a simpler time, when it wasn't filled with so many impossible deadlines and convoluted ways to perform work tasks. In some ways, the origins of Both Sides Of The Surface offer that same feeling.
Recently I've been scanning copies of my old email newsletter, ON THE VERGE. WIthout it, there would be no website and without the website, there would be no podcast. An earlier blurb from the BSOTS history page explains what I was trying to do with OTV:
"after graduating from college, i needed something to keep my mind occupied and out of trouble. it was after a failed attempt in the late fall of 1998 to build a Web site that the seeds were planted for OTV. the musical focus was (and still remains) predominantly electronic and lesser-known urban genres, released both independently and on major labels. the reviews within OTV's three years of existence covered a vast array of genres: techno, house, drum and bass, soul, jazz, funk, hip-hop, avant-garde, and the occasional rock release as well."
ON THE VERGE premiered in January of 1999. Time has been flying by ever since my daughter was born, so 12 years ago doesn't seem that long ago. The thing that strikes me most about this first newsletter is how undeniably upbeat I was in my writing and the voracious appetite that I had for writing about music. I read it and wonder if things will ever be like that again, if I'm too angry, jaded, and bitter to return to that place in my writing. I expressed that concern to my wife tonight after dinner and my daughter replied, "Of course you will, daddy."
"What makes you say that, little girl?"
She thought about it, shrugged her shoulders and said, "I dunno."
Perhaps I shouldn't ask such questions. Instead I'll be grateful that my daughter continues to see something in me that I was convinced had long since left.
And so, for archive purposes and the sake of nostalgia, I present to you and re-present to others the OTV email newsletter. This first edition was nothing more than a handful of reviews, a quick blurb on Frank Zappa (still one of my biggest musical inspirations), and my top 20 of 1998. I have included some links to listen to selections from a few of the releases that were reviewed and I'll do my best to make that a standard practice. You'll notice that I reviewed a Fear of Pop single. At the time, there was speculation on who was behind it, but it was ultimately revealed as a Ben Folds side project that included William Shatner. Check the YouTube footage for a closer look on what it was all about.
For the two or few of you that have wondered where or how BSOTS got its start, it all goes back to ON THE VERGE. You can view or download the very first edition of the newsletter here...
Fact: see that picture at the top of the blog post? That was my room in the third floor attic apartment where I still aside, prior to getting married. I dubbed it "the OTV music office."