I’m in a sketchy Travelodge (well, only as sketchy as the places I’ve stayed outside Tanglewood for our residencies, so not bad, just not the Ritz. Hey, there’s free Wifi.) in Lancaster, PA tonight. Just finished re-watching (for the first time in probably 15 years) Pump Up the Volume, the movie about the deep anxieties of teenage life as expressed through pirate radio that was so, so much better than it deserved to be. And of course in retrospect the parallels to blogging and podcasting are obvious. Got an issue? Seize the air. Talk hard. And your friends and fans will come out in droves to support you.
Well, maybe not so much that last part… In fact, the one thing in retrospect that was disappointing about that movie was that Mark “Hard Harry” Hunter, when he faced the crowd of high school students, FCC goons, and school administrators in that parking lot as he was being arrested, didn’t have to face his dad. Who, of course, was not the clueless wonder that Mark thought he was the whole time, but you never got to see that except in his slapdown of the principal. Mark never gets to reconcile. Or, more likely, never gets that look of anger fighting with disbelief from his dad. Of course, maybe it’s better that way, and you’re free to hope that, based on the evidence in the last scene, his family will understand him.
But this part, the connection to people you really know you, is probably the hardest part about blogging. I didn’t filter much when I started writing this site, and you can tell, particularly in the fall of 2002 when I hit a hard patch of depression. I put a lot out there. Was that because I felt free to do so while I was on the other side of the continent from my family? I don’t know. Lately though it seems to me that I filter too much on this site because I know so many people who are reading it, and they’re not so far away now. Not the concert reviews or the technical articles, or even the occasional political rant, but what I am thinking and doing at any given time. The site used to be about me. Now it’s about some of what I do. Not sure how I’m going to change that, but I’d like to. Fortunately I don’t have as many bad things going on, but it would be good to share some of the good things too.
I need to shake up my writing style a bit. It’s hard as my time to write becomes increasingly constricted, but I’ll start trying. After all, if Pump Up the Volume was powerful enough to encourage Amanda of the Dresden Dolls to write brilliant meditations about belonging and to try to get the attention of Conor Oberst at the same time, I can at least acknowledge the movie’s power by trying to write more honestly.
Well, speaking of honesty, I should probably acknowledge to myself that I need to sleep. There’s a family reunion tomorrow, along with an early morning church service that I need my voice for. So be it…
—Oh, and by the way. Anyone think the FCC has goons like the ones in the movie, who drive around in yellow vans that say FCC on them and triangulate radio signals and generally act like The Man? Don’t be silly. It’s the RIAA that does that; well, that and the Department of Homeland Security, who for some reason don’t contain the FCC as yet. Which is odd, since it seems to contain every other Federal agency in charge of infringing on the rights of American citizens in the name of the common good.
Sleep tight now.