Getting the paper again

September 18, 2007

Two years ago I discontinued the LA Times. I just never read it, was tired of the music critics, and preferred to get my news on the internet. Yesterday I started the paper again. Like a kid at Xmas I got up early to fetch and read my Tuesday LA Times. I missed it. The LA Times online sucks, and I could never warm up to it. The layout too difficult to traverse, and almost impossible to find Mark Swed’s reviews.

Before I was appointed Chair of the UCLA Music Department, I had been blogging furiously. My dad later confessed he thought I was bored. Maybe I was.

Bloggers get their “news” from reading other blogs and online news, and sometimes from real life — you know, the kind where you leave your computer and go outside? I think I had become the former. I have wrestled with giving my readers more music stuff — God knows I am hounded by people all over the world begging me for my Rufus Wainwright piano transcriptions (whom I refuse) — but I am paid, and students pay UCLA to get that information, so for those who want that from me at this point in my life, I can’t guarantee that I can always help you there. When I retire from teaching, my guess it that I will be much more loquacious about music issues. Most of the hard core music bloggers don’t also teach at a college or university, so their blog IS their lectern. I talk her e about music on my own terms. I embrace the “life” portion of my blog’s mission statement as much as the music part. For that reason, this blog can be, as my father criticized it one day, “all over the place” and that’s just fine with me. I don’t earn a cent from this blog but have found it tremendously envigorating to write. And knowing that I have a faithful group of readers makes it worthwhile.
I fantasize that when I no longer teach, I will have an enormous amount of things to share with my readers that now are completely inappropriate to my job as a teacher and my position as Chair. Nonetheless, I still have a hell of a lot to say and will continue to say it here.

I say all this because school will be starting in a few weeks here at UCLA, and my job as Chair will really begin. The summer has just been practice. I hope that the blog does not suffer due to lack of hours in the day, but I will make a concerted effort to keep it up.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

ComposerBastard September 18, 2007 at 2:48 pm

“I fantasize that when I no longer teach, I will have an enormous amount of things to share with my readers that now are completely inappropriate to my job as a teacher and my position as Chair. Nonetheless, I still have a hell of a lot to say and will continue to say it here.”

Oh tease us, Devil. Tell us more!

Roger Bourland September 19, 2007 at 5:31 am

Not by the hair of my chinny chin chin!

PK September 19, 2007 at 10:33 am

Newspapers have tooooo much advertising (which I avoid, knowing that it works), and toooo much corporate digesting. When I moved to LA in the seventies (almost thirty years to the month), the Times was still using the term “Ruskies”. News sources require a lot of triangulating these days although the internet access to so many sources makes it easier then in the past. It is a shame that Pacifica considers their presenters “authenticity” more important then their radio skills, making it all but un-listenable.

On one hand, I am jealous that you still have your father around to criticize (mine has been gone for decades, and I miss him greatly), on the other hand….. 🙂 I would like to think that by our age, I would have been able to see the love in the criticism. It took me twenty years to figure out that my father’s statement, “You’re no Mozart!”, was right!

I barely hide behind the thinnest veil on the internet, mostly because when I started blogging a few years ago, I had a strong sense that the WWW was a world wide exposure to scoundrels. My blog was primarily personal and political, but I have decided that my words on politics mean nothing, and that I would only express my political ideas through my actions, as best I could. So now I am mostly blogging on film music. I insist on my blog being an informal, non-academic forum. That my interests are the same as what I am ending up teaching is not surprising. The blog also started as an exercise in writing. As a BMus and MA, I have not taken an English composition class since high school (I know, it’s apperent ;-)), so I need to exercise the discipline, most particularly as I am staring straight ahead at my dissertation! (urk!).

Have a good year, your whole-human, approach to musicality makes me so happy for your students. I predict some great musical flowering at Schoenberg, and considering it is a college campus, probably some deflowering as well… (ducking and running).

Brad Wood September 20, 2007 at 1:19 pm

Flowering and deflowering—reminds me of the late Mark Lapidus’ paper, Two Women, a fairly deranged and highly imaginative work, which purported to be a comparison between Poème Électronique and Gesang der Jünglinge.

IIRC Lapidus refers to the “composition and decomposition of timbres”.

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